Category Archives: Fitness

Life lately

I usually don’t post on Saturday nights, but we are just relaxing at home and I was in the mood to blog. We’ve been enjoying our weekend so far and I hope you have too!

Earlier this week, I shot this photo while walking to the bus stop. I had just finished an interview on the radio (taped, not live, luckily) and I was so relieved to be done and heading into work. The leaves under my fantastic and comfortable Tsubo boots were just too pretty not to capture.

fall leaves and boots

I go through phases where I become obsessed with cottage cheese. This week, I put it on everything and also ate it plain. I really enjoyed it on toast as an after work snack and in my lentil soup.

cottage cheese on bread

Last night, we walked around the mall after enjoying a dinner out. I almost always take stairs vs. the escalator when I can, so I loved how Aurora Healthcare encouraged people to be well and take the mere 30 steps to the top with their “30 steps to a healthier you” slogan.

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This morning, we woke up and packed our gym bags for a trip out to Mukwonago. We met my parents at the beautiful new YMCA and enjoyed working out by doing cardio and weights and then hitting the pool. I am not much of a swimmer, but I did love their walking pool, the water slide, chilling in the whirlpool and swimming with the kick board. We had a lot of fun with my parents and I hope it’s something we can do more often.

Mukwonago YMCA

Once we got home, I wanted to chill on the couch and read My Berlin Kitchen. I am only 55 pages in so far, but I like Luisa’s story and recipes. There is a recipe that really sounds delicious and uses quark–it’s called quarkauflauf. I had actually just read about it in Alysha’s article on quark that was featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Entree section on Sunday. I hadn’t read Luisa’s blog, The Wednesday Chef, before picking up this book, but I am following her site now because I like the way she writes and I love Berlin.

My Berlin Kitchen

I think reading about Germany made me crave pretzels. Luckily, I had picked up this Deutsche Kuche pretzel dough at Aldi a couple of weeks ago.

Deutsche Kuche Pretzel

This is the pretzel I was most proud of, although I realized after that the ends didn’t need to extend down so far.

Pretzel in dough shape

The verdict? They turned out pretty good. They didn’t taste like the “bretzeln” we adored in Germany and reminded us more of bread.

Pretzel

Well, I am off to listen to Spotify, drink some wine and keep doing laundry. Night!

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Rainy weather = an impromptu at-home workout

It was pouring here tonight, so once I got home, I wasn’t too keen on going back out in the rain to drive to the gym. I am not normally that wimpy about rain, but I just wasn’t feeling like getting rained on anymore (blame it on waiting at the bus stop outside).

I came home to find a surprise package in my door, which contained a workout video called Fit in 5: Ultimate Body Blitz! I received it from Self magazine. Basically, I was a “loser” in another one of their giveaways, but they gave me this video anyway. So cool, thanks Self! It was as if the mail gods were telling me to stay home and try the video out, so that’s what I did!

Fit in 5 video

Mid-workout break for a self-portrait…

me, mid-workout

…and the last of my Fitmixer aminos! I don’t think I am going to buy them again. After doing research, I am not so sure I need aminos.

Aminos and weights

Overall, I loved the 20 minute strength exercise I did tonight. It definitely got my heart rate up in a short period of time. I really liked how the teacher, Violet Zaki, combined cardio and strength in exercises that were completely new to me. I worked my glutes and abs hard and those are the areas I need to strengthen most.

The only negative was that the teacher moved through the lunges really quickly and that is a move I have to take my time on, so I did exactly that!

I am looking forward to trying the yoga, pilates, dance and cardio workouts. I’ll report back on those soon! I think this video will be great to pull out when I can’t make it to the gym!

Dinner tonight included this quick and easy Seeds of Change quinoa and brown rice mixture I picked up at Costco.

Seeds of Change Quinoa & Brown Rice

I enjoyed the flavor, but Craig thought it tasted like plastic.

quinoa and brown rice Seeds of Change

Do you enjoy working out at home? I like bringing out workout videos or the Wii Fit when the weather isn’t great outside, like today. That especially applies to when snowy evenings in the winter.

My week at a glance

Wow, this week flew by! I can’t believe it’s Friday tomorrow, hooray!

Here is what I have been up to.

Thanks to Partners Hub, I got to try all sorts of various chocolate milk with my work lunches all week.

The Horizon was my favorite.

