Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Handful Bra Winner!!

No better day to choose a winner than on February 29th! Happy Leap Year (or something)! 

As chosen by the winner of the Handful Bra giveaway is...

Congratulations Sarah!  Please send your full name, mailing address, color (if different than above), and size (check the Handful website for guidance) you would like to 

Thanks to everyone who signed up for the giveaway and a big thanks to Handful Bra for sponsoring the giveaway!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for some tips on breaking through that pesty plateau! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February Foodie Pen Pal

Where did February go?!  Seriously, one extra day in February is not enough, give us an extra week please!  Okay, I take that back, bring on summer, especially with this snow storm coming at us in Wisconsin.  

Foodie Penpals

Well with the end of February brings another Foodie Pen Pal review! This month I received my package from the Crazy Cooking Couple! Here's a peak at what was inside...

Since February is National Chocolate Month, they made sure to stock me up on chocolates!   The peanut butter M&M's are my favorite kind ever so I was really jacked to see these in there.  The cinnamon ones, I had never even heard about! I opened them up and threw a handful into my mouth and thought mmm!  Then I got the after-taste, there's a really delayed, overwhelming flavor of cinnamon.  So I'm not a huge fan of them plain, but I LOVE them in my oatmeal! Warm, melted chocolate with a hint of cinnamon... quick, easy and delicious. Nothing ever goes to waste here :)

I was super excited to see these!  I love protein/snack bars, I don't buy them very often since they are more of a luxury to me right now so they were a big treat!  I loved all three of them... I may actually have to find these in the stores, because I loved them so much! (Note: These were my favorite part of the package guys!)

These cream sticks are currently sitting in my refrigerator and make the perfect after dinner snack for fresh breathe. 

This was the last thing I opened, I don't know why though because I was excited to try kale chips for the first time.  The only other experience I've had with kale chips, was when I failed in my attempt to make them, so I liked the opportunity to see what they're really supposed to be like.  Anyway, I liked them, didn't love them, but liked them and would eat them again.  P.S. Now that I know what they should be like, I'm going to have to try making them again. 

That's it folks!  I hope you all enjoyed the boxes you received!  Be sure to stop over to Alexandria's blog and check out what she received from me :)

Thank you Jen & Ziggy!! 

If you're interested in joining the Foodie Pen Pal program check out Lindsay's blog for more details!


Two quick things before I go....

1. Today's the last day to sign up for my Handful giveaway! Be sure to check back tomorrow for a winner!

2. If you're looking for some good recipes, check out my last post...yum!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Recipes: Shrimp Enchiladas + Chai-Almond Muffins + Swicy Rub

Nothing big happened this weekend, which is probably why I found myself in the kitchen playing a little more than I usually do!  Here's a couple of recipes I'm sure you'll enjoy...

Chai-Almond Muffins

1 3/4 c flour
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 chai blend tea bags, opened
1 c low-fat buttermilk 
1/4 c butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1 large egg
Cooking spray
1/3 c almonds, chopped (other nuts will work too)
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 Tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt together in a large bowl.  Combine buttermilk, 1 tsp vanilla, and egg in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine buttermilk mixture with flour until just moist.  (Tip: Leave a few lumps, over-stirring can toughen up the muffins.) Grease and flour twelve muffin cups. Divide batter evenly into the twelve cups. Sprinkle chopped nuts over batter evenly. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cook for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan. 

Combine remaining 1/2 tsp vanilla, powdered sugar and water, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over muffins. This can get a little messy, so be prepared :) 


Shrimp Enchiladas

1 med onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2-3/4 lb medium shrimp, peeled
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies (less if sensitive to hot food)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese 
4 large tortillas
Chunky salsa (as much as you want)
Monterey Jack cheese (as much as you want)

In a large skillet, saute onion in oil until tender. 

Add shrimp, green chilies, and all four seasonings. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. 

Stir in cream cheese until melted. 

Place shrimp mixture down the center of each of the four tortillas. 

Roll up and place seam side down in a 13 x 9 inch pan. Pour salsa and cheese over the top of wraps.  Bake uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.  Enjoy the heat! 

Swicy (Sweet and Spicy) Rub

1 part brown sugar
1 part Tony Chachere's Cajun seasoning (or chili powder)
1 part salt
1 part black pepper

Massage into your meat, let sit if you have the time...BIG fan!



Friday: Lift (upper body)

Do each group 3x

DB incline press 15x
Incline push ups (wide, normal, narrow) 5/5/5x
Plank hip dips 1:00

Seated shoulder press 10x
Lunge w/delt raise 10x
Slider dive 10x

Skull crushers 10x
EX bar curls 10x
BOSU SB toe taps 5/5x

Saturday: 11.25 miles in 1:45!! 

