Friday, February 24, 2017

5:30 AM 8

Five on Friday- Spine Corrector, Healthy Muffins & Baby Snuggles

It's been a quiet week around here. And I took a little blogging hiatus this week. Ever feel like you can't keep up with all you want to accomplish? Totally was me this week. But it's finally Friday and there's always the weekend to get everything in on my agenda. Or maybe I can find a way to add more hours to a day...that would be amazing. But let's get to it.

The Pilates Spine Corrector
It's been awhile since I've played around with the Spine Corrector, but before and after teaching a few of my lessons this week, I decided to give it a go. I feel like I often forget about this piece of equipment- but it is so great to use to support your back and spine. It's a perfect place to work on keeping the pelvis lifted and build strength for back bends.
Here I am working on the Leg Series. I love to do Leg Circles on the Spine Corrector. You get a great opening along the front of the hip and thigh with the Spine Corrector. And it always feels good to finish your Spine Corrector work with some constructive rest (simply just allowing the legs to rest over the crest of the Spine Corrector.)

Lemon-Raspberry Muffins
So it's not secret that I love to bake and I love muffins. Seriously. I think I make at least one batch of muffins a week. Last week, I made Apple Cinnamon Muffins. Check them out here. This week I made two batches of muffins- Banana Bread Muffins and Lemon-Raspberry Muffins. I love all baked goods-breads, cookies, scones, muffins, and you name it- I'll eat it. Muffins make the perfect side for breakfast as well as an easy snack or healthy dessert option. So you can find me devouring up muffins everyday haha. 
I've been working my way through Lisa Leake's recipes in her book 100 Days of Real Food (she also has great recipes on her website.) So I baked the Lemon-Raspberry Muffins yesterday- and they did not disappoint. You can find the recipe here. So yummy! I froze half of the batch in a freezer bag for later. (You can just pull one out at a time and warm them up in the microwave.) Maybe next week I should try making some scones. 

Yoga Socks
So I'm not going to lie- I've always thought that Yoga Socks or grip socks were kind of silly. I'd rather just work out barefoot. Just my own personal preference. I have a few clients that swear by the Yoga Socks and won't come to class without them. I've never used them, but I did pick up a pair this week. 
Hubby got me some Barre Method classes for Valentine's Day and for Barre Classes, you are suppose to wear grip socks. So while in Target this week, I picked up a pair. Here's the catch though- I'm absolutely terrible with keeping up with socks and I often mismatch my socks, so here's to hoping I can keep up with both socks haha. I haven't tried them out yet, but I plan on trying them out on the Pilates equipment as well.

Searching for New Workout Tops
I'm on the hunt for some new workout tops, but I'm kind of picky in what I like. I'm not a big fan of workout tanks with cheesy sayings on the front. I also prefer form-fitting tops. Nothing drives me more crazy than when I'm working out and my top slides up. But I broke my rule and picked up this workout tank from Target this week. 
It's loose fitting, but I loved the color. The tank is coral with a maroon colored built-in sports bra. I'm still trying to decide whether or not I'll keep it. Even though I love the color, it will drive me crazy to workout with this top on and deal with it falling down in my face as I mentioned. I've also been eyeballing some tanks from the GapFit Breathe line. I had a maternity version of the GapFit Breathe Tank that I loved while I was pregnant, so maybe I'll return the tank I just got and scoop these tanks up from Gap instead. 

F I V E 
Baby Snuggles
So I'll close out with this sweet moment nursing my little one yesterday, who is constantly on the go now and often too curious to sit and cuddle nowadays. So yesterday when he snuggled up in my arms nursing, I totally soaked it in. Babies don't keep as we all know, so I'm going to savor every moment because he'll be a toddler before I know it. And those chunky thighs...don't even get me started on those...

Have a great weekend!