Horizon Chocolate milk

Lala chocolate milk

I have been enjoying looking at the beautiful mum plants planted along Wisconsin Avenue on my bus ride to and from work. I need to buy some mums of my own next year. They are just so pretty. I love fall!

Mums in Milwaukee

I found a cool new book at the library this week. I have been enjoying looking through it so far. I always like to check out magazines I don’t subscribe to, like Cooking Light.

Fitness for Geeks and Cooking LIght

I have been eating Sassy Cow ice cream for dessert all week. I love this salted caramel flavor!

Sassy Cow Creamery Salted Caramel ice cream

I got to get away from the office for most of my Thursday and spend it at a conference held at the Harley Davidson Museum. I didn’t get to go in the museum yet, but the buildings and grounds themselves were cool to walk around!

Harley Davidson Museum

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It seemed like all of my shoes were falling apart this fall, so I have been buying a lot of new ones, including these lovely $12 black patent flats from Target (they were on sale last week). I am not usually that keen on patent, but they look nice and dressy for work. I wore them today and they were very comfortable. Much better than heels!

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No photo to show, but Craig and I went to yoga tonight and it was great. We hadn’t gone together in a while and it was fun to practice with him. While my usual favorite teacher wasn’t there, I enjoyed the new poses our substitute teacher came up with, especially the ab ones.

I hope your week flew by like mine did! It’s almost the weekend!

Fall colors and falling

I felt a little cursed this weekend. All around me, people were falling and nothing seemed to be going my way.

I won’t get into too much detail, but my dad took a really bad spill while we were out hiking yesterday. He’s in a lot of pain, but will be ok with lots of rest and ice over the next couple of days/weeks. I witnessed it and that was no fun, especially because I couldn’t do anything to stop him from falling.

Despite what happened, we had a gorgeous day to experience the fall colors at Lapham Peak.

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After I left my parents’s house, I went to the mall to use a coupon that offered $50 off a purchase of $100 or more. The store that offered it was a mess. It felt like Black Friday or Christmas Eve in there. I couldn’t find a thing I liked or that worked with all of the coupon restrictions.

I headed upstairs in the store to check out their coats and an older woman who was about 7 steps below me fell on the escalator and hit her head. It was my first time seeing someone fall on an escalator like that. I work in a place where kids always fool around on escalators and they are not the place to be doing so.

She was fine in the end and I was shaken up because I had already witnessed a bad fall. It was not fun to witness two older people hurting themselves in one day.

Onto happier things, like comfort food!

I made pancakes this morning and topped them with fresh raspberries and the raspberry enlightenment from Penzey’s, which was a great combination! Craig didn’t have the fresh raspberries and wasn’t as impressed with the raspberry sauce.

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Craig and I went to Target (my happy place) this afternoon and I found these, so into the cart they went. They are really good and super sweet, so I couldn’t eat too many without feeling sugared out. I compensated by buying spinach and eating a big salad for dinner and packing one for lunch tomorrow.

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My work is having a bake sale fundraiser for a co-worker who got hurt in a bad accident a couple of months ago. So, I put on my apron today and baked Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Yes, our kitchen floor is totally 60’s and not my fav and I have a hole in my slipper. I wear these LL Bean slippers out until they are completely unwearable.

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Here I am baking–thanks to my sweet hubby for taking photos.

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mixing up the muffin batter

I just realized it’s my first time making anything for a bake sale! I am glad the muffins turned out really well and I hope there are a lot of pumpkin fans among my co-workers.

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I got to the gym twice this weekend. I managed to work hard enough yesterday that I feel some muscle fatigue today. I attribute it to the squats I did with weights and on the bosu with just my body weight. My knee has been aching lately, so I am trying to be careful and yet build up the muscles around it to make sure I don’t injure it.

I ended the weekend by shopping online. My black boots are falling apart on the bottom (seems to be a theme with my shoes lately) and so I bought these beauties in black. I have been looking everywhere for new tall black boots, but they have to be flat, comfortable and look sort of European to me (this is how I define it instead of “cowboy boots”/American), etc. I just hope I love these when I get them in the mail and that they fit great. I have better luck with shopping online lately, so I took the risk and figure I can always return them.

Time to get ready for bed! I can’t believe the weekend is over already. I hope next weekend is a bit more calm (and this week is too).

