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Simple Things A to Z

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Last night, Brian and I met with the planner at our wedding reception venue.

Right from the get-go she took us upstairs, offered us some wine and cheese and said let’s get to business.  She is my kind of girl!

The meeting was everything I needed.  Basically, we were just touching base to make sure that we were all on the same page since we made these arrangements over a year ago.  She told us we were ahead of schedule, and made me feel like we really had a handle on things!  Thank goodness!

Breakfast

I knew exactly what I was having for breakfast this morning when I woke up.

Yesterday, there were little scrapings of peanut butter in the jar, so I immediately made myself a batch of overnight oats in a jar to eat this morning.  My oats were then topped with blackberries and strawberries and totally hit the spot.  Yum!

Friday

Ok, so it is Friday, and I really don’t feel like sitting at a desk all day and doing “work” stuff…but I gotta!  So, In order to make Friday fun, I found this little survey to share the simple things that make me tick.  You can see Julie’s survey on Peanut Butter Fingers, Chelsey’s survey on Clean Eating Chelsey, or Dory’s survey on Living with Healthy Hunger.  Enjoy!

The Simple Things: A to Z

A – Almond butter.  I have to restrain myself around the stuff, because it is just so. darn. good.  My favorite varieties are homemade, Justin’s, and Maranatha

B – Brian, my fiancé.  He is my best friend, and I can’t wait to marry him!

C – Christmas. I absolutely LOVE the holidays, especially Christmas.  I love the feel in the air, the traditions, and being close with my family and friends.  Needless to say, I can’t wait for the winter season to roll around.

D – Down time.  I need to work on taking advantage of it more often.

E – Exercise.  Moving, being active, and challenging my body is something that I do, and love to do most days of the week.

F – Friends and family.  Mine are pretty awesome, and I can’t live without them!

G – Grocery shopping day.  I love to go the grocery store,  slowly go through the aisles, and pick the perfect ingredients for every meal coming in the next week.

H – Help.  I love to help out when I can and feel like I have a job and I am needed.  I also welcome help when I need it! 😉

I – Ireland.  Brian is Irish, and his family has remained in close contact with his relatives there.  I can’t wait to meet them someday!

J – Jewelry.  I love accessories and I feel that jewelry totally makes an outfit.  It doesn’t have to be the fanciest or most expensive, just something that puts a little flair of “you” in whatever you are wearing.

K – Kangaroos.  Australia was one of my favorite places to visit while I was working on a cruise ship.  I was lucky enough to feed some, pet some, and get very up close and personal!

L – Love…

M – My Mom. She just gets me when no one else does, she is a great listener, and love how our relationship has developed into my adult life.

N – Nuts.  They say you are what you eat…well, I eat a lot of nuts. 😉

O – Oatmeal.  One of my favorite breakfasts whether it is hot, overnight, in a jar, I love it all the same!

P – Planning.  I have to have my planner with me, and I love trying to schedule everything…even though that is impossible!

Q – Quiet time.  Typically I love to be loud, and around people, but I need that time to myself where I just think.  It’s nice.

R – Running. I love it because all I truly need to complete a run is me, myself, and I …and my running shoes.

S – Strawberries.  They are my absolute favorite fruit. Growing up, we would go strawberry picking each year and I would eat so many that my tummy would hurt…every single time!

T – Traveling. I love experiencing different cultures, different traditions, and just seeing how other people live!

U – Upcoming events.  I love putting things on the planner so that I can look forward to it all the way until it gets here!

V – Vegetables!  I love them so much, and they make me feel so good J  I love them raw, roasted, steamed, baked, any way you make them… I will eat them.

W – Weddings. This summer, Brian and I have attended more weddings then I think I have in my life. I love being a part of the celebration and being able to celebrate this special day in the newly weds’ life.

X – X rays…ummm…Xcellent food! (that was a STRETCH!)

Y – Yoga.  I never had a true appreciation for yoga until I began taking it in order to prepare myself to teach it on the cruise ship.  I haven’t kept up with it as much as I should, but I love the completely relaxed, loose, and free feeling I have after a great yoga session.

Z – ZZZZs… I love getting my Z’s in 🙂

What are some of the simple things in your life?

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A Little Bit of This or That

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Good Morning!

Can you already believe that it is hump day?  It seems as though this week is flying, and I am not complaining one bit about it!

