Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Biceps, Triceps and Plan B Dinner

Bis & Tris
Today I had a doctor's appointment at 1. I plan on talking about it tomorrow, but for today, I'll just stick to my regular posts. The appointment took far longer than I thought it would take, it was a good thing I had already told my boss that I probably wouldn't be back to work that afternoon.

I really needed to sort of decompress after the appointment, so I went straight to the gym to get in a pump session. Today's workout started off with my typical elliptical warmup. It did not take long to warm up either. It was 80 degrees today and the building did not have the A/C on. To say sweatfest is an understatement. I went with biceps and triceps then tacked on a high rep superset at the end (totally optional)

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* I for the swing lunges with curls, I did 4 lunges to each side rather than 8. I the idea from Kristin at Stuftmama - check out her videos for examples of how to do the moves.

Kitchen Time
After the gym, I was going to go home and stretch then get cleaned up before starting dinner. But, the freaking HVAC people are STILL here. Yep, almost 3 weeks. They were upstairs, downstairs, climbing on the roof even.

So, I couldn't shower and didn't exactly feel comfortable stretching in front of complete strangers, men at that. I did at least take the time to prep dinner tomorrow. I have PT again so I'll be home later than normal. I'm planning on stir fry so I went ahead and dry-seared the tofu and started marinating it. I'm hoping that will make it even better tomorrow. I also went ahead and made the rice. I am going to really be patting myself on the back tomorrow ;-)

Originally I was going to do roasted asparagus with roasted fingerling and sweet potatoes with some homemade seitan cutlets. However, it was 80 degrees out, which makes for a hot kitchen without turning the oven on.

So, I went with a plan B. I made smashed fingerling and sweet potatoes. I sauteed the asparagus with onions, garlic, and red bell pepper. I seasoned with some lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley.

I made a simple lemony mustard sauce by whisking together grainy mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, balsamic vinegar, thyme, and a splash of agave. I did heat that in a pan and let it reduce a little bit. I thought it would help the flavors meld better as well. It wasn't really coming together like I had planned, so I ended up adding in some dried mushrooms and a splash of no-salt vegetable broth.
 

Today was sort of one of those up-ended days. Everything took longer than expected, including dinner. But, it was funny that today, a Leap Day, we got in the movie Leap Year. It was a sign of course. So we are finishing off this crazy day watching a movie with a glass of wine.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Sunshine
  • Warm temperatures
  • Prepping dinner for tomorrow
  • Good gym workout
  • Positive news

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Legs, PTand Spicy White Chili

Leg Day
Oh man, another sluggish feeling day. Today I'll blame the weather though. We have a major storm front moving in, so it's a gloomy day. Luckily the storms held off until the evening. So, no swimming over to the gym ;-)

Once I got started, I picked up steam pretty quickly. I did about 20 minutes on the elliptical as a warm up before moving on to legs. I went with supersets doing mostly 3x8 unless noted.

Warmup set of barbell squats - 12 reps

SS#1
Barbell squats
Stiff-legged deadlifts

SS#2
Narrow stance dumbbell squats
Hamstring roll-ins on ball - 12 reps

SS#3
Bulgarian split squat with dumbbells
Calf raises - 12 reps

SS#4
Firewalkers (4 steps right, 4 steps left = 1 rep) - 6 reps
Plie squats with low-end pulse, single dumbbell held in both hands

After the workout, it was back to work. The only downfall about doing legs midday is the sitting after. I had to remind myself to get up and move around frequently so my legs wouldn't be dead weights. But, at least I had an energy boosting workout to get me through an afternoon meeting.

PT Fun
After work, it was PT again. Not really anything to write home about. She is still trying to work out the heel spur using the Graston Technique. Basically using a metal torture devices to "chisel" at the area. I say chisel, she's not hammering at my heel, but rubbing is a huge understatement and totally not an accurate account of the pain inflected.

She is also continuing to do an acetic acid treatment and then using the kinesio tape to wrap my foot. I did get some sports tape and the directions on how to tape for plantar fasciitis on my own. I will go ahead and tell you, "Don't get the Target brand." It doesn't stick.

Today she also worked on my super tight piriformis. It's been hurting, but not bad enough that it's affecting the sciatic nerve like it was. It was pretty knotted up despite all the rolling I do. She called it, "angry."

Not only do I roll out with my TriggerPoint Therapy kit, I do have a strict stretching routine as well as rolling out the foot on a golf ball, plus some strengthening work (like using toes to pull a towel to me). So, all of this equals relief? Not yet unfortunately. I will have a couple of better days right after PT, but then it's almost like the day I had the blow out from running.

Oh, I did get a "heel seat" from a company called Heel That Pain. It came recommended from another blogger dealing with the same issues. Initially, it does offer a lot of pain relief. The way it is designed, it supports the fascia and helps reduce the pressure on the heel. But, it's not a miracle worker. However, I do highly recommend it, and I recommend their site. It is full of very useful information that includes info on PF, heel spurs, stretching, and even how to tape your foot.

So, slow slow going. I'm not patient either, so I have lots of mini-meltdowns. But I'm really trying my best to not give up.

Chili Weather (sort of)
On a happier note, I went ahead and went for the chili tonight. Chili is also good for stormy nights even if it's warm out. Or that's what I'm going with anyway. I had poblano peppers on their last leg, so I made my Spicy White Chili with Tempeh.
It's really such an easy meal to throw together without much fuss. And it's super filling and comforting. Gotta love that kind of combination.

More happy news? What about enticing you with a giveaway soon? Hint: Food Should Taste Good.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Good workout
  • Comforting chili

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spin & Roasted Veggies with Kale

Spinning Again
Days like this make me wish I could work outside somehow. It was another gorgeous, sunny, warm day. So hard to be inside when the weather is so unseasonably nice.

