REMINDER: Wish & Whimsy Has Moved.

DON’T FORGET:

Wish & Whimsy has a new home! Please check out www.wishandwhimsy.com. 

While there,  begin your subscription to Wish & Whimsy on my new site. If you are currently subscribing to the blog via email or Reader, please subscribe by email by clicking here or by reader by clicking here.

Don’t worry, I’ll only post a few more reminders and then I’ll stop. I won’t invade your inbox or reader from this wordpress blog much longer. Hope you’ll stop by my new site!

REMINDER: Wish & Whimsy Has Moved.

REMINDER:

Wish & Whimsy has a new home! Please check out www.wishandwhimsy.com. 

While there,  begin your subscription to Wish & Whimsy on my new site. If you are currently subscribing to the blog via email or Reader, please subscribe by email by clicking here or by reader by clicking here.

Don’t worry, I’ll only post a few more reminders and then I’ll stop. I won’t invade your inbox or reader from this wordpress blog much longer. Hope you’ll stop by my new site!

BIG Blog News & SlimKicker Giveaway Winner.

TWO very wonderful things are happening with Wish & Whimsy today.  I get to share with you some great blog news (here’s a hint), and  I get to announce the winner of the 7-Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker that SlimKicker is giving one of my readers! Let’s dive right in…

BLOG NEWS: I cannot thank you enough for the many encouraging comments you’ve given me about Wish & Whimsy. Every morning I wake up excited to know that  I get to start my day by sharing it with you. I love reading your comments and hearing your feedback on posts. I learn a lot from each of you and enjoy getting to know you.

Since becoming a FitFluential Ambassador, traffic to my blog has increased enormously. There is so much I want to do with my blog; I’ve decided to take it to the next level. I created my own website which will go “live” tomorrow morning. While WordPress provided me a great platform to get started, it’s time for me to amp up this site and offer you better content and a better look. The time has finally come to share it with you!

Beginning tomorrow morning, Thursday, May 31st, I will be blogging from my new website www.wishandwhimsy.com, and no longer from this site. My deepest hope is that you will continue following me there. I wish I could make this transition easier and automatically transfer your email and/or reader subscriptions. But since I cannot, I am humbly asking you to begin your subscription to Wish & Whimsy on my new site. If you are currently subscribing to the blog via email or Reader, please subscribe by email by clicking here or by reader by clicking here.

Take a look today. Let me know what you think. It’s going to be the same “Wish & Whimsy” you’ve come to know, only better (and better designed). Thanks in advance for being a new follower to my new site!

GIVEAWAY NEWS: SlimKicker reviewed all of your entries about fitness challenges you could see yourself participating in and they have chosen one of my readers to receive a 7 Quart Oval, Manual Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. The winner is: knowhat who commented, “do 1 wall squat everytime you pass a doorway, and for every minute you are watching TV. Should make you think twice before sitting in the couch!

Congratulations knowhat! Please email me at wishandwhimsy@gmail.com with your mailing address so we can get this giveaway shipped to you.

Wishing you the best! katie

***QUESTIONS OF THE DAY***
Have you checked out my new website www.wishandwhimsy.com?
Are you going to start keeping up with me on my new website? I’d love for you to come check it out and let me know what you think.

Memorial Day Recap & Importance Of Routine.

I hope everyone enjoyed a safe and fun Memorial holiday. Did anyone else enjoy some poolside time this weekend? I soaked up a little bit of sun and tried to use this holiday weekend to rest up and relax, though it certainly was busy.

One of my best friends from college stayed with me this past weekend. It’s always refreshing to reminisce on college memories, to catch up on current life happenings and to see where life is taking us both. So much happens in such a short time.

I also took an unplanned trip to Nashville to visit with my boyfriend and his family for the weekend. Have I mentioned lately that I am one lucky girl to have him in my life? I need to go to the grocery store because there is absolutely nothing in my fridge right now. I’ll be relying heavily on my stocked pantry and freezer today and tomorrow. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to the grocery until then. I’m not sure yet what I’ll be eating for breakfast…

While Memorial Weekend was wonderful, it’s time for me to get back on my routine. I believe consistency is one of the biggest keys to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong; I do enjoy three-day, holiday weekends. Because my travel this past weekend was unplanned, I learned quickly that unplanned travel offers a major challenge in hard maintaining my specific and tailored diet. I am most successful and feel better about my health focus when I take time to plan and prepare for travel. I can balance my meals the week leading up to the travel, I can prepare healthy snacks, and I  can pack appropriate workout attire. I did try to stick to my safe foods list while I’m on the road.

