Weekend Recap

    We had quite an eventful weekend! It started off with a bang with our air conditioner giving out Friday night. YAY. It actually started making noises the night before, so we had someone out to look at it Friday morning. He told us it was the motor and that it would probably last for a couple more months. Welp so much for that. It gave out around 10 pm that same day.

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    July 24, 2017

    Step Move Wednesday: Knees Corners

    Welcome back to another installment of the Step Move Wednesday series! Today we are covering the move of Knees Corner to Corner, also referred to as “Knees Corners” or “Corner Knees.” If this is your first time with the series, make sure to read the intro post here. 

    So this is a move you would see in my class a LOT. I consider this one of the base moves, and we often take a break with this move in between learning new combos.

    To complete the move, step onto the left side of the bench with the right foot while driving the left knee up. Exit both feet behind the bench, and repeat on the other side. (It’s much easier than it sounds typed out, so make sure to check out the video!)

    Like last week, feel free to follow along with the video below!

    July 19, 2017

    Current Self Care Faves

    Today I want to talk about my favorite forms of self care.

    So what is self care? To me, it’s the small things I can do when I am feeling stressed or even just have uncomfortable thoughts I need to process and work through. It’s a way to rejuvenate and become ready and excited for things going on in life. So in no particular order, here are the self care things I am loving lately:

    At home mani/pedi: I love taking the time to do my nails at home. I like to pop up a movie or a youtube video, and do my nails. The best part is that I have a reason to sit still for several minutes afterwards while my nails dry 🙂

    Reading: Yes yes, classic introvert. Nothing better than getting pulled into another world of a book. Right now I’m reading Three Wishes (affiliate link.)

    Watercolor painting: So this is one that I’m trying but haven’t actually been loving as much as I thought! I got the idea from immaeatthat, who posts the most beautiful watercolor paintings. Right now I’m just finding it too stressful to make something pretty! I think as I become more comfortable with it, I’ll find it more relaxing.

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    Yoga: Ahhhh yoga. I went through a period earlier this year where I was doing yoga every night before bed, and I was loving it. I’m not quite as consistent these days, but I love the feeling of relaxation I have after a good yoga session. I like to do one or two youtube yoga videos before bed. (FYI I highly recommend Bad Yogi!)

    Music: I’ve been playing instruments for basically as long as I remember (piano as a child, a short stint in orchestra, then band throughout high school and college.) After graduating and working full time, I wasn’t making any music and it felt like a big part of my life was missing. So now I’m happy to play in our church’s handbell choir, and when we don’t have rehearsals (aka summer), I like to play on a small/cheap keyboard I have at home. Concentrating on playing piano helps the clear my mind!

    Journaling: Ok so I’m not actually sure you can call what I do journaling. I am a HUGE fan of the brain dump. Whenever I can’t concentrate on what I’m doing because I have too many thoughts running through my head, I grab a piece of paper or sticky note and just write down everything that comes to mind. About 90% of the time I immediately throw this paper away, so I don’t have the pressure of making something pretty in a journal. There’s just something about writing it all out (and especially then throwing it away) that really clears my mind. Also, after getting it on paper it’s easier to evaluate whether it’s something I can change or not, so it helps when I am worrying about useless things.

    And that’s it! If you have any current self care favorites, please let me know in a comment!

    July 17, 2017

    Step Move Wednesday: Basic Step

    Hi friends! I’m starting a new series here on the blog called Step Move Wednesday, where I’ll be sharing a new step move every week. There are so many reasons why I love step aerobics (in fact, I’ll probably do a whole post on this soon) but one thing that’s unique to step is that there’s a bit of a learning curve. It’s not something like running or boot camp where you can jump right in and get the most amazing sweat the first time. There’s a whole vocabulary of movements to learn, but once you have those down, everything else is built on top of them. So that’s what this series is for!

