Shedding for the Wedding: Workouts Lately

Pre-engagement, I had grand ideas of really kicking my butt into shape in those months before I got married. It seems like a really good motivator, right? Totally. Until you factor in the whole “I-don’t-have-any-time” thing. Between work, moving, & wedding planning, I’ve been running on empty. Daily workouts are a thing of the past, which means when I do carve out an hour for a workout, I’ve been trying to make it… intense.

It’s kind of funny how when you have a million things to do and you feel totally stressed out… that’s when you have to make time for exercise! Here are a few of the workouts I’ve been enjoying:

Cycling

I was never into cycling until my friend Shannon opened up Boho Cycle Studio. Now I love it. It is seriously the best stress reliever.

image-10

I love when the lights go down and you just pedal, pedal, pedal!

Free Weights

I’ve done a lot of 10-minute arm workouts and things like that. Literally cramming it in whenever I can! Videos like this one are perfect for a quick workout:

Gotta tone up those arms for the dress!

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

Sometimes I just don’t want to think during my workout. I’ll pick a number (say, 20) and do 20 of every move I can think of. Then I’ll repeat until my arms and legs feel like jelly! As long as I’ve got some good tunes, I just keep on moving (and sweating) until my time is up! Here’s what that looks like:

at home HIIT workout

The absolute best for a time crunched workout. Combine cardio and strength training into one killer workout and you’ll be good to go! I also love the workout videos that the Purely Twins create! Good for a living room workout. At this point, I need something I can do anywhere!

So even though I’m not exactly in a “routine”, I’m finding ways to squeeze in a workout!

 What are your workouts looking like?

5 Easy Peanut Butter Recipes

I’ll be honest with you. Peanut butter and I have gotten pretty serious over the past few years. Sure, we had our ups and downs. I used to think that regular peanut butter had too many calories and too much fat. And then when I finally came around and accepted the awesome health benefits (and taste) of peanut butter, I got a little obsessed. Like spoon-directly-in-the-jar kind of thing. (Alex, I know you hate that. I promise to stop when we get married.) Finally, our relationship has some stability and I can be trusted around a jar.

Since we’ve been together awhile and I’ve made quite a few peanut butter dishes, I thought I’d share my top 5 easy peanut butter recipes!

5 easy peanut butter recipes

1. 3 Ingredient Breakfast Cookies

 

Peanut butter, oats, and banana is all you need for this super easy breakfast recipe! That’s right, cookies that are actually healthy. You’re welcome.

2. Peanut Butter Protein Shake

I had to include a protein shake recipe. I could have this for breakfast every single day forever. Sometimes I use PB2 (aka peanut flour) as shown above, but sometimes I swirl in some good old fashioned natural peanut butter.

3. Peanut Butter Stir Fry Sauce

peanut butter sauce

 

Mmm salty & savory stir fry sauce. Alex used a variation of this on a Pad Thai dish last week and it was so easy to throw together. Forget bottled sauce!

4. Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

 

A peanut butter recipe for… peanut butter? Hey ,sometimes peanut butter needs to be jazzed up a little. Here is an easy way to do it. Don’t blame me if you’re eating it off a spoon.

5. Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

These are my go to oops-I-forgot-to-make-dessert recipe. Just a handful of ingredients and they’re naturally gluten free.  Yes, really.

What are your favorite peanut butter recipes? Leave me a link in the comments!

Thankful Monday

I’ve got a giant pile of laundry to do, my suitcase isn’t unpacked, and I’m writing this out very late on Sunday evening after what has been quite a day… and I am so happy. This weekend was nothing short of amazing and I’m continually reminded of how blessed I am.

Saturday afternoon some lovely ladies from my church threw me a wonderful wedding shower. (Thanks, Rachel, Shirley, & Cindy!) It was so awesome getting to see family and friends who I hadn’t seen in so long. We ate tons of delicious food, played some party games, and I opened a whole bunch of presents! Seriously, how could life get better than that?

bridal shower.jpg

After the shower, Alexa and I got dressed up and headed out for a low-key bachelorette party. Lots of delicious Mexican food was consumed, and I got to catch up with a bunch of girlfriends that I hadn’t seen in awhile!

me and alexa.jpg

After a few ticket changes on Sunday and a layover in the morning, I managed to make it back to Richmond just in time for my friend Sophia’s wedding! Now that I know exactly how crazy it is to plan a wedding, I think I have a new appreciation for them.