While I wish I were still in Tennessee, I do look forward to getting back on my routine. I plan to resume my regular weekly workout schedule today. That means I’ll be focusing on a total body workout with some ab work, too.

Before I scrounge up something for breakfast, I wanted to let you know that I hope to announce the winner of the 7-Quart Oval Stainless Steel Slow Cooker, brought to you by SlimKicker on tomorrow’s post. SlimKicker is currently reviewing the entries, and I’m just waiting on their top choice. Stay tuned for the winner and also, stay tuned for some GREAT blog news coming VERY soon. I can’t wait to share these things with you!

Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
How was your Memorial Day Weekend? Did you do anything fun?
Do you function better on a routine or do you prefer spontaneity? 

Happy Memorial Day {& Giveaway Reminder}

Happy Memorial Day! I hope that you are able to share this day surrounded by the ones you love. I also hope that you have some great plans ahead of you today – I’m thinking picnics, sand volleyball, laying out by the pool, etc. This is where I wish I was today:

Wouldn’t it be nice to rest and relax here today?

If you’re like 99.9% of Americans, you have the day off. Spend time resting, relaxing and simply having fun today. Memorial Day plans generally involve activities like pick up games of volleyball, wiffle ball, and frisbee. How about we ditch the gym today and focus on active fun with our family and friends?

REMINDER: Have you all had the chance to check out SlimKicker and it’s helpful health tools, both available online and for your iPhone? TODAY IS YOUR LAST DAY to enter for the 7 Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker that SlimKicker wants one of my readers to win!  To enter this GIVEAWAY, visit this post. We’re taking entries until 11:59pm tonight! Hurry!

7-Quart Oval Slow Cooker

Wishing you the best holiday. katie

QUESTION OF THE DAY:
What are your Memorial Day plans? 

Exercise Highlight: Squats.

Do you have a favorite exercise move? I have a favorite I like to incorporate in almost every strength training session.  It’s the Goblet Squat. As Tony Horton, the man of P90X, says in his intro of the Ab Ripper X video, “I hate it, but I love it.” It’s so true.

Goblet Squat

Squats and lunges are probably the main two reasons I never used to exercise. I hated these two moves, even in their simplest of modifications. I avoided squats at all costs. But when I decided to get health focused for life, I was all in, pushing myself to exercise in a way that would actually produce results. Nothing halfway. Early in my fitness journey, I started with a Total Body Transformation plan. I thought I’d stick with this plan for one month…and I’ve stayed with it now for almost a year! Even though I didn’t immediately love squats, I pushed through and I saw almost-immediate results.

Squats make me feel stronger. By incorporating dumbbells, they transform my entire body, not just my legs, but arms and core included. By including squats in my strength toning exercises, I’ve noticed muscle toning and quads, hamstrings, and “rear-end”. A personal trainer at the gym told me that squats, when done in correct form, use the most muscle groups out of all the other exercise moves out there.

I believe it. I can see and feel the benefits in my own body.

You all know I travel often. I’ve blogged about that several times before. The squat is something you don’t have to pack. I’ve found myself incorporating  squats in all forms while brushing my teeth, meal planning and cooking, while cleaning my place, watching T.V. and going about day-to-day activities.

So, enlighten me. What’s YOUR favorite exercise move?

REMINDER: Don’t forget that SlimKicker is giving one of my readers an awesome 7 Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. To enter this GIVEAWAY, visit this post. Monday is the last day for entries!

7-Quart Oval Slow Cooker

Wishing you the best. katie

Tool Tip | Nutrition Guides & Calculators.

I collect nutrition guides like some people collect baseball cards. And I won’t trade them either. Allow me to explain…

I almost always pack my lunch for the work week. I also eat 99% of my meals at home. I found that this helps me greatly control my nutrition and calorie intake. If I’m in control of each and every ingredient that goes into my meal, I can control every single calorie or nutrient my body takes in. And who doesn’t like having control?

