Craft Your Holiday Cards

This week I have a few easy craft projects to share with you.  Today I’m starting with a super simple way to reuse your holiday cards.

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Since we have moved to Michigan, we have been recycling more than ever.  When we lived in NYC it was mandatory that you place recycling outside of your building.  The Department of Sanitation would fine the building owner and this was incentive for all of us to separate our garbage.

However, when we moved to Chicago, they have a much more lax recycling program.  Unfortunately, this made recycling far less convenient for us and I am sorry to say that we got a bit out of the habit.

Interestingly enough, recycling isn’t mandatory up here in Michigan.  But our local recycling center makes it so incredibly easy, that we now recycle more than ever.  All you need to do is pull up to the building and bring everything in.  They have bins labeled to help you separate materials.  The employees will also come out to your car and help carry everything in and separate it for you.  We now have far less garbage to put out every week.

Now that we recycle more, I try to think of ways to reuse things we have around our house.  One fun thing we have discovered is making gift tags for next year out of the holiday cards we received from family and friends.  This is also a great project that you can involve your kids with on a cold winter day.

We have dozens of these cards each year.  I have a rack that we set out to display cards and this year Mary had a blast looking at the pictures and hanging the cards up.  However, once the holiday season is over, the cards often just get tossed into the garbage at some point.

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Most holiday cards are made of nice material and come in many fun colors and adornments.  Instead of tossing the cards out, try taking some of your favorites and cutting them into tags to use for next year’s gifts.  This creates less garbage and also saves you money when you purchase gift wrap next year.  You can even do this as a family and spend time looking at each card one more time.  Mary finds this to be a fun way to name each person she knows.

Take a look at your cards and find fun prints or pictures and then simply cut into shapes.  Mix up the sizes and styles of your cut.  You can even get creative and use different types of scissors with various borders.  Use a hole punch to make a space for string.  Or leave alone and tape onto packages next year!  Don’t forget to look on the back of the cards.   This is where you usually can find some really nice designs.

Do you day any family crafts when the weather gets really cold?

Holiday Gift Guide: Running Products For Stockings

Keeping with my trend of reviewing running sunglasses, I thought I would share some of my favorite running products to stuff stockings .  Pick up a few of these for yourself or your favorite runner.  I believe these won’t disappoint.

Simple Hydration Bottles: ($19.99)

It’s no secret that I am a fan of this water bottle.  It sits perfectly  in the back of your shorts or sports bra.  No need to wear a hydration belt. There’s no bouncing around or chafing.  The name of this product says it all, simple!  You don’t have to worry about carrying hydration around.  It holds just enough fluid to get through almost any run.  Now the lids also come in a variety of colors and an improved lid.

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Yurbuds: (Starting at $14.99 on Amazon)

I have weird ears, because earbuds don’t stay in for me.  It is so frustrating and up until a few years ago, I had to wear old school over the noggin headphones.  Yep, I was that dork on the run!  I was at a North Face race and saw a Yurbuds booth and their promise that these won’t fall out.  I didn’t try them, but eventually decided to spring for a pair.  Do yourself a favor and get these if you have the same problem as me.  The sound quality is fantastic.  The fit is great and they will replace them if there are issues within the first year.

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Flipbelt: (Starting at $28.99)

I used to use a different type of belt, and while I loved it, we had some major chafing issues and had to break up.  Unlike other belts, this one stays in place and doesn’t bounce around, eliminating any potential rubbing.  It also has multiple pockets so you can carry your phone, fuel, ID, cash, and anything else you might need.  Even when I was pregnant, this remained comfortable on the run thanks to a nice amount of stretch.

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Body Glide: ($7.99 in stores)

Speaking of comfort, chafing is a given in the sport of running.  It happens and it hurts.  Nobody likes to hit the showers after their thighs have rubbed together for several miles.  Ouch!  Lather this on problem areas before your long run and spare yourself that painful singe after a run.

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Nuun Tablets: ($5.99 in stores)

I tore my calf at 20 weeks during my pregnancy in May.  A lack of electrolytes can lead to severe cramping and even muscle tears.  These delicious tablets are a wonderful way to recover after your run.  Hydrating never tasted so delicious and your muscles will thank you later.  I love the variety of flavors that are offered, including energy options, because sometimes long runs start at early o’clock.

