10/31: Friday’s Favorite Things

Hello and Happy Halloween!

Jack o Lantern Pumpkins

Any fun plans to celebrate this weekend? Beware of the ghosts and goblins out there. Scott and I plan to do a little pumpkin carving on Saturday night which I am looking forward to doing. Anyone catch the Charlie Brown Halloween special on TV last night?  Such a classic!

Moving along to some favorites on this fall Friday! Below is a random collection of a few things that made me smile this past week. As always, I invite YOU to share something that has contributed to making your days a little more enjoyable in the comments section below.

10/31 Friday’s Favorite Things

  • #Girlboss

Yes, the title really does start with a hashtag. I started Sophie Amoruso’s book a few weeks ago and was reading a little bit before bedtime every night. A wave of fatigue hit me last night like a tranquilizer dart last night and I crawled into bed around 8:30 and decided to finish the story. I loved her frank voice and writing style immediately. She totally speaks from the gut and sugar coats nothing. She was a delinquent who was making a living with occasional jobs and a lot of shoplifting as she drifted from one place to another. Not exactly a stellar start.

I was intrigued how she brought together her love for vintage fashion and photography through her own eBay storefront for Nasty Gal Vintage and through sheer will learned the marketing, business acumen and technical skills to make her business what it is today.

She shares her insights on what helped shape her path of success and I thought it was a great, quick read for any woman in business.

#Girlboss

 

  • Dearly Beloved Red Wine

I picked this red wine up on a recent shopping trip to Trader Joe’s. I was looking around for a suggestion for a wine, because I do not really have a background in wine and often default to store recommendations if I want something new. This was recommended by the Joe, and I loved the gothic decoration on the bottle. I opened it last night to have a glass with dinner and it was quite nice.

Red Wine

I also remember the price point being very low and below $10.

  • Kevin Murphy’s Smooth Again

When I got my hair done last week my hairdresser promised this product was going to blow my mind. My hair did indeed look nice when I left the salon, but that is pretty typical after a professional blow out and styling. She recommended Kevin Murphy’s Smooth Again, and I bought it to take home since I was low on the current product I was using.

I have to confess this is a fabulous product and left my hair perfectly smooth with no frizz in site. It is also free of many harsh chemicals found in typical hair products. Another plus!

IMG_4063

  • Jump Rope

I added the jump rope back into my workout warm up this week and it was a fun change. There is nothing like jumping rope even for 5 minutes to get your juices flowing. It is a challenge!

Jump Rope

  • This Well Being Podcast

The Well Being Podcast

 

Scott and I had a lot of fun last week recording another episode where I had the opportunity to guest host. The both of us really enjoy Instagram, and we chatted about how we often take more pictures and remember joyous moments and create memories through using it. In its best form it is a wonderful way to share.

You can check it out by clicking on this link to the show.

Enjoy your Friday! Thanks to Heather, Katie, and Clare for hosting the celebration today.

Question of the Day: What is one thing that made you happy this week?

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Farmed or Wild Caught: Fish of the Sea

Good morning everyone! Happy Hump Day. Hope your week is moving along well. Today we are going to talk food, but instead of walking you through a day of my typical eats I wanted branch out a bit. It dawned on me the other day that I would like to expand upon some of my thought process when it comes to the confusing topic of whether or not fish is good for your health.

I was at Whole Foods doing a little shopping on Monday…

Fish in the Sea

I picked up a Green Juice and a few specialty items we needed.

Super Greens Juice

When I was in the seafood department to grab some salmon, I realized I have never addressed why I always purchase “Wild caught”salmon or other specifics when it comes to my food shopping. I have featured my tuna salad which I have for lunch here and there, but I have not reallyl gone into more detail.

Seafood

I started “clean eating” about four years ago around the same time I become serious about training at the gym. I believed in a “what you see is what you get” approach. An apple was an apple, a piece of chicken was chicken and yogurt was yogurt. You get the general idea. When I read “Rich Food, Poor Food” a little over a year ago it started to really open my eyes to the world of processed foods and the benefits of going organic when possible.

Is the apple you are about to eat shiny with pesticides? It is enough to make you stop and think about whether your decision is helping you the way you think it should be. At the time, Scott and I were switching a lot of our produce to organic and were phasing out some of those things that you think that are healthy, but really are not. I was a big fan of light yogurt and sugar free jello, but I was starting to see that what I thought was “free” was not very good for me.

I began to change the way I viewed food too. The eggs I choose or the brand of almond butter I buy matters because I want to make the best possible choice. The items I eat on a regular basis are signifigant because these small daily choices add up over time. I am not overly caught up with food, but I do try to make good selections as much as I can.

Whole Foods

One of those decisions is that I am conscious about the type of seafood I buy and eat. I used to think any fish was good. It was low in calories, low in fat and high in protein. Just what I wanted and needed right? Well, not so much.