Me & Alex at Sophia's Wedding.jpg

The weather could not have been more perfect and it I loved getting to celebrate with the happy couple! It’s hard to believe that Alex and I will be tying the knot in about a month & a half! It was so nice to be surrounded by friends and family this weekend. It’s getting me excited for the big day! I’m so happy, I’m linking up with Katie for Marvelous Mondays!

Speaking of things I’m thankful for, while I was gone, Alex organized the apartment, cleaned the balcony, and cleaned out the garage, including all of the bugs & cobwebs. Aren’t I a lucky girl?

What are you thankful for today?

Five Things Friday

There are just so many little things that are making me happy today!

1. I’m headed back to Ohio today (like basically right now) and I’m so excited. I’m having a wedding shower on Saturday which honestly makes me feel a liiiiittle bit spoiled. (In a good way. There is a good way, right?)

20130922-102235.jpg

This is an old picture of me, my grandma, and my mom. (Thanks for taking the picture, Dad!) I’m lucky to have so many wonderful family & friends. I can’t wait to see them all.

2. I’m back on a protein shake kick lately. It had been awhile, but Fitmark sent me a fancy lunch bag thing and it came with a little protein shaker so naturally I had to try it out. The lunch bag itself is super nice.  Two big containers (perfect for a big salad and some other snacks) and the shaker bottle even has a compartment for vitamins. I know, they thought of everything.

FitMark Bag.jpg

This smoothie was almond milk + banana + mango + vanilla protein powder. It tasted awesome. I want another.

3. After a few days of anxiously awaiting the package, our new TV stand arrived! Alex and I put it together last night, and it looks pretty darn good.

Our apartment is coming along nicely. I can’t wait until I get to live there!

4. I’m having a DIY spa day with Alexa & Annie. It’s going to be marvelous.

IMG_5456

I’ve had a few new nail polish shades that I’ve been dying to try out, so I’m excited to have some time to play with them! Plus, catching up on girl stuff while doing girl things is basically the best.

5. Speaking of new beauty products, I got a box from Julep and I’m loving this peach blush.

IMG_3116

It feels perfect for spring. Don’t you think?

What’s something that’s making you happy today?

Warm Quinoa Salad

I have to admit that lately my diet hasn’t exactly been full of vegetables. I think most of what I ate last Saturday was either a mimosa ingredient or bar food and unless we’re counting salsa as a vegetables, I wasn’t exactly eating superfoods.

When Sunday rolled around I went out for a (very short) run in the sunshine and it was rough to say the least. I forget how challenging it is to get back into running! I was still glad that Alex and I took a jog in the sunshine and the only way to get faster is to keep trying!

Once we got back to the apartment, I wanted to stay on the healthy train so I made a salad full of a few of my favorite vegetables and it turned out pretty well. It was perfect for the slightly chilly afternoon we enjoyed on the balcony.

warm quinoa salad.jpg

5.0 from 1 reviews

Warm Quinoa Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Lunch
Cuisine: Vegetarian
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ feta, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • ½ lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed.
  2. In another bowl, combine the feta, olive oil, onion, & tomato. Squeeze lemon juice from the lemon half on top.
  3. Add in a little salt and pepper.
  4. Once the quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and stir into the feta mixture.
  5. Spread out spinach on a large plate and top with the warm quinoa. If you’re not serving immediately, be sure to warm up the quinoa mixture before serving. It’ll make the spinach wilt just a bit.

I’m sure one of these days I’ll start making fancy recipes, but for now I’ve been keeping thing simple. It’s just easier that way, you know?

In wedding related news, we’ve gotten a lot of stuff done. It’s kind of amazing when you start thinking about all of the things you have to do… but I’ve created a handy google doc and I’m methodically crossing things off as they’re complete. It’s so satisfying. I’m headed back to Ohio this weekend for a (my) bridal shower and I can hardly wait! It feels like forever since I’ve been home and this time it feels really special. Big things are happening and I couldn’t be more excited!

P.S. The winner of the Hamilton Beach Giveaway was #17- Iva @ Why I’m Crazy! Iva, I’ll shoot you an e-mail with fulfillment details! 

