Change of Scenery

Do you ever get sick of running around the same neighborhood or jogging the same loop week after week?

I sure do!

Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need.

New Scenery

This morning as Ryan and I changed to go to the gym, I asked him if he’d prefer to go for a run outside with me and Sadie.

He was all for it and suggested driving 10 minutes to a nearby lake to run rather than running around our neighborhood. That sounded like a good idea to me!

Ready to Run (and Blinded by the Sun)

We hopped out of the car and did two loops around Lake Baldwin for a total of 5 miles in 46 minutes, with an average mile pace of 9:15. I could tell I was holding Ryan and his monkey legs (as I call them) back a bit, but I appreciated him running at my pace.

Stats

After our run, we toweled off and headed home to shower.

Breakfast

After a lightning fast shower and getting ready for the workday, I headed downstairs to make myself a strawberry banana smoothie for breakfast.

While I blended  the ingredients together, I nibbled on Kay’s Naturals golden butter pretzel twists.

Golden Butter Twists

Nibble, Nibble

The salty flavor tasted great after a long run.

After whirring up frozen fruit, ice cubes, protein powder, xanthan gum and Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla almond milk, my smoothie was ready for drinkin’.

Strawberry + Banana

"J" for Julie

I think I added a bit more xanthan gum than usual, because this smoothie was extra thick.

Thick. Cold. Creamy.

I ate the entire thing with a spoon.

Chilly!

Another Reason Why I Love You

I absolutely love how several of you immediately went to your kitchens and made those flourless peanut butter cookies after reading about them last night.

Just another reason why I love you guys so much… Clearly we share an intense love for peanut butter and cookies. 😀

Question of the Day

Do you ever drive somewhere new to run, walk, bike or rollerblade just for a change of scenery?

Surprise Guest

When I woke up this morning I figured the most exciting part of the start of my day would be wearing my new Victoria’s Secret foldover yoga capris to the gym.

New Pants!

(Sadie clearly thinks I’m a nut job. I can’t blame her though, as this was taken at 5:35 a.m.)

Though wearing new clothing is always fun, the real excitement would come later.

At the gym I took a BodyPump class and followed it up with 25 minutes of light cardio on the elliptical. Today I did my typical weights in BodyPump (and even went heavier on the back/hamstrings track), but apparently I was feeling extra-strong because the weights that typically exhaust me weren’t really cuttin’ it. Odd!

A New Playmate

After the gym, I leashed Sadie up for her morning walk.

About half way through our walk we were greeted by an adorable bulldog. I figured her owners were around the area somewhere, so I let Sadie and the dog sniff each other and play for a bit. It was becoming increasingly clear that no owners were in sight. The dog had a collar on and was really sweet and very friendly and followed us when we started walking.

I brought her back to our apartment and had one heck of a time getting the phone number off her collar as she and Sadie were playing. Our new friend’s name is Lily and after speaking with her owner, Sadie, Lily and I played for a while in the backyard waiting for him to arrive.

Meet Lily!

When Lily’s owner arrived he thanked me for keepin’ Lily safe. Apparently she slipped out of a hole in the fence in their backyard.

We got to talking and Lily’s owner realized that I am actually one of his wife’s patients! Lily belongs to my orthodontist and her husband! How’s that for some small world stuff?

Breakfast

After all the excitement from this morning, my breakfast seems rather boring… but it tasted great!

Friday's Breakfast

I enjoyed a cup of Fage Greek yogurt and a small bag of Kay’s Naturals apple cinnamon protein cereal. (For those of you who enjoy a gluten free diet, this cereal is gluten free and tastes delicious!)

Apple Cinnamon Protein Cereal

I also sipped on a hot mug of my gym’s free Barnie’s French vanilla coffee. Yum!

AMA Round Two

Time for more Ask Me Anything questions! (Round one question and answers may be found here.)

Thanks again to everyone who submitted a question. If you have somethin’ on your mind, you may click here to submit an anonymous question.

I think living together before marriage is A MUST, but I was curious what your and Ryan’s parents thought about the idea?

To be honest, I actually thought I would wait until marriage to live with a boy. When I graduated college, I moved into an apartment by myself. Ryan ended up staying with me every night, and even had an entire closet full of clothes. My parents liked the idea of him being around a lot because they think very highly of him and also liked the security of a he-man hangin’ around. 🙂 When we made the move to live together officially, it just kind of happened. Ryan’s parents were always on board and my parents were supportive as well since I was financially supporting myself and was now a real “adult.” They trusted my judgment and thankfully it’s all worked out wonderfully!

Your fiance is adorable, how do I get me one of them? 😉

Try hangin’ around the UCF gym… Worked for me! 😉

What do you and Ryan do and what are your normal work hours?

When I told Ryan about this question his reply was, “They’re gonna come rob us!” …So please don’t come steal all of our stuff. Sadie is at home in the day and will bite your face off (and by bite I mean lick).  She’s ferocious.

