Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Motivation Favorites

When I first started this blog, I would do Motivational Mondays. I found (and still do some days) that finding motivation on Monday is one of hardest things to do. I almost always feel more exhausted on a Monday than I do on the weekend or after a long week.

Even though today is not Monday, I am lacking on the motivation. I know that I just need to pull my big girl pants up and get on with it. I will, just not at this moment. Today I thought I would share some of my favorites from back in the day.

see entire post here


This one hits home.  It is really up to each one of us to accept ourselves. Including
all those wrinkles, cellulite and stretch marks and sweet/salty personalities!


With today's society and social media craze, it is easy for any one of us to get caught in the comparison game..and get stuck. Remember, it is your body your rules!


see entire post here

This post goes along the lines of what I said above about social media. I sometimes find myself glued to my phone and HATE it. I will purposfully go and put my phone in a different room just so that I am off of it for awhile. I'm sure the hubby and the animals enjoy that disconnected time just as much as I do.
see entire post here

Lastly, this one is way easier said than done. It is so easy to start worrying about things that really shouldn't have the weight that they do. Unfortunately sometimes I work best with a little worry/pressure behind me. That being said, I could also benefit with turning that worry switch off and cranking up the live more switch! :)


Questions for you:

Where do you find your motivation?

What are your best motivation tips?


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How to Feel Like a Badass in the Gym | Favorite Exercises

Do you ever get into a workout slump where you are kinda in-between programs and don't really know what to do when you get to the gym? I definitely have! I usually get this way after finishing a program or if a program starts getting a little too complicated. What I mean by complicated is that moves/exercised for the program require more equipment than my gym has, not that it means lifting heavier.


When these days pop up, there are a few exercises that always make me feel like I crushed a workout. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about How to Feel Like a Badass in the Gym so I thought I would add onto the series and share these exercises today!




1. Squat

I never used to be a fan of these/never did them. I really think this was a mixture between fear and uncertainty. I also used to think a lot about what people thought of me in the gym. Now I am lucky enough to not really care that much BUT what really helped me was starting with low weight and working my way up.

Wide-Stance Barbell Squat
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Wide-Stance Barbell Squat
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What has also helped me with my confidence with squats is stretching. I used to feel like I could never get low enough or that I was always just a little too tight in my hamstrings and hip flexors to do the squat properly. Now before every workout, I warm up for 3-5 minutes. After warming up, I stretch out especially in my arms and lets. I find that stretching during the workout/in between sets really helps with soreness as well. I have found that this has immensely improved my form and i have been able to lift more as well! Squats are compound movements so while you are working your legs, you are also stimulating other muscles as well.

2. Tricep Kick Back

Tricep Dumbbell Kickback
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Tricep Dumbbell Kickback
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This is a move that I have also come to love. I don't do it 100% like this photo shows but it is pretty close. While I do like some other tricep moves, this one is the one where I feel it the most. It allows me to really connect my mind to the muscle. I have seen some notable growth with my triceps and I believe adding this move to upper body days have helped. I usually super set this exercise with the next one.

3. Cable Bicep Curl

I have been working on my biceps for I don't know how long. I have always had a weaker upper body (what woman doesn't?!) so I have focused on it for about the last year or so. One of the exercises that I love to do for biceps in the cable bicep curl.

source
I started out doing both arms at a time but I found that it was hard to really focus on the mind-muscle connection. I started doing one arm only and have found that I can make the connection a lot easier than if I do both. The importance of this exercise is to really focus on the bicep and to take the shoulder/back out of the workout.

4. Single leg deadlift

Now this exercise is a doozy! I normally end my workout with this move as it really helps to stretch out the hamstrings and really focus on stabilization. I usually use this as a burnout exercise as well. I will pick a little lighter of a weight and go until I really feel the burn...and then a little more :)
Kettlebell One-Legged Deadlift
SOURCE
Kettlebell One-Legged Deadlift
SOURCE
           

I don't always use a kettlebell for this exercise but I have used it plenty of times. This exercise gets a little harder the heavier you go, I think anyway. Since you are only using one leg, you also have to work on stabalization to make sure that you don't fall over. IF you do, don't worry! I have done this so many times it's unbelievable. Some days you are all balanced out and some days you are not. That is just the way it goes!

So there you have it! The top 4 exercises that help me crush a workout that I don't have plans for!


Question for you:

What are your go-to moves when stuck in a workout rut?

Linking up for Wild Workout Wednesday and Thinking out Loud.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Weekend in Review | Pup Play Date and St. Patrick's Day

Helllooo! Happy 1st day of Spring! How was your weekend? Ours was good! Hung out with some friends on Friday and stayed around the house for the rest of the weekend.



Friday:

I didn't really do a whole lot actually. I went to the gym, met up with Bill for lunch and headed to Ulta to check out some new products. I ended up not buying anything. Nothing really jumped out at me. Then I headed home to get ready to head to our friend's house in South Minneapolis. We headed down there around 5 for some light dinner (sandwiches) and drinks. Also, a puppy play date. Their golden and our pup get along really well. 