Before heading to the gym to teach my Yoga Sculpt class this morning, I had an interesting first meal of a glass of almond milk (so good!), two plain rice cakes with some Laughing Cow cheese, and some unpictured egg whites.  Usually I crave something sweet first thing in the morning, but this meal totally hit the spot and gave me plenty of energy to teach.

A white but tasty meal

Survey

Do you remember surveys???  Back in the day, I used to love filling out the surveys with all of my information and the e-mailing it to my entire address book of friends!  I still love surveys to this day.  I love reading about other people, and I love answering the questions.  So, when I saw this little survey on Courtney‘s blog and on Clare‘s blog…well I just had to join the club 😉

1.Run/workout in the heat and humidity or freezing temps and snow?

It really depends on the situation.  I am resuming my half marathon training this week, and usually run my races in the summer.  On the fourth of July this year, Brian and I ran a 6 mile race in 90 degree heat and humidity…and I hit a personal record!  Who would have guessed?  On the other hand, when it is winter, as long as the sun is shining, the snow is glistening, and I am dressed appropriately, I love a nice brisk snowy winter run.

2. Have washboard abs or flat abs?

Does this mean to look at or have?  To be realistic, I would have to say flat…I don’t think I could ever have anything near washboard abs due to my body type.

3. Dr. Oz or The Doctors?

Before I had my day job, I had plenty of time to catch  up on my daytime TV, but now I don’t have time to even watch night time TV.  I guess I will say Dr. Oz because I haven’t really ever watched The Doctors.

4. Cardio or strength?

Tough one!  I love the high and adrenaline rush I get while doing hard core cardio, but ever since I started lifting heavy weights on the cruise, I have started getting a high off of that too!  I gotta say both 🙂

5. Cravings: Protein or carbs?

I would probably say carbs J  At least recently, I always love a good bowl of oatmeal, fruit, veggies…but I try to incorporate some form of protein at every meal!

6. Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper?

Recently, I have really been getting into Jillian Michaels.   She has some amazing podcasts that are very informative, and share her opinion but don’t push it on you.  They are great to listen to in the car on the way to and from work.

7. Frozen Yogurt or Ice Cream?

Although I love both, I am going to have to go with Frozen Yogurt.  I love the self-serve and adding my own toppings!

Fro Yo is kind of like ice cream 😉

8. To train: Upper body or Lower body?

I totally neglect my lower body, which I need to change.  I think I see quicker results in my upper body, therefore, I train it more often…

9. Protein powder or food with protein?

Food with protein is always the top options, and I try to get most of my protein from fish, eggs, and dairy.  There are sometimes though that I like to eat foods that don’t have a lot of protein in them, like smoothies and oatmeal.  When I enjoy these foods, I will add protein powder to supplement the protein that the meal is missing.

10. Lunges or squats?

Oh! Tough one!  They both hurt, but I am going to say lunges because for me I think they are harder, so I like to work at them more.

11. Sweet or salty?

Can I say sweet and salty?  I love a good trail mix!! However, if I am just craving something, it is probably going to be sweet 🙂

12. Workout attire: cute or comfy?

Cute.  I really like to have matching outfits, and especially when I am teaching I like to look halfway decent and not like I rolled out of bed.  Feeling like I look good always motivates me to work harder and do better!

13. Body Pump or Heavy lifting?

I have recently been working to become certified to teach Body Pump, and I love it!  However, when I complete my own workouts, the majority of the time I do heavy lifting rather than the lighter weights with higher reps like Body Pump.  I find that I am able to get stronger that way, and increase my weights in Body Pump more frequently.

14. Yoga or Pilates?

Pilates.  I used to hate yoga, then I had to learn a format and teach it on the cruise!  I will say that Yoga feels great, but if I had to pick a class to go to it would for sure be Pilates.

15. Nike or Adidas?

Well, currently, one pair of shoes is Nike and the other is Adidas.  When it comes to workout clothing though I usually pick things up at Target, Marshalls, or TJ Maxx!

16. Running on the treadmill or outdoors?

Honestly, I get so dizzy on the treadmill it is usually just not even worth trying more than walking on the darn thing, however!, Monday I tried a new kind of treadmill and was able to complete three miles!  I will always prefer running outdoors.

17. Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s?

I absolutely love both!  They are both a bit of a drive from where I am currently living, so it is like a special treat when I shop at either one.  I love the selection at Whole Foods, and I love the prices and specialty products at Trader Joe’s.  What can I say, I love ‘em both!