I think companies should provide laptops and wifi so we can all sit outside. Anyone else with me on that? While I couldn't be working outside or running outside, I at least got to enjoy the scenery during spin class.

I am definitely spoiled by the views from my gym - 29th floor, all windows, looking out over the city, the river, Pinnacle Mountain. I can even see my running trail from the gym. So I often sort of day dream during class, pretend I'm riding that trail rather than spinning in place.

I was really feeling sluggish today to be honest. But I got in there and got it done at least. Pat on the back for that on a Monday right?

Too Warm for Winter Meals
With the temperatures being so much warmer than typical for this time of year (hello 70 degrees), the usual winter meals like chili, soup, or something hearty just doesn't sound terribly appealing.

I even have the ingredients to make a nice pot of my Spicy White Chili, but we'd have to turn on the AC to enjoy it ;-) Might have to suck it up and make it anyway before my poblano peppers go bad though.

Yesterday at the store, I picked up more beets. I also had some kale that needed to be used, so I decided to roast the beets along with some butternut squash. I figured I could let the veggies roast while I stretched and rolled out. Though, it did heat up the kitchen more than I probably would have liked. Probably should have grilled the veggies instead.


I sauteed the kale and the beet stems (something new to me) with white onions and garlic in a little bit of no-salt vegetable broth and splash of agave. I tossed in cannellini beans and leftover brown rice at the end and then tossed in the roasted veggies for a simple, nutritionally dense dinner. I think this combo would be an interesting soup as well.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Sunshine
  • Warm temps
  • Beets

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Working Out & Relaxing Plus Sunday Fashion

Weights & Tabata 
This morning started off cold again, but quickly warmed up. It was a beautiful, sunny day with temps hitting 70 degrees. Absolutely perfect if you ask me. Jason and I headed to the gym around 11, a little later than I had hoped, but it's Sunday so no worries.

I went with shoulders, back, chest today. I ended up having to rearrange my workout a little bit because Jason was using the barbell I needed. But it all worked out, and I got in a good weight workout. I did supersets of 3x8 unless noted.

SS#1
Arnold press
Wide-grip assisted chinups
Flat bench dumbbell chest press

SS#2
Lateral raise
Underhand barbell rows -7 reps because I increased weight
Pushups with toes on bench - 10 reps

SS#3
Front raise
Single-arm rows
Staggered chest press

I followed up the workout with 3 rounds of tabata trying to engage the muscle groups I had just worked. For the tabata you do 20 seconds of each exercise followed by 10 seconds rest. After you complete all 8 exercises, you rest 1 minute giving you a circuit of 5 minutes each round.

Squat thrust with pushups
Kettlebell swings
Kettlebell figure 8's
Kettlebell squats with pulls (like upright row)
Single-arm kettlebell swing, right arm
Lateral shuffles
Single-arm kettlebell swing, left arm
Up/down planks

All in all, a pretty good workout session. I was happy to go up in weights for the barbell rows, and felt strong for the shoulder work.

Errands & Enjoyment
After the workout, we hit up the grocery store, then headed back to the house. I stretched and rolled while Jason kindly put away the groceries.

It was far too nice to stay at home, so we decided to head out for lunch. We didn't figure we'd find a place with a patio opened up, but wanted to at least have great views of the sunshine. We ended up at one of our favorite hangouts, Dugan's.

After stuffing our faces, we headed down to the river, parking at the Clinton Library. It was hysterical (to me at least) to see kids "sledding" in non-snow. They were using cardboard and just sliding down the hills on the grass. Talk about creative, I never would have thought it'd work.

Since I was just talking about fashion on my Friday post, I thought I'd show one of my outfits. In this one, jeans are the Gap Always Skinny, boots are Jessica Simpson (freaking awesome deal from ebay, 30 bucks with shipping), cardigan from Ann Taylor Loft, scarf, white t-shirt, and earrings (that you can't see) all from The Limited.This is just a comfy, relaxed Sunday outfit for me. As it gets warmer, I can wear capris pants and trade in the scarf for a chunky necklace.

And a self-portrait of Jason and me. Kind of awkward, but he is a foot taller so I was just happy to be in the picture ;-)
So, today...another fabulous day. This has been a great weekend actually. The weather has been perfect, we've gotten some things accomplished, but also got to relax. I think all weekends should be like this...or like last weekend spent with friends.


Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Workout
  • Sunshine
  • Warmer temps
  • Relaxing

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Perfect Saturday - Time with Mom, Shopping & Eating

Leg Day & Glee at the Gym
This morning I woke up far too early on a Saturday. But, it meant I got my workout done and over with earlier rather than later. I really did not want to go to the gym. I mean, to the point of wanting to throw a 2-year-old kind of fit.

Ok, not rational of course. I'm a grown woman. So, I sucked it up and went to the gym. It was so hard though because it was an absolutely gorgeous day. The temps were rapidly warming and Jason was heading out for a run. Of course I was a bit (a lot) jealous. Not gonna lie.

But, I went to the gym like a good girl and got in a good leg workout. It was odd though, the gym is usually empty on the weekends. But they partner with a hotel across the street so that guests can use the gym. Apparently an acting troupe decided to use the gym - like half the troupe. It was almost like watching an episode of Glee (ok, I've never seen the show so I don't really know, but maybe Fame).

I had to chuckle, they were either reading lines on the treadmill, dancing around and lifting sporadically. I tried not to be annoyed, they were taking over "my" space. So I spent more time on the elliptical warming up than I had planned waiting for a bench and barbell. I also ended up having to totally rearrange my leg workout, but it all worked out.

I went with supersets of 3x8 unless noted.

