Bird Brain

Let me preface this post by saying I’m no yogi (Yogini? Yoga master?).

In fact, I took the first yoga class I’ve ever actually enjoyed less than a month ago.

What made this particular class different? The instructor.

The class I loved was a power yoga class and the instructor did her best to offer modifications for those of us in the class who did not possess Cirque du Soleil-type flexibility.

She offered the modifications by giving suggestions, and didn’t make me feel inadequate for not having the ability to get into the positions some of the more experienced people in the class could easily hold for an extended period of time.

The instructor offered the modifications by saying things like, “Maybe today you’ll grab on to your big toe and extend your leg out in front of you (yeah right), or maybe you’ll simply cross  your leg over your knee and hold your balance (that’s more like it!).”

Aside from the amazing instructor, I loved the class because of the amazing stretch I felt through my hips when I held the pigeon pose.

Yoga Pose May

When I heard about Yoga Pose May, a blog-wide challenge featuring a new yoga pose daily (coordinated by Kate and Tina), I immediately signed up to cover the pigeon pose, since my love for the hip-releasing stretch was quickly blossoming.

A tutorial as to how to properly get into the pigeon pose may be found here.

For the visual learners out there, here’s a glimpse of the pigeon pose, Julie-style:

Cooo... Cooo....

Just kidding. 😉

Here’s a glimpse of the real pigeon pose:

Pigeon

(Note: It is extremely difficult to snap a picture of yourself in a yoga pose using the self timer on your camera. With only 10 seconds to get on the ground and get into the pose, I think I may have pulled my groin a good seven times trying to get this shot. And yes, that’s the best I could do. 😉 )

Happy yogaing! 😀

A Morning Hunt

This morning began with a hunt.

On the Prowl

Can you spot Sadie’s prey?

Ryan and I laugh every time a squirrel enters our backyard because Sadie goes into instant hunting dog mode. She creeps up on the unsuspecting squirrel ever-so-quietly, only to prance up to it at the end, scarring it off.

She has yet to get close enough to pounce.

Workout

Maybe I should put my hunting skills to the test and hunt for a new workout outfit when I take a yoga class.

White running skirt + Power yoga class = Complete fail

Bad Idea

I tried to be all SkinnyRunner-ish this morning and wear the running skirt I bought back in February that has been collecting dust in my closet.

Let me just say that the teeny built-in white super thin spandex shorts underneath the skirt don’t leave much to the imagination when you throw your legs above your head in an attempt to do a headstand. Hellllllo hiney!

Aside from my poor outfit selection, my workout was a good one. I began my sweat-session with a BodyPump class and concluded my workout with a 45-minute power yoga class.

I’m so glad I found a yoga class and instructor I really like. Too bad the class schedule at my gym is changing next week and the Wednesday morning class is cancelled. 😦

Fortunately I got a schedule from the teacher of her classes at local gyms so I hope to attend a power yoga class at least once a week. I think I keep going back for the poses that really stretch out my hips. They feel amazing!

Breakfast

This morning I took my favorite breakfast photo of all time.

I made myself a yogurt bowl which included Kellogg’s Special K granola that Ryan had leftover from his hiking trip this past weekend.

As I went to snap a picture of the granola box, a little friend decided to hop in the picture:

Granola + Potty Time

As I’ve said before, “My dog likes to potty all the time… potty all the time… potty all the time…” 😀

Sadie clearly has no regard for important blog breakfast photos. Or she hates Kellogg’s granola. Not sure which one…

Cinnamon Pretzels + Granola + Pear + Yogurt

My yogurt bowl was filled to the brim with:

Come Cloooooser

This bowl was the perfect combination of smooth and crunchy, but I’m not sure how I feel about pear slices mixed into my yogurt bowl. They were kinda funky and I think I’ll be sticking to berries or another less-soft fruit in the future.

Question of the Day

Have you ever had a wardrobe malfunction at the gym?

Paaay-ink Breakfast

Is it just me or do you feel a littler happier when you consume a breakfast that is pink?

I think my love for the color pink goes all the way back to my childhood when, according to my grandma, I used to pronounce the word “paaay-ink,” with a slightly southern accent.

My breakfast this morning was Pepto-pink from to the strawberries I blended up in my strawberry shortcake smoothie.

Pre-Blended

Into the blender went:

  • 1 c. frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 scoop All the Whey cup cake batter protein powder
  • 1/2 scoop All the Whey strawberry protein powder
  • 5 ice cubes
  • cold water
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum

Blended

This made a whole lotta smoothie and I ended up eating a bunch of the smoothie straight from the blender with a spoon.

The rest was poured into a tumbler and garnished with a neon straw.

Smoothie and a Spoon

Fun Straw!

Breakfast

Pretty ‘n’ pink!

Workout

Today’s workout began with a BodyPump class. The chest track on release 73 is killerrrr.

After the ‘Pump, I headed upstairs for a 45 minute power yoga class… my third yoga class within the past eight days! This is crazy for me since I’ve never really been able to get into yoga.

The Wednesday morning power yoga class is right after BodyPump, so the timing is perfect. I enjoyed the class a lot and can’t get enough of the pigeon pose! I love the way it stretches out my hips!

Save the Date Thank You

Thank you all so much for your sweet words about our winning save the date picture!