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What are your favorite products that you would like to see in your stocking or recommend for others to share the love?

 

Holiday Fun and Delicious Recipes For The Season

Happy Monday!  What a fun week we just had and things are about to get crazy this coming week.

Michigan was freezing cold and all of my 49 miles of running were done on the treadmill.  When the thermometer plays tricks by saying it is a frigid 29 degrees out but actually feels like 9, there is no chance that I want to head outside.  Thank goodness for our treadmill.  It was nice and toasty in our basement!

I got into the gym to train clients a few times this past week.  And on Thursday we went on a family adventure to Traverse City.  My mom took us to Moomers, a local dairy, that is nationally known for their delicious ice cream.  Before they close for the season, they host gingerbread making for children (or adults).  For $30 you get a large pre-made gingerbread house, a muffin tin full of various candies, and plenty of messy frosting.  You can also make a sleigh or a gingerbread boy/girl for $15.

Mary and her cousin had a blast making houses.  This basically entailed us trying to hurry and get the candy on the house before the kids ate all of it.  Moomers does offer you extra candy if you need some.  Needless to say, we required seconds of a few things.

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The adventure wrapped up with pictures with their projects, which were later made into ornaments to take home.  Moomers also had boxes to carry the masterpieces home in.  It was really an awesome time and very well thought out.

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We then went downtown T.C. to try out a new to us venue.  The State Street Market Place opened in the last little while and houses several restaurants, a coffee bar, brewery, and a few shops.  Everything is open with communal tables to gather at.  We tried some delicious Lebanese food at Ziatun.  I am a sucker for beef Shwarma and spices.

Our weekend was filled with gymnastic classes, and a nice long run for me, followed by our first Christmas party of the year.  It was great to get together with family and enjoy delicious food and drinks.  There has been an influx of babies on my dad’s side of the family over the last year and it was a blast to see the cousins meeting each other for the first time.

We wrapped up Sunday with lots of baking, cooking, church and some great family time.  To start of the week I want to share some of the delicious recipes we have tried and loved this week.

These chewy white chocolate dipped ginger cookies are fantastic.  We are adding this to our cookie baking rotation.  I didn’t take a picture because mine look nothing like these beauties!  If you like a great ginger cookie, this one is chewy and the addition of white chocolate is perfect.

I found this recipe for shortbread while flipping through Better Homes and Gardens yesterday.  I tore out the recipe and immediately made these.  They are so easy and taste amazing!

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Recipe:  Simply combine 1 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and 2/3 butter.  Use a pastry blender to combine.  Knead into a ball and then roll out on a floured surface.  Slice as you wish and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Sprinkle generously and then bake at 325ºF for 15-18 minutes until edges are golden.  Cool for a few minutes and transfer to a rack.

I am also a huge fan of Six Sister’s Stuff.  I made this delicious and super easy fudge.  I prefer make it without the marshmallows and nuts.  This comes together in minutes with just a few ingredients.

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Rock finished off Sunday evening in grand style.  He made these Six Sixter’s Stuff Fall Off The Bone Ribs in the slow cooker and then finished them off in the broiler.  They might have been the best ribs we have ever had!  I have yet to have a recipe go wrong from this website.  It is my favorite.

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Do you have a favorite holiday recipe you care to share?  I’m baking all week because we have 3 holiday parties next weekend and are hosting two of them!

Holiday Guide: Running Sunglasses Review

This is an unsolicited review of a few different running sunglasses I have worn over the years.  Rock and I were recently discussing the variety of glasses we have tried and which ones have become our surprise favorites.  I’m going to list these on the high to low price point along with some notes on my likes and dislikes.  Any of these are great picks for yourself or to gift to a runner.

Oakley Custom Running Sunglasses:  (Starts around $133 and up)  Several years ago I went ahead and splurged on a customized pair of Oakley sunglasses.  I can’t recall what caused me to take the plunge, but it was a really fun process to build my ideal sunglasses.