Brita and I ran most of the Eau Claire half marathon route, which was good for me since I've never run on most of it.  Note to those running who haven't been on it... get on the trail!  It is really hilly, you will definitely benefit by seeing it ahead of time. 

Our average pace was what my first half marathon pace was.  I'm hoping to beat my last time, but this route is considerably hillier than my previous route, so we'll see.  I've been running a lot more long runs and more mileage than I did for my previous half, so I'm hoping that will prepare me to break my PR!

Monday: 5.5 miles

Fitness Plan
Monday: Run 5.5 mile (check!)
Tuesday: Lift + 30 min cardio
Wednesday: Mile repeats w/lifts
Thursday: Light run and/or cardio
Friday: Run 60-75 mins
Saturday: Lift 
Sunday: Rest 

Last week I hit 24 miles!  That is the most I have ever run in a week!  I'm going to keep working to keep my mileage in that ballpark.  

Don't forget to sign up for my giveaway if you haven't already!  Contest ends Wednesday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


When I was a sophomore in high school I gave up soda for lent. That was my best lent ever, I was able to do it without cheating, not even on the weekends, which Grandma says don't count in lent (I'll take it!).  To this day I don't really drink soda, unless it is a mixed drink.

I don't use lent as a way to re install my new years resolutions that I have failed on, I use to improve myself mind, body and spirit and to remind myself that self control is an important virtue.  This being said I have a few things that I am working on this lent, in hopes I can make them more permanent habits like I did with soda.

1. Food Journal Daily
Okay this sounds like a new years resolution, but if you knew how I have been eating lately you would know that I have absolutely no self control.  As part of this I will be limiting myself to one sweet a day.  Again sounds like a new years resolution, but as I said before I have just been on a rage... sweets at breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time... no joke. I will be using Ever Note, it's not really meant for this type of thing, but you can create notebooks in it and use it for whatever you choose.  Since I'm obsessed with my new Kindle Fire, I think it'll work out.  Self control is the focus of this item.

Ever Note

2. Daily Reflection
I will be using a combination of these three tools for daily reflection...

Holy Bible App

Daily Verse App

Old fashioned paperback Bible
I'm really not a huge fan of the idea of an online Bible, but sometimes convenience wins.  

It is on my Bucket List to read the entire Bible before I die, so I found this read the Bible in a year plan (I probably won't actually do it in a year) that I am going to print off and check passages off as I read them.  This could take me a few years, but that is okay I want to use this time to start that journey.  

3. Swearing
I'm not really sure why I swear, I never used to be a big swearer, but I find myself swearing at the silliest things.  I'm not judging anyone who swears, because in all honesty it's not the end of the world, but since I'm around my niece and nephew so much I want to stop using that type of language, who knows when a slip might happen!  Another great reason to do it is because, as Grandma says (man she has a lot of wisdom!), "People who swear have a limited vocabulary".  

I hope everyone has a blessed lent season!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Handful Bra Giveaway!

Hey ya'll! Who's ready to win a sports bra?!

At the beginning of the month I wrote a post giving people the opportunity to win a Handful bra through Handful, but this time someone gets to win one from a giveaway on my blog!  Before I tell you how you sign up to win one, let me first tell you a little about Handful.

Handful was started by fitness enthusiast, Jennifer Ferguson, in Portland, Oregon. Positive energy has fueled her 22 -year career as a group exercise instructor, teaching cycling, strength, dance, step, aqua, kick-boxing, rock climbing, yoga, and running. Jennifer has also competed in numerous endurance events such as the Boston Marathon.
After years spent searching in vain for a good sports bra, Jennifer decided to channel her frustration creatively.  She designed and manufactured what she (and a lot of other female athletes) had been waiting for...that one sports bra that does it all! It has become much more than a sports bra for its admirers. The handful is an everyday bra that takes you from workout to weekend, looking great by itself or fantastic as a layering piece underneath.
We are proud to be an approved mastectomy bra, supporting breast cancer survivors during treatment and their return to good health and fitness. 

I apologize for the flash, I wasn't getting good pictures w/o it

The Handful bra has removable pads that contour to your body.  The dynamic duo of material works for you...the polyester material wicks away moisture while you work hard and the nylon/spandex shell dries quickly. The bra has skinny straps that don't dig and don't stretch out. Your very own Handful bra comes in a reusable mesh bag that is less wasteful and good for laundering.