I feel a bit relieved to have a picture to use that I think looks kind of professional since we didn’t take engagement pictures. Hopefully all of the paper I ordered will come soon so I can get a lil’ crafty this weekend!

Question of the Day

Do you prefer to drink out of a straw or straight out of a cup?

For me it totally depends on the beverage, but I really love straws! I think they’re so fun!

Yoga: I Actually Enjoyed It

Something amazing happened this morning.

I took a yoga class and actually enjoyed it.

Yogi Julie

(You have my permission to point and laugh at the above picture. I posted it solely for your enjoyment. 😉 )

In the past I have not enjoyed yoga. At all. Not even a little bit.

I’ve tried to get into it, but I have a hard time keeping my mind quiet and enjoying the poses and stretching. I’m sure the fact that I’m terribly inflexible doesn’t help, either.

In past yoga classes, I feel like I’ve always been next to someone from Cirque du Soleil or something. Of course their extreme flexibility makes me feel insecure as I wobble around and strain to simply touch my toes.

Today’s class was different.

I took a power yoga class and before the class began, I approached the instructor to express my concerns about yoga, but also my desire to incorporate more stretching into my fitness routine.

In my previous attempts at yoga, I’ve tried to blend into the class.  This time, however, I found that talking with the instructor ahead of time made her more aware of the presence of a “beginner.” Throughout the class she offered modifications to the more difficult poses, which I really appreciated.

I left the class feeling rejuvenated, relaxed and even elongated. My back and hips really appreciated the extra stretching!

Namaste

(Thanks, Mama, for my new green sweater!)

BodyPump

I actually took my typical BodyPump class before yoga this morning, which was a great start to the morning. After only a week off from the class, I am already feeling more sore than usual. There’s no substitute for the ‘Pump, I guess!

Breakfast

Breakfast today was a W-I-N-N-E-R.

I started by making French toast strips by tearing apart a Joseph’s Lavash Bread and dunking it in a mixture of egg whites and cinnamon.

French Toast Strips

I warmed up a sliced Gala apple in the microwave to add on top of the French toast strips for a fruity punch of flavor.

Apple

After layering the French toasts strips with the apple pieces, I topped everything with nutmeg and syrup.

My Plate

Come Closer!

The addition of nutmeg really made this dish for me. I flippin’ love that spice!

Question of the Day

Do you enjoy yoga?

Overcoming the Steady-State Cardio Hump

For some reason I seem to have slipped into the mindset that on my cardio-only days, 50 minutes is the correct amount of time to spend gettin’ my sweat on. I tend to prefer steady-state cardio, or cardio done at a continual pace and heart rate (such as running five miles).

Steady Run

Today I was determined to change it up a bit. I was determined to make myself stop after 30 minutes of cardio. This may sound ridiculous, but it’s really hard for me to stop because I have this weird feeling that my workout is incomplete. I’ve read so many articles touting the benefits of interval and HIIT training, done in a much shorter amount of time, so my plan was to complete a 20 minute interval workout.

To fight my natural inclination to do 50 minute of cardio, I planned to attend a yoga class at 6 a.m., so by the time I got to the gym, I only had 30 minutes to spare before the class.

My  interval workout included a five minute warm up and a five minute cool down and 20 minutes of interval training:

Minutes            Speed                                                                      Incline

  • 1-5                 4.0                                                                   6.0
  • 5 – 12            9.0 for 20 seconds, 4.5 for 40 seconds     1.0
  • 12 – 13         10.0 for 20 seconds, 4.5 for 40 seconds   1.0
  • 13 – 23         9.5 for 20 seconds, 4.5 for 40 seconds     1.0
  • 23 – 25         10.0 for 20 seconds, 4.5 for 40 seconds   1.0
  • 25 – 30         4.0                                                                 5.0

Total time: 30 minutes, Calories burned: 320

I hopped off the treadmill just in time to make it to yoga. Yoga was meh. I have such a hard time getting into the proper mental state to enjoy a yoga class. My mind is always racing and I have the worst time concentrating on my breathing. I literally start singing songs in my head.

Are you a fan of yoga?

I desperately need to incorporate more stretching into my workout routine… I’m just not sure that yoga is the way for me to do it. I may try taking a Pilates class, because I’ve enjoyed those more than yoga in the past. We’ll see!

Breakfast

Today’s breakfast wrap came together in a flash and included:

  • Joseph’s lavash bread
  • Two slices of Canadian Bacon
  • Laughing Cow light Swiss cheese wedge

Canadian Bacon and Cheese

Wrapped Up

I really wanted to throw an egg in this bad boy, but we’re all out! A trip to the grocery store is a must tonight!

Special Birthday Shout Out

Happy birthday to my best friend, Michaela! Michaela and I have been friends since elementary school and lived across the street from each other in Palatine, Illinois until I moved to Florida after my senior year of high school.

Me and Michaela... and our Miller Lite Microphones 🙂

Though she’s currently in optometry school at Indiana University (yeahhh, she’s a smartie pants 😉 ), we’ve still managed to see each other at least once a year since I moved down south… last year we met up in Arizona to visit our other friends from high school.

You’ll definitely see more pictures of this pretty girl because she’s going to be a bridesmaid in our wedding in October and I’ll see her in Chicago for my bachelorette party before the big day.

I love you Kay Baby! Happy 25th! 😀