Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Supplements During Down Time


 It's still super important (if not even more important) to continue your supplements, even if you're not currently working out. Since I haven't been to Crossfit in a while, I've had to adjust both my supplements and my diet and I wanted to share how I switch things up during off-gym time.





Thursday, September 19, 2013

Workouts & Master Bedroom Board



We are still in full-on construction mode around here, most of which is happening right under child #2's bedroom so, that's making for even more fun. Things are moving along however, and I wanted to share the current master bedroom design board. We're working on the bathroom, so I'll share that as well when we've got it nailed down.

I still haven't been to the gym and I can feel my precious muscle wasting away. So sad. I've lost 6 lbs. since I was in the gym last. I have daily sessions with my mat, I've upped my beloved Catalyst back up to 9/day and I've decided to add in some bodyweight movements to stave off any more muscle loss.



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Trying to be a Supple Leopard in Drywall Dust


Hey Everyone! Hope you're having a good week so far. We are in serious construction mode around here and I've just about had it with contractors, dry wall dust and my laundry room looking like this:




Monday, September 16, 2013

Kitchen Organization {Part 1}


A little background here to semi-justify my complete entire house kitchen disarray.

Back in July 2011, we sold our house...in 12 days. We hadn't even started looking yet! We already had a weeks vacation planned so, we were down to just 3 weeks to pack up our house AND find a new one. I was literally throwing things in boxes as fast as I could which, meant little to no rhyme or reason to our move (which by the way, ended up being into my in-laws basement for 3 months, in case you were wondering).

We finally found a home, but it needed A LOT of work - like a lot. Here's a little sneak peek at what my 'dining area' off of the kitchen looked like when we moved in. Prepare yourselves...



Monday, September 9, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

3 Easy, Clean Crockpot Meals



Hi All! Hope everyone is having a good week. 

First: There's a big group doing a 24-day challenge right now and there's still time to get in on the action! Email me and I can get you going.

Second: Why am I that crazy person that thrives off of chaos and pretty much can't function without a thousand things on my plate? Until I can get into therapist, you all will just have to hear about it #sorry.  



Friday, August 30, 2013

What's Up This Week



Happy Friday, Everyone! I have a few random things that didn't each warrant their own post so, just thought I'd just stick them all in one.


  • I have a newfound love affair with Twitter. I put it off for years and now I know why. I've spent an average of 12 hours on it everyday since. First it was FB, then Pinterest, then IG and now Twitter. I check it like it's a newborn baby. It's #redic. It totally overwhelmed me at first, but once you get going it's so much fun.

  • I've switched CrossFit boxes. I know. I feel like it's against CF code too, but I had to. It's definitely been a bittersweet thing. It's made me reevaluate it altogether. I love CF like it's my job, but I feel a little bit like it's such an all or nothing sport and the hubs totally thinks I'm crazy. I'm debating on going back to doing my own thing. Note: If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I've said this before, then actually go 'do my own thing', hate it and march right back to the crossfit box with my tail between my legs. 

PS. LOVE having a girl trainer. Breaker however, was not amused...until we gave him a Lacrosse ball...



  • I am so sick of all these flies. I mean, seriously. What purpose do they serve?! I've pretty much been over them since I ate one.

  • I don't get sick. Like ever. It's one of those things I kind of pride myself on. I don't have time to be sick. Well, apparently I got a little too cocky and came down with viral meningitis. Self-diagnosed, of course. That's the beauty of the internet and shows like House, right? Breaker got HFMD (again, self-diagnosed. Ok, I may have a problem...) and apparently viral meningitis is a "complication", which it fully lived up to, by the way.

     
  • These are more parenting questions. First question: Is it wrong to not keep every. single. piece of artwork? I have seen so many adorable ideas of how to scan them in, make a book, etc., but can't seem to get it together enough to do it. Second question: Is it wrong for telling Charlie that "the mosquitos will get you!!!!" every time he wants to go outside and I don't and now he's developed a fear of every flying object?

  • Oh, and I posted yesterday about creating a Pitbull rescue if I ever won the lottery. I won't get on a soapbox about the ignorance and media-hype surrounding the breed, but I will profess my love for them and responsible ownership/parenting.


Yes, we were the crazy people that had their dogs IN their wedding. :)

Until next week, Lovelies! 

OH! And Sunday is the LAST day to get yourself and adorable and well-deserved Stella & Dot piece and enter the giveaway







Tuesday, August 27, 2013

{Involuntary} At Home Workouts


I love the gym. It is my happy place. As crazy as it sounds, that's where I go to relax and recharge. There aren't many days that I voluntarily don't go to the gym, but sometimes, I legitimately can't get in there - like today when both of the little guys are sick. I thought I'd share with you all what I do when life keeps me out of the gym.



Monday, August 26, 2013

Meal Prep Monday #1


Hi Everyone! 

Time for Meal Prep Mondays! I hope to make this a bi-weekly link-up so, please let me know what you guys think! You can read a little more about why meal prepping is an important routine in my life here

Here we go:

(PS. I meal prepped on Sunday and took this picture on Wednesday, hence the lids on. I'll redeem myself next #mealprepmonday. Promise!)

Here's what went down: 



Thursday, August 22, 2013

{Recipe} Clean Turkey Meatballs

Happy Friday! This week has seriously flown by. I'm such a routine person and when my routine is thrown off, it just rocks my world. Kid No. 2 started walking (last week, actually, but now he's full on running), painters have been here AND I started at a new box on Wednesday. Oh, and cleaned out the entire garage #nbd. Hopefully, that will make up for the Erin Condren I just bought...

