Workouts Reviewed and SlimKicker {Giveaway}

There’s a giveaway involved in today’s post, so keep reading…but first, let me recap yesterday’s workouts. Monday, my first day on my new workout schedule, was a major success! I designed my strength session to be a total body workout with extra emphasis on the upper body. Simply knowing that I wanted to push my upper body made me concentrate on that muscle group more with each exercise. Just like yoga where the instructor emphasizes the importance of feeling every vertebrae, I focused on every muscle being used.

I also went to Zumba after work. Now that I view Zumba as a fun activity and not a workout for me personally, I let loose, had a blast, and actually seemed to have more energy to dance. I focused on twisting and turning, engaging my core, and putting more of myself into each move rather than just go through the motions.

You know I like apps and tools that help you live a healthy, balanced life. In previous posts, I’ve mentioned several tools I use daily to help hold me accountable toward achieving my overall health goals. Have you heard of SlimKicker? It’s a great online tool and iPhone app that helps motivate you to get fit by turning your diet and fitness goals into a level-up game. You earn points by participating in healthy eating and fitness challenges.

Examples of SlimKicker challenges include: quitting soda for a week, giving up processed meats for two weeks and committing to 100 planks over the course of a week. Some challenges give you the opportunity to win giveaways if, of course, you successfully complete them. Participate in one or several. Enjoy the many challenges offered to help you stay health-focused for life! SlimKicker also features useful tools such as a calorie counter, a fitness tracker, and a community with other similar-minded people.

One feature I particularly like about SlimKicker is the collection of recipes SlimKicker has online, each arranged by particular diet plans you may follow. Some of these diet plans include the 17 Day Diet, P90X diet plan, or the Dukan Diet…and to make some of those healthy recipes, you may need a slow cooker, right? How would you like to win this slow cooker? You can!

7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel  *Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is open to US residents only.* 

GIVEAWAY: The great people of SlimKicker want to give you, my dear reader, a chance to score this fantastic 7-Quart Oval Manual, Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. You can make some easy-to-prepare, easy-to-cook recipes (like my Mexican Salsa Chicken) in this slow cooker. Interested in winning? It’s easy. Here’s how enter this giveaway:

Mandatory: Leave a comment on a creative diet and/or fitness challenge idea that you would want to participate in, like quitting soda for a week or doing 100 plank week challenge, running 1 mile a day for 10 days, etc. The key is to be creative on the challenge! What type of fun SlimKicker challenge would you want to participate in? (Please note that this is mandatory in order to be entered into the giveaway!)

Optional: After you leave the above comment, follow me on twitter. Let your friends know about SlimKicker and this giveaway by tweeting:
“I just entered to win a 7-Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker in the @wishandwhimsy @SlimKicker Giveaway http://wp.me/pHJIG-kP”

I will be collecting entries until 11:59pm on Monday, May 28, 2012 and the winner will be announced shortly after. The SlimKicker team will pick their favorite challenge idea submitted by you, use it on their site, and give the winner the slow cooker. *Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is open to US residents only. 

Interested in joining SlimKicker? You can visit their website, or download their iPhone app. Wishing you all the best and the best of luck on this awesome giveaway. katie

***EDITED: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.***
(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, FacebookPinterest and more.) 
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Grocery Love.

I absolutely love to grocery shop. Honest. There is no sarcasm in that statement. Is that strange? I find myself looking forward to the trip to grocery every single week. I only shop for one (me), but I plan this trip each week, browsing weekly sale ads, gathering coupons, and reading up on new recipes that might inspire a new grocery store purchase. I enjoy the budgeting aspect because it’s something I can control and I feel accomplished knowing that I’ve picked out healthy items while staying in my budget.

Grocery shopping is a game. I think about it in these terms: how can I get the best value for my dollar? I define value as: 1.) quality- is the food nutritious and healthy? 2.) taste- will I enjoy the food without wasting any portion? and, 3.) price: is the food within my budget?