Warmup set of barbell squats - 10 reps

SS#1
Barbell squats
Hamstring rollins on ball - 12 reps

SS#2
Step ups with dumbbells
Plie squats with low-end pulse (single dumbell)

SS#3
Narrow stance squats with dumbbells
Stiff-legged deadlifts

TS
Walking lunges
Calf raises - 15 reps
Firewalkers - 4 steps right, 4 steps left = 1 rep, did 6 reps per set

Lunch & Shopping
After my workout, I ended up making a last-minute decision to drive to my hometown to have lunch with my mom and do a little shopping (which you know I enjoy from yesterday's post). She had called me earlier in the morning and asked if I was coming for a visit. My sister and I had gotten her a gift card to TJ Maxx and she was wanting to use it. Unlike me, mom isn't much of a shopper unless one of us with her.

So, I headed down there and met her at a favorite cafe called Cafe 1217. They have incredible food. Just love going there. And it always changes. They had their black bean burgers today, so that's what I ordered. It comes topped with a corn relish and is just so tasty.

After lunch, we stopped by Home Goods, where my sister met up with us. I walked away with a bag of food items. I love finding fun new foods at stores like that. Then we walked over to TJ Maxx. I had hoped to find a purse, or more shoes, but struck out. Mom and sis both found some shoes though. I walked out with a new pillow. I have the hardest time finding pillows as a stomach sleeper. Fingers crossed this one works.

So, today wasn't totally planned, but it was really rather perfect. I couldn't run, but got in a good workout nonetheless. I enjoyed the sunshine on my drive to and from my hometown. Even better, I spent the day laughing and visiting with my mom. Hard to beat that.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Leg day
  • Sunshine
  • Warmer temps
  • Time with my mom
  • Relaxing

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - Fashion Edition 1

I know I mostly talk about food and workouts, but today I thought I'd talk fashion for Fun Facts Friday. We'll call it the Fashion Edition 1 (so unique right??). I think I was born to shop. Now if only I had the unlimited funds to support this little habit of mine, I'd be good to go. Maybe I should be a personal shopper. Just spend someone else's money.

I've done a post previously on some of my Fashion Faves. I thought it might be fun to do another one. This one will be all about the clothes and shoes. Though, I could probably do one on shoes alone to be honest.

You'll see that I'm fairly brand loyal. A lot of that has to do with where I live too. We don't have an abundance of shopping options. So, I tend to frequent the same stores like The Limited, Ann Taylor Loft, or DSW. I tend to shy away from buying online from brands I'm not familiar with because I never know how something may or may not fit me. I also want to know the texture of the clothing, very important.

So, being limited...I guess in some ways that makes things easier since I have fewer choices, but at the same time, it means half the city has the same outfits or at least same pieces of the outfit.

Favorite Tops, Sweaters, Accessories - The Limited (just bought this outfit)


Another Limited find (on clearance) - can dress up or down easily



Favorite Jeans - Lucky Brand - Lil Maggie


Favorite Skinny Jeans - Gap Always Skinny (have these in 3 different colors)
Source: gap.com via Heather on Pinterest


Favorite Shoes - Love Jessica Simpson - Have these that I found at DSW
Source: dsw.com via Heather on Pinterest


More Shoes - Like these wedge booties by Madden Girl also from DSW
Source: dsw.com via Heather on Pinterest


These are just a few of my recent finds. And while I love to shop, I don't love full price. So all of these were bought either on clearance, on sale, or with coupons (or a combination). Sometimes it's all about finding a bargain that makes shopping so much fun. And now I want to go shop.

What are some of your favorite fashion brands? Do you have a wide variety of shopping options where you live? Do you tend to stick to what you know or just go with whatever based on fit and price?

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Sunshine
  • Rest day
  • Friday

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spin & Roasted Veggie Salad for Thankful Thursday

Spin Again
Today was another insanely warm day for February. The only thing that made running less tempting were the 33 mph gusting winds.
Spin class, indoors, sans gusting winds was the way to go. I almost went with a leg workout, but weights just didn't sound appealing to me. Of course, anyone who has done spin knows that's a leg workout in and of itself.

Since I don't have spin class options on the weekend, I decided to take advantage of the class today and do weights over the weekend.

Of course, since it is so unseasonably warm out and the air isn't on in the building AND my gym is on the 29th floors and all windows...it was like a freaking sauna in there. So to say "sweatfest" is a mild understatement. Let's just say there should be no toxins left in this body!

Thankful Thursday

I sort of debated on doing this. I don't want this to seem like a Debbie Downer post at all. I just think it's a good reminder to be thankful...all the time.

Yesterday I found out that someone I've known most of my life has brain cancer. She's 36 years old and has already battled breast cancer. Of course I want to say it doesn't seem fair. But what is fair? I have a friend who lost her husband (she's only 36), some women my age have even lost children.

Right now there are a few things I'm going through that I prefer to not disclose. I'm also still unable to run. But, I do have things to be thankful for regardless of all else.

  • I am still able to be active
  • I have a husband by my side
  • I have a close family - both parents have their health
  • I have some amazing friends
  • I have insurance coverage
  • I have a job that keeps a roof over my head, food on the table, clothes on my back
And of course there are the little things like sunshine, crazy furbabies, a good glass of wine, an email from someone at just the right time. 

What are you thankful for today? Do you make it a point to try to be thankful regardless of the bad?

Roasted Veggies
On a much lighter note, I decided to go for a roasted veggie salad. Salad seemed appropriate for the warm temperatures. Most definitely not a chili or soup night. Plus, I could let the veggies cook while I spent time stretching out and rolling. I definitely neglected my PT exercises while Jess was in town. Oops.

Back to the salad. I had some beets I was itching to use, so I went with beets, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, and baby portobellas along with tempeh that I marinated in the same dressing.
For the dressing, I simply whisked together a grainy mustard, sugar-free apricot preserves, balsamic vinegar, and a splash of orange juice. Super simple, but full of flavor. I did cube up some almond cheese and served with homemade bread.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Sunshine
  • Warm weather
  • Spin class
  • Easy dinner

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spinning on Wok Wednesday

Back to Routine
It can be so hard to get back to your "normal" routine after being off of it for a few days. Last night was very low-key, very quiet. I just used leftover spaghetti squash for our dinner, and we watched a few DVR'd shows. That was about it.

