Saturday, June 25, 2011

ETR: road trip edition!

Hi pals! We made it to Michigan! All in one piece!!! Successful road trip. :)

We left North Carolina (well, we left our house) at about 12:30. We had a few errands to run before really getting on the road... first priority: lunch!
Because we were already leaving late in the day, we opted for drive-thru. Wendy's!
I got a half-sized Berry Almond Chicken Salad.
It came with a packet of blueberry vinaigrette, holy cow SO GOOD!
It was a really great salad. Nice sized, lot of berries, dry roasted almonds, and pretty fresh-tasting lettuce.
I picked up a few road-trip snacks at Target before we left, including a box of mini Larabars!

So lunch dessert was easy: cherry pie! So little and bite sized! :)
yum again. 
Ben got a massive burger and chicken nuggets and fries and a root was quite a picnic.
is it GOOD? haha

We drove and drove for hours and hours. It's a 12-ish hour drive straight from our house in NC up to Ben's parent's house in MI. About half-way through the drive, we decided to change our destination and head for a friend's house, shortening our trip by about an hour.
We saw lots of nice mountains and LOTS of semi trucks.
And then I got bored and watched a movie.
I had some road trip snacks...

Dried fruit and nuts from Target! So tasty...and then I turned the bag around and looked at the ingredients. All fruit and nuts, but the fruits were freeze-dried with sugar and preservatives.  Oops.

Dinner happened much later than normal... again, drive-thru, to maximize our road-time. The choices were: McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Arby's.
After a few minutes of weighing my options, I voted Burger King.
...terrible choice.
I wanted to get a chicken sandwich, but it was already after 9:00pm, and I knew that having a big bun or piece of bread would = upset stomach in the morning.  So, I got the only salad on the menu: the garden salad with tendergrill chicken.
saddest little baby salad ever. 
This salad actually tasted pretty good, it was just so small. The toppings were all pre-packaged on the top of the salad, separate from the who knows when and where this salad was actually made.
I forgot that I had gotten chicken, and when I pulled that red Burger King package out of my bag, I said out loud "OH! Maybe they gave me a hot cookie!!"

That would be the tendergrill chicken patty! In a bag. To put on top of my salad.
Lots of head shaking happened.
But I ate it, and actually enjoyed it.
And I felt better about getting a salad then getting a big chicken sandwich on a bun, a burger, or fries.

We arrived at our destination at about 1:00am.
It was dark, cool, and a little damp.
Thankfully, our wonderful hosts had their guest bedroom ready for us, and we hit the sheets (of our king sized bed!!!) immediately.

Saturday plans: breakfast (Larabar and apple), blogging (heys heys), then taking off for adventures around Detroit (nails??, movie?) before meeting my family at 3:00 for my grandfather's memorial service. I'm really looking forward to seeing my family, and saying goodbye to my grandpa. <3 If you recall, back in February I came to Michigan for my grandfather's funeral, but got terribly sick and spent the entire weekend in my hotel room, feverish and sick with a sinus infection. So, today I'm glad I get to attend the memorial service and celebrate my grandpa's life with my family.

Happy weekend. :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fo' Drizzle

Hey pals!

This morning I made the yummiest yogurt bowl!
It started with 1/2 of a cup of vanilla yogurt.
Then it got sprinkled with raw oats, and a huge handful of blueberries.
almost ready!

Yesterday, I had a great yogurt bowl with peanut butter...but it was cold peanut butter, which was hard to eat with the yogurt! So, today I got crafty with the peanut butter. 
microwaved melty!
And then...things got drizzly.
And for a final touch of sweetness, I added a teeny bit of honey.
ready to eat!
This was the perfect breakfast! Creamy, crunchy, juicy, salty, and sweet! Mmmmm. 

