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Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks

Peace is always beautiful…Walt Whitman

I always love the energy of the July 4th holiday weekend. There is a true celebration of summer in the air and it feel like the world comes to a halt for a brief moment. I hope you enjoyed some of that special weekend vibe with whatever makes you most happy.

Scott and I share a mutual awe and admiration for fireworks. We actually recounted the ones we have witnessed during our time together and evaluated them based on display, sequence and overall presentation. This may sound a little extreme to you, but I guess this is how we roll.

Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks

Austin Symphony Concert & July 4th Fireworks

So of course we found our way rolling to the Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks this past Saturday night. We had ones of those brief moments where we almost did go. At the last minute, we realized our outdoor chairs were too heavy to carry, we were out of bug spray (if we ever had any), and had no clue where to park. The moment was brief because we decided to pull it all together and just get in the car and go. Sometimes life is best lived this way. You cannot overthink anything! Just take your hand off the parking break and go forward.

Austin Symphony Concert & July 4th Fireworks

We were so glad we did! Parking was really a breeze, and once you were in downtown Austin there were so many people that looked like they were headed to a fireworks celebration that the logistics became a piece of cake. Being in a newer city can be overwhelming sometimes because it can be hard to know what to expect from a situation. The up side is that you get to experience some really cool and unique things that you would not otherwise.

Austin Symphony Concert & July 4th Fireworks

This firework display attracts about 100,000 visitors a year. Say what? No I am not adding extra zeroes in the form of a typo. There is legitimately a huge crowd of people that attends every year. I even lost Scott in the sea of people for a period of time. We continued our walk across the bridge to head out to Lady Bird Lake to check out the scene. As we got closer the scene unfolded and many people had already staked out their claim of space for the celebrations. Everyone was dressed in red, white and blue and in very happy spirits.

Austin Symphony Concert & July 4th Fireworks

Next time I definitely want to be kayaking or doing SUP floating on the water! Talk about a view and a really cool place to boot. There were small colored lights draped around for effect too. It was completely charming. Imagine a little bug spray outage almost put the kibosh on our fun.

We walked around and navigated between a lot of different food trucks and small craft booths with an array of merchandise. The Austin Symphony was ringing true to the night and playing swing music and patriotic tunes. They continued on through the display which added a really nice backdrop to the fireworks once they began.

Austin Symphony Concert & July 4th Fireworks

There was a spare area on the lawn where we decided to camp out for the foreseeable future. Just in time! Shortly after we settled in the sky began to get fairly dark and the fireworks were imminent.

The fireworks displayed in the air were an amazing display of colors. It made our New Jersey fireworks seem almost quaint in comparison. The colors, the crowds and the energy of the concert playing in the background made this all a very memorable experience that was very unique to Austin. My pictures (i-Phone captured) do not remotely do it justice.

Austin Symphony Concert & July 4th Fireworks

This has been a tradition in the city for the past 35 years. Kudos to all of the amazing sponsors who made such a momentous event possible. Plus all of the talent musicians in the symphony who dedicated their time to rehearsals and the performance.

Austin Symphony Concert & July 4th Fireworks

Happy July 4th everyone!

Thank you to the brave men who have served and are currently serving in the armed forces. We are all so grateful for what you do for our country.

Have a wonderful Monday, and I will see you tomorrow with a new workout!

Question of the Day: 

  • Do you every let little things deter you from your plans?
  • How was your holiday weekend?

»»Linking up with Katie and Erin today.

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
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I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Xo,
Lauren

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Paleo Lemon Blueberry Squares

A delicious Paleo, grain-free, dairy-free and gluten-free baked good. Paleo Lemon Blueberry Squares that are bursting with citrus zest and sweetened with spices and seasonal fresh blueberries. Perfect for a on the go breakfast, a snack or a low sugar treat.