This morning I absolutely had to peel myself out of the bed. It was a little gloomy out, so that didn't help matters. Plus I actually had to get up and go to work today rather than spend the day playing, shopping, eating. But, I suppose it's not realistic to think I could do that every day. I'd be fired and then broke for starters.

I was not feeling up for a workout at all to be honest. I know it was just trying to get myself to work, back on schedule. Plus, it was 70 degrees outside today, so my running shoes were calling to me. Running outside sounded so much more appealing than having to go to the gym...one...more...time.

But, I can't run. I can't even pretend to run. So, spin it was. For the most part, it was a good class. The exception was the two people who held a conversation the entire class. I know I've harped on that before, so I won't go into a long diatribe. But it can be so distracting for everyone else. But, other than that, it was a good class. A nice midday energy booster.

Wok Wednesday 
Last night I had PT and then had to hit the grocery store. PT ran late, so I didn't get to the store until a little before 6. It was insane. I think everyone was there, and there was absolutely no parking. I drove around for a good 5 minutes before finally snagging a spot.

Luckily, the list wasn't too long, so I was in and out fairly quickly. I really just needed to restock the fresh veggies more than anything. While I had lots of options for dinner thanks to the grocery trip, I decided to go with stir fry. We'll call it Wok Wednesday.
It's basically the same stir-fry concoction I did last week with the exception of adding in some napa cabbage. This week I served over brown rice (since I remembered to pick that up yesterday as well).

**Oh, and you gotta check out Jessica's recap post of our weekend. I loved her perspective (and her photos).

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Warm temps
  • Spin class
  • Easy dinner

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An Amazing Weekend With Amazing Friends

Hi, my name is Heather and I really do blog daily in most cases. My first inclination is to apologize for being absent from blogging these past few days. With the exception of my vlog. But, I stopping myself, because disconnecting was exactly what was needed. Being present and enjoying every moment is what this weekend was all about.

Jessica and her husband arrived Saturday at 12:50 and the fun started right away and continued all the way through today.

After dropping off luggage, we made our way to the wine store then Whole Foods. Dinner plans were to have a pizza throw down. So we had to pick up just a few ingredients. We dropped everything off back at the house and headed out again.

The weather was rather cool and dreary, but not rainy thankfully. We had originally thought we could walk around the River Market area if the weather had been better. Instead we stopped at one of our favorite hangouts, Dugan's. The atmosphere is always relaxed and cozy. It was the perfect place to begin our visit really.

We ordered some food to snack on and drinks to celebrate and visited for a while before heading to our next destination, Zin Wine Bar. Zin is just around the corner from Dugan's, so very convenient to say the least. Again, just relaxed, easy conversation. Lots of laughter. It felt so easy and natural from the very beginning. Just old friends getting together. Perfect.
 
 

The evening was a late one despite the fact that Jess and her hubby were worn out from a long day of traveling. We were so caught up in conversation that the pizza ended up being a much later affair than expected. I think we ate around 9:30 actually. But it was so worth it of course. Everything was simply perfect about the day, the evening, the meal.

Sunday we had our breakfast then got ready for the day's adventure: the Oaklawn Race Track. It's about an hour away, not too bad of a drive. We ended up renting a minivan because another couple was joining us. We all piled in and headed to Hot Springs. It was fun being able to show everyone where I grew up. And the weather was just perfect for the day, sunny, perfectly clear skies, mid-50's. We couldn't have asked for better race track weather.

The girls just visited (chatty Cathies of course). My sister was able to meet us there for a bit too, which was great. I couldn't wait for her to meet Jess. The boys enjoyed studying the tip sheets and putting together their bets. Even better, Jason and Scott left with more money in their pockets. I call that a major plus because that almost never happens at the track.
 
 
 
 

Since Jess and I had planned not to plan, there were no set dinner plans. I did, however, have everything on hand to put together Black Bean & Tempeh Enchiladas with a homemade chipotle enchilada sauce. We were starved though, so we snacked on some salsa and homemade guacamole that Jason whipped up. So, Sunday wrapped up with more wine, fantastic conversation, and good food around the kitchen table. Oh, and there was some pool playing too.

Monday, Jason decided to give them the grand tour of Little Rock before Jess and I hit up a noon spin class. While we were getting our sweat on, the boys were stuffing their faces at a local BBQ joint that Jason really loves. They were happy; we were happy. Of course, after spin we were starved. Jess wanted to do some shoe shopping, so I picked a restaurant near DSW that I had yet to try, YaYa's Eurobistro.

The boys were clearly not hungry, but Jess and I were. So, we started with their hummus, which was pretty good. Though, you gotta like garlic.
 
 

We both ended up ordering a lunch duet, which let us choose half a sandwich and half a salad. We both ordered the Garden Pita but different salads. Jess got the Roasted Beet Salad and I got the Market Salad. The food was fantastic. I have a feeling Jason and I will be back to YaYa's sooner rather than later.

The first shoe stop yielded a great find for me (shoes for 20 bucks), but Jess didn't have any luck. We stopped at an accessories store, the boys wouldn't enter of course. They ended up at a bar called The Tavern while we browsed. I did end up with another great shoe find, $10 boots and a bracelet. Luckily, we passed by one more shoe store on the way to find the boys. I had never been in the store, but they had a huge sale going on. Thankfully, Jess found some super cute wedges on sale that she snagged up then met the boys.
 
We did some more sight-seeing before the grocery store. We had showed them Big Dam Bridge on Saturday, so Monday we showed them the Two Rivers Bridge.

Then it was back to the house and got into our comfy clothes. The dinner plan was homemade spaghetti sauce (courtesy of Scott), homemade bread that I had on hand, and a side salad. Jess and I had our sauce over spaghetti squash, the boys went with pasta.