I did manage to make these delicious little meatballs and you will love them! They are so good, offer a ton of protein and are easily packable.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

WIAW #4



Back again this week linking up my eats with Jenn

PS. Pretend that says *august*. K thanks.


Today (yesterday) was my youngest's first day of pre-pre-school. That's a real thing, right? Either way, I've been looking forward to this day for 18 months.



Monday, August 19, 2013

{Recipe} No-Bake Energy Bites


Hope you all had a great weekend!

I ate a fly so, that was awesome. I mean, seriously? How does that happen? Well, word to the wise, don't leave your shaker cups open on the counter and DEFINITELY don't think it's ok to chew while drinking a shake. There's a short list of what you could be eating #lessonlearned.

I've been hittin' the old meal prep pretty hard as of late. It makes life so much smoother - as smooth as it can be with three children (ages 33, 3 and almost 2). It has really helped me eat clean 90% of the time. Dinner is always the hardest for me, but it's been a lot easier since I've been meal prepping. The hardest part is talking yourself into it. Those who do it, am I right? In any case, I've been searching for healthy treats to make in bulk and eat throughout the week and I remembered a girlfriend has sent me this recipe and said her boys raved over them.



I was a little skeptical about these since they had coconut in them, but they are awesome, easy, healthy and totally 'packable'. I changed up the recipe a little, but here's how it's done:



Monday, August 12, 2013

{Guest Post} Eating Clean with an Unpredictable Schedule

Happy Monday!

I apologize for being a little MIA this past week - rough one, but we're back on track now :)

If you've been following this blog for awhile, you probably know that I'm a big fan of being gluten-free {mostly}. I feel my best when I'm 90+% gluten and dairy-free, but that's me and I realize that may not be everyone. I also realize that we're all busy in varying degrees with various things and eating clean sometimes falls to the bottom of our priority list. I believe that you can do anything with determination, discipline and preparation. I can't help in the determination and discipline department, but I'll do my best to help with preparation!

I've asked Elle from The Clean Project to share her tips on eating clean despite a crazy schedule.



Hi, Hello Stripes readers! I’m Elle from The Clean Project and I’m excited to be sharing with y’all today. Big thanks to Niki for having me!

I originally shared this on my page and Niki asked me to share it with y’all too. I work a little bit of a crazy, unpredictable schedule and don’t get home until 1am, so sometimes its really hard to keep eating clean. These are the things I use to stay on track even when I have to eat out of a lunchbox all the time. Of course, these tips also work if you’re just really busy in general or always on the go.



Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday #3

Hi Everyone! Linking up with Jenn this week for another WIAW. Here we go, yo!


I try not to ever be Debbie Downer, but yesterday was just a sucky day. Just a woke up on the wrong side of the bed kind of days. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but didn't go workout and that multiplied the sucky-ness of the day by about oh, a thousand. Then, I saw a blind man walking through the grocery store parking lot, immediately started bawling and then nearly punched myself for feeling sorry for myself. Funny how God works...



Monday, July 29, 2013

Quite the Little Goal Digger and a {Giveaway!}





I do it for many reasons, but mostly because setting and achieving goals gives me self-confidence which is the key to success (in my opinion). When you feel and know that you can do anything, nothing can stop you from accomplishing anything you set out to.

MindTools gives a great little breakdown on how to set goals:

  1. State each goal as a positive statement - Express your goals positively – "Eat clean at least 90% of the time" is a much better goal than "Don't eat cheat meals"
  2. Be precise: Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. If you do this, you'll know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
  3. Set priorities - When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
  4. Write goals down - This crystallizes them and gives them more force.
  5. Keep operational goals small - Keep the low-level goals that you're working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward.
  6. Set performance goals, not outcome goals - You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. It can totally suck to fail to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control. 
  7. Set realistic goals - It's important to set goals that you can achieve. All sorts of people (for example, employers, media, or society) can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions. 

If you follow me on instagram you may have seen that I'm a big fan of May Designs. They have the most adorable and functional books that you can design to suit your purpose and style.


I use this one for workouts. 



And just got this one specifically for goals (now that I see these together, I'm beginning to see my obviously obsession with navy. Perhaps there's a support group I should seek out)


I also have one I use for meal planning and it's recently come to my attention (*ah hem, thank you husband*) that I apparently need one for budgeting so, that's on the way as well. As it turns out, money does not grow on tress #whoknew. If you follow one of my favorite people (person's?) on Instagram, she's got a stockpile of adorable ones as well, so make sure to check those out!

{In all seriousness, being 'financially fit' is my biggest struggle and something I plan on sharing more about with you guys. It sucks and it's boring, but I feel like if I tell you guys I'm going to do something, I have to do it.}

Ok, so on to the fun!

May Designs is giving one lucky Hello Stripes reader her very own May Book of her choice! Stylish and sweet, what's not to love?! 

Head over to May Designs, check it out and then tell me what YOUR favorite pattern is AND one goal that you're committing to right now.
(If you already like or follow, just leave a note in the comments :))


Full Disclosure - My Favorite Pattern and Goals

Favorite Pattern: Ikat Dots Navy 
Performance Goal: Get 200# backsquat by December 1, 2013
Financial Goal: SAVE $1500 by December 1, 2013 (someone please keep me away from Target)
Home Goal: Create a functional play area for the boys by September 1, 2013

Good Luck!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Here's the deets:
Winner will be chosen and then contacted by May Designs with a gift certificate code good for one book of the winner's choice + the cost of shipping (valued at $26). 




Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday #2

Is it seriously already Wednesday again?! Where do the days go.
Linking up with Jen




After looking back on last week's eats, I felt like I didn't get enough veggies and whole foods in so I tried to make it a point to this week.



Sunday, July 21, 2013

Find What Works For YOU



Have you ever heard this quote from Einstein? 


It's never really sunk in until I left the corporate world.



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday #1

I've been getting a ton of emails from readers about what I eat. I feel like I'm the world's most boring eater because when it comes to clean eating, I can eat the same thing on repeat for weeks on end, but since you guys want to know, I'll be linking up with Jen every Wednesday to share my eats!


Since I'm doing my first ever REAL 24-Day Challenge (*eeeee!! so excited!)



Friday, July 12, 2013

I'm Too Cool to Try

I used to be someone who just flew by the seat of their pants. I remember in college, I was asked to speak in front of a group of incoming freshmen. I didn't prepare anything. Seriously. Not one single note card. Speaking in front of a thousand people and I thought, "I don't need to prepare. I'm awesome, I got this.



Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth (and Birthday!)

Happy INDEPENDENCE Day, everyone! I love this great country that I'm blessed to call home. I hope that today you'll be living life to the fullest and enjoy the great privilege that is freedom. 

And to make this day even more special, it's my oldest's birthday! What a great birthday - not a great day to naturally (not scheduled) have a child, but a great birthday. Happy birthday, my sweet Charlie. You are one of the three best things that has ever and will ever happen to me. I love you more than words can describe. You will change the world. That much I know. 


And in other Independence Day related news, Old Glory is happening today and there's a 62% chance I may die.


Wish me luck...



Friday, June 28, 2013

Why, Google. Why.

Why have you ripped my beloved Reader from my clutches as if it were a donut and you were Jillian Michaels?

I'm sad, but have migrated over to Feedly and it's not the same, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. I'm sure it has pros and cons like everything else, but I don't have the attention span to assess them at this point in time. I'm not super familiar with Bloglovin'. Mostly because I detest the name. I'm not sure who's in marketing over there, but whoever it is was clearly phoning it in on the day they picked that name.

Anyway, Bloglovin' said I needed to post this

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


in order to claim my blog. I was hoping for an image, but apparently it's just text. I'm not even sure what's happening here you guys, but I hope that you'll continue to follow me. You're my only means of adult conversations in a world of dogs, toddlers and Dora.





Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Meal Prep: How, Why & What

If you follow me on IG you've already seen this and know what I was up to on Sunday - that's right. Meal Prep!


Does the thought of having to carve out an hour to focus solely on prepping food for the week totally freak you out? Don't let it. It sounds like a tedious task, but once you get into it, you won't know how you ever survived without it. My meal planning journey started when I read A Place of Yes by Bethenny Frankel. When I read it, my oldest was 10 months, I was working and life was crazy busy. Just like now, just in a different way. She talked about how when she was on some Martha Stewart Apprentice-like reality show early on in her career, it basically turned her life upside down. They were putting in sometimes 20 hour days and the other cast members were "dropping like flies". They'd eat whenever and whatever they could get their hands on. She, on the other hand, being a healthy, natural-food chef, always made time for good, healthy, clean food and rest. The others didn't sleep (which I'm learning has a HUGE impact on weight and recovery), ate whatever was easiest and essentially, had their priorities all out of whack. Bethenny said that was her #1 priority - eat clean and rest - no matter what.

She knew that was the only way to be the best version of herself. 


She ended up getting essentially second place and she may have lost the battle, but pretty sure she won the war (sadly, only in regards to her business career). I'm not sure why that stuck with me like it did, but that's really when I made up my mind to start meal planning and prepping. It's pretty much the only way to truly eat clean, especially in my part of the country. One of my husband's friends said the other day, "McDonald's has a pretty good diet selection". I about punched him in the face died, but I digress.



I made up my mind to learn how and what to cook. Now comes the planning part. This is just like anything else, it's going to take practice. Just be consistent and make time for it. I use these adorable little meal planner books from May Books, but find what works for you. Just like workout clothes, I find that the cuter it is, the more I'm apt to use it. Maybe, for you, it's Evernote, Pinterest, or eMeals. Whatever it is, just schedule 30 minutes during the week to find your recipes and plan them out so you can do your shopping. Our grocery store offeres a shopping & delivery service for $14. I used it A LOT when baby #2 was born. When I worked, I'd go on my lunch break and stick my grocery bags in the fridge (I obviously could only buy a few things so, I'd end up going a few times a week). The point is, if you want anything bad enough, you'll figure out a way to get it done. Period. If you don't particularly care, that's fine, just don't allow yourself to make excuses. I used to. Then I got over it, sucked it up and made it happen.


So here's a list of what I most often prep in quantities:


Salmon Salad
Tuna Salad
Quinoa Caprese Salad
Banana Protein "Bread" (found out the hard way, keep this refrigerated!)
Turkey Chili
Turkey, Beans and Rice
Chocolate Protein Bars 
Hard boiled eggs
Veggies for snacking
Cut veggies for dinners (red onion, carrots, tomatoes, etc. Makes dinners a lot easier if I can just grab cut veggies and go)
Sweet Potatoes for these
Cooked Chicken Breasts (boiled, grilled, whatever)

It will vary sometimes, if I find a new recipe or get sick of eating this stuff all the time, but this has been it lately.

I hope this helps you meal plan and prep if it's not something you're already doing, or are getting bored with.

What do you meal prep?








