“The More You Drink, The Better We Sound”

It’s been a busy (and fun) past couple of days!

Wednesday night my parents and I went to a free concert at Waverly Place. Liquid Pleasure, a local band out of Chapel Hill was playing. The music was pegged as beach music, but actually they played most rock/soft-rock covers, neither of which is really my style of music, but they still sounded good.

Their motto throughout the night was “The more you drink, the better we sound”. I didn’t get to test that one out because I was not about to pay $4 for a tiny cup of wine. I spent my $4 at the Whole Foods salad bar instead. Much better choice.

It was really sunny and I didn’t think to bring sunglasses. Not a smart move on my part. I also thought that because it was only going to be 85 degrees (instead of 95+) jeans would be okay. Wrong. I was dying. At least I didn’t get sunburnt?

When my eyes started hurting I moved on to attempting to take artsy pictures of inanimate objects. Hey Red Solo Cup.

And when I needed a break from the heat I walked around Whole Foods for a little bit, they had some really beautiful flowers outside.

Thursday afternoon my mom and I went to the Farmer’s Market! I would just like to take a minute and thank Wake County for having a farmer’s market that is open 7 days a week. The perks of living in an agricultural state. It’s made me a little spoiled.

I left my camera in my dad’s car so I didn’t get to take any pictures, which was a shame because it wasn’t very crowded that day. But I’m sure my mom was glad to have an extra set of helpful hands instead of having to wait for me to take 10 pictures of a squash. She’s a good sport.

We left with a good haul of produce! Peaches, raspberries, sweet potatoes, collard greens, eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, corn, cantaloupe, watermelon and beets. All for $30. Have I mentioned I love the farmer’s market?

Thursday night my mom and I went hunting for my grandmother’s old Vitamix in our garage. There are rumors there’s one up there and I can have it if I can dig it out. I won’t rest until I find it! Except I did because it was 103 degrees outside. I’ll be back when it cools down! I did find a dehydrator though! I left it out there for the time being because it’s massive and I don’t know where to put it yet, and an ice cream maker. How did I not know that my grandmother had all these awesome kitchen appliances?

Friday my mom and I grabbed lunch at Sweet Tomatoes. I love Sweet Tomatoes because this happens:

Salad Heaven.

When a salad bar doesn’t charge by weight I have to take advantage. I feel really bad for whoever gets behind me and line because I have to stop at every vegetable. They give me plenty of evil stares too. Health-freak problems.

Both plates were demolished and soooo good. Also, please note my mom’s salad in the background, it looks measly in comparison.

This morning I headed to the gym (after 8.5 hours of glorious sleep, I’ve been averaging 6 lately and paying for it) and completed the LiveFit week 5 shoulders workout. I also ran 2 miles on the treadmill which felt AMAZING. I haven’t been running lately because it’s been so hot out (the treadmill kills me) and I’ve had a lot of pain in the top of my right foot and running seems to be aggravating it. My foots has start to feel better so I’m trying to ease back into running because I do miss it and I want to keep my endurance up. It felt pretty good today, but I’m sticking to indoor runs for a while so I can just hop off the treadmill if I have any issues.

For lunch I met my roommate, her boyfriend, and a school friend visiting Raleigh for lunch at Red Robin. I was really excited to see that Red Robin now has two meatless burger options (Morningstar and Boca – though a black bean option would have been yummier) AND gluten-free buns. It makes me excited to see these alternatives at big chain restaurants like Red Robin.

I ordered a Keep It Simple Burger:

Like this except with a Boca patty, lettuce wrap instead of a bun (gluten-free bread was an extra $1, so I went for the cheaper option), no pickles (GROSS)  and fruit instead of fries. Because I like to be complicated. Neither veggie burger option ended up being gluten-free, but I at least avoided the bun. Oh well.

For whatever reason my burger came out completely disassembled. I guess you were supposed to be able to build your own like the picture above? But that doesn’t really work with a lettuce as bun, and they didn’t give me lettuce pieces large enough to eat with the burger. I just cut everything up and ate it like a salad, so it was no big deal, just a little strange.