    SMW 1

    A couple of FAQ/notes before we begin…

    • Do I need a step bench to practice? Nope! Obviously if you have one, you can use it to practice in a setting more realistic to a class, but you can always practice these movements on the floor without a bench. Also I love practicing in my kitchen, simply by imagining a tile (or two) as my bench. 🙂
      • Side note, if you want to buy a step bench, this is a pretty good deal on amazon (affiliate link).
    • Always warm up properly before working out on the bench. I recommend about 5 minutes of moderate cardio (walking, elliptical, or aerobic moves on the floor (think step touches, marching in place, easy squats, jumping jacks, etc.)
    • In general, I teach “tap free” or “smooth” style step, in which moves transition from the right lead to the left lead without tapping the foot in between. In the video below however, I do use a tap to change from right basic to left basic.
    • If you are using a bench, I recommend starting with only one riser. I personally never use more than one riser, because the style of step I do is much faster and more dance-y than traditional step aerobics.
    • Always step onto the bench with the entire foot, rather than allowing the heel to hang off. This will help avoid achilles tendon injuries.
    • Finally, as always check with a doctor before making any exercise changes!

    Aaaaand we’re ready! Today we are going to cover the basic step. Start facing your bench (or imaginary bench.) Start with a basic right, stepping onto the bench with the right foot, then the left foot. Then step back to the floor with the right foot, then the left foot. A basic left will be the same movement but leading with the left foot.

    Feel free to follow along with this video! This is 4 basic rights, then tap and 4 basic lefts.

    Hope you enjoy, and let me know if you have ever done a step aerobics class, and whether you give these moves a try!

    July 12, 2017

    Summer Bodyweight Workout

    Hi friends! Hope you had a wonderful 4th of July. Today I’m sharing the first of many workouts on the blog! This one is a total body workout, with no weights needed. It’s a superset working, which means you’ll complete 2-3 rounds of the first set before moving on to the second set. I love these types of workouts because as soon as you finish the last round of the first set, you know you’re done with those exercises for the day!

    Before we begin, always make sure to check with a doctor before making any changes to your exercise program. Listen to your body, and if something doesn’t feel right, skip it!

    Summer Bodyweight Workout

    Form cues:

    Lunge and kick: Begin in a standing position. Step your right foot behind you in a lunge, with the back knee driving straight down to the ground in a lunge. Push through the left foot to drive the right foot up into a kick, leading with the knee and extending the foot out last. Return to the lunge position and repeat. After 12 reps, switch sides.

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    Plie Squat: Set up the legs with toes pointed toward the sides of your mat, further than hip width apart. Knees should go toward your toes on the way down, rather than caving into the center. Lower down into a squat and push back up to standing for one rep.

    Pushup: These can be performed on toes or dropped down to knees. Engage the core and maintain a straight line in the back. Inhale and lower down between your hands, leading with the chest. Exhale and push back to the starting position.

    Superman: Lay down on your stomach, with fingertips lightly behind your head. (Advanced option: you can extend both arms straight out in front of you.) Gaze down at the floor a few inches in front of you to avoid straining the neck. Contracting the glutes and lower back, lift your head, chest, and legs off the ground, holding for 2 seconds. Slowly release down to the starting position.

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    Diamond Pushup: Same as a pushup, but create a diamond pattern in your hands, with index fingers touching and thumbs touching. This will engage the triceps in your pushup.

    Modified V-Sit: Begin in a seated position with legs bent in front, and hands behind you, with fingertips pointed towards you. Extend the feet out, bent in a 90 degree angle. Extend your legs to a straight position hovering the ground while leaning back slightly and engage the core. Bring the chest and knees back toward the center and repeat.

    Plank hops: Begin in a plank position with wrists underneath the shoulders and a straight line through the back. Hop both feet towards the right wrist, then back to center for one rep. Hop towards the left wrist then back to center for the second rep, all the way to 12 total.

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    Dead bug: Lying on your back, begin with knees bent at 90 degrees above you and extend the arms straight up toward the ceiling. Exhale and lower the right leg and left arm toward the ground, hovering a few inches. Hold for a second and then inhaling, slowly bring them back to starting for one rep. Alternate the other leg and arm, continuing until you have done 12 total.

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    And that’s it! Hope you enjoy, leave a comment below if you give it a try!

     

     

    July 5, 2017

    Friday Favorites #1

    Hi friends! Happy Friday! I hope you’ve had a great week. I thought I would share a list of all the things I’m loving lately!

    Big Brother

    It’s that time of year again! James and I love watching Big Brother each summer. And yes, we are those people who watch the live feeds (#obsessed.) I think it’s a great cast this year and the premiere was so good! I’m rooting for Elena Davies because she’s from my hometown!