Monday, June 24, 2013

Motivation Monday: Workouts & Mindsets

Hi Everyone! Hope you guys had a great weekend. Mine was more productive than normal, so I'm trying to hone in on why so that I can duplicate it and share it with you.


I just started an intense 6-week training course with Advocare, called Ruby Boot Camp. It's meant to challenge, stretch and drive you. Here are 10 things I learned and have committed to (worth the read, I promise):

  1. Today, I choose to quit allowing other people to control my thoughts. I refuse to be affected by negative people. Therefore, I will choose to spend my free time with positive people.
  2. Today, I choose to stop blaming others for my problems. I will never use other people as an excuse as to why I cannot be successful. I will stop giving my problems to other people to solve.
  3. Today, I choose to quit being victimized by the media and other propaganda. It only matters what I know and in whom I already trust.
  4. Today, I choose to control my own destiny. Nobody else pays my bills or has the responsibility to care for myself or my family. Therefore, I take responsibility for my own future.
  5. Today, I choose to cast away fear completely. Fear is unbelief. I BELIEVE. Therefore, there is no room for fear in my live.
  6. Today, I choose to stop complaining. I even choose to stop complaining about those who complain. If I complain, I remain. Therefore, I choose to be grateful in my conversations, but most importantly, in my thoughts.
  7. Today, I choose to take the words 'frustrated' and 'can't' out of my vocabulary. Both of those words reveal a false perception that I'm powerless. I choose to shift my energy away from those things I cannot change and toward people and situations that I can change.
  8. Today, I choose to be patient with people and treat them with honor and love. I choose this for all people around me, including myself, regardless of their past or my past or even how they treat me. I choose to see the good and success in myself and in others without evidence or deserving it.
  9. Today, I choose to forgive all those who have hurt me in the past and all those who will disappoint me in the future. I even forgive those who deny hurting me or do not know they've hurt me. I understand that offense is an enemy to my destiny and will steal my success and peace. I have a forgiving and humble heart. I refuse to gossip or 'vent' to other people.
  10. Today, I choose to be decisive about my future and act upon that decision daily. I have made up my mind about what I want for my life, and I refuse to be passive about my future. I am a person of action. The centerpiece of my action is serving others. My highest call as a leader is to serve others.


This started at 6pm, which meant that I had to have EVERYTHING done by then. Dinner on the table, kids bathed, food prep, etc. I busted my butt to get everything done before then and much to my surprise, I actually did. I set a goal (deadline) and that was the key. I have really been working on my goal-setting skills and have a post planned for that this week. Hopefully, if that's an area you're looking to improve, it will help.

I'm so incredibly grateful to be part of Advocare. It's changed me and my life in too many ways to list here. I was and to some extent, still am, the most cynical, introverted person on the planet. Advocare has coached me out of my comfort zone and I truly love the person it's helping me become. I know, I sound #craycray, but if you know me personally, I hope that you see the change too.

Now, what's been keeping me motivated in the gym - new workout clothes. I know. I'm semi-ashamed too, but seriously, it works. I still have yet to pull the trigger on any lulu stuff. Probably because I know how much mark-up is in workout clothes and it's #redic, but I see some of these in my future. I did however just snag these and I am pumped.


You don't have to spend a ton on workout clothes. I mean, you can, but then you'd have to tell me about it so I can live vicariously though you.

I get the majority of my stuff at TJ Maxx, Nike and UA outlets, Ellie (hands down best quality and value), and any other places I can find deals. I will say that I have some stuff that I wish I would've just sprung for Lulu or  something else. I have three pairs of capris that I can think of, that I hate and don't wear because the don't stay up. Take that for what it's worth, but if you're having trouble getting in the gym, go buy yourself a new, cute item. I bet that'll do it!

So, get your butt in the gym or on the road and contact me if you're interested in being personally challenged to be the absolute best version of you. The payoff is 100% worth the effort and I'd love to have you on my Advocare team.


What motivates you?




PS
I'll be posting goal-setting exercises, meal-prep and clean recipes later this week :)







Friday, June 21, 2013

My Grocery List


I get a lot of questions about what I eat. Not because I'm a perfectly clean eater, but because I think busy girls are always looking for new, easy, healthy recipes. These are my staples. My list will vary from time to time, depending on recipes, but this is the core of it. My area doesn't have a Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc. so I'm pretty limited to standard grocery stores and Sam's. I do buy my beef (and chicken when they have it) from a local farm that grass-feeds their stock, however but, the majority of the time my chicken comes from the grocery store. My list looks nearly identical every week so, here it is!

* denotes organic

Produce
  • Apples* (if I can't find organic, I don't buy them at all. These are No. 1 on the Dirty Dozen List
  • Bananas
  • Lemons
  • Avocado
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Red onion
  • Carrots*
  • Celery*
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli 
  • Romaine lettuce*
  • Kale*
  • Mango
  • Blueberries* & Strawberries*
  • Asparagus
  • Cherries (in season)
  • Hummus (I like Sabra Roasted Red Pepper and typically eat with veggies or tortilla chips)
  • Bell Peppers (ideally organic but, they're hard to find around here)

Meat

  • All natural chicken breasts (will bake, boil or crockpot these and chop up or shred)
  • Organic chicken breasts (will marinate and grill these)
  • 99% Lean Ground Turkey
  • Grass-fed ground beef 
  • Filet (when the husband wants steak - usually once a month or so)
  • Organic Salmon
  • Organic Mahi Mahi (not often but, maybe 3x's a month)
  • Canned tuna (Wild Planet is my favorite) 

Dairy

  • Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Dark Chocolate Almond Milk
  • Non-fat Greek Yogurt (FYI - there's some controversy on full-fat vs. non-fat dairy these days and how each affect your insulin levels. I haven't done enough research to decide which is best for me just yet so, I've been sticking with my usual non-fat Chobani)
  • Finely-shredded Mozzarella (mostly for the kiddos and hubs but, let's face it it. Sometimes I just want some mozz on my Stuffed Sweet Potato.
  • Eggs (I use organic. Farm fresh if I can find them but, a lot of people will use Egg Beaters for things like Egg Muffins.)