After breakfast I headed out to run some errands...
  • went to the library to rent some audio books for our 12+ hour drive up to Michigan. I got Hard Eight, by Janet Evanovich, and The Last Town on Earth, by Thomas Mullen. I love all of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books, and have read them a trillion times each, but have never listened to one via audio book! The other audio book looks interesting; it looks like it will be a 1900's fantasy/fiction about a town that has been overcome with the flu and decides to go under quarantine...we'll see!
  • stopped at the mall to return a few pairs of shorts to Ann Taylor LOFT...I really wanted to like them, but they just didn't feel right. 
  • grocery store to try to find some good road trip snacks...I was looking for Larabars, some big juicy apples, and some trail mix...but I think I'll wait until tomorrow and run to Whole Foods. :)
With errands complete, it was time to go to yoga! It was Vinyasa yoga, which I hadn't done before. The instructor was the same woman who did the Core class yesterday, and she was wonderful! She lead us through several repeats of hip stretches and positions, and she turned the studio's heat up! Apparently I was under a vent, because I was DRIPPING sweat while doing my 3-legged dog poses.  It was a great class. 

After yoga, I met up with a girlfriend for lunch at Panera! I had the pick 2 combo, including a bowl of black bean soup, and a half of a Mediterranean sandwich! So good, so fresh. It was a nice lunch with a nice friend. HI LIZ! :) 

Time to get serious about packing for clothes are in heaps all around my bedroom, and I'm starting to stress out. Gotta CLEAN and ORGANIZE! :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

School's out, still going to class!

Hey bloggies!
Happy Wednesday! It's Hump Day! And 2 more days until our trip to the NORTH...which I am getting SO excited about. 2 days, a 12-hour drive,  and then we'll be in Michigan for a few weeks. :)

This morning, I woke up STIFF AND SORE. Thank you, Strictly Strength fitness class. I was really feeling yesterday's squats and lunges when I rolled out of bed. But, because I'm trying to be good to my bod and do this fitness thing right, I geared up for the gym and headed downstairs for a light breakfast.

Yogurt bowl!

Low-fat vanilla yogurt, sliced strawbs, a sprinkle of raw oats, a drizzle of honey, and about a half of a spoonful of peanut butter! YUM!
I did, however, discover that non-melted peanut butter is a little hard to eat in a yogurt bowl. I either need to warm up my pb next time to drizzle on top, or save the pb for warm oat bowls.

After digesting and doing a little laundry, I headed to the gym.
I was soooo sore (still am), and really couldn't decide what I wanted to do for my cardio. Since I did a huge amount of strength yesterday (60-minute full-body class), I knew I wanted to focus on cardio as my main workout today. I've been LOVING the stationary bike, but decided to hop on a treadmill instead.
I walked for a few minutes to warm up (and re-create my "RUN" playlist on my disappeared!), and then did run/walk intervals for close to an hour. My final numbers were: run 3 miles, walk 2 miles, 60 minutes. PHEW.
I knew there was a Core class happening at 11:00am, but it was only about 10:30 when I staggered off the treadmill, so I stretched for about 20 minutes before heading into the studio for class.
The Core class was only 30 minutes, which turned out to be just the right length. The instructor took us through various core-strengthening moves, using a Bosu ball and a medicine ball. I used an 8-lb medicine ball, which was perfect. It was a tough class, but I'm really glad I went!
I am not good at motivating myself to strength train, so attending classes at my gym is the perfect way to get my strength training in. The classes are free with my membership, and seriously run from 5:30am-7:30pm, including yoga, strength, kickboxing, core, HIIT circuit training, pilates, cycling, and aqua!
My gym membership is ending at the end of June, due to travels and my interest to check out some other gyms in my area...I'll definitely miss my gym, but I can't wait to see what else my area has for gyms.

After the gym, I drove home and hopped in the shower. Then it was LUNCH TIME!
all the ingredients for...
the perfect recovery smoothie!
Now, I'm watching food network and relaxing for a few hours before tutoring this evening. Ina Garten is making some seriously potent drinks (Mai Tai, Manhattan, Long Island), as well as a yummy crab dip and some sauteed peaches. And now she's having happy hour with her husband in the garden! So precious. :)

See you later!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

squat, lunge, curl...REPEAT

Good morning!

Oof. I'm tired. I didn't fall asleep until after 3:00am. I'm not sure if it's because I had that latte yesterday, which was the first caffeine I'd had in weeks! Or, maybe it was due to the massive neck pains that I kept waking up to. Either way, it was a restless night.