    Ouai Rose Hair & Body Oil

    I got a sample of this oil in my Sephora Play box this month and I love it! It makes my hair super soft and smells amazing.

    Reading

    So I realize this is super general but I am a reading machine lately! There’s something about summer when there’s not as many TV shows that I watch, where I just devour books one after another. So far this summer I’ve read The Violets of March (SO GOOD and I highly recommend!!), First Comes Love (also very good and I read most of it during a trip to San Antonio), and most recently The Marriage Lie. I have mixed feelings about The Marriage Lie. It kept me hooked the entire time to find out the truth, but obviously parts were disturbing (as it was a psychological thriller) and I didn’t always agree with the actions of the protagonist. The ending was a surprise though and left me thinking about it well after reading it.

    Thai Green Curry

    Yessssss, the obsession is back. Some of you may know that James and I have a long lasting love affair with Thai food, and for a solid year we would get takeout almost every single Wednesday at a local restaurant. The habit had fallen by the wayside for several months (a good thing for our wallets haha) but this past weekend we visited a different Thai restaurant in Dallas, and I got my beloved green curry. It was SO DELICIOUS and I’m pretty sure it’s about to make it’s way back into the rotation!

    Blogging

    Today marks a whole 2 weeks of blogging, yay!! I am having such a blast picking up this new hobby. I have so many ideas of posts to come, along with a new series starting soon so stay tuned!

    Note: This post contains affiliate links.

    July 1, 2017

    Day in the Life 6/26/17

    Posted in life by

    I always love reading these from other bloggers, so I thought I would join in on the fun! Here’s my day in the life for a Monday.

    6:00 am: Wake up to the sound of James making smoothies. I am super grateful that he wakes up early (without an alarm… crazy right?) and most days makes us smoothies for breakfast. Anyway, I didn’t have to be out of bed yet so I tried to go back to sleep for a few minutes.

    6:30 am: Wake up, talk to James for a bit in bed while he gets ready to leave. Scroll facebook and read emails.

    6:45 am: Get out of bed, brush teeth, etc. Get ready for work: hair, makeup, get dressed. Start the roomba and feed the dogs breakfast.

    7:15 am: Out the door! Drive to work, drink my smoothie in the car.

    7:45 am: Arrive at work. Make tea. I am really loving this Teavana Jade Citrus Mint Tea (affiliate link). I’ve purchased it before as loose leaf tea, and I was super excited to see that I could buy it in individual tea bags! Makes it super easy to make at work.

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    8:00 am: Work work work work work. Listen to this playlist.

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    11:30 am: Leave for a meeting. Today I had a committee meeting during lunch. Take selfie in bathroom.

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    12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Meeting while eating lunch.

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    1:30 pm: Back at the office. More work.

    4:15 pm: Cookie break! Eat 1/2 of the cookie. Earlier I had texted James to tell him I saved the cookie for him. So while snacking on it I had to break the news that he would only have half to eat tonight!

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    5:30 pm: Leave work.

    5:45 pm: TRAFFIC

    6:00 pm: Arrive home. Check the mail, let the dogs out and feed them. Try on this super cute high waisted swimming suit from amazon. I have 2 more coming later this week and I’ll decide which one to keep then! (Free return shipping ftw.)

    Change for class, eat 1/2 a banana with peanut butter.

    6:30 pm: Drive to class.

    7:00 – 8:00 pm: Orange theory! I woke up this weekend really craving a class for some reason, so I made it happen! Aaaaaand it was awesome.

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    8:15 pm: Back home. Spend some time with the dogs, and then make dinner. On the menu tonight are these quesadillas. For meal prep over the weekend, I made and assembled the filling, so all I had to do tonight was fill the tortilla and heat on a skillet. Served with a side of black beans. Load dishwasher while quesadilla is cooking.

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    8:30 pm: Eat dinner. I’ve been trying to be better at home about eating without distractions to focus on my food and hunger/fullness cues. I have a bad youtube habit while I eat! So tonight I left my phone in the other room and sat down to a quiet dinner.

    8:45 pm: James comes home from work. We chat for a few minutes about our days.

    9:00 pm: Shower, get cleaned up for bed.

    9:30 pm: Sit down to write this blog post.

    10:00 pm: Read before bed. I am loving The Marriage Lie right now.

    10:30 pm: Bedtime!

