Archive | February, 2013

Not Sure When That Happened

28 Feb

At some point this month, I turned into a runner.

IMG_2106[1]Not sure when that happened, but I have been running for my workouts at least 4 days this past week. As someone who usually only runs when somebody is chasing her (or when her boyfriend convinces her to race), nobody is more surprised than myself. Yesterday I popped on the treadmill for a short run because I had to get home to work on a translation project that I am doing. I’ll tell you, there’s nothing like 60 pages of translating to make you feel simultaneously proud and embarrassed about your skills in a foreign language.

My dinner was in two parts because I did a horrible job of timing when to start cooking my salmon. I had some sweet potato fries roasting in the oven and thought they would be done by the time my salmon fillet was done, but nope. So while I was ready for this:

IMG_2109[1]The sweet potatoes were still in here:

IMG_2108[1]Sigh.

I am love love loving sweet potato fries this week – they are totally worth the wait.

Since I had plans to go to yoga this morning, I also prepped some overnight oats in advance for breakfast. This batch included sliced strawberries and shredded coconut.

IMG_2107[1]Even though I’m not anywhere tropical, my breakfast doesn’t need to know that!

After a less than stellar night’s sleep, I made it to yoga this morning (whoohoo! Two for two this week!) and was, once again, super thankful I did. After two classes I am feeling so relaxed and can feel the tension in my shoulders and hips easing up a bit. I’m on the lookout for some at home yoga videos (preferably online) so I can do it from home on the weekends.

This morning, our instructor really focused on loosening up the hamstrings, so there was a lot of this:

trikonasanaAnd this:

reclined-big-toe-pose-exI definitely can’t do that – thank goodness for straps!

This evening, I am looking forward to an extra special spin class at Revolve. They are hosting a class for DC fitness bloggers and I am so excited to meet people like Anne, Joelle, and Meaghan. Of course, my girl Allison will be there, as well. I can’t wait to work out with these ladies and so many other great bloggers I have yet to meet!

I have heard so many wonderful things about the studio and I think it’s going to be amazing, particularly because I have never tried spin outside of my gym.

Then it’s Friday and the first day of March! Holy cow, did February fly or what? I need to start getting my act together to plan something special for Stef’s birthday at the end of the month, so give me some ideas, folks! After six years’ worth of birthdays, Valentine’s Days, anniversaries, and Christmas-es, my creative juices are running a little low.

Food For Thought: If you are a blogger, have you ever been to a blogger meet-up? How did it go?

Aloic Aloe Vera Juice Review

27 Feb

When I first started exploring the healthy living community, there were so many foods I discovered that I never knew existed. Chia seeds, flax seeds, amaranth flour – where had I been this whole time?

Reading about aloe vera juice, my first reaction was, “you can drink aloe vera?” My only association with it was treating my poor skin after a particularly rough session in the sun while in Cabo San Lucas over spring break.

aloevera

When Diana from Epicurex contacted me to try their new line, Aloic Organic, I was definitely curious and had no idea what to expect.

IMG_2070[1]I was so excited after opening this box, not only for the aloe juice, but for what it came wrapped in.

IMG_2071[1]Does anyone else love popping these things? Pretty sure I drove my roommates up a wall.

IMG_2080[1]So what did I think of the juice? It was way more mild than I had anticipated. I was half-expecting it to have the same goopy texture that aloe vera gel does, but it was totally normal. It wasn’t overly sweet (11 grams of organic cane sugar per serving) and the aftertaste reminded me of a grape Jolly Rancher.

The juice comes with pulp in it and the texture is very similar to having pulp in your orange juice. If that bothers you, I’m guessing you wouldn’t be a fan of this stuff. What is totally rad is all of the nutrients in aloe vera. The stuff is chock full of calcium; zinc; magnesium; B1, B2, B6, C, E vitamins; beta carotene; and amino acids. That’s quite a punch for such a bottle of juice!