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Pros:  Oakley allows you to choose glasses based on your preferred activity.  First you choose the type of frames you like, then start changing the color of the frames, lenses, Oakley icon, and wrap around the frame.  You can go with standard lenses or make them polarized.

I initially didn’t want to spend the money for polarized lenses but when my first pair of standardized ones got scratched up, I called  Oakley and was offered the option to upgrade to polarized for $40.  Major bonus is that the lenses are replaceable!  Upgrading from standardized to polarized was only $20 more and it made a huge difference.

Cons:  Not all of the color options are great.  The particular frame that I really liked only came in standard colors (black, white, blue, red, etc.).  While I am not much of a girly girl, running has taught me to really embrace all colors.  My favorite running shoes are the brightest.  So I was a little bummed that I couldn’t go with fun shades of pink, purple, or even silver or gold.

Overall:  These shades are super durable and feel great to wear.  I absolutely love them and the sturdy case they come in.  If I can find where I tucked them when we moved, I might give them another go.

Tifosi Optics(Starts around $35)  The first pair of running glasses that I ever purchased were from Tifosi.  Most running stores carry this brand and there is a lot to like about these products.

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Pros:  Tifosi comes in at a moderate price point but offers a lot for what you pay.  There are different frame styles to suit your preferences.  I like to run without frames on the bottom of lenses.  Rock prefers his frame to go all the way around the lens.  Tifosi has you covered either way.

For around $45, my first pair came with three different lens types.  I had the standard dark lenses, an amber color for darker or foggy days, and clear.  Having the option to switch out your frames for different types of weather was really nice.

Cons:  Of all of my running shades, I felt these were the least durable.  The lenses scratched up easier than other pairs.  The nose pieces fell off, as did the ear wraps.  Both had to be replaced and are not done directly through the company.  You must order replacements through other dealers.

Overall:  Perhaps it is because these were my first running sunglasses, but I honestly really love these shades.  You get a great product at a pretty decent price point.

Knockaround Sunglasses:  (Starting at $10)  Last year I forgot to bring a pair of running sunglasses with me on our annual trip to Florida.  Running on the shiny sandy beach with the sun reflecting on the ocean is not a good combo for your eyes.  Rock came to my aid by loaning me his Knockarounds.  My apologies to him, but I never game them back! He discovered these by a friend on Facebook who posted his multiple orders and love for this product.

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Pros:  First of all, at this price point, you simply cannot go wrong.  The one thing that will make me toss a pair of sunglasses out is if they bounce around on your face or won’t stay up on the top of your head if you need to rest them there.  In fact, on our honeymoon in Aruba, I lost a super sweet pair of Ray-Bans, because during lunch they kept falling off and I set them on the table and forgot them.

These shades fit really well and although they aren’t meant to be for running, they are the lightest and most comfortable pair of sunglasses I have used.  They don’t fog up when I sweat and they withstand all types of weather.  For $20 you can have a great pair of sturdy polarized shades and for $25 you can fully customize them to your liking.

Cons:  The only thing that we have both noticed is that these lenses tend to scratch up a bit easier than other sunglasses.  However, for the price of this product, the quality far exceeds what you would expect.

Overall:  These are my new go-to running sunglasses.  They are so light and so easy to wear.  I am still wearing the pair I “borrowed from Rock last March.  I wear them to work, to run, and everything in between.  They look great on me and I now have them in several different colors and styles.

Goodr:  ($25)

Rumor has it that Fleet Feet in Chicago cannot keep these glasses in stock.  People are battling to get their hands on this product.  I have not tried them yet, but Rock ordered himself a pair this past summer when he kept seeing Facebook posts from runners.

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Pros:  For just a touch more than the Knockarounds you get another solid frame with polarized lenses.  Rock feels that these lenses tend to be a bit sturdier than the Knockarounds.

Cons:  At this point he hasn’t found any cons.  They aren’t of the same quality as higher-end brands, but they are plenty solid for both running and daily activities.

Overall:  These are now Rock’s go-to shades for running and any other time.  I might just have to “borrow” his pair for a bit and see for myself.