Carbs

  • Udi's Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread (frozen) or Ezekiel Bread
  • Brown rice tortillas (not very often but, I like to have them in the freezer)
  • Corn tortillas (not often but sometimes I like to do taco meat on them)
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Whole oats
  • Sweet potatoes!!! I listed these in the produce section for shopping purposes but, I use them as a complex carb. 

Other

  • Natural Almond Butter
  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Organic Coconut Oil
  • Almonds (or a nut mix without peanuts)
Pantry
  • Salsa (watch out for hidden sugars here)
  • Cook Simple Dinners (these are great in a pinch and don't mind that 1 customer review. I'm here to tell you, these are awesome)
  • Jiffy Cornbread (because the husband likes it)
  • Low-sodium chicken broth
  • Tortilla Chips 

I use this grocery list from Clean Mama because it came with one of her amazing kits, but these are great too.

I am going to do a separate post of just a bunch of resources for meal ideas as well. They may be redundant but, thought it would be nice to have them all in one place. Make sure to follow me on Pinterest for meal ideas too!




Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lessons Learned

Everyday is a learning experience. In some way or another, I learn something about myself. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. I learned a good lesson this past weekend.





I ate horribly. I mean, horribly this past weekend. I had a cheeseburger (which was amazing) and my husband is a sucker for a DQ Blizzard and he always cons me into one. I figured,

"Oh, I'll just work it off at CrossFit tomorrow." 


Well, that my friends, is the kind of thinking that needs to be stopped. Immediately.

Why? Well, because you put yourself (myself) at the top of a very slippery slope. Tomorrow becomes the next day, which becomes the next, and the next and well, you get the idea.

So, I got to Crossfit the next day and got through the warm up and ready for a butt-kicking workout, as is par for the course. Unfortunately, my youngest had other plans which included, but were not limited to, screaming like Steven Tyler for 30 minutes straight.

I didn't get to work out and I was totally bummed. More so because I was working out for all the wrong reasons that day. I was basically trying to account for my lack of clean eating the days before. Hint: that shouldn't be your purpose for working out. It will keep you going for a little while, but it's not a strong enough purpose to keep you going when the going gets tough...and it will.


I definitely eat clean 90% of the time, but there are times when I have my wine cake and eat it too. But I own it. I live life when I'm out with the girls. I'm not that weirdo that orders water and a house salad because I'm on a 'diet'. I'll drink wine and have some Bang Bang Shrimp, but you know what, I'm in control. I don't let it control me. And I think that's really the key.

You being in control of you and what you put into your body. 

I don't typically 'fall off the wagon' unless I fully intend to jump off of the wagon - and usually it's into a bottle of fantastically delicious wine, but that's neither here, nor there. When I do, I don't beat myself up, but I do recognize it and get back on track. Jen does a great job of teaching you how to get back on track. A method I'm using right now, as a matter of fact.

The Lord has blessed us all with only one life. You get to choose how you live it. I don't want to live with any regrets (I wish I would've started eating clean and working out a year ago, etc.). I don't want to ever have that guilt feeling that I felt when I couldn't work out. If life happens and I can't work out that day, I don't want it to stress me out. 

I want to be able to say, "well, at least I've been eating clean and taking my supplements." 



Because life does happen. Kids get sick (or scream for 30 minutes) or you're traveling for work and you won't be able to get a workout in. But,

You're always in control of what you eat or don't eat.

A clean, healthy lifestyle is sometimes a challenge, yes, and if it were easy, everyone would do it. But if something doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you. It shouldn't stress you out to the point where you're losing your s&!* everyday, that's not what this is about. This is about living the absolute best life you possibly can while you can - because you only get one. How do you want to live it? The choice is yours.



No excuses. Is there something that you've wanted to do but have been letting excuses (or fear) hold you back? What do you want out of life? Whatever it is, grab life by the cojones and go get it. You only get one. Live it with no regrets.

What are your goals or something that you've been wanting to do, but just haven't done yet? 







Monday, June 17, 2013

Black Bean Truffles - The Ultimate Late Night Craving Crusher

OMG you guys, this is no joke, the BEST clean 'dessert' I've ever tried.

I'm not sure about you, but nighttime is my toughest time, in terms of willpower. I always want something after dinner and let's be honest, fruit? Not gonna cut it.

I will usually do Muscle Gain as my 'dessert', but sometimes, I need something to actually eat.

And then this happened...


...and this is why Monica is a fabulous genius.

I admit that when I saw this recipe I saw the words 'food processor' and immediately dismissed it. I don't know why, but I have this preconceived notion that anything that requires an appliance other than an oven is way to difficult for me to attempt. Boy am I glad I got over that today, because this was honestly one of the easiest recipes. You just throw everything in the food processor and hit 'on'!

I just finished a batch of these and barely had enough to actually make because I consumed 3/4's of the 'batter', which is actually fine because it's vegan. You guys. Vegan. Seriously. Yes, and it was the highlight of my day. 

