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Friday Favorites

Good afternoon! Happy Friday!

Yesterday

Last night, I went to CrossFit. While I was driving there, I was listening to the radio and they were giving away tickets to the Miller Lite Chicago Bears Kickoff Concert featuring Fall Out Boy to caller #12 so on a whim I decided to call and I was the 12th caller! I won two tickets and was on the radio for about 5 seconds! I was so happy because I’ve never won anything on the radio before!

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Jaden was super happy for me but he was also a little sad because he loves Fall Out Boy but the concert is only for ages 21 and up.

Today

Today, I worked and then I fit in a quick workout after work.

I have a few favorites to share with you today. Most of my favorites always seem to be food related but that’s okay because food is delicious!

I have a few pumpkin items to share today. I was going to wait until September to post them but I figure it’s close enough! I love all things pumpkin and to me, September 1st is the official kick-off of pumpkin everything!

  • Pumpkin Spice Coffee

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When I saw they had this on the Keurig website, I immediately had to order a box. Pumpkin spice coffee, yes.

  • Siggi’s Pumpkin & Spice Yogurt

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This was my first time ever trying Siggi’s yogurt and I loved it. I liked that it had a thick texture and you could really taste the spice in the yogurt!

  • Power Cakes Flapjack On The Go

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Now that the kids are back in school and I’m back to work a couple of days, the mornings get hectic and I need something I can eat on the go. I saw these Power Cakes Flapjacks to Go at Target so I bought one to try out.

You just add water and cook in right in the cup. For some reason, I assumed it would have an oatmeal consistency, but it didn’t. It was actually like a normal pancake in a cup. At first, I was unsure if I would like it, but then I tried it and it was amazing. I ate the whole thing in about 60 seconds. I will definitely be buying more of these! They are so great for those busy mornings when you’re running out the door but need a filling breakfast.

  • Horizon Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers

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I saw these at Target when I was getting the Power Cakes Flapjack and had to try them. I love peanut butter crackers and I was excited to try the Horizon organic crackers. Not to mention Charlie Brown is my favorite character. A good majority of my Christmas decorations are Charlie Brown and we already have plans to see the new Peanuts movie with my mom in November! Nothing like planning ahead!

I have one tv show to share with you today

  • Scream TV Series on MTV

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I’m not a huge fan of scary movies but who doesn’t love the original Scream movie? When I saw that MTV was making it a tv series, I thought I’d check it out and now I’m addicted! So good!

Those are my favorites for this wonderful Friday! Have a great weekend!

Comment below and tell me your:

  • Favorite pumpkin item?
  • Favorite TV show?
  • Favorite scary movie?

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Friday Favorites

Good morning! Happy Friday!!

Last night, danny and I dropped the kids off at my dad and stepmom’s house so we could attend Freshman Orientation Parent Night at Jacob’s school. I still cannot believe that I’m going to have a high schooler! Where did the time go?!

Mom of a freshman:

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Sometimes, I actually change out of gym clothes. It’s rare but it happens. :)

Since we were dropping the kids off around dinner time, I made sure to bring an easy and healthy dinner with in the car – brown rice, chicken, and green beans.

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This is one of my favorite easy and healthy meals to throw together. I probably eat it at least  3 or 4 times a week.

The orientation went well and we learned a lot of information. I liked that they had a question and answer session with a group of junior and senior students. It’s nice hearing right from the students about their high school experience.

The kids start school Monday and hopefully the transition will go smoothly!

Friday Favorites

I have a few favorites to share with you today.

  • Southern Pecan Coffee

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I recently ordered some coffee from the Keurig website and I bought the Southern Pecan flavor to try out. They come in a sample pack of 5 k-cups for only $2.99. I love that they sell sample packs because I have bought a flavor that I didn’t love once or twice in the regular size box and then I’m stuck drinking all of it.

The Southern Pecan flavor was delicious and I will be purchasing it in the full size box.