But! I woke up at 7:00am ready to have breakfast and head to the gym. I had checked the class schedule, and knew that I needed to be at the gym by 8:30 for.... Strictly Strength!
Whoa, baby.
That was a ROUGH class!
Squat. Lunge. Curl. REPEAT.  over and over and over again!
60 minutes later, I was dripping with sweat, but felt good!
After wobbling around the lobby for a few minutes and refilling my water bottle, I decided to hop on a bike and get a little cardio in before heading home. I biked for 30 minutes, which was 8.7 miles! Then, I walked a mile on a treadmill, catching up on the news.
PHEW! Long, sweaty, satisfying workout!

I drove home, showered, and made an epic protein smoothie: 1 cup of almond milk, 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein powder, and about 2 cups of frozen pineapple and strawberry chunks! SO GOOD.

fill 'er up!

Time for a nap. :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

this and that

Hey! My wireless is down at home, so I'm lunchin' and bloggin' at a cute little coffee shop around the corner from my house. Soooo nice to have TIME to do summer vacation. 

Let's catch up. :)

Last night, after Ben hustled off to his second job (ugh gross, I know) I got an itch to run. I suited up and headed out to jog around my neighborhood!
Boy, was it hot.
At 8:00pm it was still over 90 degrees, and humid as ever.
I ran a 10 minute loop around my neighborhood, and then plopped down on my driveway.

I stretched it allllll out for about 15 minutes before heading back into the AC'd house.
Last week I purchased a fitness ball (Walmart, maybe $15?), and decided to try it out.

I pumped up the ball, and then tried each  of the exercises inside the pamphlet that came with the ball. It was a full-body strength workout! Abs, arms, legs, inner and outer thighs! Took about 25 minutes, all completed while watching my favorite movie, Eat Pray Love. :)

This morning I woke up with such a lovely feeling..."'s Monday and I'm not getting up for work!" But then I remembered I needed to drive down to school to sign my contract. So, I geared up and made the 30-minute drive to my school to fill out paperwork and sign up for my 4th year of teaching! Done and done!
Drove back towards home with the intention of going straight to the gym...but I got distracted by the library, the mall, and some other odds and ends errands. When I finished running around, it was after noon, and I was STARVIN'!  I headed back to my house to fix up a quick meal to take to the coffee shop.
light summer salad!
In the mix:
-1.5 cups of garbanzo beans
-1 whole roma tomato
-1/2 green pepper
-2 slices turkey bacon
-salt and pepper, sprinkle of EVOO

I filled up a tupperware with spring salad mix, and poured my bean salad on top!
Now, as you know, I'm at the coffee shop, sipping an almond iced latte, eating my delicious lunch, and catching up with my FULL reader!
Hey, Vanessa!

Plans for the rest of this summer Monday:  chill time with the siamese, watch a little t.v., tutor for a few hours, and then head to the gym tonight for Zumba!!!

Hope you're all staying cool (if you're in the dirty south), staying awake (if you're at work), and having a great Monday!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stretch and Strengthen Sunday

Guess what I did this morning?

Learned to separate an egg white from an egg...
four whites. 
...and used my new(ish) Paula Dean griddle...
bubbly! make protein pancakes!
Yes, I ate them all. They were thin and a little crispy, CHOCK FULL (50 g!) of protein, and the perfect (though a bit too large...almost 500 calories, but only 4.5 g of fat) breakfast to fuel me up for my morning workout! I've been counting calories for years, and just recently realizing (in an "omg, DUH" fashion) that I need more calories to fuel my longer workouts! Though many weight-loss websites (, recommend a 1200 calorie diet for weight-loss, that's just not realistic if I want to survive my workouts! I'm shooting for 1500. So, though that breakfast was HUGE, and I could have totally eaten half and been  moderately satisfied, it wouldn't have gotten me through a big workout, and I would have been snacking by 10:00am. This big breakfast left me satisfied, not overly full, and I was just starting to get hungry when we had lunch at 1:00pm.

Anyway! After my belly had some time to digest that massive breakfast, I headed to the gym.
I completed:
-25 minutes (8 miles) on a bike...1 minute intervals going back and forth between level 10 and level 15. SWEATY.
-15 minutes on a stairclimber. Holy crap, I forgot how much that hurts so good.
-45 minute Stretch and Strengthen yoga class! My timing was perfect to pop into this 45 minute class. The instructor was calm and mellow, and she lead us through a full body stretch, starting with neck and shoulders, and moving to hips and core. It was AWESOME.