For this post, I'm linking up with April from Smidge of This and Christina from Carolina Charm for 5 on Friday and Erika from A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites, and Amanda from Meet at the Barre for another round of Friday Favorites. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

5:55 AM 2

Five on Friday- Fitness Progress, Valentine's and More

Y'all, I'm exhausted! Not sure what is about this week, but I'm worn out. I've been crashing hard after getting the kids to bed. I like to catch up on my favorite TV shows after the kids go to bed, but this week it hasn't happened. Like I'm talking it has taken me three times to get all the way through Jane the Virgin because I can't stay awake...Side note- anyone else watch Jane? I'm really bitter that they killed Michael off of the show. I could rant on, but it's Friday, so I'll move right along.

Patience, Commitment, And Progress
I'd say the past four months, I've really committed myself to getting back on a routine workout schedule and increased my workouts to five to six times a week. I'm definitely starting to to see and feel the results. My arms, thighs, and abdominals are toner and stronger. I'm paying more attention to my posture. I feel better...Pilates will do that to you. I've been combining Yoga into my routine as well...this past week I've made it to three Yoga classes. Yoga has really helped with my flexibility (which has helped with my Pilates practice). I'm feeling a difference when I do exercises such as Tree in Pilates (pictured below). I think the key here is I've noticed so much progress lately from being patient with myself and committing to prioritizing my workouts. Just in case you missed it, I blogged earlier this week about being patient both in fitness and life- read it here and here.

Spring Fever
We've had a lot of warm weather the past few weeks with highs in the 60s and 70s for part of the week. I feel like it has been a few days of spring mixed with really mild winter weather. Next week, the weather forecast looks just about the same. I'm not really complaining and we did get to enjoy one snow this year.
That being said...With all the late winter warm weather, as I was mentioning yesterday, I've noticed a lot of trees and flowers budding and blooming. I took these pictures yesterday while we were playing outside. Now, here's to hoping if cold weather decides to return, that these blooms make it! I'm definitely ready for warm weather to stick around for good. 


T H R E E 
bareMinerals Foundation Primer
I blogged earlier this week about my favorite skin-care products, especially for dry skin types- check that out here. But I have a new favorite to add to that list- bareMinerals Prep Step. I stopped by Sephora earlier this week because I was out of makeup primer and foundation. I usually buy the Prime Time Foundation Primer by bareMinerals, but I decided to give the Prep Step a try because it has SPF 50. I have fair skin, so this is important to me and one of the reasons why I love bareMinerals. Anyway, I LOVE the Prep Step. It's light and moisturizes my skin without making it oily. I also think it helps blend my makeup on my skin. Here's a full day of wearing the Prep Step with foundation (I like the Original Broad Spectrum).

F O U R 
Essential Oils of the Bible
A few months a go, a friend recommended this book to me- Essential Oils of the Bible. I use essential oils regularly, especially to fight sickness (read here and here), but I'm interested in learning more in general about essential oils and ways to incorporate oils. I just picked this book up from the library, so I really haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I'm looking forward to flipping through it. I thought I'd check it out from the library before I decided to buy it.

Valentine's Day Dinner and Treats
I did a lot of cooking and baking for Valentine's Day. I really enjoy baking from scratch, knowing and controlling what goes in our food, and using Organic ingredients as much as possible.

Hubby loves and requested Apple Cinnamon muffins, so I made those- loosely following this recipe. The main difference is I used Organic Unsalted Butter instead of Coconut Oil (his request) and I dipped the muffins in melted butter and cinnamon after pulling them out of the oven.

For Valentine's Dinner, we had: Grilled Chicken, Roasted Broccoli, Brown Rice, and Heart-shaped Biscuits with Honey. Here's the recipe for the biscuits.

For dessert, I made Sugar Cookies with Strawberry Glazed Icing with my little assistant. Yes, we did use Sugar, but we used Organic ingredients and no food coloring. Side note- I just really hate the thought of adding food coloring into what I cook. The icing was delicious and the strawberries gave it the perfect color and flavor. I found the recipe for the icing here. The recipe calls for fresh strawberries and lemon zest, but we used frozen strawberries and lime zest (since that's what I had on hand). The cookies are just about gone- if that tells you anything!