When I asked Scott what he wanted to do last weekend I got a two word response. “Blueberry muffins.” I kind of half listened since I knew the implied “we” meant “me” making blueberry muffins. However, he mentioned it a time or four or ten this week so I figured it was a darn serious craving. Scott’s biggest food weakness is any kind of homemade sweat bread or muffin. For some reason the control is lacking when he gazes upon a baked good. There are worse things of course. He had a long week so I decided it was time to put on my baking pants to whip up some grain-free goodness.

Paleo Lemon Blueberry Squares

Paleo Lemon Blueberry Squares

Wanting to kill two birds with one stone I decided to create a new recipe this week for Scott to eat and to share on the blog. I am not sure if it is seasonal or not – does anyone else bake during the warmer months? Maybe I am in a minority on this one. I do it less, but it does happen. If not, there is always Pinterest to save it for later. I am warning you these may be hard to resist – the fresh blueberries are killer here. It is almost worth heating up your kitchen to dive into one of these babies.

Paleo-Lemon-Blueberry-Squares

This recipe accomplishes quite a few taste sensations. There is the lemon which is a wonderful flavoring agent. Not only does it allow you to add a tart dimension, but it is an excellent way to add moisture to the mix. Almond flour and coconut flour are both very dry when it comes to baking. They absorb a great deal of wetness. So it may seem a little odd to have all those eggs if you are new to grain-free baking flours. I thought it was a little strange until I started attempting creations in the spirit of experimentation. Baker beware! Every drop gets absorbed. The lemon gets blunted a bit by the maple syrup as a sweetened. I often will go with honey, but I opted for the maple syrup this time around. Both are an excellent way to add a delicious sensation without piling on lots of unnatural sugars.

Paleo-Lemon-Blueberry-Squares

Whenever, I make one of these breads they only last a very short window of time. I prefer to keep them in the refrigerator as I do feel it upholds the freshness more than a spot on the kitchen counter. I predict these will not make it through the 4th of July weekend!

Paleo-Lemon-Blueberry-Squares

Speaking of which…any fun plans? Weather permitting our plans include a trip to Jackson Pool which is a natural spring watering hole in Austin. Watering holes and lakes are the THING around here since we have no nearby ocean. We are going to Zilker Park in the evening where they have a symphony play and then a display of fireworks. If the weather is bad, I guess there is always shopping. The sales and discounts are usually pretty stellar this holiday.

Paleo-Lemon-Blueberry-Squares

Have fun and I hope you get to enjoy one of these squares soon! I have kept you in suspense long enough – moving on to the recipe! When in doubt go blueberry. Boom.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Paleo Lemon Blueberry Squares
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A delightful Paleo Lemon Blueberry Square that is Paleo, grain-free, nut-free and dairy free. Enjoy it on the go for a snack or gor a low-sugar treat.
Author:
Recipe type: Snack or Treat
Cuisine: Paleo
Serves: 12 Squares
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups of Almond Flour
  • ½ Cup of Coconut Flour
  • 5 Pasture-Raised Eggs
  • Juice of 2 Small Lemons
  • 1 and ½ Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Coconut Oil (melted)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cinammon
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Nutmeg
  • ½ Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • Dash of Himalayan Salt
  • ⅔ Cup of Fresh Blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8'8" baking dish with coconut oil.
  3. Mix all of the dry inredients into a small bowl and fold together.
  4. Crack and scramble all of the eggs in a separate bowl. Add all of the other wet ingredients.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and blend until everything is together.
  6. Add the blueberries.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle is clean once removed.

Have a wonderful 4th of Jully holiday and I will see you back here on Monday!

Questions of the Day:

  • Do you bake during the summer months?
  • Are you going to see the fireworks this weekend?

»»Linking up with Heather, Katie, Clare and Jill today.

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
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I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Xo,
Lauren

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My Favorite Things: June

Hello there! I am probably preaching to the choir when I say that I cannot believe that June has come and gone already. It seemed like it was over in the blink of an eye! Somehow the next month rolled around as it always does.

I swear the older I get the faster time flies. I am all about the clichés today. You will find below a little collection of favorite things I rounded up. Highlights in health, fitness apparel, wellness, beauty and food are coming at ya in a mere moment.