Calmness

How is your week going? Mine has been pretty good so far! I don’t think a lot of Packer fans can say that today after that horrible referee call last night. I don’t watch football, but even I was shocked and angry when I saw that play on the news this morning. My favorite headline was “Clueless in Seattle.”

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I’ve had quite a calm come over me lately. I don’t know if it was that week of vacation I took, that I am still feeling sort of out it from this never-ending cold virus or that meditation is the cause of it. Whatever it is, I am thankful for the feeling.

To keep my calm feeling, I went for a walk outside in the gorgeous fall weather during my lunch break today. My destination was Starbucks and a Pumpkin Spice Latte was my treat.

I have only had two this season and they have hit the spot! For some reason, they taste much better than I remembered them tasting last year. I think it’s my imagination though.

Pumpkin Spice Latte (second of the season)

It was so calm and quiet at Starbucks. I just chilled in a chair and played on my iPhone and watched people.

Starbucks

This sounds odd, but I know I am not the only girl that does this. I spotted a girl who was dressed so cute in a typical fall outfit: brown boots, dark tights, a skirt and a crossbody purse. She looked effortless. I think I need to dress like that more often, especially in fall because I love wearing dresses or skirts with tights and tall boots. I looked down at my boring outfit and thought to myself, you can do better.

While walking, I listened to a great new podcast: From the Inside Out by Trish Blackwell.

Trish Blackwell podcast

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The episode I listened to was about patience. I think I am a pretty patient person, but I know that everyone could find ways to be more patient and it was a good reminder to work on that.

Dinner tonight was kind of my go-to meal: quinoa with whatever I can find to dump in it. I mixed together Trader Joe’s roasted red peppers, quark from Clock Shadow, feta cheese, various spices, sea salt and cooked chickpeas. I made enough for leftovers for our lunches too.

Quinoa with chickpeas, roasted red peppers, quark and feta

Instead of going to the gym, I took advantage of the crisp and beautiful weather and went for a bike ride. There won’t be many more evenings left to do that, so I figured I should spend some time outside.

Craig suggested I also do Wii Fit, which I haven’t done in ages. I got a half hour in on there and it felt great to have fun while playing various balance and cardio levels.

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My favorite is catching the fish in the penguin balance game. 🙂 I also did step aerobics on there for 10 minutes, which got me sweating! It was a good reminder to pull out the Wii more in the winter months, when I don’t feel like going to the gym.

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Do you listen to podcasts? If so, do you have a favorite you subscribe to? I have a mixture of fitness, travel, language, vegetarian, NPR and nutrition podcasts on my iPhone.

Vacation goes by too quickly

The rest of the week just flew by. I was barely home, but I feel like I accomplished a lot.

On Wednesday, I drove out to Menomonee Falls to meet up with my friend Danielle. We walked on trails for an hour and 10 minutes, picked her one daughter up from daycare and then went to lunch at Nino’s Italian Bakery and Deli. It was our first time trying it and we were pleased we did!

Danielle and Kiersten

They had a great selection of sandwiches, plus Italian desserts, fresh bread and a small selection of Italian groceries.

Nino's in Menomonee Falls

I had a delicious blood orange San Pellegrino.

Blood Orange San Pellogrino

Lunch was a veggie panini, which hit the spot after working up an appetite on that long walk. The panini had giardiniera (pickled vegetables) on it and I may add that to my paninis at home once in a while.

veggie panini

These girls were a lot of work to have lunch with! Danielle’s three year old has tons of energy and is so curious about the world!

Danielle's girls at lunch

We all grabbed cookies for dessert. I picked out two small Italian ones–a black and white and an almond. Both got touched by the three year old a couple of times and while eating her own cookie, she asked me about ten times, “Can I have some of your cookies?”

italian cookies

After lunch, we went back to Danielle’s house and chatted. I played with her cats, who loved the attention.

Sinatra

Then it was off to Woodman’s on my way home! I bought a huge cart full of groceries. I was pleased to find the Clock Shadow Creamery quark and BellaVitano Merlot cheese. Hooray for Wisconsin cheeses!

Quark from Clock Shadow Creamery

BellaVitano Merlot cheese

I also stopped by REI on my way to meet Danielle and picked up all of this for only 40 cents, thanks to my REI dividend.