Dinner was fantastic, of course. We ended up just staying at the kitchen table the rest of the evening playing cards and visiting. Heath Man shared lots of hugs. So, another fantastic day.
Today was a little sad as it was their last day. Luckily, their flight wasn't until after noon, so we had time to at least enjoy a nice lunch. Since the weather was nice, we chose to go to the River Market area and ended up at Bosco's.

I have to say that this was one of the best weekends I've had recently. I am definitely going to miss Jess and Scott. They are such an awesome couple, so much fun, and just real. There was nothing pretentious about either of them. Just straight up good people. We've already been discussing our next visit and making more plans not to plan ;-)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

First Vlog - Blogger PSA to Disconnect

Hi friends - just a quick post to say I'm having an amazing weekend with an amazing friend and her husband (also amazing of course). I promise to do a full recap with lots of pictures.
 
But, for the time being, we decided to do our first vlog together. Short, sweet, real. Enjoy!

video

Friday, February 17, 2012

Legs, Award & Fun Facts Friday

Leg Day
Normally today would be my rest day, but this weekend I have some exciting stuff happening and need my rest day to be Sunday. So, today I went with my leg workout that I had thought briefly about doing yesterday.
Pin It


** 3-point lunge - Start with feet together and dumbbell held in both hands. Lunge forward, return to start; lunge side, return to start; lunge rear, return to start  = 1 rep.

Honestly, I didn't think this was going to be a good workout. My body is so used to rest days on Friday. I had to convince myself to get to the gym and just get moving. My legs were also sore from painting - up and down and up and down the ladder again does that to you.

In the end, it was a really good workout surprisingly. I gotta say I love it when that happens.

Fun Facts Friday - Weekend Plans
This weekend my pal Jessica from EatDrinkBreatheSweat is coming to visit along with her hubby! Jess and I started blogging one week a part and somehow found each other and connected instantly. We're long lost sisters or sisters from another life we're convinced.

Jess and I got to meet at the 2010 Cathe Road Trip. We were supposed to get to visit again this past August, but things came up that prevented that (good things, but not good for a visit). Anyway, this trip has been a long time coming. I'm simply giddy with excitement! And you guys might get a special treat on Sunday.

Jess and I are both very type A gals. But, we tried really hard to plan not to plan for this trip. Makes sense right? We came up with lots of things we'd like to do and a loose schedule, but nothing set in stone. We are planning (oh you know we have to plan) to try to go with the flow. So, here are some of the things we have planned not to plan, but are planned of course (did you follow that one?):

Saturday
  • Trip to Whole Foods - to get stuff for Pizza Saturday
  • Trip to wine store - no need to explain this one
  • Walk around the River Market
  • Go to wine bar - that happens to be in the River Market, hence walking around that area
  • Make pizza
  • Skype with Jess' sister Jolene for a virtual cheers (or Sunday if she can't Sat)
  • Play pool
Sunday
  • Go to the horse races - it's an hour away in my home town
  • Show them where I went to school and grew up
  • Dinner - undecided
  • Mandatory Skype with Jolene again
Monday
  • Walk the river trails
  • Spin class - You knew there would be workouts 
  • Open day - manicure plans fell through because I didn't schedule in time
  • Make dinner in - homemade spaghetti sauce with spaghetti squash, salad, homemade bread
Tuesday
  • Jessica is going to teach me a Barre N9ne class
  • Lunch before they have to leave
I'm thinking it's going to be an awesome weekend! Do you plan out your trips or do you try to just go with the flow - or a bit of both?

Liebster Award 
Before I go, I can't forget to mentioned this. I recently receive a Liebster award from Marina at Cowboy Country Vegetarian.


The rules are basically that I am supposed to copy/paste the award and link back plus pick my 5 fave bloggers with 200 or fewer followers. I think it's a great way to share the love and to learn about new blogs.

So what I'd really love to do is have you guys share 1 new-to-you blog that you are loving.

Daily To-Enjoy List:

  • Friday
  • Being able to clean the house after the HVAC guys leave

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Weights, HIIT & Painting

No More Spin (for today)
My poor legs couldn't take another day of spin today. I had thought I would do legs today, but seriously not happening. So, I went with my plan B workout for upper body (back, shoulders, chest) plus a short HIIT session.
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I did this HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout as a way to engage the muscles that I had just used lifting, sort of as a burnout I suppose rather than doing something like dropsets or 21's. And it was a nice switch from the tabata style intervals that I've been doing.

I only did this 3 times through before calling it done. It's amazing how long 40 seconds can feel by the way.

Busy Day
I did have a doctor's appointment and errands to run this afternoon. At least it was sunny today. Errands don't seem quite as bad when it's pretty out.

But, then it was back to painting the gym room and giving the house a major cleaning. Unfortunately, the HVAC repair guys aren't done. Two days has turned into four. Of course that means there's lots of cleanup that can't be done yet.

It took me about 2 1/2 hours, but I did finish painting the gym room - well, the walls. We still have to do the ceiling and trim work, but that will come later. I also managed to get rugs vacuumed and some rooms mopped. I'll have to wait until tomorrow when the guys are completely gone before mopping the rest.

I will say we lucked out big time. February is not typically the time to replace your heat and air. We've not had heat upstairs all week, but when it's upper 50's and even 60 like today, it's not too bad.

I wish I could say I had time to throw together a great dinner. At this point in time, I'm eating a bowl of cereal. I bet you never thought you'd hear me admit that one huh ;-)

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • No rain
  • Good workout
  • Finishing painting

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Surprise & More Spin

Spin Day
Today was a super dreary, rainy day. Made it really difficult to peel myself out of bed. Somehow Jason did better than me and got up in time for his 5:30 swim class. I will say that I am at least glad it's not really cold out though. No snow, sleet, or ice to contend with. Just wet.