So these are a few of my favorite things. However, I would love for you to share a thing or two that stood out for you too. Now let us move onto the roundup of favorites!

My Favorite Things: June

My Favorite Things June

Fitness Apparel

My love for cute workout clothes has blossomed over the years. Now I wear it so often I can justify the time put into looking at styles or hunting down sales.

Back in the day I would just go to Target. After I entered the store, I would make a beeline for the wall of black leggings. An old t-shirt of some kind, and it was done and done! This was before Target was really into diversifying their fitness apparel line.

A trip to Lululemon recently was meant more for browsing than anything. As luck would have it, they were having some awesome sales. I scored these shorts which are reversible so it is essentially two pairs. Now that is done and done. :-)

My Favorite Things June

My other fave in this category is my new sneakers! I wore them recently in a few workouts and training tutorials I featured on the blog.

My Favorite Things June

They are Reebook Crossfit, and they are absolutely perfect. I had waited way too long to buy a new pair. My old ones were completely stretched out. Do not do this with your gym shoes! Do as I say, not as I do.

Food

Apparently this should really be an on the go fuel category. First up is Caveman Bars which I mentioned recently in this WIAW post.

My Favorite Things June

They are “Paleoish” because I believe the term caveman is a little misleading. Depending on how strict you are or follow that diet structure know that the bars contain brown rice syrup. Not a big deal if you are just eating healthy. They are delicious and can be found at a regular ole grocery store too. The taste is similar to any nut type bar.

Ionic! This company reached out to me recently to see if they could send me a few of their products to try. It is a lean protein drink that is from Grass-Fed Milk and flavored naturally. They are expanding into stores in Austin namely Central Market (organic foods) and Sprouts.  Vanilla bean, chocolate truffle, and café au lait. Cannot wait!

My Favorite Things June

My package arrived this week and I am so excited to try these after one of my upcoming workouts!

Beauty

Throwing it back to a very old pick of mine. I used to use Bare Essentuals foundation regularly. I ran out and eventually branched out to trying other foundations. I needed a new one and almost picked one up at the drugstore. However, I feel foundation colors can be very hard to match through a package. I have bought a few that have not worked in the past and it turns into a waste of money in the end.

My Favorite Things June

I picked up the Bare Minerals Primer, foundation and mineral veil at Sephora. I am loving it again and am amazed how a light powder can provide such a polished finish. That sounds a little like an ad – but it is totally true.

Another recent find has been Jergen’s Natural Glow. I am a complete newbie to the self tanner game. Meaning I have never used it. Well, I would like to have a little bit of color so I decided to give this one a go. I like that it builds slowly and while I still cannot seem to get my knees right I am certainly improving my application skills.

My Favorite Things June

Wellness

Relaxing is so important when it comes to wellness. Always try to find a little pocket of time that you can sit back and simply be. Last month, I happened to win a Rewind Candle giveaway on Gina’s blog. I have not won anything in a long time so it was a really lovely surprise!

My Favorite Things June

Last night I decided to bust it out, and also poured a glass of one of my favorite reds. The weather was nice so it was great to sit on the porch for a little while.

Quotes

Of course a few quote…

My Favorite Things June

Because it is almost the weekend. Plus a holiday to boot.

My Favorite Things June

Question of the Day: What was your June highight?

»»Linking up with Running with Spoons today.

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
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I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Xo,
Lauren

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WIAW #35: Food Density

Good morning! Hopefully this week is moving along well for you. Only a few more days to count down before the 4th of July weekend begins. This week’s edition of What I Ate Wednesday is going to explain my rationale for the choices I made for my meals, snacks and drinks. I am a very healthy eater for the most part, and over the years it has become second nature to me.

Over the winter, I went out of my comfort zone and deliberately gained about 5 pounds. I did it because I wanted to add more muscle to my frame. As someone who is on the petite side this can be very hard to do. When I “let myself go” I really just become “skinny-fat.” I am not a huge fan of that term, but it is completely true. So with gaining a few pounds and lifting heavier weights the ultimate goal was to gain a little more muscle.

