Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blog Crushes

When I got into blogging back in January 2010, I never realized that there was an entire community of women bloggers, brimming with great ideas and advice. It's been 2 whole years since I started my blogging journey. And within that two years, it's definitely been a haven for me. I place to write, get out my thoughts, set goals and connect with other wonderful women who are doing the very same with their slice of the Internet. 

It's safe to say that now I read over 60 blogs every day. All serve a very different, unique purpose. Some give great recipes, fitness tips, running advice, finance information, craft ideas, or simple make me laugh out loud. But all bring something to the table that has helped my personally. 

Of course, I would love to go through all 60 blogs and writewhy I love them so much, but that would take way too long. So I've picked a few of my faves to highlight and hope you'll stop by and give them a look. 

I Love You More Than Carrots: I've been following this blog since the very beginning. AP is a fellow Maryland transplant, who's raising her adorable son, Carter and baking another little baby boy. Her sass and snark are a bright spot in my day. And hopefully, soon enough, we'll be able to utilize her photography services for a maternity photo shoot!

Team Studer: Tab and I went to college together. I've also been reading her blog since before I started my own. She's got the cutest, most active little son, Grayson and is also baking a second girl baby that's due very soon! She's got great advice for parents of youngsters, along with great stories about her puppies, family and life. 

Mrs. Monologues: I started following her blog back when it was fluffy and way less smart-ass than it is now. She switched it up some time ago to allow her blog to be a true outlet for her writing and sassy attitude. Her sarcasm is a trait I can certainly appreciate, since that's the way I like my friends, family and passersby. The more sarcastic your humor, the better we get along. 

Running in Pearls: When I got into running (or have at least attempted to), I tried to follow several blogs that broached this very topic. However, I wanted to follow women that I could relate to. Not the marathon runner that's been running since birth and was basically raised in a pair of sneakers. I found Sonja's blog and knew that she would serve as a source of inspiration not only in running, but in life. 

First Name Smith: This girl is hysterical. Kristin is definitely not afraid to keep it real, something that I love. Afterall, blogging is about real life. She doesn't sugar coat the highs and lows of parenting her adorable son, Smith. And she likes a good glass (or box) of wine. A girl after my own heart. 

Sunny Side Up: We all know that one of my resolutions this year is to get more organized. I've drawn so much inspiration from Erin and her amazing organizational skills. Her house, and life for that matter, are so together, it makes me want to be a better person. 

There are SO many more blogs that I love, but I'll leave you with these for now. I definitely smell a Part Deux in the future. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Hubs and I had a very uneventful weekend, which was perfectly fine with me. I felt like I needed some time to get my house in order and attach my behind to the couch. I even finally finished the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy (which was definitely my least favorite of the three.) I'm taking a break from the Kindle to read Deep Down True, which is a paperback that I'd bought a little while ago. Not as epic as Hunger Games, but it'll do. 

Yesterday, I roasted a chicken. You know, the kind that's already cleaned, seasoned and in the bag. Easy stuff. And now we have a ton of leftover chicken. Of course, I whipped up a batch of chicken salad for hubs. Just for him though. I think it's disgusting. Only because it's made with mayonnaise and that makes me want to vomit all over my keyboard. I'm also going to make a big 'ole batch of soup. This recipe for Creamy Chicken Noodle soup came out of my brain the last time we had some leftover chicken and it quickly become a favorite in our house. 

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carton chicken broth
1 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup chicken, shredded, cubed, whatever you fancy
1/2 cup fat free half and half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup ditalini pasta (or any other small pasta shape)
Salt and pepper

Saute onion, celery, garlic, carrot in olive oil until tender. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add half and half, cheese, pasta and spiced. Simmer for 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fitness Friday

Happy Friday! Ah, yes. My favorite day of the week. 

This week was all about getting back into my fitness routine. Usually, I can muster the energy to get up to work out in the AM about 3 times. This week? Only once. But at least it was once. 

Yoga has been a great addition to my workout routine. It doesn't burn many calories, but it I can certainly feel it the next day. And I know as I continue to do it, I'll become stronger and more flexible. Plus, every session comes with a naptime meditation at the end.