After leaving the gym, I picked up Ben for a quick trip to BJ's for some pantry groceries, milk, and odds and ends. We stopped at Qdoba for lunch, and I choose 2 items from the "You Pick Two" menu: a naked chicken salad (lettuce, fat free dressing, chicken, pico, and corn salsa) and two soft tacos (cilantro rice, pinto beans, lettuce, pico, and a TEENY sprinkle of cheese).  I finished one taco and most of the salad, and Ben helped me with the rest. He such a good friend to me. :)
Messy, but delish!

Now, we're home and I'm munching on a bowl of berries and relaxing! Thinking about going for a run this evening, after it hopefully cools down a bit! We'll see. North Carolina is SO HOT these days. T-Minus 5 days until our trip to Michigan to see our families! It should be much cooler there, thank goodness!

*A very Happy Father's Day to my Dad! Can't wait to see you in just a few short days! LOVE YOU!*

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Waka Waka and J. Biebs

(if you stayed to read the post after that ridiculous  "this-HAS-to-be-awesome-post" title, THANKS. I promise you won't regret it.)

Quick, it's almost/past bedtime!!
It's been a lovely Saturday. HOT, but lovely.

-had a big bowl of delicious banana whipped oats for breakfast.
fancy sprinkles for Saturday breakfast
-loved on my big carton of bluebs
-tutored 3 hours...we worked on adjectives, and then synonyms for "good".  My helpful lesson: "Sure, cereal is good, but pizza is great, pasta is excellent, and corn on the cob is outstanding!"  It's legit.
-hustled to the gym-- 60 minutes (5 miles) on the elliptical made me sweaty and bored. I need a book next time.  I almost didn't go to the gym after tutoring, but kept remembering a great mantra "you'll never regret a workout" I repeated that to myself about a billion times, and finally dragged myself onto an elliptical. 60 sweaty minutes later, I felt outstanding.
get it!
-also loved on my new socks. ASICS running socks! they feel like pillows for my feet. 
love YOU.

-got my Skinny Runner running top in the mail! Thanks, Katie, for the gift! Can't wait to wear it!
-ate an unpictured green salad topped with two fried eggs and my leftover chicken sausage. YUM.
-headed over to my friend, Sarah's house for a girl's night!
love maxi dresses :)

-had a DELICIOUS and healthy potluck-snack dinner!
my plate :)
-beaded lots of jewelry
earrings, duh
by request, for Alyssa
random bracelet
-took Sarah's dogs for a 35 minute walk around her neighborhood. It rained around 7:30, but only for 20 minutes, so when the rain stopped it had cooled down and was a really nice night! We even saw a HUGE rainbow!
-came home, made asked Ben to take me out for frozen yogurt. I got low fat blackberry soft serve yogurt, with plenty of fresh fruit and some sprinkles, granola, and chocolate goodies. I need to remember to NOT load up with lots of toppings, because then I don't taste the frozen yogurt! And that's my favorite part! So next time, I'm rolling with froyo + some fruit, and that's all.
-home again, listening to my new favorite song: Shakira "Waka Waka" . It's so bouncy; it would probably be a great running/workout song! also of note: new j.biebs song (well, it's Chris Brown, ft. Justin Beiber). You know my feelings. haha!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Grillin' and Chillin'

Yes, a very overused phrase...but so appropriate for tonight's post!

My Trader Joe's trip this morning supplied us with ample dinner choices, and we decided on grilling items!
one huge zucchini, topped with EVOO and Mediterranean spice blend
Also, we grilled two ears of corn, doused in EVOO, salt and pepper, and wrapped in aluminum foil.
Ben did an excellent job "manning" the grill (baha), and when he brought our dinner in, it was all nicely cooked!