In the end, you can’t go wrong with any of these products.  I love that you can now find a quality product at all price points.  I still love my Tifosi and Oakley shades, but for now, I think I am going to stick with my Knockarounds and see how they do during a full marathon training session.

What brand do you prefer most?

 

 

Getting Our Merry On

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  Ours was filled with holiday festivities and it looks like that won’t be stopping anytime soon.

Friday night we went to the local Christmas parade.  We did this last year and it doesn’t disappoint.  They make a fun warming fire and offer free cookies and hot chocolate for everyone.  The entire town meets up to watch a fun lighted parade to kick off the holiday season.

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Saturday morning started nice and early with a breakfast with Santa.  The local middle school hosted a full day of holiday activities.  We arrived in the lobby of the school to a massive craft show and warm pancakes, sausage, and Shetler’s milk offered in three flavors.  The breakfast was donation based and absolutely delicious.

Shetler’s is a local dairy down the road from our house.  You might have seen pictures of us visiting their corn maze and playing in their petting zoo.  Their milk is delicious (I don’t even like milk) and comes in glass bottles.  The milk is also served in the local schools, which is something I find really awesome.

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Even better, we dined with some of the Shetler family and their kids.  They are a really fun group and they are runners too!

After breakfast we went into the room where I used to take wood shop in 6th grade.  They had turned the room into a holiday playroom for children.  There were bounce houses, craft projects, and raffle items for kids.  Mary tried the bounce house out for the first time, and of course was in love.

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Next, we met up with Santa for the first time.  Mary talked about him for days before this meeting.  But as one would expect, she wasn’t thrilled when we tried to take a picture.  I can’t blame her, I find adults in costumes to be a bit creepy too!

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That’s a keeper!

Mary is really liking Christmas because her name is in it, “Merry” Christmas!  This is also why she likes things like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” because she gets to sing merrily, merrily, merrily.  She thinks that is her name too.

After a late nap, we went over to the high school for a concert that benefited the local animal shelter.  Earlier this fall, Mary friended a boy who is a senior in high school.  He has been so kind to her and even let her play his drums at the homecoming game.  Ever since she played the drums she often talks about it and how nice he was.  As a mom, it melts my heart to see someone in high school treat my daughter so well.  Two year olds are a crazy bunch and it is pretty cool to see a boy so kind to my wild kid.  Talk about an awesome friendship!  It was a pretty loud and rocking concert, but Mary had a blast dancing and we love that she can enjoy all types of music.

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Everyone slept well in our house that night and we woke up ready to go to our nephew’s first birthday party on Sunday.  It was a fun bunch of running children, so I didn’t end up taking a single picture.  She was thrilled to bring gifts for her buddy and was super excited to come home with some party favors too.

This week promises to be another great one with more festivities and work for me.  I am absolutely loving seeing my girls embrace the holiday season.

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There were also lots of runs this past week as we enjoyed the nice weather before the temperatures drop in the next few days.  Forty two miles for me, but mostly on the treadmill.

A huge congrats to everyone who raced this weekend.  Way to go for everyone who finished CIM!

Food Is Food, Sweat Is Sweat-Enough With The Guilt

I’ve noticed a lot of posts on social media lately encouraging people to work out so they don’t feel guilty about eating meals during the holidays.  I certainly admit that I ran a Turkey Trot last week, knowing that I was going to enjoy a big feast later in the day.  But I also told my husband that we don’t use exercise as a replacement for overeating.  The two shouldn’t be a means to balance each other out.  Sometimes it may seem that way, but it shouldn’t really be the case.