I didn't coat them in chocolate because my batter wasn't thick, it was more like pancake batter so, I couldn't roll balls of them. I ended up putting them in silicone muffin cups and freezing them. Also, I went with the coconut oil instead of PB. One word. Amazing. 

Head on over and see what this amazing-ness is all about and make some immediately. And remember, just because they're clean, doesn't mean you can eat a 5 gallon bucket full of them. I only say that to warn you...because I promise, you'll want to.


Enjoy!






Thursday, June 13, 2013

{Recipe} Easy Chicken & Quinoa

My husband's grandmother makes the most amazing Chicken & Rice. I mean, like, she has to make a double batch - one of which is just for me. It's so good, I'm afraid to know what's actually in it, but that didn't stop me from trying to make a healthy version of my own. I'm not gonna lie, I straight. up. nailed it. Husband and kids love it. I love it. You'll love it.



Ingredients:

  • 3 diced, cooked chicken breasts (you can grill, bake, boil, whatever.)
  • Olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup (or so) of diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup (or so) of diced onions
  • 1/4 cup (or so) of diced celery
    • My husband can detect celery and onion from a mile away so, I use dried Mirepoix instead (which I get at my local Schnuck's. I tried to find an online source with to no avail. Sorry)
  • Garlic (I always use the pureed squeeze garlic and I just used a good squeeze, probably 2t. or so)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup quinoa (I use pre-rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar-jack cheese
  • Parsley (I used dried)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook your chicken. I trimmed and boiled mine (they were still semi-frozen, thanks to my stellar memory and forgetting to pull the chicken out of the freezer before 2pm) in seasoned water for about 45 minutes.
  2. Drizzle some olive oil into a dutch oven (or similar type of pan) and throw in your veggies, s&p, garlic and mirepoix (if using) and saute for a few minutes until softened.
  3. Throw in your chicken and parsley (I used probably a teaspoon)
  4. Then add your chicken broth and quinoa
  5. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer until quinoa is done - about 20 minutes or so. Just watch it (you can tell when it's done when it looks like it's kind of 'popped open'. Similar to brown rice.)
  6. Toss in the cheese and stir until melted and combined.

The things I love about this recipe are:
  1. It's clean and wheat-free
  2. It's filling (and for me, that is quite a feat)
  3. It tastes like it shouldn't be healthy
  4. The husband and kids loved it
  5. It's EASY and stuff I always have in the freezer or pantry
  6. It makes great leftovers
  7. It's totally tweakable in terms of serving sizes and tastes

Enjoy!







Friday, June 7, 2013

Paperwork Organization

Most people have all of their important paperwork where they can easily access it if/when the time comes. Well not me. When my husband and I got married and moved in together (not necessarily in that order) we just kind of threw all the 'paperwork' in a box and tossed it in the office. I am not genetically predisposed to being organized. It takes a lot of practice, persistence and discipline for me. Time after time, he'd need something for one reason or another and I knew I had seen it somewhere at some point in time, but couldn't recall it when I needed to. This resulted in a lot of frustration (in our house, it's the wife's job to be the organized one) and often times, money not well spent in late fees, etc.  I am trying to be more proactive, instead of it taking something getting to the point of making me snap that I only then do something about it. I'm a work in progress, what can I say.

Ok, back to this life changing little system here.

From this...


{via *I didn't take a before pic so, I borrowed this one. Mine was MUCH worse...}


To this!



I mentioned above that I'm not inherently organized. For me, it's a learned behavior. Well, who better to learn from than a professional? It's kind of my M.O. If I don't know something, I just do what someone that I want to emulate does. It's pretty simple, actually.

I've spent years trying to do it on my own and it just wasn't working. Time to call in reinforcements. So, I hired a professional organizer to teach me how to get it together. Best $150 I've spent. She gave me a framework in which to work from. You know the saying "teach a man to fish...", well, she 'taught me to fish'.

Items I used:



So here's how this went down.


  1. Gather up ALL random paperwork
  2. Start digging in and making piles (trash was a BIG one for us. It helped having someone who owns her own business as well, go through the tax paperwork with me. She helped me decide what to keep and what to toss)
  3. Label your piles with a sticky note so you don't get confused with what is what 
  4. Grab your file folders and label accordingly
  5. Make 'category' folders with your hanging file folders
  6. Stick your file folders in your hanging file folders
  7. Stick hanging file folders in your file box and you're done!
Here's some close ups of my categories.




It took us about 3 hours to go through 5 years of paperwork. If your counters or offices look like the 'before' picture, schedule yourself 3 hours and knock this out!

Anyone have any of their systems or tips to share?

I'll also be sharing about how I handle incoming paperwork and keep that sorted and filed. It used to accumulate on the kitchen counter and it drove me crazy(ier)!

PS.
Erin over at Sunny Side Up gives a great tutorial on how she organizes her household paper. Check it out here.









Thursday, June 6, 2013

{Day 3} of Pre-Challenge and a {Recipe}

Hi Everyone!

Heading up to Indianapolis this weekend for a patio shopping trip (Homegoods, you'd better not disappoint me) so, will hopefully have some goodies to share. Follow me on instagram! I may need you to help me decide on things.

I got a good yoga practice in yesterday. This is one of my favorites. Yoga Journal has a great line-up of videos. I mix it up every once in a while, but I always come back to hip and side opening practices.

Have I mentioned how much I hate food logging? I'm sticking with it, but wow, it is an eye opener. Join me at MyFitnessPal. Sucky things are less sucky when you know other people are doing it too.