Have a great weekend!

For this post, I'm linking up with April from Smidge of This and Christina from Carolina Charm for 5 on Friday and Erika from A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites, and Amanda from Meet at the Barre for another round of Friday Favorites. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

11:59 AM 0

Thoughts on a Thursday- Flowers Blooming and Patience

With this extra warm southern winter weather we've been having lately, I've already seen some of the flowers and trees in our yard budding and blooming. The warmer weather and blooms certainly put a smile on my face, but I'm sure we'll have some cold weather again before it really is Spring and the blooms won't make it. 

So not to completely jump topics, yes it's random, but totally related (at least I think)...this got me thinking again about patience. I talked a little about how important is to be find patience with yourself in your Pilates practice (and any fitness practice for that matter) here

I felt like I was at the circus this morning. Seriously. Both kids have been wide open since before 7 am, which I know really isn't that early, but considering they both usually sleep at least until 8 or 8:30, before 7 is very early to me. So I was awoken startled to death with an energetic two year old jumping into bed with us. And I feel like I've been trying to catch up every sense haha... Check out my little ghost this morning below.

I usually like to start my mornings before everyone gets up...or at least before both kids are a load of laundry and dishes, blog, read, workout (or at least start on that list). Not so much this morning. So I feel a little off and out of routine. 

I was trying to scramble some eggs and get breakfast on the table. And both kids were melting down. Screaming and crying. The oldest went into our bedroom to play, shut the door, and couldn't get the door open. Cue more meltdowns. 

Of course all I wanted to say to my oldest was "stop crying and why would you shut the door to the room...we've talked about that before." Because truthfully I was tired and just wanted to hurry up and get breakfast made. But I was reminded of patience and this verse "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love" -Ephesians 4:2

And that's all my kids needed from me this morning. Patience and love. 

I had some big plans of running errands and other outings today, but I think I'm just going to put it off. The baby just went down for a nap and the oldest is quietly reading books. Things are calm for now. So I'm going to take some time to do somethings I enjoy- like a workout on my Reformer followed by folding some laundry. I joke about the laundry, but after a wild morning- folding laundry sounds peaceful. Refuel and energize myself, so I can be patient. And I just might have to go pick some of these gorgeous blooms.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

12:06 PM 0

Love Yourself, Love Your Skin

It probably goes without being said since I have reddish colored hair, but I have very sensitive skin. And by February my skin is usually as dry as can be. Thankfully, it has been pretty warm lately, so it's helped a lot, but the cold really does a number to my skin. Dry, itchy, red, flaky, and cracked...a terrible combination. But I've finally found a combination of skincare products that I regularly use to help with my sensitive skin. I try to use more "natural" products as possible.

Here's what I use on a daily basis to help combat my dry skin:

Standard Process USF Ointment
This ointment is amazing! It's all natural (the first three ingredients are: lard, lanolin, and linseed oil), so it's safe for everyone in the house to use. We all use it from time to time. I originally got it from my chiropractor to use on my oldest as a baby to help with the eczema on her face. It worked wonders on her skin, so I started using it as well. On way I use the ointment is by rubbing it on my heels then putting socks on after I take a shower at night. My heels get really dry and crack if I skip this routine. This is the same of Probiotics that I also take daily. I blogged about that here. I bought this from my chiropractor, so you won't find it in store, but you can purchase it through a wellness provider.

As I mentioned, it's super annoying, but my heels easily crack...even in the summer...So I scrub my feet in the shower everyday with the Mr. Pumice to removed dead, dried skin off of my heels. I usually buy this from Sally's Beauty Supply.

I also love Burt's Bees products! We also use their baby products. I love Burt's Bees products because they are natural and contain no parabens. I use this face wash twice a day. I love that it will also gently take my makeup off. It says for normal to combination skin, but I find it is perfect for my dry skin.