Of course, many of us exercise to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight, or even to lose weight at times.  But exercise isn’t just a form of diet.  It is a healthy activity that also releases endorphins and makes us feel good about life and ourselves.
On Thanksgiving there were a lot of #burntheturkey #earntheturkey and it was driving me crazy.  You don’t have to earn your turkey.  Thanksgiving is a holiday meant to be spent with friends and family.  The same goes for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years and other holidays.  Exercise isn’t the ticket that allows you to enjoy turkey or any other meal.  You don’t have to earn that food through exercise, at any time.
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When we say that we earned a meal, it makes it seem like under other circumstances, we shouldn’t eat or enjoy such foods.  That is totally unfair!  Food is not only an essential part of life, but also a very important part of socializing and our cultures.
We should of course aim for a balance in our lives and strive to eat healthy most of the time.  We should also have times where we enjoy a little indulgence.  Dessert is delicious and so are hamburgers, french fries, or whatever your pleasure might be.  When we don’t allow ourselves to eat these things, we deprive our wants, and often go overboard when we have the opportunity.
Exercise on the other hand, shouldn’t be a punishment.  Sweat is not your fat crying.  That statement drives me nuts.  Enough with the fat nonsense!  Exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle and sweat is the output from your effort.  Nothing is crying.  Your body, in fact, is likely rejoicing.
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Aim for balance this holiday season.  Eat mostly healthy.  Watch your portions.  And exercise when you can because it is good for you.  But please don’t punish yourself because you overdo it at a meal.  Go ahead and enjoy some holiday appetizers, desserts, or drinks.
Pick an exercise that you enjoy.  Carve out time most days to get a workout in and enjoy that sweat.  Then take a moment to look at yourself in the mirror and smile!

Simple Ways To Enjoy The Holidays

It’s no lie that I love the holiday season.  If you were around a few weeks ago, you know that I had to exhibit some serious restraint in the holiday section of Ikea.  I love baking, gifting, and making things to share with others.

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I see the holiday season as a wonderful time to put up some lights, decorate the house, and a perfect excuse to bake treats for friends and family.  I love making things for others, as you noticed in my DIY coaster project.  Mary has also been making gifts for friends and family because I think it is never too early to share the giving part of the holiday spirit.

However, I do acknowledge that for many the holiday season can be quite difficult.  With the recent passing of a few of our beloved family members, I know that many people experience loss and sadness.  People feel alone.

Times are difficult for many.  Finding the resources to provide for family and share gifts can be a difficult and stressful time.

Others struggle with balance and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  This can weigh heavily on our minds.  As we experience office and family parties and are often gifted delicious treats, it can be overwhelming.

Below are a few ideas for finding balance during the holiday season:

Sometimes the best things are the littlest things:  I love that first section of Target.  Last year I found the most adorable mini cake platters for $3.  I made fudge and other goodies for family members.  One year I utilized my mediocre knitting talent to make small gifts.

This year I collected walnuts from our giant tree.  I have been slowly baking treats and freezing them. I also made coasters for my clients.  Mary decorated baked ornaments to gift to family.

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I found some really great gift ideas from fellow bloggers and even found a few used items on Amazon!  The gift itself is really thoughtful and the recipient will never even notice that it is used.  They will just be surprised by the idea.

Sharing and volunteering can be so helpful when we are at our lowest:  The greatest gift you can ever give to others and to yourself is sharing the holiday season with someone who needs assistance.  This doesn’t mean you need to shell out money.  I recently read a friend’s Facebook post seeking volunteers to help with feeding the homeless for a holiday dinner.  She mentioned that they have a wonderful homeless community and that being a server would be one of the most rewarding opportunities you might have.  Being able to share your gifts or talents with those who need help can be a very special experience.  If you are feeling alone or down this holiday season, this can be a great way to bring some warmth into your heart.

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Rock is getting into the holiday spirit as a snowman artist!

 

Food should never make you feel bad about yourself:  I had the most wonderful discussion with a client the other night.  At one point during our discussion we both had an “Aha moment.”  The holiday season is an epic time for eating.  There are parties and goodies in the office.  Friends are gifting treats.

We are going to find ourselves eating too much.  We are likely going to eat more decadent things at a meal or two than we normally would.  But here is the deal: You should never feel guilty or bad about yourself because of what you eat.  Food is a wonderful part of our lives.  It is a part of our culture, our families, our socialization, and who we are.

Just as we find a balance with everything else during the holiday season, it is important to find that balance with eating and exercise.  Step into your week prepared.  If you know that there will be an office party after work, try to get a walk or a workout in during lunch.

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It’s okay.  This is how I tend to eat pizza.  #scaryscenario

If you find yourself at a buffet, stick to a one plate rule.