From there we headed to the mall to look around some. I ended up buying a tank top on clearance, but then realized my debit card was in the card. A good move for forced self-control, so I left with a happy wallet.

I’ve spent the rest of the night catching up on DVRed recordings of the Olympic gymnastics trials. I can’t wait until the Olympics start! Less than a month!

What’s the last concert you went to?

What’s your favorite Olympic sport? I can’t pick, but I love gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic), track and field and all the obscure sports like table tennis (the US trials took place right down the street from me!).

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June Yoga Challenge, Final Recap!

I can’t believe the challenge is over!

And I can’t believe I actually completed it all! I did a yoga challenge back in May and udderly failed at. But, I think I’ve redeemed myself with this challenge.

Unfortunately, my yoga practice this week was not as good as last week’s, but last week’s was amazing so the bar was set pretty high. I still had some good practices though.

Yoga Breakdown!:

Saturday: Gentle Hatha #4 podcast from Yoga Download. I was looking for some new podcasts and found these. I still prefer the Yoga Journal podcasts but Yoga Download has way more options to choose from.
Sunday: I took a Yoga II class at my gym, it was a great class. One of my favorite instructors was teaching and we got to work on Eight Angle Pose (a new favorite). Yoga perfection.
Monday: Gentle Hatha #1 podcast to unwind before bed. The music in this podcast was too ridiculous though. It was the stereotypical yoga, new wave-y, crunchy music. Too ridiculous. The sequence itself was pretty nice though.
Tuesday: I did a self-practice and it was nice. We did some INTENSE stretching in my dance class and I was looking for some gentle yoga to do to relax my muscles (and try to hold off some soreness!) before I went to bed, and looking through some podcasts I couldn’t find anything that fit the bill. Then I thought “Oh! Duh Lea, make up your own.” Why it took me so long to figure this one out, I do not know. I did some hip openers, hamstring stretches and sun salutations. I was still way sore the next day though, you can’t win them all.
Wednesday: I took another Yoga II class at the gym, this one was not so good though. I took the class after finishing my LiveFit workout and I was functioning on about 5.5 hours of sleep. I just felt weak and anxious the whole class and I couldn’t get into it. It was one my least favorite instructors too, she’s not a bad teacher I’m just not a fan of her style. It was just a mix for a bad class. You win some, you lose some.

Overall I’m so happy I did this challenge. I had been majorly neglecting yoga and this challenge has rekindled my love for it!

My muscles are so happy after keeping up a consistent yoga practice. We worked on tilts in dance on Tuesday.

Tilts!

I was surprised by just how much flexibility I’ve maintained. I haven’t done much dancing since January, so I only have yoga to thank for this. I’m glad I’ve found a way to stay in dance shape even if I can’t make it to a dance class.

I’ve also seen a definite difference in my mood. I feel much calmer and my mood had been much better, even when I’m grouchy, tired, and not had nearly enough sleep.

I definitely plan to keep up a consistent yoga practice even when the challenge is over. I’ve realized how important it is for me  in terms of my overall fitness. Yoga offers so many benefits, and I tend to forget just how amazing it is, so I want to work at keeping a consistent yoga practice, and not forgetting how amazing it is.

I still haven’t made it to class at a studio but I’m hoping to go to one on Saturday.

Ants on a Log (WIAW)

Where did the week go? I feel like it’s still Monday. But I’m not complaining because I am so ready for the weekend.

Breakfast: My typical bowl of peanut butter oatmeal. Creature of habit. In fact, I’m eating the same bowl right now. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it. I also had a microwaved egg and a pluot because I was a hungry beast yesterday morning! I was really excited to find pluots in the grocery store the other day. I love them but they are really hard to find, and seem to disappear after a week. Boo.

Morning Snack: Yogi green tea for the ride to work, and baby carrots with peanut butter at my desk at work. I love Yogi tea, it never disappoints. And I like have a little inspiration with my tea.