  • Veggie Flatbread Pizza with Chicken

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I eat veggie flatbread pizza all the time. It’s a great way to get some veggies, fiber, and whole grains. The other day, I was a little short on protein, so I threw some pre-cooked chicken on my pizza. Game changer. It was so good and added some protein!

  • Jif Bars

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These are amazing. Delicious. Fabulous. They’re marketed as a granola bar, but let’s face it – they’re pretty much a candy bar. They are great for an occasional treat or when you’re craving chocolate.

  • Clearance Items

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I am such a sucker for clearance items. Sometimes I buy things I don’t even need, which I guess kind of defeats the purpose. But when I found these workout socks for only $1.25 for two pair, I couldn’t pass it up. Yay clearance!

Have a great weekend!!

  • What are your favorite things today?
  • Favorite coffee?
  • What is the best thing you’ve ever found on clearance?

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SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener

As a Moms Meet blogger, I recently had the opportunity to try out the SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener.

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SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener is an organic and zero calorie sweetener made from high-quality stevia leaves.

I love using this sweetener in my morning coffee. It’s sweeter than regular sugar so a little goes a long way. I love that they come individually wrapped and I use one packet in my coffee. Each packet equals about two teaspoons of regular sugar.

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SweetLeaf is great in all kinds of drinks, perfect for baking, and for adding to yogurt. Whenever I eat plain Greek yogurt, I always mix in one packet of SweetLeaf to give it a little bit of sweetness.

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It’s also great for people managing their blood sugar or calorie intake because it doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients, calories, carbohydrates, or glycemic response.

And besides being used in drinks and baked goods, SweetLeaf sweetener can also be used in savory dishes! Check out some great recipes on the SweetLeaf website. They even have a cookbook available for purchase.

In addition to stevia packets, SweetLeaf also makes SweetLeaf Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops.

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You can add the Sweet Drops to water or coffee and use them for baking. These are also great for kids to don’t love to drink water. Jaden doesn’t really like plain water, but if he adds a few drops of the Sweet Drops suddenly he loves water.

And they have a ton of great flavors. I love adding a couple of drops of the pumpkin spice or peppermint mocha to my coffee. It’s a great way to add a little bit of sweetness and flavor without adding extra calories and carbs. And there’s no bitter aftertaste!

For more infomation on SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener be sure to check out their Facebook and Twitter pages.

  • What do you put in your coffee?
  • Do you use any Stevia products?

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.  

 

 

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Positivity

Good afternoon!

Last night for dinner, I made baked chicken and veggie fajitas.

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I love easy these are to make and how delicious they taste. Mexican food is my all time favorite food!

Today

I had quite the workout today! I started with 15 minutes on the elliptical and then I did the bikini body mommy cardio workout twice. I can’t believe it’s day 44 for the bikini mommy challenge already! Halfway through.

After the cardio workout, I stretched and rode the stationary bike for a few minutes until the Women on Weights class started. I used to take this class every single Tuesday up until my hip surgery. I haven’t taken it since my hip surgery in July so that’s about 7 months.

I wanted to take the class today since I will be teaching it starting in March just to get the feel of it again. We did arms today including biceps and triceps. Nothing too much for my hip although it did kill my wrist.

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782 calories burned during today’s workout. Post workout, I had a Shamrock Farms Rockin’ Refuel protein shake.

After the gym, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some eggs. When I got home, I proceded to drop the entire bag of eggs on my front porch.

Of course, every single egg broke…except one.

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He was the strong egg. He wins at life. He is my lucky egg and I will keep him forever and ever…or until I eat him tomorrow morning.

To make myself feel better, I made some Cinnabon coffee.

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No, coffee mug, I’m not purr-fect. I dropped all the eggs.

Positivity

Today at the gym, a women made a comment to me in passing that really lifted my spirits. It got me thinking about how little complements or words of encouragement can go along way.

To her, it was just something she said to me in conversation but to me, it meant a lot more. It lifted my spirits and made me feel good. Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves, we don’t take the time to realize the good attributes we possess.

An older man came into the gym the other day and talked about how when he was doing some ab exercises, two women told him he was doing such a great job. The man said that comment made his whole day and he spent the rest of the day feeling good. I’m sure the two women didn’t think about what they said again but the man remembered it the whole day.

I think we are so busy in life that sometimes we overlook the opportunity to pay attention to those around us and compliment them on a job well done. Even something as simple as, “I really like your hair today” or “Great job doing those lunges” can really make a person’s day.

I’m going to try to really make the effort to notice those around me and pay more compliments to people, and it doesn’t even have to be a compliment, words of encouragement also go a long way!

And those are my thoughts for today! Have a great afternoon!

  • When was the last time you complimented someone?
  • When was the last time you received a compliment?
  • How do you stay positive?

 

 

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That Time I Ran For One Minute

Apparently I slightly misunderstood what the doctor told me yesterday. I can still start a walk/run program, but when he said five minute increments, he literally meant five minute increments and that’s it.

I had physical therapy this morning, and I asked my therapist how many times I could repeat the five minute increments and she explained that I would only be able to run one minute the first day, and that’s it. Rest the next day and then run two minutes followed by three minutes walking on the day after that.

So, I am starting off way slower that I initially thought but at least it progress and I don’t want to hurt my healing hip. Today at physical therapy, I ran one minute on the treadmill and walked four. I could have went more, but of course, I shouldn’t. I can walk more on my own if I want, just not run more.

I felt really good running for one minute and I can’t wait to run for two minutes. Yippee!

I haven’t run in a long time and my hip is still healing so my speed is very slow. I ran at about 4.3 mph today and I could feel my quad start to kick in so I’m making sure not to start off too fast.

I also went to the gym before physical therapy and worked on some chest exercises.

Yesterday afternoon, I went to Target and found these candy cane k-cups!

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I am excited to try them out. I have a few more Vue cups left to use before I start using the regular Keurig coffee maker.

Lunch

Lunch today was an oldie but goody – a bagelwich!

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I have been eating veggie flatbread pizza for weeks and I really needed something new so I switched to either a bagelwich with berry preserves (so much better!) or a grilled veggie quesadilla on a low carb high fiber tortilla.

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Both lunch are quick, easy, and delicious.

It is freezing here today in Chicagoland. I think if we stay below 22 degrees it will be a record low for this date. I think when I got out of my car a little bit ago it was 13 degrees and felt like -7 degrees with the windchill. It’s not even Thanksgiving and we’re in the negative degrees. I hate it.

Have a great afternoon!

 

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Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!

I had physical therapy this morning and I think I’m getting close to the end of my physical therapy journey. It’s kind of bittersweet. I am happy to be almost done but at the same time I’ve been going twice a week for four months and I feel like it’s really been helping me.

My quad is still pretty sore but I have a follow-up doctor’s appointment on Monday so we’ll see what happens.

My physical therapist said I have full range of motion in my hip now which was the basic goal post surgery. I just have to work on my endurance which is nothing new. Even though I’ve been running for years, I have always struggled with endurance. It’s just something that I have to work on.

Let’s jump right into today’s favorites!

  • Keurig Coffee Maker

I must really love Keurig machines. This is my third one.

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I orginally had the regular Keurig coffee maker, and I loved it. I am the only person that drinks coffee in our house and I only drink one cup a day so the Keurig was absolutely perfect for me. Then the Keurig Vue came out.

I was smitten with the Vue. You could brew coffee, iced coffee, lattes, tea, and hot chocolate. You could change the temperature setting and pick how many ounces of coffee you wanted to brew. You had the option of brewing the coffee stronger.

It was love at first sight but I pushed the thought out of my mind because  1) I already had a Keurig and 2) it was expensive. Then my wonderful sweet husband bought me a Keurig Vue for our anniversary (I knew I married him for a reason).

But the Keurig Vue takes different size cups than the regular Keurig machine. For awhile, Target and Meijer near me sold them. Then they stopped and the Vue cups became a lot harder to find. I finally just started ordering them online because it was easier. The Vue cups also offered a lot less flavors than the regular k-cups.

As much as I loved the Vue, I missed the regular k-cups, especially all the flavors that come out around the holidays. I had already given my old Keurig to my brother and sister-in-law so I couldn’t go back to k-cups even if I wanted to.

Then earlier this week, Danny’s work was getting rid of one of their office grade Keurig machines. Danny was able to get it for only $25 (and a promise to clean out their current Keurig machine) and I was back in the k-cup business!! Yes!

I immediately had to go out and purchase a k-cup flavor that I was unable to get in the vue cups – butterscotch!

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I can’t wait to try it! I have a few vue cups left so I am using those up before I start using the other Keurig.

That was quite a long explanation about my coffee maker. Moving on…

  • Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie Creamer

Sticking with the coffee theme, I have a coffee creamer that I have been loving lately.

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As much as I love chocolate, I am not really a fan of chocolate in my coffee. However, I made an exception to try this creamer and it’s really good. Well done, Coffeemate.

  • Turkey Jerky

I have no idea where my love for turkey jerky has come from.

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I think I was trying out different foods to get more protein in my diet and I stumbled upon turkey jerky. I really like the Jack Links brand but today I picked up the Old Wisconsin brand to try.

  • Christmas Music

Our local radio station started playing Christmas music all the time today and I’m so happy! I love Christmas music.

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I know some people think it’s too early to start with Christmas music and decorations but the holiday season is such a short time and it’s over so fast so why not celebrate as much as you can. It makes me happy so why wouldn’t I enjoy what makes me happy.

I love Thanksgiving, being thankful, and spending time with my family also, but there’s no reason I can’t celebrate both. :)

And that’s what I am loving this cold November Friday. Danny has a work outing tonight, so the kids and I are staying in, making dinner, watching How to Train Your Dragon 2, and eating popcorn!

Have a great night!!

  • What are your Friday favorites?
  • Christmas music now or after Thanksgiving?

 

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Friday Favorites

Good morning!

This morning we are off to Alabama for a family wedding! I rarely travel but in the last week and a half I’ve been to California, back to Illinois, and now off to Alabama.

Since the kids are coming with us we decided to drive to save money. Plane tickets for the four of us would have been a little over $1600! I’m not exactly looking forward to a 12+ hour car ride but at least it’s saving us a lot of money.

I recently wrote an article for Chicago Parent on how to survive a long car ride with kids. If you want, you can check it out here.

I’m assuming it’s going to take us quite awhile to get there between bathroom breaks and food stops. Also, my physical therapist said to stop every few hours so I can stretch out my hip. We’ll see how it goes!

I haven’t done a Friday Favorites in awhile, so I thought it’d be perfect for today.

FRIDAY FAVORITES

  • HAVING A RECIPE PUBLISHED IN A COOKBOOK

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My gluten-free chocolate chip pecan pumpkin muffin recipe was recently published in the book The Everything Gluten-Free Breakfast and Brunch Cookbook!! I am so excited!

This book has tons of great gluten-free recipes. If you’re interested in buying it, you can purchase it on Amazon.

  • Pumpkin Spice Gum

I will never be over the pumpkin spice craze. I love it all!

I recently found Extra gum in pumpkin spice and apple crisp flavors. I only bought the pumpkin spice flavor to try out but I will be buying the apple crisp flavor too.

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This gum is amazing. You might not think that pumpkin spice would work in a gum but it does. I love it.

  • Jack Links Turkey Jerky in Sweet Teriyaki

I’ve pretty much gone my whole life without eating jerky then I discovered turkey jerky. I just recently started eating white meat again to get more protein in my diet and I love this turkey jerky! Normally I buy the regular flavor but when I saw they had teriyaki I was excited to try it out!

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I bought the big bag to eat in the car on the way to Alabama. Turkey jerky is good but it’s expensive!

  • Awesome Companies

International Delight coffee creamer recently noticed I am a huge coffee lover (maybe because I post lots of coffee pics on Twitter and Instagram) and they sent me this awesome mason jar glass with my name on it.

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How awesome is that?! I love that a company just randomly sent some coffee lovers mason jar mugs with their name on it. Way to go International Delight! I will forever buy your coffee creamer because you sent me an awesome jar with my name on it. I will also buy a Kia car because the commercial features dancing hamsters. What can I say? I’m a sucker for advertising. :)

  • End of Season Sales

The wedding we’re going to in Alabama is outside and it’s going to be hot and humid so we were advised not to wear heels. I don’t have any plain black sandals or flip flops so I ran to Kohl’s to see if they had any.

They had a bunch of them on sale for $2.40 and $2.80! I got three pairs for less than $9! I’ll bring one pair for the wedding and save the others for next spring and summer.

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I saved $72!

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Yay for sales!

Those are all my favorites for this Friday. Have a wonderful weekend!

  • What are your Friday favorites?
  • What is the longest car ride you’ve ever been on?

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Squats are Back in my Life

Big News: Yesterday at physical therapy I did 30 squats!

Okay, they were ball squats on the wall, but they were still squats. Doing thirty squats might not seem like big news, but it is to me. Before surgery, I was taking BodyPump at least two times a week, teaching it once a week, and practicing it for numerous hours at home. That’s a lot of squats.

I haven’t been able to do squats for 47 days…until yesterday. It felt good to be able to actually do an exercise that I’m used to doing and something a little more challenging.

Yesterday was my second post-op surgery appointment at the doctor. It has been almost seven weeks since my surgery. The doctor said that I am healing nicely and the range of motion in my hip is good. I am allowed to start doing lower body exercises with my physical therapist only.

I can continue walking and the stationary bike. In a week or two, I can add the elliptical. I can also do strength exercises in the pool and use a kickboard. The pool isn’t my favorite but maybe I’ll try it out.

Of course, I asked about running. The doctor said that my legs and hip have to be back to pretty much full strength before I can run. He said that hopefully in six weeks, I can start a walk/run program. I have another follow-up appointment in six weeks so we’ll see what he says then.

I am so used to running and doing races that sometimes it’s hard to watch everyone around me continue to do them while I can’t. I know I just have to get better and I’ll eventually get there, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard.

Today

This morning, I went to the gym and rode the stationary bike for 20 minutes then did a shoulder workout. Some of the shoulder exercises I did included:

  • shoulder press machine
  • plate raises with a twist
  • Arnold presses
  • upright rows
  • lateral/front shoulder raises

Post-workout, I had a Luna bar for a snack.

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Yesterday, I had a smoothie for an afternoon snack.

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We have been trying different dairy-free snack options for Jaden and he loves yogurt, so I bought some dairy-free yogurt to make smoothie for him. His smoothie looked so good that I decided to make one for myself using plain Fage Greek yogurt.

I love smoothies because they are so simple. Our smoothies had yogurt, frozen strawberries, frozen peaches, and almond milk.

Yesterday on Instagram, my wonderful internet friend, Summer, mentioned that Pumpkin Spice k-cups were back. But I have a Keurig Vue coffee maker which doesn’t take k-cups and I haven’t been able to find the Pumpkin Spice in a Vue cup…until today!

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Yay! I saw they had the Vue cups on the Keurig site so I ordered two boxes! I can’t wait for Fall weather so I can start drinking pumpkin coffee and eating all things pumpkin!!

Also today, I started wearing my Fitbit again.

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I took it off right before having my surgery because there was really no point in wearing it, but since I can be more active now, I decided to wear it again. I know that there’s no way I’ll hit 10,000 steps a day yet, but I’m interested to see how many step I will take.

Have a great afternoon!

  • Do you a fitbit or a similar device?
  • What pumpkin food or drink are you most excited about?

 

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Things I’m Loving Friday

Happy Friday!

This week seemed to go by fast, and I’m glad the weekend is here!

Things I’m Loving Friday

  • My heart rate monitor.

I have the Polar FT7 and I love it. I love that it tells me my heart rate, calories burned, and the time I’ve spent in the fat burning and fitness zones. Yesterday, I walked, ran, and took a Trifecta fitness class and burned 737 calories!

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  • Green Mountain Nantucket Blend coffee.

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I have been having such a hard time finding the Vue cups for my Keurig coffee maker lately. All my local Targets stopped carrying the Vue cups. I went to another local grocery store, Meijer, and they had a whole bunch stocked. The only problem is that they haven’t restocked them.

This box of Nantucket coffee was the only regular box that they had left. All the rest were decaf or the travel mug size. I’ve never had the Nantucket blend and I was glad I tried it because it was awesome.

I finally ordered some Vue cups off the Keurig website. I had a coupon code and it ended up being cheaper per box than I would have paid at the store. And there’s a way bigger selection online.

  • Core Power

I brought a bottle of Core Power Lite for a post-workout snack after BodyPump this morning. I’m normally not a banana fan, but the strawberry banana flavor wasn’t strong on the bananas so I liked it. I would definitely buy it again. One bottle has 150 calories and 20 grams of protein.

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I kept it in my car while I worked out since it was so cold out and drank it when I left the gym. It’s important to consume protein within 45-60 minutes after strength training to repair muscles and with 20 grams of protein, the Core Power protein drink is perfect and easy for an on-the-go snack.

Don’t forget – there’s still time to enter my Core Power Giveaway!

  • Spring Races

I already have a few races lined up for the spring and I am so excited! The first one is the Shamrock Shuffle on March 30th, one of the biggest 8ks in the U.S.

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My stepmom has ran it for the past few years and always says how fun it is, so Danny and I are going to run it this year.

We also have a 5k lined up for the beginning of April, and we found a local 5k on Jacob’s birthday in May that he’s really excited about running. Then, we have the Mother’s Day 5k which I have ran for the past few years.

I can wait until winter is over and spring is here!

  • Dexter

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Danny and I have been spending way too much time on the couch lately watching Dexter. We’re already in the middle of season three and it’s so addicting. Once we finish one episode, it’s hard not to watch another when we have the DVD sitting right in front of us!

Have a great weekend!

  • What are you loving lately?

 

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Teaching BodyPump

Happy Friday!!

I am feeling pretty Christmas-y today! The radio just started playing Christmas music 24/7 and I love it! Danny thinks its too early for Christmas music, but not me – Christmas music makes me happy :)

I also had a gingerbread latte from Starbucks this afternoon.

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So good. If Christmas music and holiday lattes don’t put you in the Christmas mood then I don’t know what does!

Yesterday

Last night, I was reunited with my niece after not seeing her for a week!

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I missed her so much. I’m glad that she had so much fun at Disney, but I’m glad that she’s home.

Today’s Workout

  • Taught BodyPump – 60 minutes

I taught Bodypump on my own for the first time this morning. I was so nervous. I hardly slept last night because I kept having dreams about all the stuff that could go wrong. I had never used the sound system before, so I was a little nervous about getting it up and running.

Luckily, everything went smoothly. I got the sound system to work and I taught my first BodyPump class. I had never taught the triceps, biceps, and core tracks before so I was a little nervous about those.

I wasn’t perfect but I wasn’t horrible either. I knew all the moves and chorography, just my timing was a bit off a few times. But I figure that I can only improve from here!

I burned just under 700 calories teaching. I definitely burn more calories teaching the class than just taking the class!

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After BodyPump, I had about an hour and a half to kill until I met with a client. I did a couple of errands and then headed back to the gym.

Tonight, we’re going out to dinner to celebrate my sister-in-law’s 3oth birthday!

Have a great afternoon!

  • Do you think it’s too early for Christmas music?
  • Do you have any plans this weekend?

 

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