If you are meeting a group at a restaurant, check out their menu ahead of time and stick to a plan when you walk in.

Life is meant to be enjoyed.  Find little ways to indulge and enjoy yourself.  Look for ways to stay active during the day.  Don’t ever beat yourself up over what you do or choose to eat.  The holidays are meant to be enjoyed.

Everything in life is about moderation from our holiday shopping to our holiday eating.

How do you try to find balance?  What do you enjoy most about the holiday season?

 

Snow And Learning To Be Lazy

Happy Monday!  I can honestly say that this time around, I am actually happy for the weekend to be over.  It was an adventure, to say the least.

On Thursday, I dropped Mary off at her childcare and headed to Traverse City a bit before work.  It had started to snow and one of the perks of working at a gym is free membership.  So I got a quick 7 miles in on the treadmill and then headed over to Lowe’s for sandbags.  We were predicted to get up to 14 inches and I wanted to make sure my evening commute wasn’t too treacherous.

If you recall a few weeks ago, I drove home after work in a scary winter storm.  We got 11 inches that night and I was pretty certain that this couldn’t possibly be a repeat of that event.

When I left work, the snow wasn’t too horrible but the roads were covered in ice.  I drove 15 mph most of the way and saw multiple accidents along my slippery commute.

The snow set in that night as I once again got my car stuck in the driveway (sorry Rock).  I woke up to a winter wonderland.  The plows were no where to be found and schools were closed.  We were stuck inside!  I had to call into work and let them know I wouldn’t be able to make it.  To be honest, I was happy to avoid driving in that mess again.  The previous night had been rather scary.

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We snow blowed the driveway but it wasn’t until after 1:00pm that the plows finally made it to our road.  By then Mary was down for her nap and the driveway was full again.  To avoid waking her up, I shoveled our entire driveway and walkways.  I couldn’t believe it only took me an hour and a half.  Later, we made it out to get groceries. That was the extent of our adventures.

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Can you believe there was grass on the ground on Thursday and I was running in shorts all last week?!

Weather reports showed that we didn’t get the predicted 14 inches.  Instead we were nailed with 22 inches of fluff!

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By Saturday I was getting stir crazy and Mary had woken up not feeling like herself.  After another plowing of the driveway, we made it to my parents where I was able to ride their stationary bike for an hour and a half while the little one napped.  After feeling like I was trapped inside for days, it felt great to break a sweat.

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This bad boy is old, but it still does the trick!

Meanwhile, Miss Mary started to come down with a hefty bug and we found ourselves at Urgent Care later that night with an ear infection.   My little girl is just like her parents, she doesn’t sit still very well.  So when she only wants to be held and can’t stop crying, we know something isn’t right.

She ended up sleeping most of the night with us and woke up a little bit better.  We ended up back at my parents for another epic stationary bike ride.  Let me be real honest and say that as a runner, the stationary bike doesn’t really do much for me.  I just don’t feel like I can get the sweat I do when I am running.  But it felt great to move a bit and I am forever grateful to my parents for letting us crash for a few hours so I can sweat out my cabin fever.

We headed back home where Mary and I laid on the couch all afternoon watching cooking shows on PBS.  I love that she enjoys Martha Stewart and Julia Child as much as her mom does.  Having a sick little girl was a lesson in learning to relax for me.  I often feel guilty if I lay down or am not doing something, especially with the holidays approaching.  But our little girl was a great excuse to just sit back and snuggle the day away.

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Checking out some PBS with mom!

Fingers are crossed that it finally stops snowing sometime soon.  We have been on a storm warning since Thursday evening and it hasn’t stopped yet.

In the meantime, the moral of this story is…..we seriously need a treadmill!  We are officially in winter in Northern Michigan and it isn’t even truly winter yet!

How was your weekend?  Did you receive some epic snow?

 

 

Holiday Party Survival

Tomorrow is a big day in the United States.  Whether you are from the U.S. or elsewhere, there are likely to be a lot of holiday events for you over the next few weeks.  From family dinners to office parties, there is really no way to escape it.

Holidays and parties are some of the biggest causes of stress and weight gain concern.  They can certainly pull us off of our plans.  But if you have a strategy going in, you can still enjoy some indulgence and fun.