Lunch: A tofu scramble with frozen stir fry vegetables, tofu (duh), kale, eggplant  and teriyaki sauce. Frozen vegetables make like 1000x easier, but I have to admit they’re not as tasty as fresh.

Afternoon Snack: The tiniest sweet potato ever with peanut butter and cinnamon, sounds weird but it’s so good. That potato looks normal sized but it fit in to the palm of my hand. Mini foods are so cute.

Dinner: My first successful omelet with diced onions and asparagus. My omelet attempts usually turn into scrambled eggs, and even though I didn’t get the second fold I’m proud it came out in one piece. It’s the little things. I made a salad on the side (is it still a side salad when it’s bigger than the entree?) with lettuce, broccoli slaw, beets, and a little olive oil and lemon juice.

Pre-Dance Snack: Ants on a log! Minus the ants. Raisins are completely necessary for this snack, it was disappointing without them.

Late Snack: Not pictured but I had a plum and a smaller version of my breakfast oatmeal.

My ants on a log snack brought reminded me of  all the snacks I used to eat as a kid. It’s funny how much my eating habits have changed since I was younger. Some of my favorite snacks were:

Cheez Its:

I could put away some Cheez It’s as a kid. I’m talking a box a week.

Pudding! I used to eat this all the time when I got home from school. Jell-o makes the best pudding, Snack Pack has nothing them.

Little Debbie Swiss Rolls. The Nutty Bars and Oatmeal Creme Pies were on regular rotation in my lunch box too. Not so healthy, but delicious. I feel a little like I’m going to get diabetes just looking at the box.

Fun fact: the marketing professor I had last semester did some marketing work for Little Debbie. He even got to meet Debbie, who is apparently not so little anymore because she’s old enough to be my mom.

And the one of my favorite snacks that hasn’t changed:

Fruit! I was a little fruit monster as a kid and I still am today. I think I could eat my weight in fruit.

Looking back at those snacks, I don’t know how I wasn’t in a carb-y/trans-fat-y coma 24/7. I’m glad I learned some nutrition along the way. Whole foods are better, and tastier. It’s funny that I would totally pick brussel sprouts over Cheez Its now.

What were your favorite childhood snacks?

Have your eating habits changed since you were a kid? I used to be the pickiest kid ever, now I’ll try anything once. I also used to hate all vegetables. It makes me sad to think about it, luckily my current veggie obsession is more than making up for it.

Tuesday Tangents

  1. Biker shorts and neon socks are the next trend in high fashion



    Clearly. You can thank dance class for that delightful outfit. It’s really difficult to take a picture of your own leg.
  2. Speaking of dance classes, I started taking a contemporary dance class at a local studio and I’m loving it. It feels sooo good to be in the studio again. I was missing dance sooo much (especially now that SYTYCD is on again!) and I really miss the studio setting. They push me so much more than the dance professors at school and it does wonders for my technique.
    I’ve probably been dancing longer than most of the kids in the class have been alive and I’m older than the teacher but I don’t care, I just want to dance!
    This week we worked on a combination to this song.
  3. I’ve checked out like 10 books in the past week. It’s completely ridiculous and there’s no way I’ll finish them before they’re due. This is a major problem I have and it happens to me every time I get my hands on my library card. Nerd alert.
    I’m currently reading:
    I had to wait an entire month before there was a copy available. So worth it. I’m LOVING this book so far, which should say something because I HATE science fiction. I need to stop reading it before bed though. Kids fighting to the death doesn’t make for a relaxing bedtime story.

    I’m also reading:

    Polar opposites much?  I snagged this off the cart of books waiting to be shelved and it’s a really interesting read. I really like this approach to health and medicine. It also talks about yoga, bonus. I’ve been trying to incorporate aspects of Ayurveda into my life and I like it so far. I can recap the main highlights when I finish if anyone’s interested.