I would like to get back to my more typical weight range so I have been making some cuts here and there. Not a diet exactly, but just a little more awareness around my food density. You will see what I mean.

WIAW #35: Food Density

WIAW

Almost every breakfast I eat involves eggs. There was a bowl of oatmeal on Monday, but this is all about yesterday’s eats.

I had a breakfast similar to what I typically have most days. Here we have leftover butternut squash, zucchini, spinach, egg whites and one whole egg. This was all cooked in a bit of coconut oil with a cup of Joe (upictured) on the side.

Wht I Ate Wednesday

What was different? Well I normally always have two whole eggs and there is often a slice of bacon there too. Bacon is back to being more of a treat food now. It is delicious, as we all know, so it is easy to let it become an everyday habit. A slice is not very big, and it is very dense in terms of calories and fat. It is not all that filling either, so it is really an easy thing to cut.

After getting some work done I took a break to workout. I managed to get to the gym earlier (around 10:15), but it was already getting a bit toasty out.

Iced green tea shared on Instagram. There was also lots of water involves through the workout too (unpictured).

What I Ate Wednesday

I went back to the apartment, and blended up a protein shake while I checked some emails. The shake was coconut water, half a frozen banana and strawberries with a scoop of vanilla Sun Warrior Protein and ice. The coconut water was really refreshing! I picked some up on a whim at the food store, and I need to have it more often. The cut here was MCT oil which I sometimes put in a shake, but I decided to save it for my salad. I completely spaced on taking a picture. The heat will do that to a person. However, here is a previously shared shake this is very similar.

Protein Shake

After showering and get ready in semi-real clothes (a t-shirt and shorts) I got ready for a conference call and made lunch at the same time. I am all for multi-tasking and do it rather frequently. Or should I say try to do it frequently. I think it is hard to do it well! It makes my mind feel like it is going in a million directions!

Time for lunch!

What I Ate Wednesday

Salad with spinach, chicken, celery, strawberries and walnuts.

Dressing was apple cider vinegar, a blend of MCT oil and EVOO and some salt and pepper. This is a fairly normal lunch for me. A lot of times I will have a “mini-dessert” after, but the salad was big and rather filling. I brewed a pot of coffee to power me through the rest of the day.

A few freelance articles, online research, a conference call and the afternoon had flown by already. Scott came home so I chatted with him for a few minutes and fixed a quick snack.

What I Ate Wednesday

Fage Greek yogurt with strawberries and a rice cake with almond butter.

Oh, and there is a packet of stevia in the yogurt because it is the plain variety. It is way too sour to eat on its own (in my opinion anyway). I have been eating a little bit of yogurt again because I was kind of missing it. I cannot handle a ton of dairy, but seem to be doing ok with it right now. Plus, it is really nice to have another protein source option. A girl can get real darn tired of protein powder, eggs and various meats.

I took a break to get caught up on a few things around the apartment and make a few phone calls. I wrapped up for the day and made dinner.

What I Ate Wednesday

Salmon, plantains, zucchini and one sausage link.

I will probably give the sausage a little break for a while because again it is one of those super dense meats. We had these defrosted so it made sense to eat through them. I only ate one where I was probably eating a few at a time.

I cannot give up dessert of course, but it was just a small piece of chocolate. Sometimes I easily get carried away. This one has a bit of a tart finish, but it is nice for a change of pace. These bars were very inexpensive at Trader Joe’s. Suffice it to say, I was lured in by the low price point.

What I Ate Wednesday

That is a wrap for this edition of What I Ate Wednesday! I thought it might be helpful to point out that if you do want to lose weight it does not have to be a process of starvation. Looking at food density can allow you to keep your quantity high so that you do not feel deprived. Slow and steady is really the best plan.

Have a wonderful day! Thanks for tuning in for WIAW. I will see you here tomorrow with a collection of my favorite things from June!