Whole Foods

I believe fish has great health benefits, but unfortunately our waters have taken such a beating that this is not really the case any more. Plus in many cases, we have disrupted the natural food chain and there is a ripple effect on our food supply.

What I have learned is that “farm raised” fish is never a good thing. The fish are contained which is completely unnatural, and they become unhealthy as a result. They are often colored to create that look you see in the food stores. If you have ever compared a piece of farm raised salmon to wild caught salmon you will see a noticeable differerence. The pink of the wild caught is so much deeper that the farm raised one almost looks a little sickly.

Whole Foods

  • Health Benefits

With all this potential danger lurking you may think why bother? By not eating fish I will avoid mercury and other contaminats. There will be no chance I will ingest a fish that has possibly been mutated through these farming practices.

From what I have read, there are options that are safe from contaminants and very nutritious. Fish is rich in omega-3 and other antioxidants like selenium. It is just a question of picking our selections very carefully and not overeating any one particular type. For example, I love sushi as a treat, but it is not something I would make a regular practice of eating.

  • What I Eat

I do not eat that much fish on a weekly basis. Scott and I usually have wild salmon for dinner 1-2 times per week and the same would go for tuna. My favorite brand is Wild Planet and their fish is wild and poll caught. It is the cadillac of tuna if you will.

Best Fish in the Sea

  • Wild Salmon
  • Oysters
  • Wild Rainbow Trout
  • Alaskan King Crab
  • Catfish
  • Sardines
  • Haddock

Fish in the Sea

These are not always the easiest ones to find. Their availability will vary on a daily basis depending on season and availability. Since it affects your health, I think it is really important to know as much as possible about what you are really consumming.

Linking up with Jenn today – thank you for hosting as always! :-)

Question of the Day: Do you like/eat seafood on a regular basis?

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Best at Home Nails

Hello Friends! How is this Tuesday morning finding you? One of my current blog projects is that I have been gathering some thoughts together for a new page regarding organic make up, skin care products and beauty products. I hae always been a “girlie-girl and look forward to sharing some more of of my philosophy with you. So far, I have a slew of notes and a list of pictures I would like to include. I have to wait for my photographer (Scott) to have his schedule free up a bit. My plan is to have that page coming coming your way very soon.

  • At Home Manicures & Pedicures

Best at Home Nails

One significant change, I have made in my own beauty routine over the past few years was switching to keeping up my nails at home. I would not rule out getting them done for a special occasion, but there are several reasons I made the switch from having them done professionally.

  • Glam on a Budget

As we all know, the one thing that is constant in life is change. I was easily affording these manicures, pedicures and other treats for myself. My financial situation then changed and my expenses increased with a hefty rent and a car payment. I was looking for ways to cut back and the at home nail kit came together.

  • The Old Routine

I used to get frequent manicures and pedicures at salons and nail spots. I loved the “me” time and the fact that I always left feeling prettier. I love the look of color on my nails and toes. However, I found it harder and harder to turn a blind eye to all of the exposes on the news and in magazines about the dangers of nails houses.  I also loved the long term look of acrylics and gels both of which I had for a time. I shudder to think about all those chemicals now!

Even though I tried to find the cleanest and least expensive place around there were times when I wondered to myself if I was doing more harm than good. The files were being re-used among other practices that had me a bit concerned.

  • The Upkeep

So between the signifigant cost, and my concern about my health led to me going to a local beauty supply store one afternoon and getting the basics of what I would need. Also, I now use what I term “cleaner” products which will not typically be found in most traditional salons.

I currently do my nails every 4 days or so, and my pedicures every two weeks. My feet take a bit of a beating because I am quite active. However, I like to push the limits, and tell myself that no one gets that close to my feet anyway.

  • My Products

It was ironic that I was planning on writing this post next since I had one of my readers reach out yesterday and ask me about safer nail products and why I use what I do. I currently use Zoya and SpaRitual products. I buy most of my selections on Amazon or the company sites. I have found the nail polish and other treatments to be just as effective as regular brands that are full of chemicals. Cuti-Clean by Spa Ritual is one of my all-time favorite products.

Best at Home NailsAs a guideline you want to AVOID when shopping:

  1. Dibutyl Phthalate
  2. Toluene
  3. Formaldehyde or Formaldehyde Resin
  4. Camphor

These chemicals are the most frequently used in nail care products. Beauty products are like any packaged good. Review the ingredients list, and know what you are using.