Saturday: Yoga 
Sunday: Nothing
Monday: 40 minute incline walk, squats, lunges, push ups, crunches
Tuesday: Sick day, nothing
Wednesday: Yoga
Thursday: 50 minute run/walk, squats, lunges, push ups, crunchs, bicep curls, lateral raises
Friday: 30 minute incline walk, crunches

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Body Backfire

This week has been, well, how should I say it? Shit? Yes. Shit. For no reason in particular. 

This past weekend we had a friend come in from Chicago for a visit. Which meant that I didn't stick to my routines that I love so much. Instead, I inserted pizza, candy and wine into my mouth. Workouts? Well, I did make it to yoga on Saturday morning, but that was the best I could muster. Needless to say, the weekend of indulgence left me feeling like a pile of Wiggle poop. And on top of that? My stomach decided to give me all kinds of fits. I'll spare you the details. And AM workouts this week? Didn't happen. Not.a.one. For shame.

I've desperately tried to get back into the swing of life this week. Getting my workouts in and for the love of all things green, get some vegetables back into my system. The closest thing I had to a veggie this weekend was the baked potato served to me with no utensils at Medieval Times. Which I promptly picked up and shoved in my face, barbarian style. Now, I'm not complaining. It was a fabulous time. But my body is paying me back. Especially with that extra pound I gained from eating like a garbage truck. 

Exhibit A: Medieval Times (Hubs, Houseguest *Colin*, Christopher)

This week has been about getting some sleep, getting some exercise, getting some greens and hopefully, removing some lard. I was doing so well and this is a minor set back in progress. Guess it goes to show you that once you change your eating/exercising habits, straying away can make you feel even worse. 

Clearly, I skipped Fitness Friday last week. I was too busy hanging out at the Inner Harbor guzzling some cocktails. I did get in 5 workouts last week regardless. Two of them were yoga, and although it's great for toning, it doesn't burn a ton of calories. 

What's for dinner tonight? I'm going carb-less. 

Easy Garlic Chicken
Source: food.com via Heather on Pinterest

And warm broccoli slaw with peanut dressing. A recipe that I'm making up myself. I'll let you know how that one goes down. It can't be all bad, right? 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Routines. I Has Them.

Routines. We all have them. We're creatures of habit (at least hubs and I are.) We like to know what's coming next. 

I've been known to be a person who doesn't like to go out on "school nights." I like to save my socializing for the weekends and Friday nights, when I can stay out late and not worry about being up and at 'em for work the next day. 

A typical day in the life for me goes something like this:

5:00 AM - Alarm goes off...I hit snooze.
5:30 AM - Still hitting snooze
5:55 AM - Now I'm getting my butt out of bed to get changed to head downstairs and hit the treadmill (please note that the AM workouts don't make it into my daily routine, but usually about 3 times a week.)
6:00 AM - Let the dogs outside, prepare my lunch/breakfast for the day, let dogs in.
6:05 AM - Start up the treadmill while watching Army Wives
6:35 AM - Head back upstairs for teeth brushing, showering, changing, primping.
7:10 AM - Out the door for work.
7:30 - 7:40 AM - Arrive at work. Eat breakfast, drink coffee, check email.
4:00 PM - Out the door and headed home.
4:30 PM - Take out the dogs, change into workout clothes.
4:45 PM - Back on the treadmill for another 30 - 40 minutes. Then about 15-20 minutes of strength training.
5:30ish PM - Shower, start dinner
6:30ish PM - Dinner time.
7:00 PM - Chores, relaxing with hubs, TV
9:30 PM - Head to bed to brush teeth and read until I pass out.

Wow, I'm pretty boring, right? But hey, that's what works for me. Besides that, I plan our meals out a week in advance and usually hit the store on a Saturday or weeknight. I get seven kinds of stressed if I don't have our meals planned. We only eat out once a week (usually on Saturdays) because if we ate out more than that, we'd weigh more and have a lighter wallet. Nobody wants either of those things. 

Tell me I'm not the only one that hates doing stuff on a "school night?" 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Typically when it comes to baking, I'm a boxed mix kind of girl. I don't do well with precise measurements (perhaps it's the whole "I suck at math" thing.) We all know that in baking, you need to be pretty precise. Which is why my creations usually turn out lacking a little bit of something. Especially when I'm trying to make it healthier. 