    June 27, 2017

    What this space means to me

    Posted in life by

    So having a blog is hard (shocker.) Already I’ve had 5 or 6 blog post ideas in my head, and then a few days go by and I realize I haven’t actually posted anything. So here we go!

    Today I really wanted to basically brain-dump why I started a blog. As I mentioned, I have been reading food/healthy living/lifestyle blogs for almost 10 years now. Many of them started as taking photographs of everything they ate in a day while dieting, to more lifestyle, to exercise, and now several have taken the direction of intuitive eating/lifestyles. In fact, I am almost certain that reading these blogs is what encouraged me to run my first half marathon, and then three more after that.

    half 1

    So, I loved reading blogs. Eventually I found ones that explored disordered vs intuitive eating, which really resonated with me.

    Like many women, I went through phases of distorted body image. I specifically remember the moments as a child that I learned that sitting down makes your thighs look fat, that big boobs are good and flat chests are subpar, and even about the infamous coveted thigh gap before social media even existed. It’s a lot to take in as a young girl, and even more to stand up against.

    I had a period in high school where I compulsively counted calories, restricting my diet and exercising out of punishment. One of my sharpest memories of this time was in the dead of winter, and while driving somewhere I blasted the A/C in my car as high as it would go, because in my mind shivering burned more calories. Clearly I had some work to do on myself.

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    Fast forward to college, when I went the exact opposite direction. Food was for pleasure now, and who cared if I had a “fourth meal” (aka midnight) of chips and queso? I went a little crazy food wise during college, ignoring fullness cues and eating almost out of rebellion to my former restrictive self. Obviously I gained some weight during college, and even more after I graduated and started my desk job.

    All during this time, I tried almost every diet out there. South beach, weight watchers, calorie counting, macro counting, Whole 30, the list goes on. Everything was temporary, and in my mind when the diet inevitably failed, I was a failure.

    Thankfully, I had developed a pretty healthy love of exercise at this time. I discovered step class and fell in love, taking classes every time I visited home, and occasionally running or lifting weights back at college.

    In 2011 I studied for and passed my group exercise certification, and during my last semester at college, began teaching a step class on campus. I have to admit, I was pretty terrible. But practice makes progress, and I’m still teaching now almost 6 years later.

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    Eventually I started practicing intuitive eating, where nothing is off limits and you make an effort to truly enjoy your food. Quitting the nighttime snacking (when not hungry/just out of boredom) was a huge challenge for me. It took a lot of practice, but I feel so much better in my body now that I listen to my hunger/fullness cues AND my cravings. That also includes cravings for movement! There is a huge difference between being in the mood for restorative yoga vs a HIIT boot camp.

    So why did I start a blog? I love reading them, and I love writing. But more than that, I wanted to share my journey to where am I now, and wherever I go in the future. I still love group exercise, and I still love food. Discovering intuitive eating has allowed me the freedom to truly enjoy food and love my body. Do I still have bad days where I feel bloated and gross? Of course, that’s part of being human. But most of all I believe food and movement should be a source of celebration, not of stress and punishment. So that’s why I’m here! Thanks for reading, and I hope you come along for the journey.

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    June 22, 2017

    St Germain Grapefruit Sparkler

    Posted in recipes by

    For my first post, I’m going to share a cocktail recipe! It’s pretty simple and came together with things I happened to have in my pantry/fridge. So without further ado, here is the recipe for the St Germain Grapefruit Sparkler.

    First up, the cast of ingredients.

    If you’ve never tried St Germain, you should! It’s a liqueur made from elderflower, and tastes wonderfully warm and floral. It has a perfect sweetness and adds a depth and flavor that’s hard to describe, but it’s definitely my new favorite! A little goes a long way in cocktails like this one.

    The other ingredients include grapefruit (pamplemousse) La Croix (#obsessed), grapefruit juice, and sparking wine or champagne. I happened to have this little can of sparking wine from Trader Joe’s in my refrigerator, so I went with that.

    To make the drink, fill a glass with ice. Fill about 3/4 of the way with the La Croix. Add 1/2 oz of St Germain, 1/2 oz grapefruit juice, and a generous splash of sparking wine.

    And that’s it! It’s the perfect girly and summery cocktail. We will finish up with a photo my husband James enjoying the drink (pinky up of course!)

    Cheers!

    June 17, 2017