So now you have the facts here is what I love about this product:
  • Bra straps- I love that I can feel feminine while I workout and that I can wear it with a tank top or regular shirt because they aren't bulky
  • Color options :) Black, white, nude, cocoa, and pink!
  • Fit- I'm used to snug fitting sports bras (which I like), but this bra showed me that I can be comfortable and feel good in something that flatters my girls rather than flattening them 
  • Comfort- This bra is form fitting, breathable, and makes these puppies look perky!
  • Reusable bag- Love, love, love this!  Makes it easy for me to find in the laundry and I can take the pads out without losing them somewhere in the midst of the rest of my things.
  • Stylish- I wore my bra with workout clothes, dresses, casual clothes... everything you can imagine and it looked great in all situations! 
  • Multi-purpose- This goes along with stylish, but it really can be used in any situation. If you really wanted to, you could probably pull it off as a bikini top! 
  • An approved mastectomy bra...they support breast cancer survivors, enough said!
Now the one and only thing I did not like about it was that I didn't feel secure enough when I ran.  If I got the next size smaller I think I would feel secure and snug like I'm used to in my current bras for longer distances; I did however love it for lifting and other cross training, running was the only circumstance I preferred my regular sports bra.  But don't take my word for it... shop around (I love their hats, check them out!) on the Handful site and buy one or sign up to win one here!

So here's what you need to do to enter: 

1. Go to the Handful webpage and tell me which color you would like most (mandatory)
2. Follow Handful on Twitter or like them on Facebook (optional)
3. Follow my blog (optional) 
4. Follow me on Twitter (optional) 
5. Watch the Handful video above and tell me your favorite part of it (optional)

Be sure to leave a comment for each one that you do. 
The contest will end Tuesday, February 28 at midnight, a winner will be picked on Wednesday. 

Note: This giveaway was sponsored/provided to you by Handful, but the opinions shared in this post are my own. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mardi Gras

This weekend was fantastic!  Our Mardi Gras party was a complete success, the food was great and the company was entertaining.  

The Girls

Our Mardi Gras tree


The Boys

And the menu...

 For the main dish we made gumbo, a traditional Cajun meal.  We got our gumbo recipes from here... frickin' AmAzInG!!!  It was our first time trying to make this, J's mom has made it for us before from a different recipe, but it was our first stab.  This recipe is getting added to our recipe box!

Pigs in a blanket
Pigs in a blanket for appetizer, they really have nothing to do with Mardi Gras or Southern tradition, but they were quick and easy to make for our hungry crew.  They were super easy to make... cut eight hot dogs into thirds, place one piece of hot dog and a little slice of American cheese onto a chunk of Pillsbury dough and wrap; bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Brett Favre spicy cheese dip
Spicy cheese dip for a side found in a Brett Favre  cookbook that J's mom has.  I really need to get the recipe from her, because it was a major hit! 

Chocolate chip cookies w/funfetti frosting

 I made some chocolate chip cookies and topped them off with funfetti frosting, they went over well with the crowd. 

King cake
Our main dessert (yes there was a main and a secondary dessert) was, drum roll please.... KING CAKE!  We got the strawberry filled one, yummy, yummy! 

Anyone else out there celebrate Mardi Gras?  Have you had king cake before?  

Fitness Plan

Last week I ended up with 18 miles, just shy of my 20 mile goal, so this week I'll be making sure I get there.

Monday: Tough Mudder workout (I did the whole thing including the run- 4 miles)
Tuesday: Boot camp + cardio
Wednesday: Run 60 minutes
Thursday: Run 45-60 minutes + yoga (?)
Friday: Lift
Saturday: Run 70-90  minutes
Sunday: Rest

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tough Mudder Workout

Yesterday I was a little sore, so I decided to try a short, quick lift instead of my typical 45-60 minute lift.  At work we had a print out of the Tough Mudder workout so I grabbed that and got to work.  I'm not planning on running the Tough Mudder (as of right now), but it looked like a good power workout.  I skipped the first part (Running Man) since I ran Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and was going to run today and jumped right to the lifting/circuit part.  Below is the Tough Mudder terminology followed by my own terminology (if different)...

Each exercise is done for a minute, try to get as many reps in as possible.