  • My Nail Kit

These are the items I pull out of my nail kit on a regular basis:

  • Best at Home NailsPumice
  • Nail Clipper (one for my hands and one for my feet)
  • Nail Files (one lighter for my hands and one more substantial for my toes)
  • Nail Brush
  • Nail Buffer
  • Cuticle Nipper
  • Cuticle Pusher
  • Cotton Balls/Q-tips
  • Nail Color

The best part of course! I love to switch up my color frequently, but the steps always include a base coat, 2 coats of polish, and a top coat. Allow a full 20 minutes for your nails to dry at minimum!

Like anything else, you get better the more you do it. I now apply dark colors with ease, but it took me a while to get there. These are some of the fall colors I am loving right now.

Best at Home Nails

Overall I find that doing my own nails saves me time since I can do it in the comfort of my own home, money because I am not paying for a service and is less risky for my health because I know the tools are clean and that only I have used them.

Happy pampering! I think that doing your nails in any way qualifies as a treat so I am linking up with Becky today.

Question of the Day: Do you do your own nails, go to a salon or is it a mix of both?

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Low Sugar Treats on Pinterest

“In my world, the books would be nothing without pictures”…Alice in Wonderland

Greetings! I hope you had a wonderful weekend filled with some rest, relaxation and a dash of productivity. If you count the days on the calendar we are now less than a week away from Halloween. Where did the time go?

In my defense, I have been a little out of touch with fall happening since the temperatures in Austin still rise to the high 80s most days. No complaints from this girl because it still feels like summer, but with pumpkins!

I wanted to share a few highlights from my activities this past weekend.

Gone Girl Date Night

Scott and I have been trying to keep a little bit of date night tradition going on Saturday nights, and this week we ventured out to the movies. We had not been to the theatre in quite a long time so it was a nice treat. My choice was Gone Girl, since I read the book a few years ago, and literally could not put it down. The story takes so many twists and turns. I felt like I had been on a wild ride when the story came to a shocking end.

Gone Girl Date Night

Scott had no idea what to expect, and was a little traumatized when we left to go home. He is obviously going to be selecting our next movie.

Gone Girl Date Night

Pinning

I had mentioned on Friday that I wanted to try and spend a little time jazzing up my Pinterest account this weekend.

Pin It

As Heather cautioned, “you will want to do all the things” and she was 100% right. Growing up, I was an avid reader, but I always wanted to see the story. I love it when books I have read become a movie or a song I like pops up as a video. It is fun to compare the visualization in my head. Pinterest is indeed a world of pictures, and visiting my account felt a little like the world come to life. I think about healthy recipes

Healthy Recipes

Eggplant Fries (Courtesy of The Fitnessista)

or ways to mix up my style, but here it was all realized in pictures.

Style

Anthropologie

Sweet Tooth Cravings

As I have mentioned a few times on the blog, I love dark chocolate and it fills the desire of having something sweet after my meals.

Dark Chocolate

However, what is a good replacement if dark chocolate is not an option? My mom mentioned this dilemma while we were catching up on the phone over the weekend.

Low Sugar Dessert Board

She shared that she really wanted to find some desserts that were lower in sugar. She cannot eat chocolate, and it seems that most healthy desserts include chocolate or dried fruit. Dried fruit can actually be very dense when it comes to grams of sugar per serving. She was definitely not interested in my suggestion for homemade applesauce since that did not sound like a treat apparently.

As much as I love to bake, I find that I often have to let it fall by the wayside since I run out of time since I make a lot of meals. Even simple cooking can add up in the preparation and clean up department. However, I would like to try to dedicate more time towards some new creations so I set up two boards to start a bit of a round up if you will.

One board was for low-sugar desserts and one was for grain-free baking. I am not entirely gluten-free, but I have found I gravitate towards grain free selections for muffins or cakes when time permits and I have the opportunity to search out a recipe.

I thought this Pumpkin Custard from Balanced Bites looked delicious…

Pumpkin Custard

How Sweet?

Any type of artificial sweetener is complete bad news. I have avoided it like the plague for years. I use Stevia a lot to flavor Greek yogurt or oatmeal. Splenda is a story of the past for me. If you are still using I highly recommend you ditch it. It has been shown it can even cause you have the reverse result and to gain weight. No bueno.

No Artificial Sweetner

It is not necessarily a dietary guidelines, but my personal stance is you should aim for a serving size of your treat to not have more than 5 grams of sugar at a clip. By keeping that number low you are not causing your insulin to spike in any way.

There are so many option out there, so I can assure you that you will definitely not run out of new baked goodies to try out if you hop on the Pinterest band wagon.

Click below to check out the new boards on my Pinterest:

Keep in mind they are a work in progress. I am sure I will be adding as much as time permits. :-)

I am off to work out and start on my weekly to-do list. I am also finishing up the studying I need to do for my Precision Nutrition Certification. I plan to complete my test this week.

Enjoy your Monday!

Question of the Day: What are your go-to foods when your sweet tooth starts calling?