Each bottle is 16 oz., but the serving size is only 8 oz. Personally, it bothers me when you have a normal-size package and it contains more than one serving – who drinks half a bottle of juice?

I was digging all the organic ingredients and the fact that the sugar content is much lower than sports drinks and soda.

I had my roommates and boyfriend try them out. One thought it was gross, two were on the fence, and one absolutely adored the stuff. I think the fact that there’s pulp in it will really turn people on or off from the stuff and maybe providing a no pulp alternative will attract some other people.

The drink gave me that sort of feeling while drinking it that you feel when you put it on sunburned skin, sort of a cool, refreshed feeling. Plus it made me think of Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory, which is always a plus.

tumblr_mc7ppmHfDP1ryihs9o1_500

If aloe vera juice is not your thing, they are also launching a new line of organic coconut water, as well! I know healthy living bloggers are already crazy for coconut water, so I will be sure to post a review once I try it out.

cocozia

Epicurex sent me their products at no charge, but I was not compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions in this post are 100% mine.

Yoga Mornings + [Overnight Oats Recipe]

26 Feb

Well, I did it! I finally made it to an early morning gym class – hooray! I told you guys yesterday that I was going to try my darndest to get my butt to yoga this morning and so I did everything I could to make sure it was successful. After work I went scurried straight over to the gym and hopped on the treadmill. I decided to run instead of take a class because I wanted to get in and out ASAP.

IMG_2098[1]Apparently just under 5 miles appears to be my sweet spot this week. I watched an episode of the Biggest Loser on my phone while I was running and it was kind of nice because it felt like I was working alongside the people on the show. Whenever Bob would yell, I would feel a surge of motivation and keep pressing on. Whatever works?

As soon as I got home I went to straight to the kitchen and set about preparing a big pot of lentil soup for the week. I figure if I could make lunches and dinners easier by having it in the fridge already, I would be more likely to wake up in the morning.

IMG_1985[1]While the soup was bubbling away, I made some dinner – a MorningStar Tomato Basil veggie burger and some roasted sweet potato fries.

IMG_2099[1]I am majorly into burgers right now. I had two over the weekend and one yesterday and the craving shows no sign of letting up. Unfortunately, I’m out until I  go grocery shopping at the end of the week so lentil soup will have to suffice. I think one of the reasons I like them so much is because you’re supposed to take big bites and really sink your teeth into them, which makes them feel very satisfying, in my opinion.

While I was in the kitchen, I took the liberty of preparing some overnight oats to have when I got to work, because you’re not supposed to eat before yoga.

Overnight Oats

  • 1/2 cup raw oats (not instant!)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 6 oz. Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds

Mix it all together and put it in the fridge overnight and you’ve got breakfast ready to go!

That’s usually my base for overnight oats and then I add whatever mix-ins to switch up the flavor – this morning was a tablespoon of honey and some cinnamon.

Pre-Yoga

I usually set my alarm for 6:30 AM during the week, so setting it for 6:15 this morning wasn’t a huge change. I set all my clothes out the night before (after contemplating just sleeping in them) so when my alarm went off I hopped out of bed to dress and brush my teeth and then I was out the door!

Thanks to the early morning, there was zero traffic and the bus made it downtown in just 15 minutes – perfect timing for my class that started at 7 AM. I convinced my roomie to join me this morning, but he decided to run and meet me there. I was not so ambitious.

As I was putting my stuff in my locker, I cut myself on the shaving razor I had stashed in my gym bag  and sliced my finger wide open. Sweet.

After a few attempts to staunch it, I went over to the front desk and grabbed some Band-Aids to make a pseudo-wrap to get me through class.

IMG_2102[1]Just call me Dr. Sara.

Yoga (finally!)

When I finally made it to class, it felt SO good to be in the warm relaxing room and I really concentrated on being in the moment. Sometimes I get caught up in my day and all the things I have to do so I really miss out on the hour of “me time” that I get during class.