  1. TM Push-Ups... Tbar Push Ups 
  2. The Fist and The Fury... KB Swings 
  3. Scissor Kick... Split Jump Squats
  4. Back Row...Double KB Row (on BOSU)
  5. DB Side Lunge
  6. Push Up + Row....Push Up Pistons
  7. Lunge + Twist 
  8. Shoulder Press... Squat Press
  9. Decline Push Up
  10. Quick Feet...Mountain Climbers
  11. Tough Chin Up...Chin Up (with jump is needed...definitely need for me)
  12. Superman Plank...Plank (on hands)
  13. Drunk Superman Side Planks...Side Plank (1:00 each side)
  14. Angelina Jolie...Dips
  15. Tough Squat...Squat with Delt Holds 
Good luck!  I only did it one time through, a second time would have been tough for sure.  I plan on doing it again and trying to build up to two times through.

This morning was a gorgeous morning for a run- 20 degrees and sunny! That might seem cold to some of you southerners, but that is fantastic here in Wisconsin!  I got 6 miles in and then came back to make pancakes for J and his friend.  Time to prepare for the Mardi Gras party!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kindle Fire + Anniversary

This week has been a little crazy for me, between prepping for Valentine's Day, our anniversary and the Mardi Gras party we are having this weekend it has been pure hullabaloo! Okay, rewind...

  • J and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day, however, I still made a point to bake some cookies and take them to work for our members and bake a heart shaped cookie for my sweetheart.
    Pre-dinner drinks  
  • Mine and J's 3 year anniversary was yesterday, so as sweethearts do we celebrated with a lovely dinner and gifts.  Red Lobster was the our restaurant of choice! I love, love, love their menu!  

Waiting for our table at the Lob

Sinking into a food coma

I love this boy!

 J was such a sweetie and got me a KINDLE FIRE!!  I'm so stoked!  I have been wanting an iPad in the worst way, and it is way out of our budget, but the Kindle Fire is the next best thing and I've had my eye on it for a while.  I don't think I've put it down for much longer than a few hours outside of work.  Any apps or books I should get?  Anyone know if or how you can share books?

The best part... I can read blogs with beautiful quality on here!  Now I just need to figure out how to write my posts on here, I had some troubles today, I'll play with it a little more tomorrow.  

 I just need to finish this and then I can start my first ebook! (PS in case you're curious the rumors about the third book not being as good is true.)

I'm very proud of the card I made J, even though it looks like a third grader made it, so I have to show it to you :) 

I love you...

I love you THIS much!
  • Remember our Mardi Gras tree?  Well it is being put to good use this weekend at our Mardi Gras party! We are inviting a bunch of old and new friends to our house this weekend for some gumbo, king cake, beignets and all sorts of other southern food! More to come...


The best thing about working at 5 am in the morning besides the beautiful sunrises is getting to workout and be done with your day by noon. 

Here is what my workouts have looked like for the week thus far... 

Monday: Lift + 30 minutes biking

Whippers 1:00 x 3
Curls 20 x 3
SB lockout 1:00 x3

DB incline press 20x-15x-10x
Tube triceps extension 20x-15x-10x
Tube reverse delt raise 20x-15x-10x

KB row/press 10/10 x 3
Slider push ups 10 x 3
Mountain climbers :45 x 3

Tuesday: Run 4 miles

Wednesday: Lift (I forgot to write down what I did) + run 3 miles 

Run at each of the following speeds for 1:00

Total time: 17:00
Total Dist: about 2.3 miles (I finish the last .7 miles at an easy pace)

Thursday: Run 5.5 miles... a lot of HILLS!  My legs will hate me tomorrow.

Things got switched up from my original plan, but I am still getting the same number of lifts in and I think I'll come out at about the same mileage come the end of the week since I am running with Brita on Saturday morning. 


To close things up I wanted to share this video with you guys.  It is one that was recommended to me by a friend who was extremely motivated by it.  I don't know if it is because we are both former basketball players of what, but it struck a chord for me as well.... let me know what you guys think!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Grammy Shout Out

Since my running partner was sick last week my fitness plan was all out of whack.  It was still an alright week and I made 19 miles for my weekly total, but I took days off that I don't normally take.  Here is this weeks plan...

Monday: Lift + 30 min cardio
Tuesday: Run 4-6 miles
Wednesday: Run 6-8 miles + Lift?
Thursday: Lift + 30 min cadio
Friday: Run 3-5 miles + Lift?
Saturday: Run 5-7 miles
Sunday: Off

I don't normally do long runs in the middle of the week, but I don't work that much Wednesday since I asked for most of the day off for my 3 year anniversary with my man... I originally thought our anniversary fell on a Sunday (I looked at January instead of the February calendar), so I wanted to make sure I had the whole day off.  I figure while he's at work I'll get a good workout in.

Did you watch the Grammy's last night?  If you did you might have noticed Bon Iver, a small alternative band led by Justin Vernon (an Eau Claire native), won two Grammy awards!  The town of Eau Claire could never be more pleased and proud of Justin and the band, especially since he gave us a shout out on national television!