I ended up hitting spin again today. I had sort of thought about weights. But honestly, I really didn't feel up for weights or even looking at the elliptical for a warm up much less a cardio session. Definitely thankful I had spin as an option at least.

I definitely worked my booty off and got out some frustration during the workout. I was one hot mess after.

Valentine's Surprise & More Housework 
Remember when I said we didn't do anything for Valentine's Day? My gift was Jason going to spin class? Well, he totally surprised me with a gift certificate for a spa session with facial. I am not a big massage fan, but I adore a facial. I never splurge on that. I barely pay for a much-needed sports massage. But, he said he knew that I'd been a little stressed and deserved it. :-) Really, he is the best!

That was about the extent of celebrating though. Of course I felt bad that I hadn't gotten him anything and wasn't even making a nice dinner. All I did was to reheat some homemade veggie burgers that I keep in the freezer along with sweet potato fries. We watched an episode of Mike and Molly, then he went to Home Depot to pick up more texture spray for the ceiling and paint. Guess what we're doing tonight!

I do have physical therapy after work and some errands to run. Jason will probably get started priming the walls of the gym room. The plan is that I start Chipotle Tempeh Chili then help him finish any priming while the chili is simmering.

We'll definitely be eating dinner a lot later than normal. But, we have to get the walls primed today so I can start painting after work tomorrow. Anyone want to come help out???

If you missed who the winners were for the NuNatural's Giveaway, check out yesterday's post!

Daily To-Enjoy List:

  • Spin class
  • Getting housework done
  • Comforting, easy dinner

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

NuNaturals Winners for Valentine's Day

I know that most people are doing Valentine's Day related posts. Jason and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day. It's sort of just another day. Every once in a while we will do something special like get dressed up and go to a fancy restaurant, but not this year. And that's ok with me.

Instead of a material gift, Jason joined me at spin class today. That was gift enough as cheesy as it might sound. It was nice working out beside him today since I probably wouldn't have seen him until after work otherwise.

And yes, spin classes are back on for the time being. I'll take advantage of them as often as I can while they last too. Then I guess we'll have an even more valid excuse for buying a spin bike for the house that we can both use. Maybe that will be a belated Valentine's Day gift to each other.

Another reason we're not really doing much for Valentine's Day is that right now the house is in major disarray. We have no heat upstairs as the heating and air unit has been removed. The whole system including duct work was in dire need of replacement. During the removal process, they had to do lots of cutting. So, everything is incredibly dirty as well. Not only is the heat and air unit pulled out and there is debris literally everywhere, the gym room is also still pulled apart.

So, our evening will really be spent trying to clean up debris and sanding and hopefully priming the gym room. We have guests arriving Saturday, so this really can't wait. I know you are all so jealous ;-)

While I had thought about trying to put together a nice, romantic dinner, it will likely end up being something fast and simple. I'm thinking veggie burgers and sweet potato fries. We can set aside another time to make a fancy dinner with a nice bottle of wine so I'm good with simple tonight.

As promised, for Valentine's Day, 4 of my readers will get a sweet gift courtesy of NuNaturals Stevia. I used the random number generator to pick my winners.
Sara from Stories and Sweet Potatoes
Jenna Z.
Jolene from Determined to Be
Kristi from Sweetly Fit

Please send your full name, mailing address (not a PO box), and email address to wheresthebeach10@yahoo.com

Daily To-Enjoy List:

  • Spin with hubby
  • No snow, sleet, rain
  • Easy dinner
  • 1 day closer to the weekend

Monday, February 13, 2012

Stir Fry For a Snowy Cardio Monday

Cardio Day
Today started off not just cold, but snowy. It was pretty while it lasted, but by around noon it was turning over to sleet, which is just gross and dreary. Thankfully it's supposed to be back to 50 with sunshine tomorrow.

One positive of the day was that my gym was actually open. There was no spin class sadly, but at least the gym doors were open. Since my original plan had been spin, I went with a cardio day similar to Saturday's workout.

I did about 30 minutes on the elliptical then 4 rounds of tabata (20 minutes) for a pretty decent cardio session. I used the almost the same exercises as Saturday, I just re-ordered them a bit.

Squat thrust
Walking lunges w/ kettlebell
Kettlebell swings
Kettlebell squats with pull
Kettlebell single-arm swings
Kettlebell figure-8's
Side shuffles
Up/down planks

Stir Fry Monday
I was supposed to have physical therapy after work today, however, the appointment got canceled because of our weather. While the snow turned to sleet then to rain, there was very valid concern about icing as it got later.

While PT isn't exactly fun, and it hurts like hell, I do look forward to going in hopes of progress. So, definitely disappointed and I can't reschedule it, so only 1 PT appointment this week. I know realistically it probably won't make that big of a difference, but maybe it does in my crazy mind.

No PT did mean I had a lot more time to stretch and roll out when I got home and to actually work on something for dinner. I was going to go with a free-for-all Monday. But, since I did have time, I went for stir fry instead.

The other day I picked up some sugar snap peas for stir fy. So, I had lots of fresh veggies on hand to add into the mix: carrots, sugar snap peas, broccoli, mushrooms, red bell peppers, and some frozen peas just because I like them in my stir fry.

I went with my typical marinade and sauce for the tofu: whisk together soy sauce, orange juice, fresh ginger, PB2 (or peanut butter of course), Sriracha chili sauce, garlic, hoisin, and touch of agave (totally optional).

Since I didn't have time to press the tofu, I dry seared it before tossing it in the marinade/sauce then baked for about 45 minutes flipping once. Kind of a lot of work for tofu, but ill-prepared tofu just isn't worth even eating in my opinion. So, take the time and prepare it right or it's just tasteless mush.
 
I was out of brown rice, so I served over rice noodles. I promise they're under that mile of veggies.