Justin's nut butter and Clif bars

On Thursday, I went to spend the day with my parents. Mom and I took a trip to Costco, where I had to get new passport photos taken. Let’s say they didn’t turn out that great, but I am glad I have my request for my name change done and in the mail.

I was hungry by the time we finished shopping, so I got a really yummy turkey, provolone and pesto spread sandwich at Costco. Mom and I also indulged in some swirled fro yo from there. The amount we got was huge, so I had to bring half of the sandwich and the fro yo home with me.

Costco meal

mom and frozen yogurt at Costco

After our lunch settled, my mom and I headed over to the brand new YMCA in Mukwonago. My parents had already been to it before, but it was my first time checking it out. I didn’t bring a camera to take photos, but it was gorgeous and made me wish we lived closer to that gym vs. our own. Mom and I walked/ran the track, lifted weights, I showed her a few machines and the kettlebells and we even played basketball for a little bit. Their pool has a big water slide, a lap pool, section for walking in the water, a whirpool and a separate water aerobics pool. I hope to check that out next time we go, but I am not a big swimmer.

Two days after that workout, I am still store from doing squats with the kettlebells. I really enjoyed using those again and wish my YMCA had them. I guess I can use dumbells to do similar moves though.

I can’t believe I only have one more day off and then it’s back to work!

Monday Monday, so good to me

Yesterday was definitely productive and one of the happier Mondays I have had in a while, mostly because I was free to do whatever I wanted.

Maybe I should have bought this cup at Target after all?

I considered buying this for my desk at work

I went to Penzey’s to purchase something so I could get an item for free. I got the Natural High Fat Cocoa that my mom loves and makes brownies with. Now I need to figure out what I am going to make with it. The cashier suggested a nice chocolate cake with raspberry filling.

Penzey's Natural High Fat Cocoa

This jar was free with my purchase of $5 or more. Isn’t the label sweet?

Penzey's Raspberry Enlightenment

Halfway through my errands, I fueled up at Panera bread. I really love their greek salad. I must find a way to make that salad dressing at home!

Sierra Turkey and Greek Salad from Panera

I found these new fish oil gummies at Target. Even better, I had a $3 off coupon, so they were pretty cheap. I am all about the coupons!

I tried two when I arrived home and they were yummy. They didn’t taste like fish at all, which is always my worst fear because I do not like the taste of fish. I like the gummy form vs. the pills because my doc tells me they are easier for me to digest.

Nature Made Fish Oil gummies

When I arrived home, I found Gretchen Rubin’s new book, Happier at Home, in my door! I won it from her publisher directly and I am so excited to read it. I just have to get through a stack of magazines and some library books first.

Happier at Home

I worked out in the afternoon and recovered with protein powder and milk in my new BlenderBottle. I added some vanilla stevia and it added that bit of sweetness it was lacking before. The BlenderBottle mixed the protein powder well and I was so full after having 19 grams of protein in a matter of minutes.

Blender Bottle and NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia

Craig and I took a very long walk after dinner. We spotted mice (eek) in a few yards. I don’t like rodents. Craig insists that they are cute. Yeah, not convinced!

I have been cleaning and doing laundry today. I need to get back to some of that and take a walk while listening to some fitness and nutrition podcasts.

Continuing our quest to bike the entire Oak Leaf Trail

Craig and I love to bike and we haven’t done a long ride all summer. It was just too hot in June and July!

On Sunday, we went to the north side of Milwaukee to continue on our quest to bike the entire Oak Leaf trail. A problem ensued though–we last biked to about 91st and Bradley Road in the summer of 2011. We soon discovered that the part of the trail along Bradley Road that connects to Brown Deer park wasn’t necessarily scenic or safe (no trail, just the road to bike on). We spontaneously decided to skip that part and pick it up in a more scenic area. Alas, we won’t necessarily be able to say we biked the entire trail when we finish, but only the scenic/safe bits. 🙂

We went over to Dean Road, then down to River Road and parked there, among the gorgeous and huge mansions in River Hills. Neither of us had seen that area of Milwaukee and were shocked every time we biked past another mansion.

We ended up covering about 9 miles and went from River Road to the northern tip of Lincoln Park. The ride was partially on streets and the trail. Part of this trail wasn’t so great through Kletzch park though–it was on some really bumpy pavement, so we opted to ride on the street.