I am a homebody. I prefer eating my meals at home. Perhaps this stems from being a girl on a tight budget, but I often wonder why pay for something when you can make the same thing for a lot less. It’s a VERY rare occasion that I do go out for food. There have been the occasional “let’s finish this meeting over lunch at such and such a restaurant” while at work. I’ve learned to be prepared for those situations.

Subway Nutrition Guide

I can still maintain my diet, make healthy choices, and enjoy my food without the guilt when meals out actually do happen. I have researched several common restaurant chains near my work where casual lunch meetings may happen. I’ve scoured their Nutrition Guides (I keep these in my car, in my desk drawer, and a few in my “junk drawer” at home). I’ve been able to generate a list of safe food options at places like Subway and Panera Bread for example.

I’ve also used restaurant’s online Nutrition Calculators and print off my meal once I’ve calculated it. (Subway’s calculator here. Panera’s calculator is here.) IF you’re like me and record everything you eat along with the calorie and nutrition information, these are make meal planning and staying on a healthy diet a breeze.

An example of a nutrition calculator I used to build & customize my own meal at Panera. I printed this off to use for future reference.

I’ve come to the point where I know my “safe foods” list by heart. But if I’m at an unfamiliar restaurant, I ask for a copy of their nutrition guide so I can take home and find an option for next time. I don’t ever want to get too picky when I’m dining with friends. If no nutrition guide is available, I’ll generally pick a house salad, ask for a lot of tomatoes, no dressing (or have it on the side) and ask for a hard-boiled egg.

Two pieces of advice for staying health focused while eating out: Don’t be afraid to ask questions about nutrition and always use the restaurants’ nutrition resources.

REMINDER: don’t forget that SlimKicker is giving one of my readers an awesome 7 Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. To enter this GIVEAWAY, visit this post. There’s only a few more days left to enter to win!

7-Quart Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel

Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTION OF THE DAY:
How do you stay on track when you eat your meals out?

Friday Refine | Love.

Today is my final area of focus in my “Friday Refine” series. To this point, I’ve reviewed and refined my Food, Fitness, and Financial goals. Today, I’d like to discuss Love. Before you stop reading because you think this will be girly, emotional and mushy, stop. That’s not the Love I want to discuss today. I’m speaking of Love in general: how we treat and communicate with our family, friends, strangers. How can we express and show love to people we interact with on a daily basis?

My family – the people I love most.

So, why am I discussing “Love” on a health and wellness blog? That’s because I believe giving and receiving Love is a vital part of a healthy life. I attended a church service several weeks ago where a guest speaker reminded me of Love’s crucial role in each of our lives. He said, “No matter where you go, people are people and they all respond to love.”

A simple act of kindness can change someone’s life forever. A compliment can turn someone’s bad day into a great day. Pausing and truly listening to someone else and putting their needs first can affirm that person of their worth.

Some how, I’ve recently lost that focus. I’ve become consumed with putting my needs and wants before those I encounter daily. I’ve cared about advancing myself instead of putting others ahead of me. I’ve looked for ways to build myself up instead of lifting up another. And what have I gained by doing that? Nothing. What have I lost? My sense of purpose. Let me explain.

Imagae Source.

Have you ever heard of the book The Five Love Languages? I won’t go into too much detail about the book, but I recommend you read it. Author Gary Chapman explains that there is no universal way people give or receive love; he believes he give or receive love in five ways:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch.

While we can all give and receive love through a combination of those five love languages, I’m primarily an acts of service girl. I like to find ways I can serve others to show and express my care for them, whether it’s running an errand, making cupcakes, cleaning up after a dinner, I gravitate toward’s  serving others. Except I haven’t these past few months. And I realize I’m missing out on opportunities to show Love to others.

During the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking of ways I can refine my “Love Life”. I’ve come up with four areas where I need to improve:

At work: I need to learn when to press the pause on work projects. I’m recognizing that I need to focus on balancing group sensitivity with task efficiency. I need to recognize that the people I work with are the people I spend most of my day with. Therefore, I need to look for ways to boost their morale, to affirm who they are, and listen to their needs. It’s time to incorporate random acts of kindness and spread smiles, at the very least, at the office.

With family: I recognize that I need to be more appreciative. Why is it easiest to be stressed or annoyed or frustrated in front of the ones you love most? I never want them to feel like I am taking them for granted. Therefore, I’m going to start looking for ways to show my gratitude of having them in my life. (Mom, if you’re reading this, I picked you up a lovely present that I can’t wait to give you…just because you’re an amazing and beautiful person!)