What are you excited about?

A Time to Relax

I had an entirely different post planned for today but on my drive home from Alex’s last night, I started thinking about relaxing, recharging, and rest. This weekend was amazing, not because of anything out of the ordinary but because it felt like a weight was lifted. The past few weeks were a bit stressful to say the least. Work, moving, wedding planning, and the constant feeling that there just wasn’t enough time to do everything. Life is challenging sometimes and finding a balance can be hard.

But after a few weeks of what felt like constant productivity, we finally had a weekend to relax. It was still pretty full of activity, but it was the fun kind of activity. (Linking up with Katie’s Marvelous Monday posts, since I’m feeling, well, marvelous!)

Things like sitting on the balcony, eating brunch for literally 3 hours with a good friend.

IMG_3093

It was taking some time to enjoy family, including celebrating my brother’s birthday.

Sorry Mark, but Jack is stealing the show.

It was doing some yoga, going for a run, catching up on a few episodes of Mad Men, and just goofing around.

IMG_5075

It’s all of these little awesome things that don’t feel like a “big” deal, but they’re just as important as all of the things on my to do list. Yes, it was nice to check “buy wedding rings” off of our list of tasks but it was nice to actually take some time and think about what it all means. While the lady at the jewelry store counter was panicking on our behalf, (“You’re getting married in less than 2 months and you’re just now getting your wedding bands? Well I don’t know if they’ll be ready in time!”) we just laughed. It’s not like the ring is actually the important thing!

I am certainly not a perfectionist, but I do tend to get hyper-focused on certain things. Lately, I was stressed about the budget for our wedding- not because I needed to, but because I thought I needed to. I felt like I needed to spend hours research every last thing to make sure that I was being a good steward of the gift my parents are giving us. But I know that’s ridiculous! My parents want us to enjoy it, not stress about it. I’m beyond excited to be marring such an amazing person, that all of these little details really don’t matter.

I’m sure there are things that pop into your mind as soon as you hear the word “stress”. Whatever it is that’s stressing you out, I encourage you to take a weekend, a day, or even an hour to pull yourself back to reality. Get a look at the big picture, take a deep breath, and relax. Change what you can and accept what you can’t.

How do you handle stress?

Toasted Gruyere Sandwiches

Most of the time when I pick out my groceries, I have a vague idea of what I’m going to do with them. And then by the time Thursday rolls around, I’ve forgotten what those ideas were and I have a handful of things that are about to go bad if I don’t think of something to use them for. That’s how recipes like this happen.

But as long as you buy lots of delicious ingredients, you can’t really go wrong. I think.

I had a loaf of french bread, a handful of roma tomatoes, and a variety of cheeses and vegetables on hand. Hm. I decided to do simple, toasted sandwiches and they came out quite well. Plus, they’re easy. It was also my first time making a balsamic reduction. Delicious.

toasted Gruyere sandwich.jpg

Toasted Gruyere Sandwiches
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf of french bread
  • 4 oz Gruyere
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • ½ cup Balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of dried basil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Slice the loaf length wise and then into small sandwich-sized pieces. Honestly, you can kind of make them as big or as small as you like.
  3. Slice the cheese thinly, and place over the bread, covering the bottom slice complete.
  4. Thinly slice the tomatoes and place on top of the cheese.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  6. While that’s baking, place the balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan on the stove.
  7. Bring the vinegar to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer.
  8. Stir occasionally and simmer until it becomes a little thicker. It takes about 10 minutes. Then let it sit for another 5 minutes and it’ll continue to thicken into a syrup.
  9. (That, my friends, is a balsamic reduction. It’s delicious.)
  10. Take the sandwich out of the oven and then drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Sprinkle with basil and serve!

It wasn’t fancy (although just saying “balsamic reduction” made me sound pretty fancy) but it hit the spot. My plan was to make a salad to go with this, but until Alex and I get married, we will continue to live in a state of  divided groceries and missing ingredients. I can’t wait until we live under the same roof.

P.S. If you missed Wednesday’s post, head on over and enter to win a food processor!

 Do you plan your meals at the grocery store?

Chocolate Avocado Pudding & a HUGE Giveaway!

I’m currently in that spot where I’ve got more kitchen appliances than counter space but that’s a pretty good problem to have, right?  I just added a new one to the line up and I love it.