  4. The Civil Wars are the only band I’ve  listened to all summer. I love them. Check them out if you’re into folksy-ish, alternative-ish stuff. Career as a music critic in my future? Yes.
  5. Folgers is gross. Yuck. Note to self, cheap coffee is cheap for a reason.
  6. I found out my grandmother had a Vitamix and it is currently sitting somewhere in the depths of my garage. WHY WAS I NOT AWARE OF THIS SOONER? Weekend mission: locate the Vitamix.
  7. I bought a Groupon for a rock climbing class and a one week climbing wall pass. I’m sooooo excited to use it! Rock climbing is on my fitness bucket list and I’ve been wanting to do it for forever. And my new LiveFit muscles will help me climb better. I hope.
  8. You can see through my ear!


    I’ve thought about going bigger but I don’t want my internship to hate me. Something tells me big pointy tapers are not appropriate for the workplace. They’re a 2g right now. I don’t know, I’m undecided.

Have you ever stretched your ears? If so how big? I like the look, not too sure about the time/energy/pain of making them much bigger is worth it.

Have you ever been rock climbing? Was it amazing?

What are you currently reading? I love a good book suggestion!

LiveFit Trainer Week 4 Recap

I can’t believe I’m already done with phase 1!  I’m really excited to start phase 2, cardio, oh how I’ve missed you!

Week 4 is basically a repeat of week 3. It was nice to get a chance to work on my form and try to increase my weight slightly, but I did get a little bored. I do have a serious case of exercise ADD and I’m enjoying learning new exercises so much that I just get antsy.

My thoughts this week:

  • Tricep exercises are INTENSE. I could barely lift my arms after tricep/chest day, wimpy.
  • It feels really good to see improvements from week to week, it keeps me motivated to keep trucking along
  • My face does weird things when I do Bent Over Barbell Rows

    Image

    cute.

Pros and Cons of Phase 1

  • Pros: the program did a great job of easing me into strength training and it didn’t let the weight room get overwhelming, watching my progress is incredibly motivating and I have gained the confidence to hold my own in the weight room with the grunting men
  • Cons: it was nice to get a break from cardio but I still miss it, and lunges are the devil.
Image

Pure Evil.

I completed the first workout of Phase 2 today and whew, Phase 2 will be intense, but I’m excited still about it! I’m going to be so sore tomorrow.

Now, I’m going to go watch the Olympic Trials. I’m beyond excited for the Olympics this year. Only 32 more days!

Any good workouts this week? Share! I love hearing about other’s workouts!

Peachy.

Grilled peaches is a life changing snack. Too. Freaking. Good.

Confession: I grilled this peach on the George Forman because I’m lazy. Cut all the fat right out of that peach.

On to the weekend:

Friday was dead at my internship. There was not a single design job to be done. Though I’ll take three hours of pay for no work, so I won’t complain about it. And I got some work done on a freelance project. Yeahhh. Freelance project numero dos. I’ll take it!

After work I headed to the gym for a LiveFit workout then to the mall to return a shirt. I’ve found if you go to the mall a little stinky the crowds of teenagers keep their distance. God I sound like an old man. Whippersnappers. I returned a $5 shirt and left $16 poorer. Thanks Forever 21. I picked up a nifty dress with bird prints, I have a weird obsessed with things with birds on them, so money well spent.

Saturday I checked out a new farmer’s market in my area. This was only their 3rd weekend open but they had a decent amount of vendors. I left with beets, swiss chard and peaches. And out of the pint of peaches I bought there’s only one left. I’m a fruit eating machine. I think I’ve eaten 12 servings of fruit in the past two days. I’m absolutely okay with that.

The farmer’s market was in the same shopping center as a Whole Foods so of course I had to browse. Hello sample day!

  

The Vitamix man was there giving out sample of green juice and chocolate avocado ice cream. Oh and freshly brewed coffee samples. And granola. I’ve never felt so at home. Think Whole Foods would mind if I set up a cot and moved in? Me either.

I left with a jar of peanut butter (Whole Food’s brand crunchy is my new favorite, and under $3), a peanut butter z-bar (I have a problem), nutritional yeast and coffee. Clearly it’s my goal to buy the most random assortment of groceries possible. I have a knack for things like that, once at Wal-Mart I bought biker shorts, resume paper, kale and peanut butter, nothing weird about that.