Last night, however, I threw caution to the wind (rebel!) and baked some muffins. From scratch. And guess what? They were pretty darn tasty! I adapted this recipe for Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins from Annie's Eats. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp. baking power
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. applesauce (unsweetened)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed banana (this was 2 medium bananas for me)
6 tbsp. creamy reduced fat peanut butter
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tin with liners or spray with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, combine flours, oats, baking soda, baking power and salt. Stir to combine. In another bowl, combine vanilla, applesauce, brown sugar, eggs, banana, peanut butter and buttermilk. Blend with a whisk. Combine the two ingredients until incorporated well. Spoon into muffin tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. You can top these with some additional peanut butter, but I left mine alone.

And you know the best way to mash a banana? With your hands. Clean hands, of course. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Random Tuesday

I've been seriously lacking for things to write about on here recently. Perhaps it's my lack of anything really exciting going on in my life. We're boring people. And for the most part? That's ok with me. 

What do I have for you today? Some random thoughts. 

  • I just tried Chocolate Peppermint Luna bars for the first time ever. I can't believe it's taken me so long! If you haven't tried them, I suggest hitting up your nearest retailer (they were on sale at Target last week) and scooping them up. Delish. 180 calories. 12 grams of sugar. Not too shabby. I ate one for breakfast with some fruit.
  • Speaking of food, I made Skinny Taste's Chocolate Chip Scones last night. Also delicious and 199 calories. Although, if you're not used to the taste of wheat flour, it could be hard to get past. You could probably play with the ratio of wheat to white flour. But clearly hubs enjoyed them because he had 2.5. Speaking of Skinny Taste, I made her Stuffed Cabbage Casserole the other night as well. It was awesome! I highly recommend making this on a Sunday and having the leftovers all week.
  • Hubs' job is slowly driving me to drink. One day he says he's traveling. The next he's not. They need to make up their minds already so I can prepare myself mentally.
  • Speaking of drinking, I think I've found my new favorite cheap wine. I got myself a bottle of Gewurztraminer from Sutter Home (vintage 2007.) Very smooth white. If you know anything about me, you know I base my cheap (because I don't always drink on a budget) wine consumption on alcohol content. No 7.5% fruit juice for me. The biggest bang for your buck is 11% minimum. And this bottle? 13%. $5.99. Can't beat it. (I kind of sound like a drunk now, right? I swear I'm not.)
  • I'm in love with my Kindle Fire. I pretty much have it with me at all times when I'm home. I stalk Facebook, check my email, play Words with Friends (heatherjp12...play with me and you're guaranteed to win because I'm AWFUL,) Plants vs. Zombies. And, oh yeah, I read. Speaking of, I'm on the third book of the Hunger Games series. If you haven't picked it up yet, this series is a MUST read. Even hubs is on board. I'll be looking forward to the movie release in March!
  • I only have a four day week this week because we have a friend visiting from Chicago. Today is Tuesday, but it's really my Wednesday. Booyah!
  • I haven't been on Twitter in over a month. I should really get back to it, especially since I have my Kindle with me at all times...or my iPhone. I'm surrounded my technology.
  • By the way, did you know my husband has a blog? You should read it. I triple dog dare you not to laugh out loud. His sense of humor was a definite reason I married him. Only he knows how to make me laugh so hard I piss my pants. True.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fitness Friday

Oh, hi! Yep, it's me. You know, the girl who hasn't blogged in a week. Life got the best of me. You know how it goes. But I'm looking forward to a productive weekend and perhaps some of that organizing I was talking about. I'd really like to take a big trip to Ikea...I just have to convince hubs to come with me. 

This week's fitness regimen has been cardio-filled. I really wanted to get back on board with some strength training and I didn't end up doing that a whole lot. And as for hot yoga? We had to cancel. Julie's grandmother passed away suddenly :( And I wasn't going for the first time by myself. Weiny, much? Yep. We are signed up for regular yoga this week though. 

Sunday: Nothing
Monday: 30 minute incline brisk walk
Tuesday: 60 minute run/walk (14 minutes running...working on building to 30)
Wednesday: 30 minutes incline brisk walk
Thursday: 30 minutes run/walk
Friday: 30 minutes incline brisk walk; 100 workout

Goal for next week? Incorporate the 100 workout at least 3 times and add a treadmill interval workout. My 30 minutes aren't going to cut it. I need to up the time too.