Frankincense and Lavender Essential Oils with Coconut Oil
I also use my Young Living Essential Oils to help with my dry skin. I make a mixture in the palm of my hand with a small scoop of coconut oil, one drop of Frankincense oil, and one drop of Lavender oil and rub it wherever my skin is dry. It works great as a mostiruzer and I like to rub it on my hands at night. 

So if you have dry skin like me, give these products a try!
Also, Happy Valentine's Day! I'm celebrating now by wearing my Lularoe Valentine's Day leggings as I finally finish painting my toenails. I did one foot yesterday, but didn't get time to finish before the kids got up from nap. I'm also planning on making some icing for these Valentine's Sugar Cookies we made last night. I haven't been cooking with Sugar lately, but I decided to bend a little bit for Valentine's Day. Besides- I'm sure these cookies are much better for you than any store-bought cookies and I used organic ingredients. Have fun celebrating!

Monday, February 13, 2017

6:38 AM 2

Patience in the Process

I can definitely remember as a kid looking for my Christmas presents hidden around the house before Christmas day. I just had to know what I was going to get under the tree. Forget being surprised. I had to know right away. So if I'm being completely honest, there were a few years that I found a few of my Christmas presents hidden away in the closet or tucked under the bed before they were wrapped. Or if they had already been wrapped, I'd try to peel the wrapping paper back just a hair to get a sneak peak. I'd feel sneaky, yet at first satisfied that the wait was over.

I remember one year I found one of the presents my mom was really excited about giving me. The funny thing is now I can't even remember what the present was...I felt guilty and told my mom that I had found the present. She of course, as I can totally understand now, was pretty disappointed. So what does this story have to do with your journey with Pilates or truly any fitness practice? A lot actually.
Joseph Pilates said "in 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 you’ll see the difference, and in 30 you’ll have a whole new body."

I remind both myself and my clients of this all the time. See I'm about 8 months postpartum now and with it being my second baby, I feel like it's taken a little more time to pull my abdominal muscles back together and build back up powerhouse strength. I had to be patient with myself and my practice. I had to use modifications as needed. I couldn't just go straight from having the baby to an Advanced Reformer workout. It's taken time, but with consistent practice, working gradually to increase my strength, I absolutely notice a difference. But the thing is even though I started Pilates around 8 years ago, I'm not done learning. There are still things I'm learning about the method and how to work deeper. The journey never really is over. 
I remember my first Pilates equipment lesson wanting to know: Am I doing this right? Is my alignment right? How many repetitions? What's the breathing pattern? How do I do this exercise? I'm suppose to be able to do that? Why can't I do it now? And I could go on. See I wanted to understand and be able to do it right then and first time even using a Pilates Reformer. Our society has placed such a high value on the "right now" results. But it takes time, persistence, and dedication- not something that can be discovered in one lesson or a handful of classes for the matter.
I find the same with my Yoga practice as well. I was reflecting about this whole idea of being patient with ourselves in the process and how change takes time after taking a Yoga class yesterday...hence why this post was written. For the first time, I was able to sit in Virasana while doing an arm/shoulder stretch without sitting on a block. I have pretty tight hip flexors, so this is an area I've been working on. I think it's important to humbly celebrate our successes, then appreciate that there is more to learn. We must be patient with ourselves and know it takes both time and practice.
How often do we take time to enjoy and appreciate the process? I'd like to think now I'm a little more patient than I was as a kid to be able to do this. I'll give a little credit to that to the lessons I'm learning being a mom and practicing both Pilates and Yoga. I'm pretty big on believing that what we face and discover about ourselves in our fitness practice applies to our personal lives and vice versa. On the mat and in life, we'll miss out on some valuable lessons and beautiful moments when we do not practice patience. 

(For this post I'm linking up with A Fresh Start on A Budget for Motivational Monday and The Life of Faith for Mommy Moments.)

Friday, February 10, 2017

5:26 AM 6

Five on Friday- Healthy Recipes & Spreading Kindness

Hey there Friday. It's been a fast week, but maybe because I've been soaking up this wonderful weather instead of folding the mountain of laundry in the extra bedroom...priorities...But let's get to it and then I should really fold some clothes.