18. Summer or Winter Olympics?

Summer for sure.  I am loving the gymnastics, diving, swimming, a touch of running…basically it is all awesome!

20. Steamed veggies or roasted veggies?

Roasted.  I love roasting up veggies with onion and garlic pieces for lots of flava!

 

Now it’s on to you!! 

  • Do you prefer strength or cardio?
  • Do you prefer cute of comfy workout gear?

Secretly Bad For You???

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Yesterday, as soon as I got home from volunteering, I headed out for a 3.5 mile run.  The run was originally scheduled the day before, but it was raining pretty hard so I decided to postpone it for a day.  It wasn’t my fastest time.  Although I wasn’t sore directly after the Body Pump training weekend, I think that my muscles are definitely fatigued and not able to work as hard this week…but I am pushing through!

I then came in to cool down and bake some cookies for the women I am volunteering with at the Symphony.  The event that they are coordinating is this coming Monday, so Friday (tomorrow) is really their last day to get all of the loose ends tied up and I thought some Oatmeal Raisin cookies would help them power through 😉

And before heading to church choir practice I quickly stopped at Target to pick up some red workout gear.  The colors of Body Pump are red and black, and while you aren’t required to wear the Les Mills clothing or even red and black it helps to be in “the essence” (that is what my trainers called it).  And I totally agree!  When I think of putting on special clothes to teach Body Pump, it is almost like putting a costume on for show choir.  I am able to get in the zone, and it just wouldn’t be the same without it 🙂

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to try the clothes on and the shorts were just too baggy.  Not exactly the look I am going for.  Looks like I will have to return them!

 

Breakfast

After team teaching my second Body Pump class this morning, I was more than ready for breakfast and luckily had a bowl of overnight oats with y name written all over it.

 

 

10 Foods that Are Making You Fat

Yesterday, Brian sent me a link to an article on Cha Cha about 10 foods that are secretly making it hard for us to lose weight. I thought this article was particularly interesting because for me, I think about this kind of thing all the time and try to always be aware of what I am putting in my body, but Brian pointed out to me that not everyone thinks like that and may not realize the harm in some of these foods.  So, here is the list with a little bit of my own insight about how to stay in the safe zone!

1.  Salad Dressing–Many people are aware that the creamy dressings pack on a lot of fat and calories (sometimes making your salad choice worse than a burger!), but we also have to be careful when it comes to dressings that may seem lighter like Italian and Balsamic Vinaigrette.  When using dressings at home, it is always best to measure out your portion sizes according to the label so that you know exactly what you are getting.

  • Salad Dressing Alternatives–Using simply vinegar along with salt, pepper, garlic, and spices of your choice is always a great option…and has almost no calories!  Mixing vinegar with a tablespoon of hummus or using salsa are some other great alternatives that packs a lot of flavor.

2.  Mayonnaise–Only one tablespoon of this creamy sauce has 90 calories, not to mention the fact that there are a lot of processed ingredients usually used to make the dressing.  On a sandwich, try subbing mustard or a small amount of avocado (1 Tablespoon).  If you are making tuna or chicken salad, sub non or lowfat plain Greek yogurt.  You will lower the number of calories and boost up the amount of protein in your meal.

  • Mayo Alternative–Small amount of avocado or mustard on a sandwich.  Lowfat or nonfat Greek yogurt in tuna, chicken, or potato salads.

3.  White Bread–When it comes to choosing white bread versus whole grain or whole wheat bread, you always want to choose the whole grain/wheat.  White bread is what we can call a fast releasing carbohydrate due to the way the body processes the food.  When the body processes fast releasing carbohydrates it causes a big spike in the blood sugar levels causing the body to release more insulin.  After a lifetime of these blood sugar spikes and your body not utilizing this excess sugar, a person could eventually develop diabetes and this excess sugar is stored in the body as fat.  Without getting too in depth (there is a lot that goes into the way our body processes carbohydrates)

  • White Bread Alternative–whole grain or whole wheat bread

4.  Regular Soda–One can of regular soda has around 150 calories.  If someone were to drink one can of soda a day, that would be over 1,000 calories added to your diet!  By simply cutting out this drink and replacing it with water, you will lower your sugar and caloric intake greatly.

  • Regular Soda Alternative–sparkling water with a splash of 100% cranberry juice with a squeeze of fresh lime, or just plain water!

5.  Ketchup–Ketchup is LOADED with sugar, with around 8g of sugar in only 2 tablespoons of this condiment.  With this sauce, really watch portion sizes and limit your consumption to every once in a while.

  • Ketchup Alternative–salsa, plain tomato sauce, or just limit your portion sizes.

6.  Artificial Sweeteners–There is a lot to be said about artificial sweeteners.  The article by Cha Cha points out the fact that artificial sweeteners are not satisfying to our bodies that want the “real thing” leaving us craving and eating more in order to feel “satisfied.”  There is also a lot of research about the chemical effects of these artificial substances in our bodies.  When it comes down to it, it is always best to be as natural as possible.  And simply because a box says “all natural ingredients” doesn’t mean that the ingredients are actually natural.  We need to actually read the label, and research any ingredients we may not be familiar with.

  • Artificial Sweetener Alternatives–Stevia (to date) is one of the safest sugar alternatives.  Some low glycemic sweeteners that are great alternatives are agave nectar and palm sugar.

7.  Restaurants--This article notes that most foods at restaurants are cooked in butter or grease.  Salads are served with more than a regular portion size of high fat nuts, cheeses, dried fruits, and salad dressings.  Trying to stay healthy, but enjoying a meal at a restaurant can seem like two conflicting tasks, but don’t worry…you can eat healthy and enjoy dining out at the same time 🙂

  • Restaurant dining tips–always check out nutrition information online before heading out to the restaurant so that you can be informed when you make your order. Ask for sauces on the side so that you can control the amount you put on your dish.  Have 3/4 of your plate full of veggies and a portion of protein that is the same size and width as your own palm.  Avoid the bread basket, and don’t be afraid to make special requests (like asking for your broccoli to be steamed instead of cooked in butter 😉 )

8.  Chicken Tenders–Another thing that the article makes note of is that a lot of people think that simply because something is chicken, it is automatically healthy…which is not the case.  Chicken tenders are almost always fried and served with high calorie dipping sauces.  When dining out, opt for grilled chicken or make your own “healthified” tenders at home.

  • Chicken Tenders Alternative–Use organic, free range, boneless, skinless chicken breasts dipped in egg whites and coated in almond meal to bake up your own chicken tenders as a substitute option for high fat, fried chicken tenders.

9.  Specialty Coffee Drinks–We all love a good latte or icy coffee drink every once in a while, but they can pack on a lot of fat, sugar, and calories.  Try to make drinks like this a special treat and enjoy them only every once in a while.  Not only will you save calories, but you will save money too!

  • Specialty Coffee Drink Ordering Tips–Only get these fancy drinks as a special treat, ask for no whipped cream, opt for skim or lowfat milk, and order the smallest size.

10.  Cheese–Cheese isn’t necessarily bad for you, but it is another food where we need to watch our portion sizes.  It is always best to choose a lower fat option rather than a full fat or no fat.  The no fat options tend to have some chemicals in place of the fat to help with the consistency and the flavor, and our body needs fat to process fat…so low-fat is the better option.

  • Cheese Alternatives–Simply watch your portion sizes on this one and opt for low fat options.

sources:

 

 

What are some of your favorite tips for healthy eating and watching portion sizes?

 

 

Still Sitting Here and the Food List Challenge

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Good Evening!

Today was pretty uneventful on my front.  Sometimes that can be a good thing, but today, I wish I had a little more action.

 

Ever since I have come home from the cruise I have been applying for jobs, subbing as a group fitness instructor at various gyms in Indianapolis, and random odd jobs here and there.  More or less, applying for jobs has been my full-time job.  So, today, I got up, showered, got dressed and ready, and then I sat at the table at my computer virtually all day.  And I am still in the same spot.  I did take a lunch break, a workout break, and a dinner break, but I realized that on days like today I need to get out of the house and go somewhere.  Otherwise it is like there is no break and separation between “work” and “home.”

Does anyone work from home?  How do you separate your work and home and avoid working around the clock?

 

During my first break of the day, I had lunch.  A delicious salad with tuna and egg whites, broccoli, red onion, celery, topped with salsa mixed with cauliflower hummus.

I make salad many days out of the week whether it be for lunch or dinner, but there are some times when they just taste way better than usual…today was one of those days.

 

After my break for my bodypump workout, I made a quick dinner of steamed broccoli and asparagus with leftover baked tofu (from Friday).  It was great and simple!

Have any of you heard of The Food List Challenge?  I read about it this evening as I was eating my dinner. It is a list of 100 foods and you simply check the foods that you have tried and compare the results with other people.  I love experimenting with new cuisines, so I thought I would share the foods I have tried.

 

To be honest, I had to google some of these foods to see what they even were!

1. Abalone

2. Absinthe

3. Alligator

4. Baba Ghanoush

5. Bagel and Lox

6. Baklava

7. Barbecue Ribs

8. Bellini

9. Bird’s Nest Soup

10. Biscuits and Gravy

11. Black Pudding

12. Black Truffle

13. Borscht

14. Calamari

15. Carp

16. Caviar

17. Cheese Fondue

18. Chicken and Waffles

19. Chicken Tikka Masala

20. Chile Relleno

21. Chitlins

22. Churros

23. Clam Chowder

24. Cognac

25. Crab Cakes

26. Crickets

27. Currywurst

28. Dandelion Wine

29. Dulce De Leche

30. Durian

31. Eel

32. Eggs Benedict

33. Fish Tacos

34. Foie Gras

35. Fresh Spring Rolls

36. Fried Catfish

37. Fried Green Tomatoes

38. Fried Plantain

39. Frito Pie

40. Frogs’ Legs

41. Fugu

42. Funnel Cake

43. Gazpacho

44. Goat

45. Goat’s Milk

46. Goulash

47. Gumbo

48. Haggis

49. Head Cheese

50. Heirloom Tomatoes

51. Honeycomb

52. Hostess Fruit Pie

53. Huevos Rancheros

54. Jerk Chicken

55. Kangaroo

56. Key Lime Pie

57. Kobe Beef

58. Lassi

59. Lobster

60. Mimosa

61. MoonPie

62. Morel Mushrooms

63. Nettle Tea

64. Octopus

65. Oxtail Soup

66. Paella

67. Paneer

68. Pastrami on Rye

69. Pavlova

70. Phaal

71. Philly Cheese Steak

72. Pho

73. Pineapple and Cottage Cheese

74. Pistachio Ice Cream

75. Po’ Boy

76. Pocky

77. Polenta

78. Prickly Pear

79. Rabbit Stew

80. Raw Oysters

81. Root Beer Float

82. S’mores

83. Sauerkraut

84. Sea Urchin

85. Shark

86. Snail

87. Snake

88. Soft Shell Crab

89. Som Tam

90. Spaetzle

91. Spam

92. Squirrel

93. Steak Tartare

94. Sweet Potato Fries

95. Sweetbreads

96. Tom Yum

97. Umeboshi

98. Venison

99. Wasabi Peas

100. Zucchini Flowers

I have tried 53 out of the 100 foods listed.  How many have you tried??

Now, I am off to do something non-work related for the rest of the night and get out of my chair 😉

 

Happy Holidays and Travel Updates

The internet on the boat is iffy and expensive…but I am still here!!

25 Questions: Holiday Style

  • Eggnog or hot chocolate?

Eggnog.  I love a good, rich hot chocolate as well, but to me, nothing speaks Christmas like eggnog.  I usually only have it once or twice during the season, but I can’t imagine a Christmas without it.  Yesterday morning (my Christmas morning) I woke up and got ready to eat breakfast at the buffet as usual.  Sad that I couldn’t have my usual cinnamon rolls with my family, I was a)so excited to see eggnog at the buffet for breakfast, and b) really shocked because that is typically NOT a breakfast item…but I had to have it! J

  • Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

Santa still wraps our presents.  There are no gifts under the main tree until Christmas morning, and we are not allowed to peak on Christmas morning until my parents are ready…yes me and my siblings still do this…and we will be doing it next year when I am home for Christmas!

  • Colored lights on tree/house or white?

We have colored on the tree in the house and blue icicle lights outside.

  • Do you hang mistletoe?

Nope

  • When do you hang your decorations up?

I think it really depends on the year.  It is all up to my mom since she is the one at home, but I honestly don’t mind putting up the festive décor right after Thanksgiving!  The sooner the better J

  • What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Every year we have lasagna for dinner at Christmas.  Sometimes we switch up our appetizers, our Christmas Eve meal or whatnot, but without a doubt we always have lasagna Christmas night, and because it is so special we like never have it throughout the year so that we really are craving it when Christmas comes around.  It is seriously the best lasagna that I have ever tasted…stuff in the restaurants doesn’t even come close.

  • Favorite holiday memory as a child?

When we were younger we used to do a holiday celebration at my Great Grandma’s apartment in Michigan and I just remember always driving through the snow and having the whole trip seem like an adventure to get to Grandma’s house.  We would have a fancy little dinner with her and get all dressed up in our holiday attire.  Just spending time with family by playing cards and watching a Miracle on 34th Street. It was perfect J

I also remember one year that me and my siblings really wanted Giga Pets (remember those) for Christmas.  My parents continuously said no way and that we were definitely not getting them for us.  When we were opening our gifts we each got our own Giga Pet!  At that moment I “knew” santa was real J

  • What is on your Christmas wish list?

This year I didn’t even make one!  I am such a list person that I just enjoy making my list every year and sending ideas to my mom constantly, but I really didn’t expect to get anything…so when I got two boxes of gifts to open on Christmas I was sooo happy!!! J

  • Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve?

No way!!!! Brian’s family opens on Christmas Eve…but for my family there is no way that we open anything before the actual day!

  • How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

We use all of our collected random and homemade gifts each year.  One year, I think I tried to string popcorn and cranberries to add that kind of a touch to the tree, most years we add those stringy silver icicle things.  We also have a smaller tree that we call our “international tree.”  Whenever my grandparents travel they always bring us back little ornaments to add to the tree, so I am collecting some ornaments along my travels to add to the collection!

  • Snow? Love it or dread it?

I would love snow from the week of Thanksgiving until New Years and then after that spring, green, and warm weather can come J

  • Real tree or fake tree?

REAL! We always argue about finding the “perfect” tree. When I was younger we would actually go to a Christmas tree farm!

  • Do you remember your favorite gift?

Favorite gift…that is a hard one!  I think that this year my gifts were my favorite because I wasn’t expecting anything…my mom could have sent an empty box and it would have been my favorite I think haha.  Just to have a little taste of home was perfect!

  • What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you?

Family and traditions.  Being away from everyone and everything that I love this holiday season has really made me realize how much I really do love my family and spending time with them.  I don’t have a big family, so the traditions we hold on to are what make the day special for everyone.  I can’t wait to come back next year and do every tradition to the max!!!

  • What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Our house literally becomes a bakery during the holiday season.  We don’t eat cake or pies for Christmas, it is all about the cookies…although some of them are not cookies technically.  My absolute favorite holiday treat to eat are buckeyes…and I have had a craving for them this entire week!  My favorite holiday treat to make are cherry coconut bars and of course decorated sugar cookies

  • What is your favorite tradition?

This is a tough one because my family has so many goofy little traditions.  I think that my favorite tradition is the homemade gift that my siblings and I make for each other.  Now that we are getting older, the gifts are actually pretty good!  It is always so hard to come up with an idea, but then once you come up with it the whole process is top secret from everyone (except mom who usually helps out!) until Christmas morning.

  • What tops your tree?

We top the tree with a “tree topper.”  It is not an angel and it is not a star.  It is a red and gold decoration thing that just goes on top…It’s hard to describe.

  • Do you prefer giving or receiving?

I love giving gifts on Christmas, my favorite thing is to find the perfect gift and then keep it a secret until Christmas and watch the receiver open it J  Watching them open the gift is probably my favorite part!

  • What is your favorite Christmas song?

I can’t pick just one so here are the songs at the top of the list

  1. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  2. Joy to the World
  3. Carol of the Bells
  4. Oh Holy Night
  5. Silver Bells
  • Candy canes, yuck or yum?

They are cute decorations during the holiday season.  My mom gets a giant candy cane (like the kind that you would put in the yard) and puts it on the antenna of her car…my sister does that too.  I also think that they are tasty as stir sticks in your hot chocolate or eggnog.

  • Favorite Christmas movie?

Again, I can’t choose so here is the top of the list

  1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  2. Elf
  3. Rudolph’s Shiny New Year
  4. A Christmas Story
  • What do you leave for Santa?

This is one of the goofy traditions that my family still does…we leave cookies, milk (or eggnog), a carrot for Rudolph, and a letter J (yes we still do it!)

  • Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?

YES!  Usually, my siblings and I all sleep in one room together for a big Christmas night sleepover.  I then wake up at the earliest hour possible (I am a morning person) and then wake up Kenny, my brother.  I have Kenny go peak downstairs to see how things look.  In the mean time I try to convince Brenna that she needs to wake up 5 hours before her usual time because it is Christmas!  Kenny and I then go and try to wake our parents up, we then wait for mom to shower and Dad to set up the video camera (this really turns into a production).  When Mom is finally ready we all head downstairs to the family room and open the gifts in our stockings first.  We then move to the homemade and family gifts under the International Tree.  I then make cinnamon rolls and we have cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  We then move into the living room and open all of the Santa presents under the tree.

**I told you we had a lot of traditions

  • Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall?

The mall.  I love the smell of Christmas time and being surrounded by so many people and seeing the decorations!

  • Christmas letter or Christmas card?

This year I did Christmas letters simply because I am so far away and can’t talk to everyone in the family that often.

  • Favorite thing about Christmas this year? (I added this one in)

The crew on board formed a crew Christmas carol choir.  As soon as I heard that this was going on I couldn’t NOT join!! I quickly was given the title of music director and loved every second of it.  Most (probably everyone) had no musical training and were just doing the choir for fun, which was great to see.  I had a couple of solos too, which was fun.  We performed on Christmas Eve night just before each seating for dinner, and because it made me so happy to see everyone else so happy it made me extremely emotional!

Christmas day I then had to work in the morning teaching our stretching class and our abs class.  Since it was Christmas, the gym was pretty slow so I was hanging out at the front desk when a man came into the spa said that he was looking for a girl from the spa last night dressed like me that sang the Christmas carols.  My manager quickly told him that it was me!  He then went on to tell me how happy the carols made him and how my singing was the highlight of his entire cruise.  That made me so happy!  I then had a little bit of a rough day just because every time I would even think about Christmas anything I would just get emotional.  Later that evening, my roommate came into our room where I was hanging out and told me that the man who enjoyed my singing so much was talking to my manager who explained that it was my first Christmas away from home and that I was having a hard time.  He said that he understood the feeling of being away from family and because I made him and his wife smile, they wanted to make me smile so they bought me a little stuffed animal holding a Christmas carol booklet that plays Christmas songs!!! That totally made my day!

Benefits of Working in the Spa on a Cruise

The gym is a part of the spa on all cruise ships, and because of that we are able to receive free treatments.  In fact, it is encouraged so that we can cross promote those treatments to our clients!  I am clearly trying to take as much advantage of this amazing opportunity as I can.  So far, I have had a lime and ginger salt scrub which seriously made my skin the smoothest that it has ever been and included a full body massage, and the second treatment I had was a Thai poultice massage which again was amazing and included warm herbal bags massaged onto the skin.  I have also had a treatment called ionithermie done which detoxifies the body from the outside and stimulates the muscles while circulating algae through the skin.  I loved the treatment, but some people find the electrical stimulation of the muscles weird.

Where I Have Traveled

  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Nagasaki, Japan
  • Hong Kong, China
  • Phu My, Vietnam
  • Laem Chabang, Thailand
  • Ko Samui, Thailand
  • Darwin, Australia
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Hobart, Australia
  • Port Chalmers (Dunedin), New Zealand
  • Wellington, New Zealand (Where Lord of the Rings was filmed)

Things that I have learned while traveling.

  • Thailand has beautiful beaches and resorts and very cheap clothes.  I literally bought dresses for $2.

  • Hong Kong’s skyline makes NYC look little.

  • They actually where the little pointed hats in Vietnam.

  • Australia is very clean.
  • Southern Australia and New Zealand are not hot.

  • I think this was the biggest shocker.  The weather is like below 70 degrees and it is their summer right now.  I just automatically thought that all of Australia and New Zealand were scorching all the time, but I was wrong.

I miss everyone dearly, and although I am enjoying this experience, being away for the holidays has truly allowed me to see how important my friends and family are to me and I can’t wait to come back home to everyone!  I hope that everyone had a merry Christmas and has a happy new year!

5 Things About You

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Hello!

 

For lunch I had one of my favorites.  It is seriously like the simplest thing EVER, but I still love it and have been eating it for lunch for years 🙂  Celery, carrots, and peanut butter.  I usually have some sort of cracker with it, but today I just wasn’t that hungry at lunch time.

Five Survey

I read a survey not too long ago on Julie’s blog Peanut Butter Fingers.  I then read that Courtney on Sweet Tooth Sweet Life filled out the survey too.  I decided I wanted to join the club and since I love surveys and filling out questions I decided to share it with you!

 

Last 5 people I talked to on the phone:

  1. My Travel Insurance Company (getting ready for the cruise job!)
  2. Brian
  3. My Mom
  4. HR for retail job (wanted to get my pay stub information)
  5. My retail job (to get the number for HR)
Last 5 meals I ate:
  1. Celery, carrots, and peanut butter (pictured above)
  2. Blackberry Banana Peanut Butter Spinach Smoothie
  3. French Onion Soup
  4. Clif Z Bar on my way to work yesterday (more of a snack)
  5. Greek Yogurt Apple Bowl
Last 5 places I travelled:
  1. Fort Wayne, IN
  2. Bardstown, KY
  3. Nashville, TN
  4. Orlando, FL
  5. Naples, FL
Next 5 places I will go:
  1. A lake cabin with Brian near Nashville, IN
  2. Fort Wayne, IN (my home)
  3. Chicago, IL
  4. Philadelphia, PA (layover for my flight to London)
  5. London!!
Last 5 workouts:
  1. Jeanette Jenkins and 8 minute abs
  2. Ran 2 miles and 8 minute abs
  3. Insanity video
  4. Insanity video
  5. Ran 2 miles, at home workout
5 things making me happy right now:
  1. Watching the Food Network
  2. Hanging out with my sister last night
  3. Crossing things off of my to-do list
  4. The fact that I am about to go on a brisk walk in the beautiful fall sun shiny weather
  5. The fact that Brian will be done with his exam on Monday, meaning he can hang out with me more!
Tell me some of your fives!! I’m anxious to hear 🙂


5 4 3 2 1 and Ogre Cookies

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Hello!

The other day, I saw a 5 4 3 2 1 post on Gabriela’s blog and I thought that it would be a great way for me to share a little bit about myself with all of you.

5 Words to Describe Myself

  1. Energetic
  2. Positive
  3. Multi-tasker
  4. Musical
  5. Family-oriented (the hyphen makes it one word)
4 Favorite Foods
  1. Caesar Salad (my friends used to call me Caesar Deal)
  2. Salmonsource
  3. Peanut Buttersource
  4. Smoothies
3 Things I am Most Proud of Accomplishing
  1. Becoming an ACE Certified Personal Trainer.  Becoming certified had been a goal of mine for so long, that to finally actually do it was scary, fun, exciting, and just an overall intense but great experience.

    I'm ACE Certified!

  2. Starting this blog.  Again, it was a goal of mine to start one as soon as I began reading healthy living blogs.  I love sharing stories, recipes, and workouts with others, and this makes it a great way to stay connected with friends, family, and people I have yet to meat!
  3. Graduating college.  I was officially the first “Deal” to graduate college.  I have always loved school, and college provided me with many memories and life lessons that I will never forget (well maybe some I will forget 😉 ).
2 Favorite Workouts
  1. Taking a really hot, sweaty, intense group fitness class that incorporates cardio and strength training (or teaching one!).
  2. The elliptical.  I love being able to catch up on the morning news, Today show, or the Food Network…multitasking at it’s finest!
1 Thing to Expect From My Blog
  1. My life.  This blog was designed to truly capture a glimpse into my daily life, and while I have a fun, positive attitude most of the time and share my workouts and kitchen triumphs and fails…sometimes I just get sad or have a bad day, and that is totally normal.

Now I have a recipe to share with you!

Ogre Cookies

I was excited and nervous to try this recipe.  Excited because I love trying new things, nervous because I thought it might not turn out.  Well, Brian gave it the official taste test and said this recipe was a go!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pureed avocado (I used 2 small avocados)
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Mix-ins of your choice!  Mine included:  walnuts, pecans, white chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and raisins.
Preparation:
Preheat oven to 375.
Mix together avocado, corn syrup, and brown sugar (can also use honey for the sugar…I was just out of that ingredient!) with an electric mixer until smooth.  Mix in the egg and vanilla.
Then add flour, powder, and salt until combined.  Mix in your chosen mix-ins.  Place by Tablespoon full onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Enjoy!  Note:  these cookies will be slightly green 🙂