The instructor is one of my favorites at the gym: she’s calm and knows how to instruct without being aggressive and knows the perfect balance of offering tips and modifications without being so talkative that she distracts from the practice. I let myself focus on my breath, especially when stretching out the areas where I keep a lot of my stress (hello, hips!). I don’t really realize how much sitting at a desk all day affects my body until I get into yoga and suddenly everything needs to open up.

By the time we got to savasana, I was calm and so peaceful – well, mostly. I did find my mind roaming a bit and tried to calm the thoughts that were beginning to infiltrate. It becomes more difficult for me to focus on calming the mind when I don’t have what I am doing with my body to focus on. This is why meditation is so hard for me.

savasana

 

[ source ]

I’m working on it.

The beauty of the morning class was that I still had an hour before needing to be at work, so I took my time getting ready without the feeling of needing to rush to be somewhere – it was lovely.

My gym offers morning yoga classes on Tuesday and Thursday morning and I am definitely committing to making those a priority in my life. They also have some on the weekends and in the evenings, so I am hoping to make it to a classes at least three times a week. Yoga does so much for me physically and mentally – I always seem to forget that until I go to a class. I am counting on you guys to hold me accountable!

I haven’t decided whether or not I will make it to the gym after work or if I should just walk the 2.5 miles home and call it a day. I guess we’ll find out!

Food For Thought: Do you practice a type of yoga? How has yoga been beneficial in your life?

Happy Tuesday, lovelies!

 

 

 

 

Hickies

25 Feb

Happy Monday, lovelies! It’s the last week of February already – this month just really came and went, didn’t it?

I had a very nice, low-key weekend. Got a workout in…

IMG_2085[1]Ate some yummy snacks…

IMG_2087[1]

Plain Chobani with diced apples and cinnamon – delish!

Some were healthy:

Cheese platter at an office party

Cheese platter at an office party

Some were not.

Coconut mango ice cream

Coconut mango ice cream

On Saturday, I Stefano decided that he was in need of some new jeans so we made our way over to Pentagon City Mall for a little shopping. My approach to shopping is to make a list of what I need and get in and out as soon as possible. The mall totally exhausts me. Stefano is even worse – his approach is ‘wait until my clothes are in such a state of disarray that Sara has to go shopping for me’. Needless to say we are a great pair at the mall.

Luckily, the moment we got to the men’s side of Macy’s we were greeted with a one-day sale sign for jeans (don’t they have a one day sale every day?) so we stocked up and headed to the dressing room.

IMG_2092[1]Stefano reluctantly modeled his jeans for me.

IMG_2091[1]We left with two pairs of jeans in hand for under $50 – score! It only took us about 20 minutes too – my kind of shopping.

I have put myself on a self-imposed spending ban, but we decided to do a little walk around to get some exercise. We made a stop into Brookstone to test their massage chairs and hand-held massagers. That store makes going to the mall almost worth it. On our way out, we caught site of this:

IMG_2093[1]The purpose of the elastics is to replace shoelaces entirely: they come in different colors and one size fits all. I thought they could have done a better job with the name branding…

Sunday was fairly low-key, with the highlight being the Oscars. I don’t think I have ever watched an awards show from start to finish and I don’t think I can do it again. It just went ON AND ON. Was anybody else confused by the tie in sound editing? I didn’t even realize you could tie at the Oscars – doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the whole thing? I stuck it out until the end though because I needed to know who won the big three (best actor, best actress, best picture).

SPOILER ALERT

Can I just say that the fact that Jennifer Lawrence tripped as she was going onstage made her even more endearing to me? I am totally on the J-Law girl crush bandwagon. I am a huge fan of Ben Affleck and was stoked that Argo won best picture, despite Ben Affleck being left out of the Best Director nominations (seriously, what?).

