Monday, August 27, 2012

Motivation Monday!

Happy Monday, friends!  Back again for our second week of the "Motivation Monday" posts, and I'm particularly excited about today's topic.  I decided to have a little chat with someone who motivates me (in many ways) on a daily basis - my older sister, Leslie.  Leslie and I also have an older sister, Julie, who I'll be doing a little profile/post on at a later time so don't fret!  You'll get to know her soon enough, as well  : )

Leslie is a 29 year old health and fitness enthusiast and has been for as long as I can remember.  She was always running around outside, playing every sport imaginable as well as dancing 3-4 times a week, and just always on the go.  This still rings true today, only the sports have turned into running or classes at the gym, and the dancing has turned into an attempt to pay homage to Flashdance that can only be described as "sad" (sorry, Les....).

She makes health-conscious decisions when it comes to her diet and isn't afraid to try new ingredients and recipes, and this is the thing I usually struggle with the most (or have in the past).  She is so inspiring and her enthusiasm for trying new things is what motivates me to do the same.  Plus we live together so who doesn't love cooking up a storm with friends and family?  Nobody likes to cook alone (Loser, table for one!).  JUST kidding  : )  But it is always more fun when you're cooking with/for others. 

She works a full-time job and keeps a busy social calendar on top of that.  One of her biggest life goals was met this past spring when she completed her first half marathon in just a little over two hours!  Such an accomplishment.  Since Les is someone who motivates me a great deal, I decided to ask her a few questions about what motivates her:

1.)  What does a typical workout for you consist of?

"I've become a running junkie these past few years so if I do anything, it's going to be a good 3-5 mile run, at least.  If I have time after that (I usually always try to make time) I'll do some kind of strength training, whether it's on my own or in a total body conditioning, yoga, or bar method class.  I know it sounds crazy to think of working out twice in one day, but it's a good way to compensate if you know that there's a day later on in the week that you won't have time to squeeze in a workout."

2.)  Yeah about that whole "time" thing, you're one of the busiest people I know.....what workout to do you resort to in a time crunch that still allows you to feel like you've accomplished something?

"I DO like to be busy!  If I know I'm not going to have a lot of time I'll at least make sure to get in a circuit of squats, lunges, push-ups, jumping jacks or butt-kicks, and then a 60-second plank hold.  I try to do 2-3 sets of about 15-20 reps.  You're hitting all of the muscle groups while still getting your heart rate up with some cardio moves."

3.)  What's your go-to pre-workout snack?  And how long do you wait to workout once you've eaten it?

"I don't like to eat a lot right before I workout since I try to eat a bigger meal afterwards while my metabolism us up.  I usually stick to a couple of spoonfuls or peanut butter or a banana (or sometimes both!) and just lots and lots of water!!  I'll usually start hydrating as soon as I wake up and I try to eat about 20 minutes before working out."

4.)  Speaking of food....sweet-tooth or salt-tooth?  And what do you eat to curb that craving without going overboard on calories/fat/sodium, etc.?

"Salt-tooth, without a doubt.  Pretzels are usually a go-to because they hit that salt craving while being filling enough to give you the energy you need to move along with your day.  Pickles are another good option to satisfy the need for salt, but there not quite as totable as my dear friends, the pretzels."

5.)  Friends do come in all shapes and sizes......moving on.  What are some things you do to keep yourself motivated during a slump?

"I'll change up the playlists on my iPod a lot, as well as change up my workout itself.  When you start to get to comfortable and feel like you're just going through the motions, that's a good indicator that it's time to find a new workout.  Motivation is contagious so if I'm feeling especially slumpy one day I'll call up a friend who I know enjoys working out and see if she or he wants to go to a class or go for a run."

6.)  Now for a fun question...if you could live anywhere else besides St. Louis, where would it be and how do you think your fitness regimen would change, if at all?

"I'd have to say either San Francisco or Seattle.  I would still stick to my ever-faithful running and strength training classes, but I would immerse myself in more outdoor activities.  St. Louis is SO humid in the summer and our weather is just so unpredictable that it's not always easy to get myself to go outside.  I would definitely add activities such as hiking, rowing, kayaking, etc. to my routine.  Plus you can't beat the scenery you'd get at either place."

7.)  Lastly, what's one piece of advice you can leave us with today for when we're feeling especially lazy and slumpy?

"Always have goals that you're working towards, and make sure they're specific, with actual deadlines for realistic (yet challenging) results.  Most important thing is to make sure whatever you're doing is fun.  You may not enjoy the gym but you do enjoy walking your dog in the park.  You might not be a runner but you could seriously do yoga everyday if your schedule allowed it.  You need to find what works and what is fun for you, because if you're not having fun then it's going to feel forced.  And if it feels forced, chances are you're going to talk yourself out of it.  Do your research, try new things, buddy-up, and most importantly, have a little faith in yourself."