  • Have a game plan:  Are you going to a cocktail party?  Is this an appetizer party?  Know what is going on before you walk in the door.  Map it out in your head.  “I will have one cocktail and one small plate.”  By deciding before you go in, you are much more likely to stick to your wellness plan.holidays1
  • Call ahead:  Are you going out to dinner?  Look up where you are going.  Call and ask about specials.  Look at the menu ahead of time.   Go in knowing what would work with your plan and already set to choose your meal.  If you go in with an idea, it is much easier to avoid wavering on decisions.  This can be especially difficult when you hear other people’s orders and start to think that if they can do it, you should too.  While you might feel like you are short changing yourself at the time, once you have eaten, you will feel satisfied and not leave feeling guilty about your decisions.
  • Don’t Assume.  Bring Something.  This is a great plan for Thanksgiving and other get togethers.  Don’t assume that you will get there and see things that work with your healthy living.  Consider making a veggie platter and a large salad for the dinner portion.  Fill your appetizer platter with veggies and load your dinner plate with salad and  you will fill your belly without the guilt.ThanksgivingSurvival3
  • You can have a little bit of everything but not all of everything.  Sometimes when we look at a buffet and consider all of the things we can’t have, we get overwhelmed and then eat everything in epic proportions.  Instead, take one dinner plate and fill it with small helpings off each side and entree that you like.  Don’t go overboard.  Several bites of each delicious treat will leave you satisfied more than you realize.
  • Stick to a one plate rule:  During holiday dinners and meals plan on sticking to one plate.  Pick what you would like but leave the buffet knowing that this is your meal.  Don’t go back for seconds.

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    Sometimes this is how I want to approach the holiday buffet!

  • Avoid loading up on bread:  Bread always looks so tasty.  Restaurants often offer bread in “all you can eat” occasions because they know it will fill you up.  If you can skip the additional carbs, you can allow yourself to enjoy the other options.  If you do decide to opt for bread, take a bite and savor it. 
  • Take a moment to consider how it tastes.  Is it an incredibly delicious dinner roll that you get to enjoy on a rare occasion?  Then go for it. Is it similar to bread that you eat for lunch?  Toss it to the side and opt for something you don’t get to eat very often.holidays4
  • Load up on veggies:  You would be surprised to see that there are really so many healthy options on holiday menus.  Sweat potatoes, corn, and beans are all loaded with vitamins and fiber.  Skip the gravies and extra sauces.  Avoid veggies that are laden with fat like green bean casseroles.  Load your plate with veggies and then add in the extras.
  • Before you get too excited decide if it is a rare treat.:  Sometimes we go to a party and see pizza and feel like we “have to have it.”  But the reality is, you can order pizza anytime you want.  If you see a special item on the menu that someone made just for the occasion, that is a much better option.  Analyze your options, decide what is truly special and worth it and then determine a healthy portion.  Once you do, don’t go back.
  • Do dessert but pick one and don’t go crazy.:  Odds are that if you just ate at a holiday party, you had a nice filling meal.  It’s still okay to have dessert.  But scour the dessert options.  Pick the one that is speaking to you the most and then try a half slice or portion.  Take your time, savor the flavors, and then walk away satisfied with your full meal.

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    My goal this year is to avoid this feeling.

  • Plan your day out:  If you know that you are going to a holiday party later in the night, plan out how you will approach it.  This could start with a light breakfast and then a walk to work.  If you see donuts in the conference room, remind yourself that they are there all the time, but holiday parties come once a year.  Skip the afternoon treats and enjoy the party later.  Don’t forget to load up on plenty of water during the day.
  • Make time for activities:  Do a turkey trot, go for a family walk, play catch in the back yard.  Remember that any activity is better than none.  Exercise doesn’t need to be intentional.  Move throughout the day. Organize a quick walk after your meal.  The more you move, the better!

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    Not going to lie.  I have used this mindset before!

  • Always remember that a lapse is not a relapse:  Messing up once doesn’t mean your whole day, week, or month is over.  No one eats perfectly and there is no perfect way to eat.  Food is a very important part of our lives.  It is a social, cultural, and wonderful thing.  Have fun and enjoy yourself.  If you overindulge, it does not mean you are a failure.  You are human and tomorrow is another day!