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10/24: Friday’s Favorite Things

Hello and Happy Friday!

Any fun plans for the weekend? I am planning to keep it pretty low key since I want to spend a lot of time studying. I would also really like to dedicate a little time to Pinterest. I have an account set up, but up until now I have not used it very much. However, I am always seeing thing I want to “pin” and it looks like this is a place where I could get swept up for hours once I start. Danger lurks ahead…

Scott and I also have plans for a date night of some sort on Saturday, but with no set agenda. We are trying to make this a weekly habit. Some possible activities include Gone Girl at the movies, a Straight No Chaser oncert, or a hike at Mount Bonnell which overlooks Lake Austin. We shall see.

Moving along to business as usual this Friday! Below is a random collection of a few things that made me smile this past week. As always, I invite YOU to share something that has contributed to making your days a little brighter in the comments section below.

10/24: Friday’s Favorite Things

  • Dolce Vita & My Paparazzi Encounter

I am very, very cautious about getting my hair done. Several bad hair cuts over the years have rendered me extremely paranoid. I find a good hair dresser and we mate for life. Well, not really, but you get the general idea. I do not hop around…finding a deal on “Groupon” or playing the field does not work for this girl.

I finally figured I had to cave and find a new hairdresser since I have been living in Austin since July now! I read about Dolce Vita Hair Salon, and made an appointment for a cut and color since it got great ratings and reviews online. I also loved that they carried organic lines of hair products which can be very hard to find.

I had an appointment with Cris, and she made me feel like a movie star! My hair was in desperate need of some TLC and had not been colored in forever. It had taken a beating this summer by the hot, Austin sun.

My Paparazzi (aka Scott) snapped this picture of me as I was walking in the door of our apartment, and I did indeed ham it up.

Paparazzi

We actually just really enjoy taking silly pictures of each other. We delete the really bad ones of course, but they make my smile. :-)

We go outside…

Hair Cut Style

We take nice couple selfies too…

Couple Selfie

  • Overnight Oats

As I was typing up this post this morning, I started to add some strawberries and walnuts to my overnight oats, and it brought a smile to my face. No recipe concoction is as easy or healthy for breakfast in my books. I am always trying new variations on find on blogs or recipe websites.

Today’s bowl features a variation on Julie’s recipe which I have been making for years. It also does not include protein powder for those who do not care for the taste/texture. The protein comes from a combination of the oats and Greek yogurt.

Overnight Oats

  • Ikea Couch

Our new couch has made all the difference in our living room! It arrived on Sunday night and Scott put it together for us.

Ikea Couch

I love it!

It is the Tidafors model in the hensta gray fabric, and it really brightens up our apartment.

Ikea Couch

  • KC Stelter on Instagram

I follow Kasey on Instagram, and I am always blown away by his posts. He plays Wheelchair Basketball and his hashtag is #AdaptedFintess. He works out like a champion. He shares his life, workouts, and positive spirt on a regular basis. I find him to be truly inspiring. He does meal prep, works out regularly and shares positive affirmations. I love his page, and it truly makes me thankful to see people like this spreading their gratitude on social media.

Instagram IMG_3896 IMG_3897

  • Coco Channel Quote

Coco Channel Quote

 

I saw this quote earlier this week, and I thought it was so lovely. I am a huge collector of quotes, and this one particularly resonated with me.

  • Family Visits

I am so excited that my mother and sister will be coming down to visit Austin in February! It is a while away, and I will see them in December for the holidays. However, I am really looking forward to having them come down to Austin to see us so soon! It will be fun to show them around where I am living now.

Family Pic

 

Enjoy your weekend! Thanks to Heather, Katie, and Clare for getting this party started.

Question of the Day: What is your favorite thing this week? Are you loyal to your hair dresser? Pinterest – yay or no? Too many questions?? :-)

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The Bikini Training Page

Hello! Hope you are doing well on this lovely Thursday. I was up early this morning to do some writing, and now the Bikini Training drop down page is published!

The Bikini Experiment

I was all set to film the last installment of the Kitchen Essential Video Series when we ran into some i-Pad issues yesterday. I was a little disappointed, but I plan on filming it within the next week.

I decided to take the time and finish working on the Bikini Training Page instead! I had a ton of notes on thoughts I have wanted to share with you. I hope to be providing more fitness-related content in the future by including highlights of my workouts as well as sharing workouts you could do on your own either at the gym, in your home, or when traveling.

However, before that comes your way I thought it would make sense to explain a little more of my philosophy, what I believe in terms of training, and discovering your personal fitness identity.

Check out the new page either by going to the menu at the top of the page or clicking here.

I am linking up with Amanda today to share my thoughts!

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I hope you have a moment to check it out. Enjoy your day!

Bikini Training

 

 

 

 

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