Another aspect that makes shopping enjoyable is using the application for my phone called Fooducate. Have you ever heard of it? To use Fooducate, you open the application on your smart phone and scan the bar code on the package. (Or you can enter it manually and search the term.) Then, Fooducate grades the food choice giving it a score (A through D-); it also points out positives and negatives about the item. For example, it will tell you if a controversial/artificial additive is found in the food or if it’s high in sodium/sugar etc. It also points out good nutrients. One of my favorite features of Fooducate is that it offers healthy/healthier alternatives to the item you’ve scanned. Many times this allows me to purchase food that is a grade level better. It’s a helpful tool and eye opening for sure. I highly recommend it.

Yesterday’s grocery shopping trip was fun. I had several coupons to use on things I was already planning to buy. (Side note & budget tip: when using coupons, be careful not to clip coupons for things you wouldn’t normally buy. Even though you think you’re saving money, you’re actually spending money that you didn’t intend to in the first place. This is why a list is important. Write down a list and stick to it!) Here’s a shot of the week’s worth of food I purchased yesterday, and remember, it complements things I already have in my pantry, fridge and freezer:

Just a few highlights:

  • Coupons: I used coupons that basically gave me 4 protein bars for $1.00. I had a coupon for Nasoya Tofu that made it less expensive than the generic brand.
  • Bananas: The HUGE bunch of bananas was only $1.22. I’ve never bought so many bananas. Good thing I simply freeze them and use them in smoothies. I’m set for SEVERAL weeks.
  • Quinoa: One of my food goals was to cook with Quinoa. I finally am going to give it a try. I bought a bag of organic quinoa from the bulk food section of the grocery store which saved me about $2.00 for the same amount in the prepackaged section.

This food after coupons was a grand TOTAL OF$22.00

I should note that I did make an additional “grocery” purchase on the way home from Kroger that I am not including in this budget. I purchased a new whey protein powder to try. Mom and Dad had previously given me a gift card, and I used that to purchase the protein powder. (THANKS MOM AND DAD!!!) So, technically this didn’t come out of my personal finances. I’m curious to try this flavor that combines my two favorite food items: Chocolate Peanut Butter. Yum.

*If I would have included this in my grocery total, the combined total would have been $36.88.

After putting everything away yesterday, I had a delicious, protein packed lunch that included a tuna salad (a quick version of this recipe) on a bed of organic spinach and a side of vanilla greek yogurt with blueberries. Lunch also included an exceptionally jar of water.

While doing my Sunday chores of laundry, cleaning and planning out my week ahead, I prepped my lunches for the work week ahead. I’ve been in a tofu mood lately, so I made my Salsa Lime Tofu recipe.

Well, it’s time to start my Monday. It’s looking like a busy week. Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
What’s your favorite brand of protein powder and what’s your favorite flavor?
What does your week look like? Busy? 

Breakfast With Bub & Blog News.

I had a great time with my brother yesterday for breakfast. (I call him “Bub”.) Bub is such an incredible person and I’m really blessed to have him not only as my family, but also as one of my best friends. He bends over backwards to help anyone and everyone in need. I look up to him and wish I could be more like him.

For breakfast, I made him an omelet, customized how I thought he would enjoy it. I also threw in a tiny bit of kale to see how he’d react. Here’s what he had, with a side of bacon:

HIS: 4 egg omelet with onions, basil, tomato, kale, crushed pepper and cheese topped with medium salsa. Side of bacon.

I enjoyed my own custom omelet, that turned into more of a “scramble”. It included 3 egg whites, onions, basil, tomatoes and LOTS of kale. I topped it with a tiny amount of spicy brown mustard for a bit of a kick. Instead of bacon, my side of choice was plain greek yogurt with blueberries. Delicious! Here’s how mine looked, without the yogurt:

MINE.

After breakfast, Jordan was so kind to help me out with some blog ventures I’m toying with. Just to let all of my subscribers know, I soon will be on a self hosted site which will provide me a greater platform to talk about health, fitness, food, love and all things life. I’m excited about this opportunity coming up and will let you know when it goes live. For now though, I’m still plugging away on this fabulous site.