Question of the Day:

  • Do you consider food density when it comes to your meals?
  • What is your summer beverage of choice?

»»Linking up with Jenn.

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
Facebook | Google+ | Twitter |  Pinterest | Instagram | FeedBurner | Bloglovin

I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Xo,
Lauren

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Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

I am rocking lifting gloves and a braid today so you know things are about to get serious! Really? I am not sure, but today I have a little training tutorial of sorts for your next trip to the gym. I have been including the trap bar deadlift in my workouts again recently. It is a really great training tool so I thought I would share some details with you guys!

Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

You may feel like you are in the dark and wondering what this post is even about. Well behold, this piece right here. It usually floats around the gym weight lifting area or pitched against a wall.

Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

In simplistic terms, a deadlift is simply the process of lifting things up and putting them down. However, the way that the body performs this motion is absolutely necessary to reep any type of athletic performance benefits.

Benefits of Trap Bar Deadlift

The trap bar is the perfect tool for any beginner to start to perform a deadlift. You can develop some of the necessary skills before you progress to doing a barbell deadlift. The skills I am referencing here are a hip hinge, neutral spine and optimal hip extension. These are the essentials you are going to need in your “training tool box” if you want to develop even as an everyday athlete.

Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

This movement also really works your glutes and hamstrings so it will help your legs look tip top. This is always an extra benefit. :-)

The Trap Bar Deadlift & Your Workout

You can add the trap bar deadlift to your workout or training scheme at any time. It can be a great way to develop your movement skills and pattern. If you are newer to lifting weights it is also a good first step to start.

Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

The Set Up

The trap bar weights 45lbs which is the same weight as an average barbell. You will typically see them lying without weight plates against a wall at a gym.

Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

To use the bar you will need to add plates and clips at the end to keep the weight secure. Once do this you are ready to get started. I have 15lb plates on each side. However, you have to play a little trial and error to see what falls into your comfort zone.

You will see that there are handles on the side. These handles can be low or high depending on how low you are able to go. I actually use both to mix it up my training. My squatting technique has improved, but I have a lot of restrictions that prevents me from squatting low. I am working on it! Years of being inactive in a desk job will make the body a little cranky and reluctant to move into certain positions.

Steps to Active your Muscles

  • Shoulders Back and Down (think about tucking them into your back pockets)
  • Core is Tight
  • Low abs are engaged
  • Booty is tucked under
  • Gaze is straight ahead

The Movement

The trap bar deadlift is a bit of a deadlift and squat hybrid since it is more of a push movement. It helps to teach how to push in a deadlift which is a push into a pull. Learning to push off the ground is not an easy thing to master. It also helps you keep your body weight centered in relation to the bar.

With a straight bar, the bar is in front of you and therefore trickier to navigate. Finding your center is harder since the weight is placed differently.

Trap Bar Deadlift Tutorial

After you step inside the bars you will want to squat down to pick up the bar by the handles. Push your knees out slightly. Then bend at the hips and push your booty back. Extend your arms to get down and pick up the handles. Drive up to full standing position and then repeat those motions to return the bar to the ground.

Wrap Up

You can do different variations of weight. You want to use enough so that the movement is a challenge, but not so hard that I could not perform sufficient repetitions. I would recommend doing 7-8 sets of 5 reps each taking a brief rest (30-60 seconds) in between.

A side note about the braid…I rarely do anything different with my hair. It is either in a ponytail (workout mode) or down (real life). A few years ago I started playing around with “beach waves” and that was a real big change. I got a lot of compliments, and started to see where it could be fun to play around a little bit and try new things! Sometimes I think it is sort of nice to just see something different.

Have a great Tuesday, and I will see you tomorrow with post all about the eats.

Question of the Day: Have you ever used a trap bar in your workouts?

»»Linking up with The Fit Dish today.

Enjoy the fit life one adventure at a time and follow along!
Facebook | Google+ | Twitter |  Pinterest | Instagram | FeedBurner | Bloglovin

I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Xo,
Lauren

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