I'm also still using the Lose It app! I've made some adjustments. I was recording my exercise, but now I'm not. Because I was eating those extra calories that it gave me. I'd like to stay away from using them if possible so that I net 1250 calories a day (I'm on the 1427 per day plan, to lost 1.5 pounds a week....even though I haven't seen the scale budge much.) Plus, I found this photo on Pinterest the other day and I think it speaks volumes about weight vs. muscle.

Happy Friday!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fitness Friday

It's finally Friday again. And though it's been a short week, it's sure felt like a long one!

You might have noticed that I missed a Fitness Friday post last week. That's because I was doing way more important things like napping, catching up on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hill and reading The Hunger Games on my new Kindle. I did manage to get in two workouts, but for the most part, I was useless. 

But with the Monday being a new year and a new week, it was time to get back on track. My two-a-day workouts suffered a little bit this week, but I'm hoping to get back to my normal routine next week. 

Also, this Sunday I'll be trying Hot Yoga for the first time. Which should be interesting considering how I don't like to be hot. But my friend Jenny swears that it's awesome, so Julie and I signed ourselves up. We'll see how it goes.

I also started in with the 100 Workout that many of you have probably seen floating around Pinterest. My friend Jen suggested that I start doing that as well, and sub the leg lifts for push ups. And let me tell you, walking was a challenge after this baby. Here's what it looks like:
100 Workout

100 Jumping Jacks
90 Crunches
80 Squats
70 Push Ups
60 Jumping Jacks
50 Crunches
40 Squats
30 Push Ups
20 Jumping Jacks
10 Minute Run (which I usually do in the morning)

Looks innocent enough, right? Ha!

Sunday: Nothing
Monday: 40 minute run/walk
Tuesday: 30 minute run/walk, 100 workout
Wednesday: 40 minute run/walk
Thursday: 30 minute run/walk, 100 workout
Friday: 30 minute run/walk
Saturday: Nothing

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pantry Organization

Like I said yesterday, one of my resolutions is to get my crap organized. There are a few areas in my house that are in a sorry state of chaos. Like...

My pantry.

THE HORROR! Seriously, that's embarrassing. 

I decided this was going to be my first project. I needed to maximize my space, get rid of some expired items, and for the love of all things spicy, get hubs' hot sauce in order. He only has 12 bottles. Seriously. 12. 

After a big 'ole trip to Walmart for some containers, I finally have somewhat of an organized pantry. 

Better, right? I still have some more containers to get, and some labeling to do, but I'd say it's on its way. Happy day!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year, New Resolutions

Ah, yes. The New Year's Resolution. Many set them, few achieve them. 

I have a track record of setting them. Not achieving all of them, but certainly striving for them. Goals are an important thing to have. It gives you something to work for; a way to make yourself a better person. So what if you don't always meet them? At least you're having some ambition, right?

What are some of my goals for this year? Let's see...

  • Lose weight. Duh. That's always on my list. It will always be on my list. And although I haven't lost as much as I've wanted to this past year, I certainly feel healthier. I'd like to keep that momentum going.
  • Have a baby. Phew! That's a big one, folks. This year, I turn 29. These eggs aren't getting any younger, am I right? 
  • Run a 5K. I mean, run. Not run/walk. Run. I can do this one. I just have to set my mind to it. 
  • By the same token, be able to run 30 minutes straight. The above and this one go hand-in-hand.
  • Organize my crap. Yes, we have this big house now. Meaning we have more places to shove crap. Leaving it an unorganized mess. Well, my friends, it's time for a change. I hate clutter. Clutter clouds my mind. So I'm working on the house room by room. Stay tuned. I have my first project in the works.
  • Take more time to create. Sure, I craft occasionally. Pinterest has certainly offered a source of inspiration. Now it's time to actually start completing more of the projects that I pin.
  • Get back in touch with my spiritual side. I really need to reinvent my relationship with God. I feel that I've lost it over the years and I really need to commit to rebuilding the spirituality I once had. That doesn't mean going to church every week (at least not for me,) but putting my trust in Him and turning to Him for support and guidance.
  • Stop swearing like a sailor. I've GOT to stop with my potty mouth ways. It's unbecoming. And I can't have my kids cursing as soon as they can talk. Now, let me be clear here. I'm not going to stop swearing all together. I'm just going to stop swearing like a sailor. Got it? Let's not have unrealistic expectations.
That's a pretty good list, don't you think? What are your resolutions?