I’ll be heading to church in just a little while and then to the grocery store. I’ve spent some time meal planning and gathering my coupons to save a little money this week. As always, I’ll report back tomorrow about my mindful shopping trip at the grocery and let you know just how much I spend. Here’s hoping for a third week under budget!

Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTION OF THE DAY:
Do you have a family member you are particularly close with? A sibling or a cousin? Tell me about that special relationship.
What’s on your agenda today? 

My Weekly Fitness Plan.

One of my recent fitness goals was to come up with an overall weekly training schedule. I’m excited to share with you what I have worked on this week. Sticking to a fitness schedule gives me a way to craft workouts that are goal specific and ensures that I target specific muscle groups. It will push and challenge my current fitness level. While my training plan will constantly evolve, this is an overall view of my weekly workout plan:

While this training plan will certainly change throughout the weeks, my goal is to focus on toning particular muscle groups. I used to use my midday strength toning session to do a total body workout, but lately, I’ve been a little bored with the same routine and I’ve found myself wishing to push my body a bit harder.

I’m having my brother over for breakfast in just a bit and I still haven’t decided what to make him. I want to make a healthy breakfast, but I don’t think he would be a fan of anything with kale in it…

Oh, and I have one tiny favor to ask you. Would you Follow me on Twitter? I’m SO close to 100 Followers, which would make a goal of mine come true. (I also have a new Facebook page if you’re interested in “liking” Wish and Whimsy…) Anyway, wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY
What is your general fitness plan? Do you find it important to focus on specific muscle groups or do you prefer total body workouts?

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Friday Refine | Finances

I’ve had a few weeks to think about today’s Friday Refine. I’ve already refined my Food and Fitness goals. This week I want to discuss Finances. I really believe that healthy living includes having a healthy handle on your finances. We are all guilty of stressing over finances. We can eliminate much of that stress through planning and being aware of where our money is and where it’s going. But first, let’s look at how I’m doing those goals.

Food:

  • My protein intake has been really great. I’m hitting my goal every day. I’m really confident this is because I’m meal planning for the week, at the beginning of each week instead of the day or night before. I’m making protein intake a  high priority, and it’s showing.
  • I’m staying well under budget through mindful grocery shopping and using coupons on things I’m already going to buy anyway. Peruse the internet for your favorite food brands and, more often than not, you can find coupons on their website to use in store. On a side note related to food and grocery budgets, you might find the following article from the WSJ to be of interest. It’s an article that shows healthy food is a better deal than junk food. WIN!

Fitness:

  • I’ve been tweaking and creating a workout schedule to make each workout goal oriented. I’ll have more on that tomorrow because that’s my week’s end.
  • As I discussed in yesterday’s post, I’m looking at each of my old workouts and seeing ways I can improve or redirect my energy and efforts to get the most out of that designated workout time.

And now let’s talk about Finances. First, a little background:

I am thankful that my parents taught me to be financially savvy. They taught me the value of savings, of finding the best deals, for working hard for what you buy. Other than student loans, I carry no debt. My car is paid for and my credit card is paid off in full every month. I’m financially independent, and that’s something I’m very proud of, especially in this economy. (Though I must say a big thank you to my parents for always allowing me to stock up on pantry items and sending me home with toilet paper and laundry detergent anytime I travel home or they come to Kentucky for a visit. Those gestures are much appreciated and help tremendously in savings.)

This past year has been one of my most expensive years of my life. I used to live very conservatively, which gave me the opportunity to grow my savings. I used to rent a room from my brother’s house where the rent was cheap and the company was fun. We hardly used heating and air, didn’t use internet for the longest time, didn’t have the expense of cable, etc. We used that money to save.