See what I mean?  BEYOND inspiring!  A task for today - find someone in your own life that inspires/motivates you and ask them the same questions (or your own!).  I promise you'll feel incredibly refreshed and motivated afterwards.  And as always, feel free to share any advice you have, I love learning new things especially regarding this topic. 

Happy Motivation Monday, everyone!!

me and my sis  : )

(L-R)  me, Les, Julie - our older sister.  All dancers!

did i mention Les' wicked fashion sense?  She sure pulls off that perm well with a red hat to top it off......

who says you can't get a workout in while teaching people how to "Dougie"?

Christmas morning is fun with our family  : )

cardinal fans to the core!

"i'm strong!"

"catch me if you can!!"

Thursday, August 23, 2012

California Adventure - San Diego/Coronado Bay (and final) Chapter

Back again for the last chapter chronicling our California adventure!  Yes, this was back in the middle of June so thank you for your patience while I posted about other things in between.  I absolutely LOVE San Diego and Coronado Bay.  It seriously may be one of my favorite places ever.  It's so beautiful, peaceful, serene, etc., you just kind of forget where you are when you're there.  Unfortunately due to travel schedules we were only able to spend half of a day and one evening on Coronado Bay, but we certainly soaked up as much of it as we could in that short time!  As soon as we checked in to the beautiful Hotel del Coronado we threw our bags in our room and headed straight to the gorgeous beach.  P.S. the Coronado happens to be a haunted hotel, and not only were we in the haunted (old) wing, we were on the haunted FLOOR (dunt-dunt-DUUUHHHHHH)!  Yep, I'm a firm believer in all of that so needless to say I was freaked beyond belief, couldn't sleep at all/stayed in the same, awkward position the whole night, and due to that came home with that horrendous neck injury (mentioned in this post here) that put me at the chiropractor's office three times the week after we got home.  Was it worth it, though??  ABSOLUTELY!  To find out more about the ghost that roams the old wing of the Coronado be sure to check out the history tab on their website and read about "The Ghost of Kate Morgan", still a mystery today (oooooooh spooky).

We were so sad to leave California, it was such an amazing, adventurous, luxurious, peaceful trip and we cannot wait to go back.  Cali, you never disappoint.  'Til next time!

i do this same kind of picture everywhere with anything i can find.  makes me feel like a giant.

hubba hubba.

photoshoot on rocks?  NO THANKS!

dinner under the lights of the Coronado tower  : )

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

checking in....

how are we feeling today, friends?!  I myself am feeling great!  Energized and still inspired from my "Motivation Mondays" post yesterday.  I hope you all got a chance to give it a read and start setting some inspirational goals of your own (by the way, I'd love to hear these!).  I thought I'd touch a little more on the subject today simply by showing you all a few sayings, workouts, and healthy tips from my pinterest page.  I have actually printed some A LOT of these out and put them up on my wall at work or my mirror at home in my room; I find them to be a good motivational reminder of the person I want to be.  Here are some of my favorites:

This is great!  Only 30 minutes to complete two cycles.
that's right, for all of you Jessie Spanos out there who feel like "there's just never ANY TIME!"

please, PLEASE do this before we pass bad habits onto our kids and they eventually forget what "going outside to play" even means.....


i heard that, sister.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!  And keep those hopes high, goals challenging, and bodies in motion  : )

Monday, August 20, 2012

motivation monday!

Hello, sweet people! Oh, and HAPPY MONDAY!!! No, I'm not crazy, I'm aware that for 99% of the world Monday is death......

But I happen to fall into that 1% of people who find Monday's to be oddly motivating. This may also be largely due to the fact that I only work a half day on Monday's....but even so! I have decided that Monday is going to be fitness/health/motivation post day. Weeee!! Each Monday I'm going to talk a little bit about my diet and exercise regimen, as well as share a fitness and/ or nutrition tip of the week. I'm really excited about this! Staying active and having a balanced diet are two things I've always been passionate about, but even I am human and haven't always found it easy to maintain these passions. Going to college and living on my own for the first time, without a mom or dad cooking me fresh, healthy meals every day plus 6-8 hours of dance class a week to keep my figure up to par, I found myself with a bit of a challenge. I had to find my own ways to stay fit and healthy. Eight years later, at the age of 26, I'm still facing that same challenge. But now the challenge isn't so much to stay healthy and active, it's keeping myself motivated by figuring out how I can change up my workout routine and find different yummy, healthy and fresh (and easy....) meals I can make at home. You'd think I would have mastered it by now but with all of the new information that comes out in magazines, books, news reports and online, the advice of what's good and what's actually not is ever-changing! So as you all probably know, it's hard to stay motivated. That is why I've decided to dedicate Monday's to motivation for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. And keeping a log as something I can refer back to is going to aid in said motivation, for me AND for all of you! Ya know, if you want :)