After three days of logging just how much I eat, I've realized I really need to work in more veggies. I love veggies. I'm just lazy when it comes to prepping them, in all honesty. Why? No clue, but I'm going to have to get over it. I was seriously craving pizza last night (no clue why. This is not something I ever crave. I actually don't really crave things anymore unless I'm tired. Then it's like I shove food in my face hoping that it will give me energy when in reality, I just need a nap.) I knew that neither pizza or a nap were in the cards, so I had to have the next best thing...

Zucchini Pizza Boats


*update: hmmmm. well, zucchini is way misspelled ^^. that's embarrassing... sorry!

Ingredients:
  • 1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup red sauce (I use Classico Tomato & Basil because it’s lower sugar)
  • 1.5 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 6 grape tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Mini turkey pepperoni slices (optional, I used 1 regular one and cut it julienne)

How to:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Using a spoon, dig out the meat of the zucchini from each half by scraping out the inside and place in a bowl. I turned the spoon over and kind of scraped it out.
  3. Mix garlic, red sauce, and salt and pepper into scooped out zucchini.
  4. Refill zucchini “boats” with mixture.
  5. Top with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, pepperonis (if using) and parmesan.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes. 
This was the first time I made these, but next time, I'm going to try and dry off the meat of the zucchini, or maybe leave out the cherry tomatos. It's a pretty watery recipe. It didn't affect the consistency or taste, but they were slippery!






Tuesday, June 4, 2013

{Day 2} of Pre-Challenge and a {Recipe}

Hi Everyone!

Dinner last night consisted of a concoction I came up with what I had on hand and I was surprised that even the husband liked it. It's a great meal that you can make for dinner and eat on leftovers for lunch the rest of the week. It could also be doubled and frozen, I suppose. Haven't tried that out yet, though.


Turkey & Quinoa Taco Salad


  • 1lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 14.5 oz pinto beans (rinsed and drained). You could do black beans, too. 
  • 1 jar of salsa (your preference on kind and amount)
  • 1 packet Taco Bell Taco Seasoning (the best, in my opinion)
  • Brown Rice and Quinoa (I used this. AMAZING. And perfect for a busy night when you don't have 30-45 min to cook the rice or, you could just do one or the other. Up to you!)
How to:
Saute your turkey until thoroughly cooked in a large saute pan. You're going to be adding to this so make sure there's plenty of room for more. 
Add your taco seasoning and cook according to package.
Rinse and drain your beans and throw them in. 
Add your brown rice and quinoa.
Add salsa and voila. Done!

I served mine over a bed of chopped romaine lettuce and topped with 1/2 of a diced avocado and sriracha (of course), but you could eat it plain or with organic corn chips, gluten-free crackers, the possibilities are endless :)

No workout today - unless you count the Dollar Section at Target. I gave that a real workout today. 

And here's where you can check up on what I've eaten today. 

Finished up a couple projects so, I'll be sharing those once I get the photos taken!

What did you guys have for dinner last night? Any recipes to share?








Saturday, June 1, 2013

Satisfied

The reason I started blogging was probably the same as so many other people - to have an adult conversation and to record my life. It also serves as an accountability factor for me. I am definitely not an expert on the majority of things I post about, but it's my way of making a verbal commitment to you (all three of you, hi Grandma.) and making me much more likely to follow through.


As of late however, I've become satisfied. I worked my butt off to get here, but now it's become my new comfort zone. I've gotten comfortable with where I'm at and have really become lax with my diet and workouts. I've started noticing that I'm actually getting less done and having less energy. Not cool. 



So, I am going to start journaling and sharing what I eat and what my workouts are each day. I will still share projects since we're working on things, like the patio right now so, there may be more than one post in a day. PS. Here's a sneak peek of that.

The rug...OBSESSED with, so stay tuned :)

I'd love to have you follow along with me, if you'd like. I don't know about you but for me, I need that accountability and support factor to keep going, even when I don't want to. Also, food journaling...hate it. HATE it. I don't know why, but it's just such a chore to me. I tell everyone on my team to do it at some point so, I have to do it too. Follow along and join in at MyFitnessPal @niki_hellostripes. This is by far the best tracking app and bonus - it already has all Advocare products built into the database. Ok so, moment of truth....







June 1, 2013 is after an 8-week hiatus from Cross Fit that started with a sick little one and has continued due to a conflict of scheduling with preschool and the times the box offers child care. You can tell a definite difference. I'm afraid to even see what my one rep maxes are right now. I've also been slacking big time on my Catalyst and Muscle Gain (in addition to diet) so, that has a lot to do with it.

Starting Monday (I hate saying that, it sounds so cliche, but it's Saturday and Sundays are rest days), I will be embarking on yet another leg of my journey. I would love it if you'd join me and keep me filled in in the comments section or on instagram :) you can follow along @niki_hellostripes

Here's to a great rest of the weekend.

See you Monday!





Thursday, May 30, 2013

Eat the Frog and Drink the ACV


“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”



Have you ever heard the term, "Eat the Frog First"? I heard this several months ago and I'm not sure why when put this particular way it stuck, but it did. Basically, it's a way of systematically prioritizing your tasks each day, hour, etc. This is something I really struggled with when I first started working at home (and still sometimes do). Yes, working. This 'staying-at-home' stuff is no joke, but I digress.