However, in the past year and a half, I’ve moved into the “big” city of Lexington where I pay my own rent, much higher than before. My boyfriend moved to a different state to attend medical school which has created travel expenses on my end (which I gladly accept because he and his family are so worth it). Because of that long distance relationship, I’ve had to add internet to Skype, which made me have to pay for basic cable….etc. There are so many “little expenses” that really creep up on you. If you’re not focused on the little things that add up, your finances will get away from you.

While anyone would like a little more money, I can’t complain. I’m doing okay on my own. I can’t run to the store and purchase everything on a whim. But I can appreciate the hard work I put in to save for things I do want. Most importantly, all of my needs are taken care of and I’m content and happy. That’s all that matters, right?

With all of background now out in the open, there are areas I do want to focus on. And, yes, they focus a lot on my food and fitness focuses. With a lot of potential changes happening in the upcoming year or so, there are few areas I’d like to refine in the way I handle my finances:

  1. Be mindful of small purchases. Every swipe of the debit card adds up. Do I really need that cup of coffee, or should I just prepare it at home. What value am I obtaining by purchasing XYZ’s cup of joe? Do I really need that shirt that’s been marked down for $9.99? Is it truly made of good quality and will I wear it often? Or will it hide in the back of my closet with all the other “on sale” items that I never wear. This idea is VERY similar to mindful grocery shopping. Let’s put an end to impulse buying and actually save that money toward something I really want.
  2. Pay down student loans, even further. With the money I’m saving by not purchasing impulsively, I want to put that toward student loans. I know it’s not much, but I can add that money saved every month and add it to my monthly student loan payments. Anytime I fall under my grocery budget, I’m going to use that toward student loan repayment. That’s extra incentive to stay Food Focused! I hate the pressure of debt, to anyone, over anything. And student loans are such a kill joy, aren’t they? So, I’m seeking to get rid of them.
  3. Look for additional sources of income. I’m not looking for another full-time job. I’m simply talking about ways I can earn a little extra money to put into savings. I have recently become a social media marketer for a beautiful store in TN, The Registry, and I’d like to put more effort in to that. Another source of income can be consignment. Because I’ve added strength toning to my workouts, nothing fits me anymore. I’m basically at a blank canvas for my closet, yet I’m holding on to clothes that don’t fit. Why not try to get a little extra money back for them?

Well, there you have it. Three areas I can realistically refine in my life right now. We’ve looked at Food, Fitness and now Finances. Next week, we’ll talk about Love.

It’s going to be a great day. I’m having lunch with Mom and my brother. (Mom is in town). And tonight, I’m having some friends over for dessert and a flick…Funny Face. Can’t go wrong with a classy Audrey Hepburn movie! Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
Do you think finances plays a role in healthy living?
What are some of your own finance goals?
What creative ways do you earn extra income? 

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Zumba | When A Workout Isn’t Working You Out.

My Zumba class was cancelled. I go to Zumba after work on Mondays and Wednesdays and I have recruited a lady I work with to come along, too. We both had plans to go, until I received an email about the class being cancelled. While she decided to go home, I decided I wanted to do something to get my body moving. So, I went to another class being offered in Zumba’s place. While I enjoy Zumba, this other cardio class got me thinking about what I want out of evening workouts. Zumba may be a great group fitness class that allows you to move around after a long day of work, but it’s not really working me out much any more. The class yesterday included tabata training and I felt the burn, which felt great!

Image Source.

I first started attending Zumba a couple of years ago. At that point, the two days a week class was the only structured workout I participated in. I always looked forward to the dancing/fitness combination. I should probably credit Zumba as my first “baby step” toward beginning my fitness journey. Since beginning Zumba, and especially in the last year and a half, I’ve incorporated other fitness classes and routines like Krav Maga – where I met my boyfriend – and strength toning classes offered at the gym owned by my work. I’ve also dabbled with Yoga and I have now crossed over to the weight room at the gym. (It used to intimidate me!)

Krav Maga – Don’t mess with me, I Krav.

While some of those classes have come and gone, I’ve tweaked my fitness routine to what works best for me in terms of results and enjoyment, and what works with my schedule and lifestyle.