Don't forget to enter my Sweet Giveaway for NuNaturals Stevia. I'll choose 4 winners tomorrow!

Daily To-Enjoy List:

  • Snow (at least just to see it was pretty)
  • Being able to use my gym
  • More time to make dinner
  • Relaxing

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Productive Sunday Plus A Sweet Giveaway

Supersets & Drop Sets
Today I ended up going to our company's gym. Thankfully it was actually open. I don't use that gym often as it's really small and usually crowded. There isn't tons of equipment, but it's definitely something nice to have for employees.

Sunday was pretty dead so I was able to get on the elliptical for a bit as a warmup. It's the same type of elliptical that I used yesterday. It's not quite like the traditional elliptical machine and I really don't know how to describe it exactly. But I like it so much better actually.

After a short stint on the elliptical while watching Food Network (a huge perk being able to actually watch what I wanted), I went to the weight room. Again, it's really small and I can't imagine working out with more than 2 others in that space, but they have a full rack of dumbbells, an EZ Bar, a regular bar, and several benches. They do have a Smith machine that I might have to figure out how to use for squats if my gym never re-opens.

Anyway, I went with biceps and triceps today. I wanted to do something a little different. I went with supersets then added drop sets at the end of the workout for a great burn.
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Honestly, I wasn't feeling particularly excited to workout today. I kind of figured it'd be a struggle. But it ended up being the opposite. I felt really strong with all the weights.


Productive Sunday
After my workout, I had to get to the grocery store. I kind of figured it would be a little busy as it was just after noon. So it'd be the after church crowd. But it was far busier than that. I couldn't figure out why, I was just really annoyed. I couldn't get through aisles and all that. All I wanted to do was just get home and cleaned up.

I then overheard someone talking about the impending winter weather. Duh. All you have to do is say the words, "sleet, ice, snow" and everyone makes a mad dash to the store. It rarely lasts more than a day to begin with so it's not like people are going to be snowed in for weeks with no way out. It just blows my mind.

Anyway, so after fighting through the crowded grocery store, I finally made it home. The next thing on tap was to continue with housework. I did some more laundry, packed up more books to store in the attic, and painted trim in the hallway, and Jason continued with his patchwork in my gym room (that I kind of need now by the way).

It's going to be really cold again tonight, so I'm thinking we'll probably have chili. It's just that kind of day I think.

A Sweet Giveaway
Now onto something fun - how about a sweet (literally) giveaway for Valentine's Day? I know I've mentioned it a few times, but I am a huge fan of NuNaturals Stevia. I think it's one of the best tasting stevias you can find. I might be a bit addicted to the liquid vanilla actually.

The wonderful people at NuNaturals contacted me about doing a giveaway for my blog readers. Of course I said yes to that one. Even better is that I get to choose 4 winners! I will announce the winners February 14 for Valentines Day.


[Please note that this is only open to Continental U.S. Residents.]

Winners will receive 1 50-count box of NuStevia Packets and 1 2 oz. bottle of NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia Liquid.
Mandatory Entry: 
Tell me about your most memorable Valentine's Day. 

Option Entries - please leave a comment for each that you do:
  1. Tweet about the giveaway and include my twitter handle (@hriacobacci) and link to this post.
  2. Share a recipe you make using NuNaturals products
As a bonus, if you order through NuNaturals website, you can use this discount code to receive 15% off your order through June 30, 2012: BLG0612. 

Just enter BLG0612 at the checkout page. Also, you get free shipping in the Continental U.S. on all orders totaling $35.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Good workout
  • Sunshine
  • Productive day

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Drama, Tabata & Housework

Gym Drama
Today started off incredibly cold - as in 23 degrees but gusting winds so the wind chill was in the teens. At least it was sunny though. As I watched the marathon training group run past my house (it's on the marathon route), I was a little wistful of course, but then almost thankful for the excuse not to be out there in that cold.

Though, I will not take running in any temps for granted once I'm able to be out there again. So yes, I was actually jealous of people running in freezing temps as crazy as that sounds.

Luckily, I have a gym and back up plans. Or so I thought. Lots of drama up in the gym apparently. The gym is located in a corporate high rise near our house. On the weekends and after hours you do have to be buzzed into the building then sign in with the guards.

Jason and I got there around 10:30 and were told that the gym was closed until further notice. Um. What? I really and truly almost had a total breakdown. I can't run, our gym room at the house is pulled apart for repairs to the room. I had no other options. Needless to say, I'm kind of freaking out a bit in regards to how to get in workouts over the next week.

Jason was being rational, thank goodness one of us is. He isn't a member at the gym where he takes his master's swim class, but thought maybe we should go over there and just see if we could get a day pass. Good news! They let us both in and didn't even charge us. Talk about a big win for the day.

The gym is much bigger than the one we go to. They have pools, tennis courts, racquet ball courts. The locker rooms are flipping amazing with saunas, whirlpools you name it. They have tons of cardio equipment to choose from. The downfall is that the free weight area is rather small (smaller than my gym even which is sad) and there is not really any space for doing something like kettlebells and HIIT workouts (which is what I was going to do).

I was trying to refocus myself after the upheaval. I started with about 40 minutes on an elliptical-like machine. It was a lot easier on my heel whatever the thing was. I hadn't planned on being on there so long, I just wasn't sure if I was going to be able to do my tabata workout actually.

The whole time I was trying scout out a space to do my tabata workout. I was determined to do what I had planned for the day. I found a little area and grabbed a kettlebell and get to business with the following plan. I did 5 rounds for a total of 25 minutes.
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This turned out to be a great workout in the end. And now I'm thinking we might have a new gym to get used to as well.  

So, I must ask, what would you do if you went to your gym and they were suddenly shut down?

Late Lunch and Lots of Housework
After the gym we had to make a stop by Target before heading home. I rolled out and stretched for a while before going to get cleaned up. I thought we were done being out for the day so jammies went one. Jason, however, was wanting to go out for lunch. I think it was mostly so he could watch the Razorbacks basketball game.