Saturday night my family went out to dinner at Tijuana Flats. I love this restaurant, they have a hot sauce bar. Heaven!

Um, I ordered a salad.

The cat poop-ish looking one (food writing career in my future? I think yes) was curry flavored and my favorite, even though it looked questionable. The sauce on the far right was their “Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally” hot sauce. I love this place.

After dinner I broke out my bike (actually my mom’s bike, my last bike was pink, it’s been a while) and took a ride around the neighborhood. I want to start riding my bike more, but it’s been about 10 years since I rode a bike, so I’m a little rusty. When I get more comfortable I’m hoping to ride it to places like the gym grocery store to cut down on my gas consumption.

Today was been a pretty lazy day. I went to a yoga class, it was wonderful. Very flow-y with lots of movement and we did Eight Angle Pose, I love when classes throw that pose in.

Post-yoga I made a massive salad for dinner.

Lettuce, beets, tofu, broccoli slaw and onions with tahini. It’s in a tupperware bowl because I couldn’t find any other bowls that were large enough. I have this problem a lot.

Now it’s past my bedtime, goodnight!

 

What did you do this weekend?

Waverly Place Farmer’s Market 6/23

June Yoga Challenge Recap

It’s been a great week for yoga.

I’m so grateful for this challenge, it’s helped get me back into a consistent yoga challenge and rekindle my yoga obsession. I got a little bit of yoga in everyday this week(!) and my muscles feel so happy!

Here’s what my practice looked like this week:

  • Friday: Evening Sequence podcast from Yoga Journal. I really like this podcast because it’s only about 30 minutes and really helps me unwind before bed time
  • Saturday: Strength Your Core and Forward Bends podcasts, since I was in South Carolina there wasn’t much opportunity to exercise, so I did some yoga to get moving.
  • Sunday: Overall Toning podcast. I’m liking these podcasts, if you couldn’t tell.
  • Monday: Yoga class at the gym, I hadn’t taken class with that particular teacher before, but I really liked it. She taught similarly to the teachers at my school’s gym which was nice because I really like that style.
  • Tuesday: I didn’t do much yoga on Tuesday, I did do a quick 10 minutes of self-practice and worked on some arm balances. I did go to dance class though!
  • Wednesday: and amazing class at the gym, love.
  • Thursday: Gentle Flow podcast before bed.
  • And I plan on doing another podcast later today!

Thoughts this week:

I still haven’t made it out to a yoga studio yet, BUT payday was yesterday so I’m really hoping to go within the next week. I’m really excited for it, now I just have to find a good studio around me (there are too many to choose from!)

I need to find another good yoga podcast to subscribe to. I love the Yoga Journal ones, but it’s always fun to switch things up. Anyone have a good yoga podcast suggestion?

I’ve been trying to work on my arm balances this week. Arm balances are hard, but so much fun. I’ve noticed a definite difference in my arm balance since starting the LiveFit program. Yeah upper body strength!

I’m coming for you Eight Angle pose.

Have you done any yoga this week? If not, had any good workouts?

Easy Peasy Meals.

As a college student, and a busy (or let’s be honest, sometimes lazy) I definitely appreciate a quick and easy meal.

I also like meals that dirty a minimal amount of dishes. Doing dishes sucks, and my roommate gets cranky if I let them pile up in the sink. I know what’s her problem?

So to keep the peace, and quickly tame the hunger beast here are two easy recipes for yummy vegetarian, gluten-free and nutritious meals.

They’re so quick and easy that calling them recipes might be a stretch, but let’s not worry about that detail.