IMG_5164

Hamilton Beach let me pick out one of their appliances to test out and since I needed a food processor this seemed like the perfect opportunity! I chose this one, because it has a large cup and a small cup so it works for blending large batches of soup or small batches of dip. It also has two different types of blades, ones for chopping/blending and one for slicing.

I’ve seen some fun recipes for avocado pudding on Pinterest, but I didn’t have anything to test it out. It turned out to be super simple and I’m going to keep this recipe in mind for those times when I have an extra avocado on hand that is on the verge of going bad!

Food Processor

 

The small cup container with the slicer blade worked like a dream. (Plus all of the pieces are dishwasher safe. Helllllllo!)

Chocolate Avocado Pudding.jpg

If you want to get the recipe, head on over to my post over on the Hamilton Beach Everyday Good Thinking blog! Don’t worry, the recipe is super easy.

Now let’s get to the fun part!

Hamilton Beach has offered to give one of you this same food processor! All you have to do is leave me a comment and let me know what you would use it for!

What would you do with a new food processor?

Photoshoot with Baggio

A few months ago, I had a really fun opportunity to put on some amazing designer clothes, and traipse around Carytown with stylists and a photographer in tow. This is the life.

923537_10151957544632031_1387361418_n

But really, if you haven’t heard of Baggio, you should check them out! They sell really high end fashion brands.  The clothes are incredible, and since it’s consignment, it might fall into your price range. Even if you’re not in Virginia, they sell a lot of things online. These photos are part of their #WhoisBaggio campaign. (Follow the hashtag for more photos!)

IMG_0967

I’m a huge fan of consignment stores. Not just because they’re more affordable but because I feel like they have more unique pieces. You don’t have to worry about someone else having the same pair of shoes or a really similar purse. They have more character, and I feel so inspired just shopping at places like this.

IMG_0923

 

IMG_0774

These clothes were amazing. It was also pretty awesome having someone dress me and style me. Sydney and Sarah picked out a lot of things that really fit my personal style, so I felt like a lot of these outfits were things I would wear! (Seriously, can I have these Jimmy Choos? I loved the leopard shoes.) I’m not sure where I’d have a chance to wear that purple dress, but I think I need to start going to some galas or movie premieres… right? All of these photos were shot by Kaytee (of Kaytee Lauren Photography) and I love the way she caught some real laughs!

IMG_0726 IMG_0485-2

Even an afternoon at the farmers market got pretty stylish. And that coral jacket was the softest jacked I’ve ever felt.

IMG_1166

It was so much fun dressing up and feeling glamorous! If you haven’t connected with Baggio yet, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram!

Do you like dressing up?

5 Recipes: 5 Ingredients or Less

Thank goodness it’s Friday! It’s going to be a crazy weekend over here. I’m heading back from DC this morning, my parents have arrived in Richmond, the movers are coming this afternoon, and Alex and I will be getting him set up in his new apartment!

I’ve had work events almost every night this week, which means I haven’t really been cooking much. Since I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been feeling busy lately, I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes that take 5 ingredients or less. These are perfect for these I-got-home-from-work-late-and-I’m-starving nights.

5 recipes 5 Ingredients

 

Pin it to save these recipes for later!

stuffed spaghetti squash

This would be an easy one to customize, if you wanted to add in some meat or sautéed peppers and onions. It’s so easy, and you can eat it right out of the squash. One less dish to wash!

Black Bean Quesadilla

Let’s be totally honest here, some nights you just need a quesadilla. Save yourself some fat and calories by making your own at home. Loaded it up with some black beans (or even chicken) for some healthy protein!

creamy feta pizza

It’s not exactly pizza in the traditional sense but it sure is tasty. These also make adorable little appetizers! Just slice it into smaller pieces. You can serve this warm or cold!

img_3342While we’re on the subject of comfort food… this fancy pants grilled cheeses is a fun spin on tomato soup’s bff. Avocado makes anything 40% more delicious. It’s a fact.

Parmesan Tomato SoupJust in case you do want to pair that grilled cheese with a bowl of tomato soup, this recipe is super simple. Technically it’s six ingredients if you’re counting garlic salt as an ingredient… but I think you can handle it. Might as well get in another soup recipe before spring arrives!

What is your favorite super simple recipe?