While attending Zumba classes these past few weeks, I’ve notice that I’m not benefiting much from Zumba any more in terms of physical results. I find myself kind of going through the motions. So I’ve been wondering what I need to do to amp up this time so I can benefit most. My dad is an engineer and he always advised me to make a list of pros and cons. Here’s my list, Pros and Cons personalized for me:

Zumba Pros:

  1. Zumba gets me moving after a long day at the office.
  2. It’s convenient to work. Just a five-minute walk and I’m at class.
  3. It’s immediately after work, so no wasting a few minutes here or there before class starts. Time is precious and I hate to waste a minute of it!
  4. I connect with my colleagues in a non-work environment. This builds rapport.
  5. Dancing makes me feel good and boosts confidence. While I’m not the world’s greatest dancer, I can pretend to be J.Lo for 45 minutes.

Zumba Cons:

  1. I don’t feel like I’m pushing myself.
  2. I don’t think it contributes to seeing real results.

While there are more Pros on the list than Cons, the value placed on the Cons are a lot to consider. Should I spend that time at the gym or another class to push and challenge me? Or can I find a way to push myself harder in Zumba to make it a more effective workout? Or do I focus on the fact that Zumba helps me build relationships and incorporates a fun activity in my work week?

With all of this said, I think I’ll stick with Zumba, concentrate on engaging new muscle groups and feel good about simply moving my body after a long day of work. I must understand that Zumba is only a supplement or a complement to my active lifestyle and it’s not my main workout plan. Zumba has become a social and fun activity which, too, contributes to an overall healthy life. If I were to replace my Monday and Wednesday Zumba sessions, I would be limiting my social and networking life. How often do you actually get to combine fun activity with socializing/networking? Not very often. As long as an activity isn’t decreasing my overall health and is helping maintain or promote it, I’m in. I’m going to keep that fitness party going.

Tabata Time!

Additionally, while I spend part of every lunch hour in my gym, I think I’ll look for a class that challenges me on Tuesdays and Thursdays because I really did enjoy the tabata training yesterday. It pushed me and I felt like I had worked out when the class ended. I guess that conclusion makes for the best of all worlds.

Wow. That Pros & Cons list really did help. Thanks, Dad!

Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:

What would you do? Is it okay to participate in a workout that is not really working you out? How would you up the fitness results in this situation? Do you have a similar story? Please share and let’s discuss!

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Kitchen Nightmare & Vanilla Greek Yogurt.

Okay, so the title is really dramatic. In the land of blogs, they call that a teaser. I was putting together a protein smoothie last night, I discovered that my kitchen scale was low on batteries. Not good. I rely on this scale for every single meal and snack. It’s my favorite kitchen tool. I thought I could simply swap out the batteries for some I have on hand, but I quickly learned that this battery wasn’t your standard AA. It’s a 9 volt. That means I have to wait until after work today to pick one up. This is a must-fix-immediately kind of deal.

Dear Salter, please come back to life. I need you in my life.

Moving on. I conducted a little taste test of sorts for vanilla greek yogurt. For this simple test, I chose two brands: Chobani and Kroger. I wanted to really get a feel for the taste and to see the nutrition difference between a name brand and generic brand.

VANILLA GREEK YOGURT SHOWDOWN

Chobani, Vanilla Greek Yogurt

First, let’s take a look at Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt

Cost per container: $1.25
Texture: Super smooth and creamy. Fairly thick.
Taste: The creaminess of theis trea combined with the mild vanilla flavor is fantastic.
Nutrition: Serving Size: 6oz. Calories: 120 Calories from Fat: 0 Total Fat: 0g Sat. Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0g Sodium: 75mg Total Carbs: 13g Dietary Fiber: 0g Sugars: 13g Protein: 16g

Kroger Vanilla Greek Yogurt. Blueberries added by me.