If you have never heard their music before, here is one of their songs.  The singing isn't the part that won them the Grammy, it is the intricate collection of instruments and sounds they mix together in their music.

Like? Hate? Or indifferent?


Yesterday at work we held an event called MOlympics.  This event was similar to Cross Fit Games, challenging individuals and teams to do events as quickly as possible.  It was really a great event and was incredibly entertaining to watch.  Although I don't have any pictures to share with you on the event since I was too busy working it, I will share the events with you because when combined they make for a pretty darn good workout! 

MB Toss (toss MB over 10 ft high bar 20x, let ball drop each time for safety, ball weighs 10% your BW)
Spider Wall (climbing wall that you scale vertically)
SB Lock Out (hold a plan with hands on ball, feet on a 20 inch box, 3:00 max)
Rope Climb 
Push Press (as many as you can in 1:00, with 1/3 your weight)
Water Rower (50 meters as fast as you can)
Farmer's Walk (carry 1/2 your weight 80 yards)
Tread Wall (climb 200 ft on a moving climbing wall)
Tire Flip (flip 10 times as fast as possible)
Sled Push Suicide (use 40 yards total, push sled with 1/2 your BW on it 10 yd and sprint back to the beginning touch end line and then run back to where you left the sled, push 10 more yds run back to the beginning touch line and sprint back to the sled, repeat this until you have pushed the sled 4, ten yard increments, on the last one push the sled all the way back to the beginning (40 yards))

Take whatever rest you need to in between events, because you are going all out during these events!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Guest Post: Exercise Proven Effective for Cancer Patients

Things have been just peachy here this morning...a nice 5.5 mile run, oats for breakfast and reading book #2 of the Hunger Games series. Yes, that's right I got my hands on a copy of Catching Fire!  Shouldn't take long to cruise through this one. 

But that is all you are going to hear from me today, here to take over is David Haas, writer for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance!  David has recently been researching and writing about how beneficial cancer support networks and staying physically fit is to people going through treatments, in remission and even family members of cancer patients. He found my blog and asked if he could do a guest post seeing how being physically fit ties right in with my blog.  So without further ado here it is....

Exercise Proven Effective for Cancer Patients

Both cancer and cancer treatments can cause a number of secondary symptoms that dramatically impact the quality of life. Fatigue, depression and loss of mobility can all work to sap the desire to live and lower the effectiveness of treatment, which may reduce the chance of survival. Rather than succumbing to these symptoms and letting them dictate the future, there is an option that is proven to help reduce and, in some cases, eliminate them. Physical fitness has long been on the back burner as far as cancer treatment goes, because doctors believed that the body needed rest more than anything following surgery and other treatments. However, research has turned this old idea on its head.

Major Cancer Research Organizations Say Exercise is Important!
Though studies so far have primarily documented the successful use of exercise for only the most common cancers, like prostate, breast and colorectal cancers, most research organizations are calling on all cancer clinics to begin incorporating exercise as treatment. One of the central challenges of cancer treatment has always been maintaining patient adherence to the treatment and follow-up programs. Research has conclusively shown that exercise will improve quality of life and maintain patient motivation to get better.

Individualize Exercise Programs.
Even brain cancer and mesothelioma treatment teams are being apprised of the benefits of consulting with physical fitness experts to devise safe programs. The key is to design exercise programs around the identification of safety concerns and patient preferences. Trained therapists working in tandem with the treatment team best accomplish this. Some patients, such as those with breast cancer, will be able to maintain regular aerobic exercise without oversight, while a recent surgery may require a special set of exercises that target the affected muscles. 

Whether the routine is prescribed or a general recommendation, the benefits are well worth the effort. Quicker recovery time, extra energy, and improved body composition all lead to higher quality of life and prevention of recurrence. Though this message is clear, it is still up to patients in many clinics to push for adoption of this treatment strategy. Patient advocacy is needed ensure that both clinics and insurance providers understand the benefits of regular exercise for both prevention and treatment of cancer.

Exercise Recommendations are not One Size Fits All
The most common advice is that, if possible, patients should be getting the same amount of moderate-intensity aerobics as healthy adults are recommended. This means 20-30 minute sessions 3-5 times per week. Beyond this, the type of exercise should be based off personal preference, because you will be more likely to stick with something you enjoy. Special routines should be devised for patients during treatment or facing a poor prognosis.


Thank you David for sharing this great information!  If you have any questions for David feel free to leave a comment and I will see to it that he gets your questions or stop over at his blog.