We were also watching some March Madness basketball. We have a little bracket that I got 2nd place in last year. I thought why not try again this year?! There have been some upsets already but it's still not looking too bad though! e headed out to downtown St. Paul. It was super packed down there. There was even some tents behind the bars. 




We ended up stopping at a bar called New Bohemia. It is sort of a brat and beer place. They also serve huge pretzels. Bill and I ended up getting the mac and cheese stuffed brat. It was pretty good!


the marks of the night


Uber on the way home

Saturday:

We didn't do a whole lot. It was more of a lazy Saturday for us. 


We were all pretty exhausted, including Mya! Rizzoli and Isles was my entertainment for the day. We also hit up Texas Roadhose for dinner. If you haven't been, I highly recommend it! They have some of my favorite ribs!

Sunday: 

Went to they gym and hit up Aldi for some more groceries.



I also did some organizing and cleaned the floors with our Shark steam cleaner. With our hardwood floors, a swiffer doesn't always clean it the best. We try about once a month to steam clean it. 

So not too busy of a weekend, but enough for us and the pup!


Linking up with KatieTricia, and the Tumbleweed Contessa!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thoughts for Thursday

Is Daylight Savings kicking your butt as much as it is kicking mine?!



I am a person who loves my sleep. 10 hours is like perfection in my book. Now I don't get that much too often but it is amazing on the nights that I can get that much sleep!

Since I haven't posted since last week, I thought I would get a little random today. Thanks Amanda! 

1. I got my hair done last Friday after a long 5 months. I went back to the same person I went to back in September (which I normally don't do) and was really pleased with the results. Here is a fashionable picture...


in progess

after

It's hard to tell but I got my blonde lightened up and added some more darkness. We do a mixture of brown, red and violet for the darker areas. Some places are more violet than others but I love it. 

I also decided to try out another recipe. I will be sharing my thoughts and where I got it from tomorrow! Since I try to do new/more in depth recipes on Friday's I might start doing that...thoughts?!

HINT

2. This past weekend we headed about 30 minutes into WI to visit one of my best friends. She recently moved out there so we thought we would go and check it out! We starting with some pool and drinks, transferred to dinner (which included pulled pork sandwiches, home made mac and cheese and home made potato salad - delish) and then out for some drinks. We ended up staying pretty late and our "cab" driver getting "lost". It was definitely an interesting but fun night!









3. Sunday we headed to Bill's parents house to celebrate his mom's birthday a day early. We had some awesome dinner and then headed home for an early bedtime (thanks daylight savings time!).

4. I also made another batch of home made mac and cheese. On Saturday I made it with gluten free noodles (my friend has Celiac disease) but this time I made it with regular noodles and a little more spices. It is such an easy and delicious recipe! Find it here!





You start with cooking the noodles IN THE MILK. Who wouldv'e thunk?! Then add some freshly grated cheese. I used 1/2 mild cheddar and 1/2 mozzarella. Oh and some spices. I did a combo of garlic, onion, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Next time a little dash of cayenne will be good!

5. This weekend we are getting together with some other friends as our friend Toby has birthday his this weekend. Also, St. Patty's happens to be on Friday. Not quite sure what we are doing yet, but I'm sure it will be a good time!

6. I have been on a "wanting to organize" kick lately...I just haven't gotten around to the actual organizing yet ha! We had some spring like weather here in Minnesota so I have a feeling that has something to do with it. It snowed this last Sunday so that was a good jolt back to reality. This weekend is supposed to get up into the 50s....so fingers crossed the white stuff disappears! :)

That's about it for now! Hope you have a fantastic weekend! Remember to check back tomorrow for a recipe review!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wild Workout Wednesday

Music is something that fuels me, especially when I am at the gym. I feel that I don't push myself as much when I am just listening to the music at the gym. I do my best with my headphones in and my music up.


Pandora has been my number one go to for quite a few years now. I am signed in on so many devices it's crazy! As I mentioned in my How to Feel Like a Badass | In The Gym post, I want to share with you my top 5 stations that I listen to while at the gym.

1. Kid Ink Radio*

2. Nicki Minaj Radio*

3. Country Fitness Radio

4. Club/Dance Radio

5. Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout Radio*

The ones with asterisks have some explicit language. There is a setting in Pandora though, that allows you to turn off the explicit language. Number 1 and number 2 do have a lot of the same/similar songs but I find that the Nicki Minaj has more female artists than the Kid Ink one. Sometimes I just need a little female motivation, ya know?

So there you have it, my top 5 stations. I am sure there are more out there but these are the ones that seem to be on repeat!

Also, I just started with Spotify as I found it through our Amazon Fire stick for our TV. I listened to it twice at the gym instead of Pandora. So far, I am liking it! I am still trying to figure it all out though...who knows how long that will take!