How do you best prepare for holiday parties and get togethers?  Do you have one thing that really messes up your healthy plan?

Healthy Through The Holidays

Can you believe it is already November?!  Halloween has left us in it’s dust and we are quickly approaching Thanksgiving.  I keep seeing posts on Facebook pointing out that there are only a few weekends left until Christmas.  Where is time going?!

As a health and running coach, I read a lot about holiday weight gain.  To be quite honest, most of it drives me crazy.  It is true that many of us will put on a few pounds during the holidays.  We will all likely over indulge at some point on holiday treats or drinks at a party.  Most of us will overload our plates at Thanksgiving and again at Christmas (and probably a few other parties along the way).

What drives me nuts is how the fitness industry preys on this fear.  It’s almost like they lurk in the background waiting for us to feel guilty about our overindulging.  They wait until that guilt has set in and we approach the New Year ready to make resolutions.

There is no reason to approach the holidays with fear!

Gyms are just waiting for you to come in on January 1st, all giddy to lose weight and ready to fork over money not only for a gym membership but also initiation fees.  They know that the majority of people who come in with New Year’s resolutions, will quickly abandon them by February.

If you have a gym membership you know exactly how this goes.  Come January, the gym is packed.  You can’t find a treadmill or an elliptical.  You look around and wonder what the heck happened to your normal routine.  Then a few weeks later, the gym is back to it’s quite self and you can hop on just about any piece of cardio equipment your heart desires.

We all have best intentions in the New Year.  We want to make changes. We feel the pressure to make  these changes.  You think now is the time to lose that weight.  Now is the time to get healthy after a wild holiday season.

But what if we turned the tables?  What if we approached the holidays with a different mindset?  Take the notion of diets out of the picture.  If we stopped thinking that to be healthy we need to eliminate certain “bad” foods from our diet, and instead work to find a healthy balance, could we approach the holiday season from a different angle?  

Being healthy is a year round approach with splurge days along the way.  Food and drinks shouldn’t be “off limits,” but instead enjoyed in moderation.  Goals should lead us toward a life of happiness instead of a period of deprivation followed by a temporary phase where we feel “skinny” and accepted.

This holiday season, I am taking a healthy approach to exercise, eating, and well being.  I am going to enjoy exercise in moderation because it is a part of my life and it keeps me healthy.  I am going to focus on healthy eating and plan for some fun holiday celebrations along the way.

I have a special offer for you to join me in staying healthy and fit through the holidays.  Avoid the guilt from over indulgence.  Learn how to make small changes that lead to healthy results.  My Healthy Through the Holidays Plan is a 13 week program that begins next week and lasts through the first week of February.HealthyHolidayAd.jpg

Together we will explore simple ways to make moderate lifestyle changes that allow for both healthy eating and holiday indulgences.  We will practice ways to prepare for obstacles during parties and celebrations.  Learn how to prep meals to survive the holiday season a little easier.

Here’s what you receive for 13 weeks of Healthy Through the Holidays training:

Weekly newsletters and worksheets focusing on topics that will help keep you on track.

•Weekly personalized check-in e-mails from a Certified Health Coach to discuss your  personal nutrition and exercise needs.

•Simple, short, customized workouts that can be done throughout the day to fit your personal schedule.

•24/7 access to e-mail, phone and text to address all of your needs.

•Guilt free living to get you through the holiday season for 13 full weeks.  No need to make any resolutions!  My goal is for you to independently follow your healthy lifestyle after 13 short weeks.

•Nutrition, fitness, and behavioral approaches to ensure that we focus on the whole you; mind and body.

•Virtual training with unlimited phone calls, e-mails, and texts.

•Local participants can join me for a night of cocktails and weekly meal prep tutorial.  Stick around and dine!

Special holiday pricing of $150 for 13 weeks of Health Coaching and Training.

Sound like fun?  Reach out to me through my e-mail address or phone number on the website sidebar.

What is your best approach to surviving the holidays?   Do you tend to make resolutions?