The idea here is to prioritize based on your need and desire to do tasks. Lifehack outlines it best:

  1. The things you need to do, but don't want to do. Aka, the "Frog(s)"
  2. The things you need to do and want to do.
  3. The things you want to do, but don't need to do.
  4. The things you don't need or want to do.
Ideally, you want to reprogram your brain and create a habit of eating the frog first. The reward there is  you've done the 'worst' thing first, thereby making everything else seem easier or better. For me, it's usually bathrooms, putting away laundry and some days, working out. I'm really trying to get better at this. I have developed a habit of putting these things off until I have to do them. Then I'm not happy about it because inevitably, I'd rather be doing something else, but it's all about recognizing things you don't like and working on them, right? Easier said than done sometimes...


So now that we've eaten the frog, it's time to drink the ACV.


I've gone through half a bottle and I am serious when I say it's a love/hate relationship. Love the effects, hate the taste. It has cleared my skin up and has really helped curb my appetite. I eat more than my husband so, this is huge for me. I can't sing it's praises enough. I will tell you that when it comes to 'healthy' stuff, I am no wimp. I used to eat field greens plain with no problem. This concoction however, has revealed my weak link. Head on over and see what it's all about. If you've never tried this, I HIGHLY recommend it. For the effects...not the taste.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

So What Wednesday


                                                           
Linking up with Shannon for some weekly So What Wednesday. 

Here we go!

  • So what if my ONLY motivation to workout right now is so I can drink this.
  • So what if I just want to pack up the children, skip town and take the husband's debit card for a therapeutic trip to IKEA with tammyfantasyland?
  • So what if I think that who(m?)ever invented BB Cream should be awarded with a Nobel Prize. That and the discovery of the side part - both life changing moments for me.
  • So what if my beautiful, new barn wood table was infested with these bastards. Not so much as a so what but as a "are you freaking kidding me?!?!?!"
  • So what if my husband keeps conveniently missing the laundry basket and trash can (and toilet, for that matter) with his clothes and Q-tips and I'm currently plotting my revenge.
  • So what if my husband's favorite Housewife is Alexis. No, seriously you guys. I asked him and that's what he told me. I've failed as a wife...
Who's your favorite and why? Indulge me :)



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

{Recipe} Savory Stuffed Sweet Potato


Hey everyone! Hope you enjoyed your weekend as much as we did. We are so blessed to live in this great country.

I had a weekend full of my mother-in-law's AMAZING cooking so, it's time to get back to reality. I eat this probably 3-4 times a week. I know, I need to have a little variety, but they're just so easy, filling, nutritious and delicious.

How To:

Prep:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Take 4-5 sweet potatoes and wash them really well
  • Wrap in foil and bake for around an hour. I usually do these whenever I have time and then stick them all in the fridge so I can grab them later.
Then when you're ready to eat:
  • Grab out of the fridge and cut each end off and slice down the middle
  • Open it up and throw in whatever you like. My favs are:
    • 1/3 cup black beans or shredded chicken, whatever protein I have on hand
    • 1/4 cup finely shredded mozz
    • 1/2 diced avocado (best part)
    • A few drizzles of Sriracha 

This is such an easy, nutritious go-to.

Love to hear your versions, if you have any!





Sunday, May 26, 2013

How to Clean Hardwood Floors



I love my dark hardwoods. I wouldn't trade them for anything. Here's the absolute best way I've found to keep them looking clean and gorgeous. Dirty floors are my pet peeve. They completely wig me out. #sahmproblems

I first came across this method right after we finished remodeling our kitchen. I was 9 months pregnant, working at a paid job at the time and had no time or desire to clean up all the dust, etc. I hired the most amazing cleaning lady to ever grace the earth. I came home from work that day and it seriously looked like a brand new house.  I don't know how she did it in 6 hours, but it was nothing short of a miracle.

When I asked her how she got the floors so clean she said, "oh, I just hand-washed them". Um, excuse me, you did what. Are you out of your damn mind? You hand-washed them?! Well, little did I know, I'd soon be eating my words when I found how much easier it actually is.

This is the key to the method: use several microfiber cloths and to keep your water clean, you use a cloth until it's completely soiled then use a new one. Don't put the dirty cloth back in your water. 

Here's how it's done.

Cleaner:
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 gallon hot water
10 drops (or so) essential oil of your choice. I like lemon. Don't use too much essential oil or it will leave a grime on your floors. Just use enough to cover the vinegar smell.

1. Vacuum and/or Swiffer your floors. I use the Swiffer vacuum unless I'm doing the rugs too, then I'll use my Dyson.

2. Mix up your cleaner

3. Make sure you wring out your cloth really well. You don't want it dripping water.

4. Get down and dirty and start washin'! I wash in sections so I don't miss any spots and wash with the grain.


To get the most out of each cloth, I fold mine in half, then half again, then half again. Then just keep  finding clean spots on it until it's completely dirty, then grab a new one.








I usually try and do this every couple weeks during naptime. I make it a point to do it after we have people over. We don't wear shoes in the house, but I certainly don't ask guests to take their shoes off. Not to say that there hasn't been a time in my life where I didn't. I once threw a girl out of our NYE party about 5 years ago for refusing to take her shoes off - Tamara style. Not one of my finer moments, but hey, you live you learn.

If I don't have time to do the whole thing (usually take me 30-45 min from start to finish) I use this Bona wet mop. I  just refill it with my vinegar/water/EO mixture after I run out of Bona cleaner.

Also, when you wash your cloths, do a separate load with hot water. And DO NOT use fabric softner - it will render them useless. I use vinegar instead of softner. That helps get all the grime out and disinfect them too.

How do you clean your floors? Love to hear any other methods!