With friends: I recognize I need to be intentional. It seems life after college takes your friends anywhere and everywhere in the country. While they are always near and dear to my heart, I don’t tell them enough that they are. I need to start putting forth the effort to keep my relationships strong. I need to use resources like Skype, text, the phone or even the mail to let my friends know that I love them and care for them.

With boyfriend: I am a lucky/blessed girl. I have a really amazing boyfriend. Sadly, he’s in medical school in a different state. While I am so happy for him, it’s hard on the heart to be in a long distance relationship because he means the world to me. And since I’m an “acts of service” girl, it’s hard to do that long distance. So, I need to view this time period as a way to get to know a new way to express my love. I need to look for creative ways to show him I cherish him. I’m always worried I’ll come across as “cheesey,” but when you’re in love, does that really matter? If you all have any long distance suggestions, please share!

Well, there you have it. I’ve discovered a few ways where I know I need to refine the way I show and express love and care for the people I encounter daily. Everything in life stems from love and that’s why I felt it deserved its own Friday Refine post. So, go love others today. All you need is love…

By the way, don’t forget that SlimKicker is giving one of my readers an awesome 7 Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. To enter this GIVEAWAY, visit this post. There’s only a few more days left to to enter to win!

Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTION OF THE DAY:
What are your thoughts on today’s post? Do you think Love & Health are related?
What are your weekend plans? Anyone having a Memorial Weekend picnic? 

Health & Fitness Grade = A.

Yesterday was a surprisingly health-focused day, and, with the exception of my workout and Zumba, the extra emphasis on health was not even planned. If I could hand out a letter grade for being “health-focused” for the entire day, I’d give myself an A. Normally, I’m a B student on the “health-focused” grade scale. I was able to balance health and fitness in several different ways: 1.) I stayed focused on healthy eating at every meal and snack time; 2.) I explored the new Lexington farmers market at the University of Kentucky; 3.) I pushed myself in the weight room with a tough lower body/leg workout; 4.) I renewed my enjoyment of Zumba; and 5.) I “attended” an informative Twitter chat about Soy Protein, which was organized by FitFluential and Solae. Let’s break these activities down:

Salsa Lime Tofu. So delicious!

1.) My overall food and nutrition intake was on par and I didn’t feel deprived of anything. I had an omelet for breakfast, oatmeal for a midmorning snack, Salsa Lime Tofu with veggies & strawberry banana Chobani for lunch, a Green Monster protein smoothie for dinner, blueberries and a piece of organic dark chocolate for dessert. Everything was delicious and nutritious, just the way I like it.

Lexington’s newest Farmer’s Market on U.K.’s campus.

2.) I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Lexington’s newest Farmer’s Market on U.K.’s campus. While I love the grocery, I really enjoy shopping for locally grown produce. I mingled with the very people who grew the food before my eyes. I love asking the vendors questions about their produce and I’m always amazed by the new knowledge I take away each time I go. I stopped by a vendor offering samples of strawberries and they were divine! They were juicy and delicious down to the very last bite. I wanted to buy a carton, but they were all sold out. (I would have bought the rest of these samples if there wasn’t a line for them already!) Hopefully strawberries will be at the market next time.

Free pedometers were being handed out to the employees in attendance, so I gladly accepted. It’s nothing fancy, but I’ll where it at work to keep track of my steps taken throughout the work day. I’ll test it out and see what number I’ll get today. While I try to stand a lot at my desk, I don’t do too much walking. This just might be a wake up call for me to get moving even more.

3.) Yesterday’s strength training was focused on my lower body. And boy, did I workout my lower half. Having a weekly training plan has helped me concentrate on getting more out of each and every gym sessions. When I came to my final set, I thought about giving up. But winners never quit, and the pain only makes you stronger. So I pushed myself and I didn’t regret it. Today I’m feeling that good kind of soreness you get after you’ve put in a good workout.

Workout Proof. Don’t mess with these “guns”.

4.) I renewed my enjoyment of Zumba once again. After reviewing my thoughts, I’ve found that letting loose with my coworkers and simply moving my body after a long day of work - even if it’s not pushing me physically - helps make me feel better about my over all wellness. I didn’t realize that I had previously placed a pressure on myself to get a good workout in every time I had previously attended a Zumba class. I would always feel stressed because I couldn’t figure out how to get more out of it.  By switching my focus now on the enjoyment of the activity, I’m more in the spirit to dance off stress that has built up throughout the week. I simply feel better going to that group class now without feeling the pressure of a workout.