Enough of my rambling! Today's post is about what I eat/how I try to eat on a daily basis. I'll also touch on my workout routine on days that I'm not taking a class at my gym (favorites are Zumba, boxing, spinning, and yoga). So, a typical day meal-wise for my goes a little something like this:

Breakfast: 1 egg + 1 egg white with spinach, multigrain English Muffin, and a glass of lemon water with ice (trying it, not as easy to down as it seems....).
Can't forget your vitamins!!
Snack at work: trailmix with cranberries, dried pineapple, almonds, walnuts and raisins, a banana, and a bottle of water.
Lunch: Cold pasta salad with grilled chicken, mango, bell peppers and squash from Trader Joe's. I ditched the spicy mango dressing it came with and opted for 2 tbsp. of olive oil instead. I ate around 12:30 and was full well past 5:00!
Snack post-work/pre-workout: about 8-10 chips with 1/4 cup of hummus.
Dinner: Lemon Pepper grilled chicken lettuce wraps with a small bowl of sweet potato fries and a bottle of water (so filling I could only eat two wraps and half the fries!).
Well, there you have it, friends. This is what a typical day of eating looks like for me. Obviously things cut in which prevent me from sticking to such a balanced meal plan - birthdays, baseball games (Go Cards!!), dates with the man-friend, etc., but I do my best to make good decisions wherever I am (not always easy.....or successful).
As far as my workout on a non-class day, it consists of about 30-45 minutes of cardio and about 25-30 minutes of strength training. Obviously I don't always have all the time in the world for a lengthy workout, so I adapt when needed. Monday's, however, are my "free" days so I have time to hit all of the areas that I need to. Today's workout looked a little something like this:
  • 30 minutes total of walking/jogging (I live within walking distance from my gym so I try to run or walk there whenever I can - 15 minutes there, 15 minutes back)
  • 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer
  • Tricep dips, front shoulder raises, upper back rows - 3 sets of 15 reps each with 10-15 lb. weights
  • Core series: crunches on a Swiss ball holding an 8 lb. medicine ball, twists on the Swiss ball with 8 lb. medicine ball, bicycle crunches, crunches in upright position bringing knees and chest into each other - 3 sets of 40 reps each
  • Three 60-second planks
I've also recently started doing 50 crunches and a one-minute plank hold before I go to bed and as soon as I wake up. I tried documenting this in photos but SOMEONE had a bad attitude about playing photog:


(Don't give me that look.......)
That's all for the first edition of Motivation Monday! Check back next Monday for more tips, tricks, and that kick in the pants you've been looking for.
Speaking of....what do YOU do to stay motivated???

Monday, August 13, 2012

speakeasy sunday.


Yesterday Tony and I spent the morning at one of our favorite spots in Lafayette Square, Rue Lafayette, and enjoyed breakfast paninis with green tea (me) and wine (him). Rue is one of our favorite places because of its delicious menu and cozy, 1930's French Speakeasy atmosphere. Every Sunday they have a band called "Miss Jubilee" perform for all of the brunch-goers and let me tell you, they are AMAZING!!! Made up of one singer gal and a five or six piece band of fellas, Miss Jubilee makes you feel like you're actually in Paris in the '30s at a loungey/speakeasy-type club. And considering the fact that I now and forever will feel that I was born about 50 years too late, I feel more than at home here. After brunch we found ourselves down on Cherokee Street here in St. Louis scouring the antique and vintage shops in search of rare treasures to take home. Don't worry, we of course took the time to document our day with delightful pictures :)


Thursday, August 2, 2012

it's okay.

Yes, friends, it's been "one of those days" already....

it's okay that i snoozed my alarm this morning a good six times before slithering out of bed when all i REALLY wanted to do was snooze my entire phone itself.

it's okay that upon getting out of bed i neglected to remove my sleep mask and flew into my dresser almost causing my mirror to come crashing down (don't worry, crisis averted).

it's okay that i've only worked out a total of about four or five times in the past month yet my intake of cheese and anything bread-related has been climbing the charts as of late.

it's okay that i've cried a decent amount of times these past few weeks due to stress and anxiety that I can't seem to shake no matter which amazing person in my life tries to cheer me up and tell me "it's okay".

finally, it's okay that it took a few delightful pins and sayings from pinterest to make me feel a little a LOT better today.  those, i would like to share, and hope that if anyone reading this is having "one of those days" that these will give you the kick start you need, as well:


I do love sequins.  and champagne.  via 







yes.  the answer to all problems.


honestly, even re-posting these had made me feel a little better.  hopefully they, or some of your own, will do the same for you when you need them  : )  we all just need to hang in there, surround ourselves with positive people, make sure we squeeze in at least a half an hour of "me" time a day and remember we are all loved. 

and don't forget about that champagne.....