Some questions for you:

What is your favorite Pandora station?

Spotify or Pandora?

Linking up for Wild Workout Wednesday.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Weekend in Review | Pool and Pups


Hello Friends and welcome back to a new fresh week! How was your weekend? Ours was pretty low key with some family and friend sesh inbetween!

Friday:

I started off the day with creating a coffee/protein smoothie. I took one scoop of my Musclepharm Cookies and Cream protein and mixed it with 10 oz of coffee in the bullet. I also added some ice. It was really good and I cant wait to try some more mixes with some flavored coffee!



I also found out last week that one of the stores that I frequently shop at (and is headquartered in Fargo, ND) was filing for bankruptcy. The store was only located in a handful of stores and is called Vanity. I have a good friend that used to work for the company and she talked about how she didn't know they were staying above water. Turns out they weren't. So I decided to hit up the local Vanity to see if I could score some deals. It was only 10-30% off but I still was able to snag a couple of tank tops, a super soft flannel, a pair of super soft leggings and a pair of peep toe ankle booties in maroon. I plan on going again this week to see if I can score any more deals. I always love finding me some good deals! While I was out and about, I got this "I wanna make some dog treats" mode. I don't know why, but I thought why not! I found a 2 ingredient recipe and got to work.





1.5 cups of old fashioned oats
2 2.0 oz cans of chicken and gravy (Gerber)
1 4.0 oz of apple and pumpkin (Beech-nut Naturals)

I placed the old fashioned oats in our bullet and pulverized the oats the 
best I could. Then I added the the baby food and blended some more. 
Preheat oven to 350* and bake for 20-25 minutes. I used parchment paper
to help with clean up. Let cool completely and place in air tight container. I placed
mine in a ziplock and put them in the fridge. Both Mya and Bruce seem to enjoy
them and we have had no stomach issues!


After running my errands, I met up with Bill at home and we decided to have some friends over for the evening. So operation clean up the house commenced! It's not tooooo dirty so it really didn't take all that long. Our friends that have a golden retriever, Zoe, came over for a pup play date. Mya really loves Zoe and perks up whenever we say her name now. Its awesome that they both get along so well! We played some pool and a little rock band.




Saturday:

Both Bill and I bummed around until about 11:00 am where we headed to Raising Cane's to pick up some lunch. The choices are chicken, chicken or chicken ha! It was pretty good actually! It is one of Bill's favorite places and we just got one not too far from our house (like .5 mile away).


Mya was also pretty exhausted from her Friday night play date so we didn't feel SUPER bad when we left to go to my sister in law's house. 



We met up with Bill's family to chat about all of our vacations. Bill's mom and dad went to Mexico for 10 days, Ash and Pat went to Vietnam for about 2.5 weeks and Bill and I went to Mexico. We all brought some pictures to go over with everyone. We were there for a couple of hours and then headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Fiesta Cancun, with Bill's parents. We ordered a pitcher of margaritas but they were way more sweet than strong. Not my kind of margarita! After that, Bill and I headed back to our house for some relaxation and then to bed!

Sunday:

Bill and I hit up the gym first thing in the morning so that we had the rest of the day. I was able to get some squats in and was pretty beat after all 6 sets. I did one warm up set 1x5 @ 65#, 3x5 @ 85#, 2x5 @ 95#. Next time I am hoping to hit 100# for a couple of reps! Then we cleaned a little bit, ate some lunch and then headed over to Bill's coworker's, Jenna, house. She just got a Newfoundland puppy a couple of weeks ago and wanted to set up a play date with Mya.


She is about 10 weeks old and 20 lbs already. She is so adorable though! The place that Jenna got her from was just two doors down from her house. They casually breed their newfies and have three grown ones at their house. We roamed over there to meet them and the three adult ones they have. For some reason, they seem bigger in my head but these guys were pretty good sized. 


Mya needed attention as well. She gets a little needy around other dogs and/or if Bill and I are paying attention to each other instead of her (eye roll). 


After our play date, Mya crashed. She had a busy weekend. After we got home, I started watching a show I forgot about, Rizzoli and Isles. I really like the humor in that show and that it isn't like all of the other cop shows out there. The series ended last year so I decided to start from the top. Only crappy thing is that it is only on Hulu and it plays commercials like every 10 minutes. I may have to look into a different way to watch it....

Related image

Then since it was about 58* yesterday, we decided to pick up some brats. We got two whiskey peppercorn and two beer brat ones. I liked the peppercorn brats a little better but Bill liked both. We served it with a side of cheddar, bacon macaroni salad, baked beans and some cool ranch chips. I know it sounds like summer meal but how can you resist the grill with that nice of weather! Then a little relaxing after dinner followed by bed!


Questions of the day:

What is your current favorite show?

Are you experiencing any warmer than normal weather where you are?


Linking up with Katie and Tricia!