Monday Motivation: Goals

This weekend, I sat down and made a list of goals I wanted to achieve this year. Some were financial (hence the spending ban), some were social (monthly brunch with friends), and some were fitness-related. One of my main goals is to incorporate more yoga into my life. After the run this weekend, I noticed almost immediately how tight my hip flexors became. I so often put yoga on the back burner in favor of a “real workout”, but I also notice how much better it makes me feel. I’ve found a way to compromise, which will mean getting up a little earlier during the week so I can make it to the morning yoga classes my gym offers and still be able to do my normal workouts after work. I haven’t had much luck with waking up early to work out, so wish me luck for tomorrow morning!

settinggoals

Food For Thought: Have you sat down with yourself and thought about goals you want to reach this week/month/year? What are some goals you hope to reach?

 

 

 

 

 

My First Zumba Party

22 Feb

Happy Friday!!! I’m currently holding a massive cup of tea to warm my frozen hands – the weather here in D.C. is no joke this week! It has actually been painful just being outside. Where are you spring?

Zumba with Vida

Last weekend, I got to participate in my very first Zumba dance party at U Street Music Hall. The event was sponsored by Vida Fitness and featured their uber talented Zumba instructors.

zumbavidaSince my only exposure to Zumba has been through classes at the gym, I had no idea what a full out dance party was going to hold. Luckily I had my gym buddy and workout partner Allison to help navigate the scene.

IMG_2051[1]The event took place at the U Street Music Hall. While the venue is known for hosting some awesome shows and famous performers, it’s actually very inconspicuous. Were it not for the iPhone, we definitely would have missed it. As we were walking towards the venue, a woman stopped and asked us how to get there as well, so we were not alone!

IMG_2049[1]There was a stage for the instructors and the rest of the room was set up for dancers, with a DJ in the back. They had designed a custom playlist just for the event and it featured lots of Latin music, with a side of hip hop. Since Allison and I felt like total noobs, we dropped our stuff off and creeped on the other people at the event -naturally. It was clear that many, if not most, of the attendees were regular Zumba-ers at Vida, an observation that was made apparent after the music started and a majority of the dancers knew the routines to all the dances.

Since I’ve attended Zumba regularly at my gym, I knew a lot of the steps, but it was hard to see the instructors (we were near the back) and I was definitely lost during some of the songs with more complex choreography. I have to hand it to the instructors: they had enough energy to power the room! There were almost ten instructors, so they would take turns coming down to the floor and dancing with us while the others danced on-stage. It was fun to see the different flavors each instructor brought to the dances.

Funny story, an Egyptian song came on that I totally knew all the words to! It was hilarious. The belly dance choreography was probably the only part I could execute with some grace.

There were a couple of brief intermissions (with an open bar, to boot!) but for the most part, it was an all-out dance party. Some people took it more seriously than others – I mostly focused on bopping around and making sure I got some movement in, even when I didn’t know the steps. The girl next to me knew every single song and totally put me to shame.

By the time I was ready to leave, the part was starting to wind down and become more casual – the instructors hopped off the stage and formed a big circle with all the dancers with people taking turns going in the middle. I was not about to publicize my lack of moves, but people were obviously having a good time.

My thoughts? I just loved the fact that people have been able to find a form of exercise that they love. I think it’s the best when exercise doesn’t feel like a chore and I think Zumba fits that description for a lot of people. Personally, if I’m going to dance then it’s going to be out with my friends or in my towel after getting out of the shower. I have a pretty good sense of rhythm and I love to get my dance on, but I start to lose interest when specific choreography is involved.

Could I see myself going to another Zumba party? Maybe. If they had a more interesting playlist. I would have preferred a little more variety in the music as all the songs kind of started sounding the same after awhile. A little Top 40 or old school pop would have been a nice surprise. I could totally see myself shaking my booty to a little Spice Girls.

Have you ever been to a Zumba party or other large group workout? What did you think?

I want to thank Vida Fitness for inviting me to their party. My entrance fee was complimentary, but I was not compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions in this post are 100% mine.

 

 

 

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