Next up, Kroger Brand Vanilla Greek Yogurt-

Cost per container: $0.89
Texture: Very slight but noticable”gritty” texture when eaten without a mix in.
Taste: A bit tart, but unnoticable when I mixed blueberries in.
Nutrition: Serving Size: 6oz. Calories: 110 Calories from Fat: 0 Total Fat: 0g Sat. Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 5g Sodium: 75mg Total Carbs: 10g Dietary Fiber: 0g Sugars: 9g Protein: 14g

Winner Per Round-

Cost: Kroger, savings of $0.36 per container
Texture: Chobani
Taste: When plain, Chobani. With a mix in like blueberries, tie.
Nutrition:  Tie- Though the nutrients are not exactly the same, they are very similar. You must consider what your diet allows. I prefer less sugar, where Kroger wins, but Chobani offers more protein.

So which Vanilla brand do I prefer? While it’s a tough call, I have to consider how I’ll be consuming the greek yogurt. If I want it just plain vanilla, then Chobani wins. BUT, because this girl is on a budget,  the nutrients are very similar, and I always put a fruit into my vanilla greek yogurt, Kroger wins by the slightest mark. The primary winning factor? Budget. (Exception – I’ll be Chobani if it happens to be on sale. When I walk to the Greek Yogurt section of my grocery, I always cross my fingers that will be. I’m not even kidding.)

Vanilla flavor winner. Primary factor? Budget.

HOWEVER, I can’t rave enough about Chobani’s Strawberry Banana, Raspberry or Blood Orange Greek Yogurt flavors! They are AMAZING and addicting, too! Those flavors I won’t compromise. This comparison was for vanilla only.

It’s off to work for this girl. I hope you all have a great Wednesday ahead! Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
Are there any foods that you sacrifice flavor on to save a little money?
OR, are there any foods you won’t compromise flavor, even if the nutrition value is about the same?

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

5 Simple Ways I Stay Fit At Work.

First, I must say that I really gave my arms a workout yesterday. This week I’m creating a daily fitness plan, goal specific workouts for each day I hit the gym. While I’m still tweaking the plan, I focused on my arms and shoulders during my strength training session yesterday. Because of that great workout out, my body was already a little sore when I went to Zumba. At this point in my life, Zumba is not the workout I benefit most from. I consider it a great way to move after a long day and a great way to connect with people at work, outside of the office setting.

While I love where I work and what I do, I have a typical “desk job”. It would be easy to get caught up in a routine of walking in the office and sitting for 8 hours. But I prefer moving around much more than I do sitting. So, how does one passionate about healthy living  make fitness a priority while at the office? Simple…I modify my work space and my day to accommodate the healthy life I want to live. Here’s how I stay fit and on track during my work day:

1.) I’ve designed my space and coordinated my schedule to make sure my fitness is maintained while on the  job. While I don’t have a standing treadmill in my office (I’m envious of Lindsay’s @ the Lean Green Bean blog), I have propped up my computer and keyboard to allow me to stand. I’ve read in numerous places that you burn twice the amount of calories standing than you do sitting because your body is constantly engaging your muscles and core to provide proper balance. I also read that if you stand for 10 minutes out of every work hour, you will end up burning about 100 calories each day (source).

2.) I keep a water bottle on my desk to remain hydrated throughout the day. I try my hardest to refill it at least once while at work. I also have green tea to keep my energy and my metabolism up. While I occasionally enjoy a cup of coffee at home in the mornings, I try to limit the amount of coffee I drink while I’m at work to limit my caffeine intake.

3.) I designate at least half of my lunch hour for working out. There is a small gym down the street that I can walk to easily. Because it is owned by my work, there’s only a tiny monthly fee for employees to use it.  To avoid getting sweaty, I strength tone during this time. My membership in this gym includes group classes that are offered at different points of the day. I take advantage of Zumba after work on Monday’s and Wednesdays. Zumba is a fun way to get moving after a long day at work.

I come to work dressed like the left photo and change midday for a quick workout during lunch. I’m thankful for an office with a door:

   

4.) I bring my own homemade lunches to work every day. This way I can control the ingredients and monitor the nutrients I am taking in. Additionally, brown bagging my lunch saves me money. (I consider being financially wise a large part of healthy living.)