Now, to answer your question, I am a full-time writer and editor and manage a content team of three other writers for an internet marketing company. Ryan works in finance in the defense industry. I work from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily (sometimes later) and Ryan works a 9/80 schedule (nine-hour days, with every other Friday off) and typically arrives home between 4:30 and 5 p.m.

Have you ever had a problem with body image or being overweight (in your eyes)?

Yes… Oh yes. Though my BMI has never technically been in the “overweight” category, I have definitely struggled with body image (and still do!). I actually had a mini breakdown to Ryan about a month before I started this blog. We were on a walk with Sadie and I just felt sad and upset with my appearance. I know in my heart that I am a healthy person and weigh a healthy weight, but I couldn’t seem to stop negative thoughts about my body from entering into my head daily… all the time.

I cried to Ryan and he said he’d been in the same place before… many people have. He said that no matter how thin I would ever be, it wouldn’t matter until I accepted myself and loved myself. He is 100 percent right. I still constantly struggle with negative thoughts about my body. However, I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to focus on health than on appearance and weight. I have made a conscious effort to think about my health and make decisions that lead to a healthy lifestyle rather than concentrate on my weight and it’s honestly made a huge difference for me. It’s so much easier (but still not easy!) to feel happy with yourself knowing that you’re doing your best to fuel your body with healthy food and exercise, rather than depriving it and beating yourself up with negative thoughts.

Any advice on how to incorporate more variety in my everyday meals and to be a little less controlling with my calorie intake?

Like I said above, try focusing on health rather than a certain number of calories. Think about how much happier you’ll feel with yourself if you choose to pack an apple for dessert after lunch rather than a brownie. (Easier said than done, I know!!!) As for variety, buy a vegetable you haven’t tried in a while. I literally wouldn’t touch broccoli or asparagus for my entire life… then, last year, I tried them again and I actually liked them! I also encourage you to incorporate foods you love that might not be as healthy into your meals in healthy ways… like sprinkling chocolate chips into your morning bowl of oatmeal or yogurt. It tastes indulgent but you’re enjoying it in a controlled, healthy way.

How much do you weigh and what size do you wear?

I answered the weight question in round one and I typically wear a size 2 or size four dress unless it hugs my hips… I’m definitely a lot smaller up top than on the bottom… my wedding dress measurements were: bust – size two, waist – size two, hips – size eight. I typically buy my shirts in a size small and my jeans in a size 28.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I know this will make me seem totally lame, but the first thing that came to my mind that I think I did that was pretty crazy was get scuba certified in February. Why, when I live in a state that’s ridiculously hot for nine months out of the year, would I choose to get scuba certified (outside!!!) when it’s in the upper 30s to mid 40s? Ryan and I did it so we could be scuba certified for a cruise we were going on in March, but the process was one of the most miserable experiences ever! Crazy? Maybe. Stupid? Yes.

What’s the most important thing in your life?

My family, friends and Sadie.

Do you and Ryan want to have kids? If so, how long do you plan to wait after you get married?

Yes! We both definitely want kids. When I told him about this question he replied, “Yep! Two boys!” to which I replied “Yep! Two girls!” 🙂 Kids are a long way off for us though (definitely several years) because we both have goals we’d like to achieve and want to feel financially secure enough to start a family.

You have great skin! Mind sharing your routine?

I wash my face with Clean & Clear morning burst shine control facial cleanser in the shower every morning and use Clean & Clear oil-free dual action moisturizer right afterward, otherwise my skin is tiiiiight.

How much time do you spend working on your blog every day?

I probably spend approximately an hour total actually creating blog posts every day, unless something big happened and I write a more extensive post with lots of pictures which takes more time. I consider responding to emails part of blogging and this also takes up additional time every day.

If you could change one thing about your appearance what would it be?

Anyone that knows me well could probably answer this question for me: my hips. I swear I’ve had a boo-tay and hips ever since I was born! I’ve always wished I had a slimmer bottom half… slimmer hips, butt and legs. Thankfully I’m marrying a self-proclaimed “butt man” who likes a lil’ junk in da trunk. 😉

What brand of scale do you have at home?

I have a Thinner scale that looks a lot like this one.

I’m sorry I couldn’t get to all of your questions, but I’m workin’ on it!!! Stay tuned for more Q & As later today! 😀

Healthy Planning

In the midst of my sugar binge yesterday, I had the forethought to bake a spaghetti squash for use in my lunch today. Healthy planning while eating unhealthily… gotta love it! 🙂

I usually prepare my spaghetti squash with marinara sauce… as a pasta substitute or pizza (I’ll do this soon on the blog… it’s delish!). I love spaghetti squash with marinara sauce, but I’ve never tried it any other way. Any recommendations?

Spaghetti Squash Bowl

I topped the squash with marinara sauce and a blend of three cheeses: Parmesan, Asiago and Romano.YUM.