The restaurant we frequent recently changed there menu a little bit, so he was also wanting to try something new. And it didn't hurt that they had the game on of course.

After lunch it was back to the house (and jammies for me) and on to the housework. While Jason was working on scraping down the ceiling in the gym room and prepping the walls (patching cracks), I was busy downstairs.

I started some bread, washed laundry, changed out door knobs and pulls on the kitchen cabinets, organized a back room (aka threw out junk) and packed lots of books up to be stored in the attic. Of course I had hoped to get a lot more accomplished, I always do. But it was a nice mix of productive and enjoyment for the day I do believe.

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Sunshine
  • Relaxing lunch
  • Knocking things off to-do list
  • Good workout

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fun Facts Friday - Q & A

Today is a rainy, dreary, and cold Friday. But you know what? I totally don't care. I'm just happy that it's Friday and my rest day. Even better, I'm getting my hair cut after work, right after PT actually.

Oh, I'm also happy that I was tagged again for the 11 Random Questions posts going around (twice). This makes Fun Facts Friday a breeze ;-) But I hope it's still fun. I don't know about you guys, but I like reading answers and learning about bloggers. Sometimes I'm surprised actually. Plus, it can be fun to deviate from the standard posts.

Since most of you have been tagged or already seen this a few times, I'm just going to skip right to the questions that were posed for me to answer. Some were really hard to answer by the way!

Questions from Samantha at Running and Cupcakes:
  1. What is your #1 go to workout song? Oh, not sure I have an absolute #1. I always start a run with Eminem's 'Till I Collapse
  2. If you had to choose 3 foods to eat for the rest of your life (and nothing else) what would they be? Oatmeal, Pizza, Peanut Butter
  3. If you were given an unlimited vacation budget – but it had to be used on ONE trip – where would you go and why? Italy to see where my great-grandfather lived.
  4. What are you more afraid of: snakes or spiders? Snakes
  5. Puppies or kitties? Do you have any? Puppies - I have 2 crazy cocker spaniels 
  6. What dead rockstar would you bring back if you could? Kirk Cobain (first thing that popped into my head)
  7. What is the most random thing you collect (or have collected?)? Maybe Garbage Pail Kid Cards? I think I still have them actually.
  8. What one article of clothing (or accessory) do you have to wear every single day? Shoes??? LOL
  9. If you could only eat FRUITS or VEGGIES, but not both, which would you choose? Veggies
  10. Beach or mountains? Why? Beach - um, what's the name of my blog again ;-)
  11. What is your favorite band EVER? I think this is impossible to narrow down. I have several sort of for different reasons though. Like Guns n' Roses, Aerosmith, Tori Amos, but I don't really listen to these all the time anymore. See, tough question.
Questions form Jolene at Determined to Be
  1. What is your biggest fear? Losing loved ones
  2. How tall are you? 5'2" (but last doc visit they said 5' 1/2" - I'm denying this)
  3. How many boyfriends or girlfriends have you had in your life? Serious serious or just "seeing" each other?
  4. What is your favorite food? Pizza 
  5. What is your biggest pet peeve? Oh I have a list! Probably lying. 
  6. Where are your top 3 destinations you’d like to travel to in your life? Italy, Wine Country, Greece
  7. What color are your eyes? Brown
  8. How did you find my blog? Through Jess
  9. What was the first blog you ever read? OR Why did you start a blog (answer depending on which you are – a reader or a writer, or both!) Oh man, I can't remember the first one I read. I started blogging because Jason thought it might be a good way for me to do something I enjoy (write) and make some extra money. No money, but lots of friends!
  10. iPhone? Droid? Blackberry? Droid
  11. What errand do you hate the most? Or cleaning chore? Putting clothes away
Now it's your turn! You can answer all, some, one or just tell me something else totally random. But you gotta play along ;-)

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Rest day
  • Happy hour with friends
  • Hair cut
  • Reading your responses (hint hint)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Good Leg Workout & Even Better Butternut Squash Soup

Leg Day
Today was leg day for me. I was oddly excited about getting the workout done too. Maybe it's because that signals my rest day is on the horizon (tomorrow).

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* Firewalkers 
** Swing lunge

The idea behind this workout is to include some heavy lifting exercises in conjunction with exercises the target the hamstring and glutes as well as abductor muscles.

The reasoning is purely personal and based on my own research as well as advice from my physical therapist. Remember, I'm not expert here. I am a runner contending with injuries likely stemming from imbalances in the hamstrings, glutes, and abductors.

But, I do still want to build so I continue to include the barbell squats for power (and they are an awesome leg exercise period) but also unilateral work like the step ups and swing lunges, which are also good for assisting with stabilization (I definitely have a weaker side).

There are lots of other exercises I need and would like to use as well. I almost feel like I could do leg workouts twice a week in order to hit all areas effectively.

Today's leg workout was really good. I went into the workout with a clear head, ready to work. I really feel like I could have increased the weight for the squats, but was worried about doing so with my heel pain. I didn't want to jeopardize my form by not being able to take the weight in my heels evenly.

Soup Thursday
After work I did my now-typical 25-30 minutes of stretching and rolling. Still not sure how effective it is, but it's kind of relaxing...well, other than dogs in your face.

The temps have dropped off recently, it's not freezing, but much colder than it's been most of the winter. I had butternut squash and kale on hand, so I went with an easy soup: Butternut Squash, Kale & Barley Soup.


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If you like the key ingredients (butternut squash, kale, barley), then it's hard not to like this hearty vegan soup. It's packed with protein and tons of vitamins and minerals. I guess it's a true feel-good meal ;-)

Daily To-Enjoy List:
  • Leg workout
  • Fun email convo with my friend Jessica
  • Painting my nails
  • Relaxing