Eggplant Pizza  – Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Vegan (with modification)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant or 1/2 of a large eggplant
  • Approx.1/2 cup of pizza sauce (I just use Trader Joe’s Marinara sauce)
  • 2 cups chopped veggies of choice (I used bell pepper, onions and tomato)
  • Cheese to your hearts content (or Daiya if you want to keep things vegan)

To Make:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. Slice the eggplant into about 1/2″ thick slices, it’s important that they’re fairly thick or they’ll turn to mush before the cheese melts.
  3. Place eggplant slices on a greased baking sheet and layer on the remaining toppings. I typically put the cheese on last because it holds the toppings on the pizza better, but that’s definitely not necessary. The topping possibilities are limitless, so layer to your heart’s content.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until all the cheese has melted and the eggplant has begun to soften. Dig in!

Using half of a large eggplant I made a pretty hefty portion that was plenty for me. The serving size can be easily adjusted to fit your needs.

This meal is a little low on the protein side, it could be nice to incorporate some tempeh, tofu or other plant based protein into the toppings.

And if you’re not an eggplant fan, portobello mushroom caps make a very tasty substitution.

Teriyaki Tofu Slaw Salad – Vegan and Gluten-Free (with slight modification)

A light but satisfying salad, that I might have already made for lunch 3 days in a a row.

Ingredients:

  • 1/5 block of Firm Tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup Broccoli Slaw
  • 1/4 of a medium cucumber, cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp Teriyaki Sauce separated (head’s up, teriyaki sauce usually not gluten-free so if you have serious gluten allergies substitute with Tamari, or a similar certified gluten-free sauce)
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp (or to taste) Sage
  • Pepper, to taste

To Make:

  1. Mix tofu with 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce and set aside to marinate (I’m impatient and only waited a couple of minutes, but it will be more flavorful if you let it sit a little longer)
  2. Place the tofu in a frying pan over medium high heat
  3. Flip the tofu every 5 or so minutes until it is browned on all sides
  4. While the tofu is cooking, in a medium bowl, combine the remaining teriyaki sauce with the oil, lemon juice and seasonings and whisk until combined.
  5. Place broccoli slaw and cucumber in the bowl with the teriyaki mixture and tossed until evenly coated.
  6. Add the tofu.
  7. Enjoy!

This recipe is pretty wide open as far as flavors and vegetables go. I like how the teriyaki mixes nicely with the crispiness and freshness of the broccoli slaw, but feel free to have some fun with the ingredients. I don’t make anything that’s easy to mess up, because let’s face it, if I did I totally would.

The recipe makes one serving, but can be easily scaled up.

I’d be lying if I said I won’t have this for lunch again tomorrow.

It’s important to mention that while I try to maintain a gluten-free diet, I do NOT have celiac’s and I’m not bothered by small amounts of gluten. If you do have celiac’s or any other serious gluten allergy, please be sure to double check that all of you’re ingredients are certified gluten-free.

See? Easy Peasy.

What’s your go to quick and easy recipe?

Yoga Love.

I had the most fantastic yoga class today.

It was one of those practices that just lights up your whole day. I definitely have my off days when it comes to yoga, but sometimes I have an amazing practice that makes me feel like “yes, this is why I do yoga”.

That was today.

I felt so at peace with myself for the entire 60 minutes I spent on the mat. I felt strong, confident and powerful; not adjectives I usually associate with myself. That’s what I love about yoga, it’s so much more than burning calories or being able to do xyz trick. There’s the whole non-physical aspect to it as well that is so enlightening and has taught me so many things I can take with me off the mat.

The class itself was very flowy with lots of sun salutations (hello summer solstice!). I really focused on staying present (something I’m terrible at) and really taking my time to connect with each pose, even the tough ones (I’m looking at you revolved half moon) and the experience was amazing. I savored every minute of class and left feeling so refreshed and strong.

The more I practice yoga, the more I appreciate my body. I feel that especially as fitness-minded people, we can be so hard on our bodies. I know I am. My inner monologue can be down right vicious sometimes, but yoga has been so helpful in shining a positive light in all aspects of my life and days like today make me realize how grateful I am to be able to practice yoga and how lucky I am to have a healthy and capable body.

Everyone go do some yoga right now. Seriously.

Usually I recap my yoga experiences on Fridays for the June Yoga Challenge, but it was too good and I had to gush about it sooner.