Stirred Squash

For a little added sweetness and protein, I enjoyed a cup of Greek yogurt with Kay’s Naturals gluten free apple cinnamon cereal on the side.

Yogurt with Apple Cinnamon Cereal

I think this was a little more nutritious than yesterday’s five minute chocolate mug cake lunch, huh?

Free Sample of Kashi Cereal or Kashi Granola Bar

Click here to receive a free sample of one of the following Kashi products:

  • Go Lean Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble Cereal
  • TLC Dark Chocolate Coconut Fruit & Grain Bar
  • Go Lean Crunch! Honey Almond Flax Cereal

Mmm... Chocolate...

Which one did you pick?

You know I picked the one with the chocolate! 😉

Cinnamon Toast Chocolate Chip Yogurt Bowl

Good morning!

My breakfast today was a cinnamon toast pretzel chocolate chip yogurt bowl, and booooy was it tasty!

My most recent order from Netrition.com arrived last night and I couldn’t wait to try the bag of Kay’s Naturals Better Balance cinnamon toast pretzel sticks.

Cinnamon Toast Pretzels

I ate about half the bag before stirring the remaining sticks into my Chobani Greek yogurt and topping the mix with chocolate chips.

Sweet, Salty, Creamy

I had a hot mug of sugar cookie tea on the side.

Friday's Breakfast

It’s probably a good thing that I got an individual portion of those pretzel sticks because I could see myself downing an entire bag very easily.

It’s almost like anything out of a big bag or box makes me want to keep eating and eating. I think that’s why I cannot be trusted around a half-gallon of ice cream or a box of Cheez-its. The remaining portions taunt me until they’re gone.

Gym Gripes

Since Ryan has the day off work and wasn’t getting up at 5:30 a.m. with me this morning, I opted to skip my typical 5:45 a.m. Friday BodyPump class and save strength training for tomorrow.

Instead, I slept in until 6:30 a.m. and went to the gym for a cardio-only workout consisting of:

  • 15 min. adaptive motion trainer
  • 10 min. running stairs in the gym’s stairwell
  • 10 min. running
  • 15 min. elliptical

I got so irritated during my 10 minute run because I ran on a treadmill controlled by a touch screens. If I so much as grazed the screen, the whole workout changed and it would slow down my pace dramatically and hurt my running rhythm. Bleh.

I intended to keep running, but was so fed up when the treadmill reset my entire workout after 10 minutes that I opted to finish my workout on the elliptical. Oooh the headaches of working out.

What bothers you at the gym?

At the risk of sounding like a total brat, I am the most bothered when someone takes “my spot” in BodyPump. It’s my spot, and they should know that. 😉

Protein-Packed Breakfast Cake

My friend Merri may be my blog’s number one fan and I just love it! She’s always sending me awesome recipe ideas and pictures of her meals.

Merri (top left), Me and My Girlfriends

Last night at girl’s holiday movie night Merri brought me two protein breakfast cakes she made this week.

Like me, Merri works out in the morning. After eating a small bowl of oatmeal before her workouts, she’d still feel lightheaded in the gym. Her trainer told her to incorporate more protein into her morning meal. Since she is at the gym early, she wanted to eat something she could grab quickly and found a recipe for a protein-packed breakfast cake.

Protein-Packed Breakfast Cake

She made the cake into muffins to create a grab-and-g0 breakfast. I loved this lil’ cake! I gobbled one up last night and ate the other one she gave me after my morning run. This recipe is great pre- or post-run fuel.

Merri’s Protein-Packed Breakfast Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of oatmeal (banana bread flavor or Kashi Golden Brown maple oatmeal work really well)
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 6 tbsp Splenda or sweetener of choice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (sprinkle on top before baking as well)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients and bake in oven in a 9×9 pan or make individual servings in a muffin pan for approximately 20 minutes.

(You may also find this recipe here.)

Workout

This morning I went for a run with my favorite running buddy, little Miss Sadie. She’s the best running partner because she always goes my pace and is ridiculously excited to be running. Plus I like to say things like “only one more mile, Sadie” to make me feel better offer her encouragement. It’s nice to have her cute little face look up at me when I’m plugging away.

Today we ran for an hour. Once again it was very foggy. My hair and eyelashes were wet from all the moisture.

Orlando Fog

Breakfast

Breakfast today was easy and yummy and very similar to Monday’s morning meal.

  • Chobani Greek yogurt
  • Clementine
  • Kay’s Naturals honey almond cereal
  • Yogi Tahitian vanilla hazelnut tea

Tuesday's Breakfast

Festive Clementine

Kay's Naturals Honey Almond Cereal

Easy and tasty – that’s all I ask!

Engagement Gift

Ryan and I have been fortunate to receive some really thoughtful and wonderful engagement gifts. Last night we received one of our very favorites from my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Randall.

Engagement Gift

How wonderful is that picture? It already found a home on our wall. 😀

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?