5.) I use the free application FitBolt on my computer. This application gives you an activity every half hour to get you moving. These include a mix of stretches and exercises that can be performed in a small office.

Those are just five simple ways I stay fit while at the office. By the way, some of you have asked about FitFluential. I’m now an Ambassador, and I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity. FitFluential is a unique network of fitness and health bloggers who share their fitness journeys and influence others toward healthy living. You can join and follow fitness happenings here. I’m off to enjoy another day of work, beginning with an early meeting.

Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY
How do you maintain fitness while at work?
What are your favorite on-the-job fitness tips?

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Surprising Salad & Shopping Smart.

I had such a wonderful weekend with my parents. It seemed too short. For Mother’s Day yesterday, Mom wanted us to take her to a Mexican restaurant right outside of our town. I love Mexican food, but I haven’t had it for the longest time. Quite honestly, I wasn’t too pumped to go because I knew I’d be tempted by the free chips and salsa, queso dips, and worst of all…tortillas. I used to order tortillas and cheese dip as a meal. I’d hate to think what a calorie nightmare that meal was costing me in terms of nutrition. I had NO earthly idea what I would order. I reviewed the entire menu, but even the veggie selections seemed like they would be cooked in lots of oils. The only thing that sounded safe on the menu was under the “sides” section titled “Tossed Salad” and there wasn’t any description. I requested no croutons or shredded cheese. I was expecting simply iceberg lettuce…

 

…but to my surprise, the waiter brought a HUGE delicious and nutritious salad! The green and red peppers were bursting with flavor and the sweet onions were a perfect touch. The tomato slices were insanely large and the meal was really filling. I left the meal completely satisfied. I used to leave Mexican restaurants feeling overly stuffed. But this restaurant knew how to please a flexitarian such as myself.

While I wish I could have visited with Mom and Dad a little longer, I needed to head back to Lexington to prepare for the week. After unpacking my car and making a banana and peanut butter protein smoothie (I missed Krema PB!), I looked through my fridge, pantry and freezer so I could plan out my meals and make a grocery shopping list. Luckily, Mom and Dad saved me a lot of money on my grocery budget this week because they sent me back with leftovers from the weekend. I made my list, gathered my coupons and headed to Kroger.

I know it doesn’t look like a lot, but I have plenty get me through this week without letting any food or leftovers go to waste. I had NO idea that meal planning and mindful grocery shopping would help me save so much money. The grand total for my grocery shopping, including the coupons and “instore savings” was $17.82. That’s well under my weekly grocery budget of $35. Maybe I’m setting the budget too high, or maybe these haven’t been typical weeks. I’ve managed to stick to my list and avoid impulse buys. I’ll be interested to see how the next few weeks go in terms of grocery shopping so I can get a real picture of my typical spending. (A BIG thank you to Mom and Dad for giving me leftovers to use throughout the week!)

Today is my big workout day. I’ll strength tone during lunch and do Zumba after work. Like I said on Friday, I’m coming up with a schedule for goal specific workouts each day of the week. I’m tweaking this schedule now, so I’ll report back to you later on my daily focus plan.

Well, I’m off to make some cinnamon rolls for a coworker. Yesterday was his birthday and he prefers cinnamon rolls over cupcakes. Surprisingly, cinnamon rolls aren’t sounding appealing to me today. I think it’s because it’s Monday and I want to start the work week on a healthy note. It’s eggs and greek yogurt for me!

Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

What are your smart shopping strategies to saving money at the grocery? If you respond to this question, I may feature your strategy in an upcoming post! 

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Happy Mother’s Day & I’m An Ambassador!

This girl has some VERY exciting news that I can’t wait to share, but I first have to wish a VERY Happy Mother’s Day my amazing Mom. I’m blessed to be able to spend this day with Mom and Dad.

