Saturday, August 18, 2012

All Hopped up on Fitness Challenges

I don't know what got into me this morning, but I went on a tear signing myself up for fitness challenges! Well, I only really "signed" up for one, but then mentally committed myself to two others on my own. I'll probably find myself on the other end of the phrase "mentally committed" here soon :)

I've been reading about a lot of other bloggers who are doing fun challenges (well maybe fun isn't the best word...) and remembering my failed fitness challenges this year, mostly due to injury, but laziness definitely played a part. Earlier this week my former gym buddy Brittany sent me a message saying she was going to start using MyFitnessPal.com to track her workouts and food, which I've used on and off and really love. I figured what the heck, I'd pick it up again and we could get back to coaching each other even if we're thousands of miles apart. I also needed to update my weight loss which was fun, I've lost about 10 pounds recently by eating better, walking and kicking butt at my new yoga studio.

Laying in bed checking twitter this morning I saw Jessica tweet about a yoga challenge and read about her plans on her blog.
I'd set a goal to do a yoga month this year, and I've found a new amazing yoga studio recently, so I accepted Jessica's challenge and started today! I'd planned to go to class, but had some logistical issues with getting there on time - our car is currently very sick, I can walk to my studio but it takes a good 30 minutes and for some reason I got this crazy idea to go for a run that lasted longer than I'd planned.

So yoga at home it is! I did a 20 minute workout from YogaDownload.com, but my fitness crazy train didn't stop there. Remember when I started and restarted the Couch to 5k plan? And set a goal to run a 5k in 30 minutes? My hip issue sidelined me and I just never got back on track. Until today of course :) Caitlin recently talked about using the C25k app which sounds really cool. So I downloaded it and am going to give it a try this week. Of course while I was playing with apps on my phone, I came across the 100 Pushup Challenge App I downloaded but never really used. I busted out day 1 of that today too, taking full advantage of this workout high I'm on!

So for those keeping track, I am definitely doing a 30 day yoga challenge - Jessica's already put my picture up on her blog which means I have to do it! - plus I'm bringing back Couch to 5k and the 100 pushup challenge. Oh and grad school starts in two weeks. You know, no biggie.

Will I stick to these challenges? I hope so. They actually each take up very minimal time during the week, and I like having a set workout already picked out for me so all I have to do is schedule it into my day. With grad school starting soon I want to make sure I keep making progress on getting healthier while also carving out "me" time which all of these activities provide. I've got some great virtual buddies to keep me motivated, along with a supportive husband and my own personal fur-ball cheering squad.

Nico is really good at savasana.
 If you're interested in joining in the 30-day Yoga Challenge, you can link up here:


Speaking of grad school, I've got a ton of reading to do! I don't feel quite as bad about sitting and reading for the rest of the day now that I've already done so much activities this morning :)

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Skin Care in a Sunny Town

I've never had much of a routine for taking care of my skin, I pretty much stick to face wash (usually one from Olay), moisturizer and I try to exfoliate once or twice a week. Moving to San Diego has made me much more aware of needing to wear sunscreen, especially since my dad recently had a spot of skin cancer removed from his face. Lucky for me, I take after my mom in the skin tone department - we both have olive skin and don't burn easily. Still, 95% of the days here in SD are sunny so I've been trying out a few new products and trying to get into a better routine since I haven't found a face sunscreen yet that doesn't make me break out.

I'm not really picky about face wash, but I do exfoliate a few times a week because my skin tends to be flaky. I've been pretty happy with St. Ives Apricot Scrub, but when I was contacting by Swanson Health Products a few weeks ago offering to let me try out some of their products to review (for free), I saw that they also carry skin care products! I took entirely too long looking through their website at everything the offer, but finally settled on this protein powder and this whole wheat pastry flour from the health foods section, and then also this Queen Helene Oatmeal Honey Facial Scrub:



There was a small whole wheat flour explosion during shipping.


I was really impressed with Swanson's selection and prices, I'm really glad they reached out to me because I'd never heard of them before! This face scrub looks really weird when you first use it, mostly because it's brown from the oatmeal. I've used it for about three weeks now and really like it! It gets rid of the flaky issue, but doesn't dry out or irritate my skin which is nice.

I've used a variety of moisturizers over the year's and haven't found one I love. I do really like Olay's tinted moisturizer which has SPF 15, but that's not nearly enough to cover you for a whole day. Now that I'm the sun so much more I feel like I need to amp it up in the SPF department.

Any recommendations for face sunscreen that goes well under makeup but doesn't break you out??

Swanson Health Products provided the above products for free, but all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What to do with 10 pounds of carrots?

My husband, gotta love him. He went to Costco the other day with a friend and came home with some really good stuff, and one thing that made me go hmmmm.


That would be a 10 pound bag of carrots. That's actually on 3/4 of the bag that we started with! While I applaud his enthusiasm in trying to include more veggies in our diet, I was a little wary of this sudden influx of carrots.

I came up with 2 ways to prepare the carrots to eat this week, and tried my hand at freezing some of them to use later. First was the easiest - Ty likes to eat carrot sticks plain (I prefer doused in ranch) so he took a bunch and cut them into sticks. Second, I broke out the food processor and shredded a bunch to put on our salads this week.


This was my first time using the shredding/slicing blade on our food processor, not sure if you can tell but I used the 'finely shred' blade first and it was a little too fine, so I switched to the 'medium shred' blade about 1/4 way through. And since I had it out, I went ahead and tried the slicing blade on a cucumber for our salads as well:


Even with the medium blade they came out really thin, which is fine for salads, but I like them a little thicker than that for munching on. My new favorite thing is cucumbers dipped in salsa! Ty thinks it really weird, but seriously it's good.

On to the third and most challenging method I employed with this humungous bag of carrots: freezing. Sounds easy enough but I checked with Google just to make sure I was doing it right and of course there is a little more to it than just tossing the carrots in the freezer. I found a few sites that gave you instructions on how to do this, but this one was the best.

Basically you have to blanch them (a fancy term for boiling them real quick and then dunking them in ice water) before you freeze them to kill the enzymes that normally make them turn brown when they go bad. I diced up about 5 large carrots to test this out, dropped them in boiling water for 2 minutes and then in ice water for 2-3 minutes.


I drained them, put them in a Ziploc freezer bag and into the freezer they went.


It didn't make nearly as much as I thought it would, but that's ok for the first round. I have a feeling I'll be repeating this process at the end of the week because even with all 3 of those methods we only used about 1/2 the bag of carrots!

On a fun note, we went to our first Padres game this weekend! It was one of my 28 in 28 goals and it just so happened that last week one of our sponsors at work called and said they had 4 tickets they wanted us to have for that Saturday's game. Ty and I went with my new co-worker Lexi and her boyfriend, the seats were amazing!


Such a cool view!

And they put on a great fireworks show afterwards. The Padres didn't win, but it was still really fun and it knocked one more thing of my list.

Ty's brother is coming in tomorrow from VA, he'll be here for the next two weeks! I hope he likes carrots...