5.) The soy protein Twitter chat organized by FitFluential and Solae was informative and left me wanting to know more. Since I’ve  been upping my workout routine, higher protein intake is a necessity for me. I always use whey protein in my smoothies, but I’ve recently started limiting the amount of dairy I take in. Personally, I’ve found that limiting dairy  improves the way I feel. Soy protein is fairly new to me and I want to learn more. I had a few questions answered during the chat, but I also came up with more questions that I’d like to research before ditching whey completely. The two things I learned from the Twitter chat are: 1.) Whey is a “fast” protein because it’s rapidly absorbed; Soy protein is“intermediate” & casein “slow”, taking several hours for the body to absorb, and 2.) Soy Protein contains more glutamine & arginine than whey protein or casein. I still have a lot to learn, but I enjoyed the little knowledge I did gain.

Have you entered my giveaway going on now from SlimKicker? There’s still some time left! SlimKicker wants to give one of my readers a 7 Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. Imagine all of the healthy, easy to prepare recipes where you can use this, like my Mexican Salsa Chicken recipe. There’s still time to enter to giveaway! Read all about how you can win, here.

7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel

I’m curious to see what today holds. This evening after work, I’m hoping to attend a “skirt! After Work” party for a grand opening of House, an interior design and housewares store in Lexington. They’re having a grand opening sale and Saul Good, one of my FAVORITE Lexington eateries is catering. Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
Do you incorporate soy protein into your daily diet? If so, how?
If not, how do you make sure you get enough protein into your daily diet?

Kale Chips | Easiest Recipe. Ever. {Giveaway Reminder}

I am really enjoying your responses to yesterday’s post regarding a SlimKicker challenge you could see yourself participating in. Remember, each challenge comment on that post earns you an entry for an awesome giveaway. SlimKicker is giving one of my lucky readers a 7-Quart Oval Manual, Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. Read yesterday’s post to learn about SlimKicker and to find out how to enter. There’s still time! Giveaway closes on Monday, May 28th at 11:59. Here is, once again, a look at the prize:

In other news, do you ever get the late-night munchies? I certainly do. Healthy options can be hard to think of when you want something quick and simple. When I get the munchies, I tend to want something crunchy to snack on. I usually gravitate toward plain popcorn, sprinkled with cinnamon or the kettle corn variety. (I have quite the sweet tooth!)

Last night, the munchies hit me, big time. I looked in my pantry, hoping to find some popcorn. But the only kind I was the butter flavor (and I don’t know how that ended up there because I don’t like the butter and salt flavor.) So, I decided I’d make up a batch of Kale Chips. My recipe is extremely easy, only 2 ingredients, and NO salt or oil.

 “Cheesey” Kale Chips

(No cheese is actually used, only nutritional yeast that gives a great cheese flavor. Perfect for vegans, vegetarians or flexitarians, like myself.)
Ingredients:

  • 1 small bunch Kale (I had about 3 loose cups worth)
  • 2 tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast (I use Bragg)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.Tear kale into bite sized pieces, wash, shake dry and place in a bowl.

3. Place kale on baking sheet and sprinkle with nutritional yeast

4. Place in oven and bake 4-5 minutes, turn over and bake for another 4-5 minutes or until crispy. Remove from oven and Enjoy!

Nutrition Info: Calories: 139, Total Fat 0g, Sat. Fat 0g, Cholest. 0mg, Sodium, 87mg, Carb. 23g, Fiber 5g, Sugars 0g, Protein 10g
 A couple of things to note:
  • Make sure you dry your Kale really well after washing. Leaving too much moisture may result in a chewy kale chip, which I don’t enjoy.
  • Keep an eye on your Kale as it is cooking. Oven temperatures do vary and kale can quickly burn if kept in the oven too long.
  • I enjoy these right out of the oven, still warm. But you can also enjoy these for a couple of days by putting them in an air tight container.

Again, don’t forget to enter to win SlimKicker’s giveaway! Wishing you all the best! katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
What’s your favorite healthy late night snack?
Have you entered to win SlimKicker’s Giveaway? Find out more by reading yesterday’s post.