Mother’s Day Weekend, 2012

Before I recap the details of my lovely time spent with Mom yesterday, I have some VERY exciting news to share. I’ve been selected as a FitFluential Ambassador! I am beyond excited to be accepted into the Ambassador program and my deepest wish is that I can use this opportunity as a way to continue promoting healthy living. Fitness and overall health is a big passion of mine and this opportunity is a step for me to join other influencers and ambassadors promote health and make it a social priority. I hope that I can inspire others just as FitFluential Ambassadors have inspired me to make healthier choices in my own life.

I took Mom to Capitol Roasters, a coffee shop she and I have never visited before. While I’ll be honest and say that it wasn’t the world’s best cup of coffee, the atmosphere was very enjoyable. It’s a fairly open yet inviting coffee shop, without much people traffic at the time of day we went. This made our time truly special so we could share what was on our hearts and minds openly. I’d recommend the place and visit again simply for the quietness of the place. Sometimes, a coffee date isn’t about the coffee…it’s about sharing life together. And the price wasn’t bad at all! Everything in the photo below was under $6.

Apple Cinnamon and Sunrise Explosion muffins. Chocolate Almond coffee, sprinkled with Cinnamon.

We both decided on a cup of Chocolate Almond coffee and shared freshly baked good. I had a coupon for a buy one, get one free muffin. Mom had the Sunrise Explosion – a carrot cake, raisin and spice muffin- and I enjoyed half of an Apple Cinnamon muffin. (I knew Dad would enjoy the other half, so I brought it home for him to enjoy.) We found a spot on a comfortable couch and caught up on life. I loved our coffee and conversation. There’s something special that happens every time we share a coffee date and happy tears are always gauranteed. I took along her Mother’s Day gifts to let her open. My brother and I decided to give her gifts the complemented her love of hospitality. We gave her several things to set a spring themed table and an adorable hostess apron. I was excited to give this to her and I hope she will enjoy it whenever she hosts company.

Isn’t she lovely? She’s the hostess with the mostess.

She and I then went to the mall. Mom won a contest for sharing a funny story about her mother on the mall’s website and she was selected as the winner of a gift card! We had a mini shopping spree and we decided to use the gift card to find matching charms for our Pandora bracelet that would honor the memory of Nana. We decided on a charm called “forget-me-not” and it was classy, just like I have always imagined Nana.

Because we had a healthy and filling breakfast, plus a baked treat from Capitol Roasters, we weren’t hungry for a formal lunch. We came home and had snacks in the afternoon. While mom made some blankets for her ministry at church, we watched Driving Miss Daisy. During the movie, I prepped the marinade for Salsa Lime Tofu and cut up a Strawberry Papaya. Here’s how the table looked:

Salsa Lime Tofu, mixed steamed veggies, crescent rolls, and strawberry papaya

Dinner turned out fantastic, and I remembered to bake the tofu a little longer this time. I doubled the recipe to have enough for the family and plus enough for me to take back to Lexington as left overs to be used for lunches at work. This was Mom and Dad’s first introduction to Tofu, so I hoped they enjoyed it. And they did! Mom, being the main cook in the family, especially enjoyed it and is considering all of the possibile recipes she can create with Tofu. Win!

Mom, Dad & Tofu

What an amazing day! I can’t believe how wonderful yesterday was…great time with my parents and great news from FitFluential! I wonder what today holds…

And by the way, I updated my Recipe page to make it easier for you to find recipes by category. Simply rest your cursor over “Recipes” and a drop down box of categories will appear. Right now, you can search for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Smoothie recipes.

Well, I’m off to church with my family. I’m looking forward to seeing familar faces from my church family, especially on a special Sunday like Mother’s Day.

Wishing you all the very best Mother’s Day. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY
How are you celebrating Mother’s Day?
Are you a FitFluential Ambassador? Any advice for a newbie? (If you haven’t heard of FitFluential, get to know them. Find out more by going to www.fitfluential.com. You’ll be able to find links to many fitness and health influencers!) 


(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.)