I prepared our plates with simple spinach and tomato side salads...lightly topped with my new Champagne Pear dressing!
those plates are the same color, I swear. 
And then we loaded up our plates with fresh grilled goodies!
my sausage is a liiiiiitle burnt... STILL DELICIOUS!
The highlight of the meal was a no-brainer for me...
corn on the cob is my favorite summer food!!
The meal was excellent...a perfect summertime dinner. The best part (besides the corn)? No dishes, except our plates!
Oh, the corn... I could have eaten 4 ears. It looks burnt, but it was so amazing. The corn was nice and ripe, and then cooked to a soft, yet still crispy perfection. The olive oil and spices were great, and we didn't even miss the old days, when we would smear the corn with butter.  :)
The TJ's sausage was good! It was slightly sweet, and contained big chunks of cooked apple! It would have been great on a bun, but I liked it just plain with bites of salad.
The zucchini was the only bummer of the meal...we overcooked them a bit and they ended up a little mushy and soft...still tasty, but not ideal consistency. I'd really like to get a grill pan for roasting veggies on the grill.
The salad made me feel really good about my plate. My salad took up half of my (too big) plate, and it was fresh, simple, and yummy.

After dinner, I convinced Ben that it was walk time. It's a beautiful, summer night in North Carolina, and I hate to miss an opportunity for an evening walk!
no nature walks for you, inside-cat. 

We walked down the road to the entrance of our local greenway, and took a little nature hike.

face-camera picture from the iphone. really nice. 

It was a nice walk, and we ended up walking for 60 minutes, about 3 miles. I'll be surprised if my legs aren't sore tomorrow from all this walking and running I've been doing. My total mileage for today is 7 miles of walk/runs, and 5 miles of biking. Awesome!!

Ben's in the running for husband of the year...while I took a shower (still struggling with not showering after those 2-a-day workouts), he made me a smoothie! Granted, I left him instructions. :)
perfect post-walk dessert! :)
Goodnight, friends!

Fierce Friday

I'm not sure why I'm so's habit, I guess, to be really enthusiastic about the weekend. Now that my life is a weekend (at least, for 2 months), I suppose I should cool it a bit. :)

Today started off with a delicious bowl of protein oats! 
topped with sprinkles, obv.
These oats were good...but the vanilla protein powder didn't dissolve like the chocolate did in yesterday's oats. Maybe I used more today? Or maybe they needed to simmer longer? I'm not sure. Still tasty!
In the mix:
  • 1/3 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2/3 cup  water
  • 3 tbsp vanilla whey protein powder
  • dash of vanilla
  • 1/2 banana mixed in, 1/2 on top
  • handful of blueberries
  • 1 tbsp almond butter with flax seeds
  • sprinkles! 
a little breakfast snuggling. <3

After digesting and checking out today's Living Social and Groupon deals (thanks, Katie...I'm addicted), I headed to the gym! I haven't been in about a week, due to my car being out of commission, so it was nice to be able to use the machines and work up a good sweat. 
I had my version of FIERCE FRIDAY
3 miles of running HIIT intervals (1 mile warm up @ 6mph, 1 mile intervals- .1 mile @ 6mph, .1@ 6.5 mph, repeated, then 1 mile cool down @ 6mph)
1 mile of incline walking (4mph, increasing incline by 1 every .1 miles)
20 minutes of  biking, about 5 miles. 
tomato face!
Lets talk about what's going on in this picture. 
A. I'm in Ben's Audi, which is nice but the steering wheel was dirty. Ew. 
B. My short shortie short hair is a hot mess. Must wear a baseball hat to work out tomorrow. 
C. There's a full sized tire in the backseat. Not sure what's going on back there...
D. Sun roof! 

After the gym, I made my way over to Trader Joe's to stock up on some snacks for tomorrow's girl's night! 
Let's just see here...from the left we have: 

-mini pita bread (2 bags, one for home and one for tomorrow's girl's night)
-in the back- frozen pineapple tidbits!
-maple apple chicken sausages 
-Hummus quartet! for tomorrow :)
-Tzatziki!!! for my mouth, which I immediately opened and LOVED.
-Roma tomatoes
-HUGE carton of blueberries
-4 ears of corn (dinner tonight! with the sausages!!!!)
...and coming back around counterclockwise...
-spring mix
-Red White and Blue tortilla chips (also for tomorrow)
-jar of roasted red and yellow peppers (for homemade hummus...or homemade PIZZA!)
-and my FAVORITE DRESSING: Champagne Pear Gorgonzola dressing. <3

Such a great shopping trip!
Time for lunch and then a little chill time. See ya! :)