O N E 
Who uses the Pilates mat the most?
This week, so far I've done two Pilates Advanced Reformer workouts and two Pilates Advanced mat workouts. But if you asked who was on the mat more this week- I don't know if the answer would be Kemba Walker or my oldest. (See the picture below ha)
I snapped this picture earlier this week as I was cooking dinner. I asked my oldest what she was doing and she said "teaching Kemba, App (what she calls Yosef, the mascot for Appalachian), and Hugo Pilates." Adorable. So Kemba Walker, if you need a Pilates teacher, I have one in training for you haha. I shared earlier this week how I workout with kids. Check that out here. Side note- Can you tell who our favorite sports teams are? Daddy has trained her right. We're just missing Sir Purr here. 

Peanut Butter and Honey Cookies
Yum! So I made these last night and they were delicious...and guess what?! They were made with all Organic ingredients, 100% Whole Wheat Flour and no refined sugar. All the more reason I can have one with my breakfast, right? Seriously though, they were a hit with the whole family and even hubby didn't notice they did not have sugar in them. I love cooking with honey! I made them with Bob's Red Mill 100% Whole Wheat Pastry Flour and the recipe came right off of the back of the bag. The recipe called for 1 cup of Honey, but I think you could get by with less if you wanted. I couldn't get a good picture of the recipe, so here it is in case you want to try it as well. These would make perfect Valentine's Day Treats. Speaking of which, I do have plans of making some not so healthy Valentine's Sugar Cookies before Valentine's Day.

Peanut Butter & Honey Cookies (Makes around 30 cookies)
1 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Peanut Butter
1 cup of Honey
1/4 cup of Butter, softened
1 Egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven at 350 and Grease a baking sheet (I used Coconut Oil Spray.)

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine, peanut butter, honey, and butter. Then, add egg and vanilla extract and mix well. Slowly add flour mixture until combined.

Shape dough into balls (use about 2 tsp of dough per cookie) and place about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Using a fork, flatten each ball with a fork to make a crisscross pattern. Bake for around 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Chicken from Aldi
So I realized, after I shared my favorite Organic finds from Aldi earlier this week, I forgot something. (If you missed this post, check it out here.) Aldi also has a good price on boneless chicken breasts. Now, they are not certified USDA Organic, but I think they are the next best option- 100% Vegetarian Fed, No Antibiotics and No Added Hormones or Steroids. I paid $6.56 for a little over 1.5 lbs of meat.
So last night for dinner, I made Panko-Crusted Oven "Fried" Chicken using my package of chicken breasts from Aldi. You can find the recipe here. The only tweak I made was I added just a tiny bit of milk to my egg mixture. I used Ian's Original Panko Breadcrumbs to coat the chicken. It was delicious. We have a little bit left over, so I thought for dinner tonight I'd make some Honey Mustard to go along with it using this recipe.

Blessing Box
So this is currently going on around Charlotte and I think it is such an amazing way for us to spread kindness and peace into our community. Basically, the Blessing Boxes are a place to encourage and share acts of kindness. Once you've done an act of kindness, you record it and place it in one of the Blessing Boxes found across Charlotte. Read more about it here. Later this spring, the slips of kindness will be used to create a public artwork.

You can find one of the Blessing Boxes at Charlotte Family Yoga Center.

Blessing Bags
So feeling inspired to spread some kindness with the Blessing Boxes, I loved the idea of getting my little ones involved in this project and making "blessing bags" to give to others. I had my oldest paint the bags this week. This weekend, we're going to work on filling the bags with small snacks and treats.
Random Acts of Kindness Week is also next week (February 12-18th), so I thought the blessing bags would be a fun way to celebrate that and teach my kids about kindness. Here are some other great ideas to do with your kids.  Have a great weekend!
For this post, I'm linking up with April from Smidge of This and Christina from Carolina Charm for 5 on Friday and Erika from A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites.