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My FAVORITE workout apparel

Hi Ladies! I was able to head out of town last weekend and I got some new workout digs, and that inspired me to share my FAVORITE workout apparel by brand and type with you. I think feeling cute in your workout clothing is SO important, and before you think I'm just being shallow, hear me out. Have you heard the phrase "dress for success"? Well, it's totally the same in fitness. If I throw on an old t-shirt and some baggy sweatpants I am MUCH less motivated to give my full effort in my workout, or even complete a workout, than if I have on a fitted outfit that I'm confident in. Think about how you feel when you give a presentation; aren't you much more confident when you dress up a bit? I know I am. So that you have a point of reference, my workout clothes need to work for strength training, mind-body workouts (i.e. yoga), and cardio too. So I have a little bit of everything when it comes to fit, coverage, and breathability. Here are some of my favorites:

Shirt by Under Armour, shorts by LuluLemon
Shirt by Under Armour, shorts by LuluLemon
  1. Victoria's Secret Sport: I LOVE their sports bras. You can get moderate to full coverage, and they go anywhere from lightly lined (my personal fav) to padded. There are loads of fun patterns and strap arrangements. They also have fun tank tops with cutesy sayings like "Crunch before brunch" or "I'll meet you at the barbells." And for lighter impact workouts, their pants are super cute too!  With their frequent sales you can get an entirenew outfit (pants, shirt, and sportsbra) for around $50!  That's a steal!
  2. Nike: Well, their shoes are just awesome, but we already know that. I'm also a big fan of the pro shorts and capris by Nike. They are thin, so you don't get too hot, but not so thin that cellulite shows, haha. They hold you in and pair really nicely with a looser fitting top. Nike also has some great V sports bras that are lightly lined, and offer full coverage for the smaller chested girls. These work well for shirts that are a bit lower in front.
  3. LuLuLemon: Ahhhh, to shop at LuLu is an experience! I only have a few things from LuLu, but they are my favorite pieces of workout apparel. They are SUPER expensive, but have been worth EVERY penny. The quality is superb and they are designed to perform AND make us look good!  My favorite thing to buy there are the workout pants. They hold you in, let you breathe, and you can conquer the world in these pants. Every pair I've bought from their becomes my new BFF.
  4. Reebok: I love their leggings! The patterns are super fun and the material is smooth and silky. My graffiti leggings from Reebok get the most comments! I have a little trouble getting the sizing right at Reebok, though, as some things fit big and some things seem to fit super small (these would fit my 7 year old...?)
  5. Under Armour: I'm adding this one for my husband! This is his favorite brand for shirts, athletic shorts, and warm-up pants. But ladies, I love it too! I have a pair of UA shorts that have held up for years and are super flattering, as well as a few really cute and unique tank tops. They have upped their fashion game lately, and it's showing! But expect to spend $40-$60 on a pair of shorts or pants.

If you are starting a new fitness regimen this year, or just recommitting, do yourself a favor and buy a new outfit that you feel confident in when you hit the gym (or even your basement!). It really does help to dress the part. I'd love to hear some of your personal favorites, too!! Comment below and let me know what they are!

Pro and Cons - Gym vs Home, Whats best for you?

There are several pro and con reasons on why home vs gym workouts work will work the best for you. I tend to do both, so I understand both. Listen to the video and let me know what your thoughts are, share them here or on Facebook.

 

 

Gift Ideas for the Fitness Lovers

I was a guest on Q 96 this morning. We talked all about the perfect gifts for the fitness fanatic in your life. Check out the video below and then comment here or go to Facebook and tell me what your must-have fitness gift is this holiday!  

Homemade, healthy holiday gifts

Now is the time of the year that we spend time in the kitchen making goodies, this year I decided to make healthy holiday gifts. What are you making this year? Share below or let me know on my Facebook page.  

Clean, Simple and Delicious Butternut Squash Soup

This squash soup is sure to be a hit with the whole family, plus, its a great meal to prep on Sunday for anytime during the week! Ingredients:

  • pre-cubed butternut squash
  • olive oil
  • onion
  • garlic
  • chicken broth
  • vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Use pre-cubed butternut squash from the produce department, drizzle it with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper and use your hands to coat all of the squash. Roast the squash in a 400-degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. Chop an onion and add it to a warm skillet with a tsp olive oil. Cook until translucent, then add a tsp of garlic. Cook for 1 more minute. Add the onion mixture and the cooked squash to a blender. I filled it to the
  3. Fill the blender to the one-liter mark with 1/2 chicken broth and 1/2 vegetable broth. You can eyeball the amount here :) Also to the blender, add 1 tsp pure maple syrup, 3/4 tsp of nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp of cayenne pepper. Blend until smooth. Add mixture to a saucepan and heat.
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper (I used a pinch of sea salt and a couple grinds of the pepper). For the super smooth consistency, add 1/4 cup Greek yogurt to your soup. Heat through and serve!

I love topping it with this asiago cheese crisps, but something sweet on top, like apple chips, would be great too!

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squash soup

Enjoy!

Chicken Piccata recipe - So Good!

When your chef skills are on fleek!!! 👊🏼 Sometimes I create something that's so good I HAVE to share it! Like last night!! I made chicken piccata which is crusted chicken in a lemon sauce. It was honestly pretty easy and only took about 30 minutes, but did leave a wicked mess in my kitchen. #ooops #worthit

Ingredients:

  • Chicken tenderloins/breasts
  • Two eggs
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbs. grass fed butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • a few tbs. lemon juice
  • additional seasoning and capers, if desired
  • brown rice, if desired

Directions:

  1. Start with some chicken tenderloins on filets of chicken breast, trimmed. You can pound the chicken flat but I was too impatient to do this and the chicken I used worked just fine :)
  2. Set up a station where you can dunk the chicken in two mixtures, in two different bowls. One bowl has two eggs and a little water whisked together. The second bowl has breadcrumbs (Panko is my FAV) with about 1/4 cup grated parm and a pinch of cayenne pepper. First dunk in the egg mixture, then the breadcrumb mixture. Use your hands to pat the mixture on the chicken. Give it some love <3
  3. Add the chicken to a pan that has been heating up with a little extra virgin olive oil in it and cook for 7-10 minutes per side, depending on your pan. Once both sides are crispy, remove the chicken (even if it's not cooked all the way through) and add 2 TBS of grass fed butter to the pan. Once that's melted, add a cup of chicken stock to the pan and use your spoon or spatula to scrape the little bits off the bottom of the pan. That is your flavor! Add a few TBS of lemon juice and let the sauce boil. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat and add your chicken breasts back in the pan. Cook a few more minutes until the chicken is cooked through. This is a good time to check for seasoning, add some parsley, etc. REAL chicken picatta calls for capers but I LITERALLY cannot find these EVER in my grocery store so I went without them
  4. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat and add your chicken breasts back in the pan. Cook a few more minutes until the chicken is cooked through. This is a good time to check for seasoning, add some parsley, etc. REAL chicken piccata calls for capers but I LITERALLY cannot find these EVER in my grocery store so I went without them ;)

I served this over brown rice and even my kids loved it!!! Feel free to adjust measurements to your tastes. Enjoy!!

piccata recipe

Healthy Meals for Kids

Let's talk about what to feed those picky eaters. It is all about giving healthy options to your kids and allowing appropriate snack choices. We all deal with this, but, here is what works for us!

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Kitchen Shortcuts

Kitchen shortcuts to make your grocery trip and food for the week stretch -- plus super easy tricks to make your food stay fresh longer.

Disney To-Dos!

castle I have been going to Walt Disney World since I was a little girl, and continue to travel there as often as I can! I’ve actually lost count, but I think the total number of visits is around 20. I knew my husband was really the one for me when we went to WDW a year after we had been dating and he felt the same magic that I always do. And now he’s more of a Disney expert than I am (except on the princesses - I always win in that category!). Why is it so magical? I think it has to do with Walt Disney, the genius behind it all. The company is run brilliantly because it was started with such a strong "why." It truly is the most magical place…but I digress! I am here to help you plan YOUR trip to Disney. I am speaking from a family point of view, and more specifically, a family with young children. There are so many people who know way more than I do, but these are my tips. Take them or leave them. :)

  1. Don’t overdo it
  • This is my #1 tip for a reason. When you take young children to Disney, it can be very overwhelming, and as parents we often want them to experience everything. Plus, you are thinking, “I spent a lot of money on these tickets, we have to get the most of them.” WARNING WARNING!!! Going all day and all night with young children = MAGIC FAMILY MELTDOWNS (for kids and parents).
  • Go early in the morning when it’s not as hot and plan to do 2-4 activities (rides or shows). Eat lunch and then head back to the hotel to swim or rest or nap, etc. After eating dinner (more on that later), then go back and do some more activities. Everyone will be fresh and much happier for the break.
  • Don’t feel like you need to get to every park your first time to Disney. This year we are going to do Magic Kingdom twice and Animal Kingdom because of the ages of our kids. If your kids are older, try to get to Hollywood Studios. But for the first visit, you certainly don’t need to see them all. Remember, they are kids and really don’t know what they’re missing. They would rather get to experience two parks feeling really good and happy than 4 parks being hot, tired, and miserable; and so would you!

 

  1. Eat dinner at your hotel
  • If you can get a room with a kitchen, the upcharge will totally be worth it in the amount of money you’ll save on eating out. Dining in Disney is expensive!! We are renting a car to buy groceries, and even with the added cost of the car rental, we will save $100’s on our food budget. We plan to eat a good snack or early lunch in the morning and then eat dinner at our room every night. We also buy things for breakfast like yogurt, cereal, eggs, etc. It is healthier and so much more affordable.

 

  1. Stay on Disney property
  • It might seem much more affordable to stay just outside of Disney, but in our experience, it’s just not worth it. The “free shuttles” to the property operate on set times (often two times in the morning and two times at night) and don’t run continually. This is a problem if you stick to my #1 rule about taking a break in the afternoon. The Disney transportation is easy and is part of the experience! Their transportation runs every 20 minutes throughout the day and into the late evening. Plus, many of the Disney resorts will have characters show up, Disney movies playing for free on the TVs, and all sorts of other awesome activities. Plus, the pools and restaurants are excellent.

 

  1. Make the anticipation of the trip part of the trip!
  • Every moment at Disney will not be magical, especially with young children. There will likely be meltdowns, tantrums, illnesses, long lines, etc. So you have to use that time leading up to the trip as part of the magic! We talk about it every day, show the kids videos of different attractions and highlights, and plan.
  • We made a paper chain and remove a link every day. Making the chain was just another way to get excited!
  • Our family is also designing matching t-shirts (nerd alert!) for this trip. Designing the shirts and shopping for them increases anticipation for the adults, too!!
  • We are going to make some super simple autograph and sticker books for our children to take with us. Simple and easy, made with scrapbooking paper and Disney stickers. It’s way more affordable than buying them in Disney, and again the preparation and creation of these is part of the joy!

 

More tips from my mom, who is the Disney Queen!!

Get to the Magic Kingdom early! Catch the bus at 8:00 am for a 9:00 am opening; the buses get crowded. You don’t want to miss the “Good Morning" welcome song and the countdown to opening! It’s part of the excitement to be there when the gates open, and you’ll enjoy much shorter lines early in the day.

We can usually get in 4 attractions before lunch since we beat the crowds. We eat lunch around 11:30 am. We do one or two more rides after lunch and then head back to our room. We come back in the early evening after dinner.

The nighttime "Illuminations" show at Epcot is our favorite! When it’s over, escape the crowds by using the back exit right next to France. A short walk will take you to Board Walk. A fun way to end the evening! To leave Boardwalk, catch a bus or the boat to connect back to MGM and take your resort bus from there.

We follow the Dave Ramsey plan even on vacation by having a written budget of the amount we will spend in each category. We prepay the things we can, and take cash envelopes for the other categories. When we use cash we are a lot more careful about spending it!

Since we’ve been to Disney so many times, we look for new things that we haven’t done before. Sometimes the most magical experiences are the unexpected. Here are a few ideas away from the crowds:

  • Take transportation to visit other resorts; have ice cream at the Grand Floridian, or enjoy lunch at Animal Kingdom. The glass walls there make you feel like you are eating with the animals. Each resort is an experience, so we like to walk around and see what each has to offer!
  • Fort Wilderness has some fun things to do away from the crowds - horseback riding, bicycling, or checkers on the front porch! This year we’re renting golf carts to drive around the area. They are only $59 for 24 hours. If you stay in Fort Wilderness until evening, you can watch the electric parade of boats from the beach area. It’s magical!
  • We’ve done the behind the scenes tour, but beware…it may spoil some of the magic! We did learn a lot of things we didn’t know.
  • Boardwalk is a fun place to visit and, depending on the time of day, you may catch some entertainment, rent a surrey (bicycle built for 4), or just enjoy some cotton candy or a drink. Be sure to check out the lobby of the Boardwalk hotel. It’s like stepping back in time!