Oak Leaf trail map

We were right near Bayshore Mall so I convinced Craig to let me run in Trader Joe’s for a few things while he waited in the car. I didn’t even care that I had no makeup on, was sweaty and dressed in workout clothes and a hat…that’s how desperate for a Trader Joe’s trip I was. I cannot wait until one is about 10 minutes from our house. October can’t come soon enough.

Our next bike ride on the trail will cover Lincoln Park to Kern. I will be most excited to bike through Estabrook Park to check out the biergarten and have a pretzel! The ride through that area should be really nice and mostly on trails.

The other thing I want to document with this post is that we finally got my bike mounted on the rack without it hanging down dangerously close to the cement below! Phew! I had to buy a Saris bar to get my bike to mount like a man’s bike and let’s just say the design of it has been a challenge to figure out until now. It didn’t want to connect to my bike without problems until Craig spent a lot of time experimenting on Sunday.

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By the way, I have a Trek hybrid women’s 7100 bike and love it. Craig has the same bike model, just for men and a few years older than mine.

This and That

I can’t believe this week is nearly over! Here’s a little “this and that” from the week.

I splurged on this cheese and it’s all gone already. It reminded me of Pleasant Ridge cheese, which reminded me that I am a major slacker and I still owe a post on my visit to the Uplands farm from back in June. I hope to get that done soon.

Anyway, I would definitely purchase this one again. It was great with some fresh french bread and also on a turkey sandwich.

BellaVitano Sartori gold cheese

Alysha blogged about this cider, so being a cider girl myself, I had to try it. I didn’t like it at first and then it grew on me.

Angry Orchard Hard Cider Crisp Apple

Lately I’ve been buying the new tubs of Chobani and just adding my own preserves, fresh blueberries, lemon NuNaturals stevia, almonds and chia seeds to the plain variety for my work lunches. I really never seem to get sick of this combination and it fills me up!

Chobani plain yogurt with blueberries, blueberry preserves, chia seeds, almonds

If you have been following my blog for a while, then you know that I Iove to read. I have always wanted to join a book club in Milwaukee, so Karis and I are attending our first meeting for one on Sunday, August 26th. Locals-for more details check out this site.

Check out the flyer–aren’t the illustrations on the bookmarks fun!?

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Our first selection is The Happiness Project, which I have read before, but it was a while ago. I didn’t want to go to the book club without rereading it and I figure I can always use reminders on how to be more happy every day.

The Happiness Project by Rubin

Like Rubin says, she didn’t start this project because she was depressed. It’s just that she complained too much and got irritated easily by things. I can totally relate.

I loved these lists at the beginning of the book. I have been trying to do a lot of these lately, even before I started rereading the book.

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Today was a good mail day (love those). I ordered some stuff from Lands’ End earlier this week and it came so quickly. It helps that Lands’ End is a Wisconsin based company, so the package didn’t have far to go.

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I got a great deal on these four shirts and was so excited to see how they fit.

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They all fit wonderfully, but I may return the pink top because I don’t love how the cowl neck looks. The nice thing is that I can return the shirt to a Sears that carries Lands’ End. Anyway, all of the shirts were so soft and the material was high quality. It won’t be my last time buying from them. When I was at the mall last weekend, I was frustrated with not being able to find any tops that I liked and even wanted to try on. I love ordering things online, so I took a chance and I am glad I did.

More fun mail. I love getting free samples of new products to try out!

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On the fitness front, I am still hitting the gym occassionally, but I know that I need to work harder when I am there. Craig and I played tennis last night (he won, boo) and took a long walk around the park afterwards. I wasn’t too pleased when I saw a bat flying overhead. Eek!

Tomorrow I am off to get highlights in my hair and then to work in the afternoon. I work until around midnight, but I don’t mind because I won’t have to do it again for another two months.

This Saturday I…

…played tennis against Craig and lost again! It was another good workout and we happily skipped the gym and traded it for an awesome outdoor workout.

I washed my car by hand when we got home and then I mixed up Fitmixer amino acids in Fruit Punch for the first time!

Fitmixer amino

The taste was delicious and I felt a bit full from the drink.

Fitmixer fruit punch

I also went online and did this today, so now I have a 1500 calorie meal plan to follow if I want to.

Fitmixer

I played with Karma for a bit. He was asking for pets all afternoon.

Karma asking for pets

My July Birchbox arrived today! Spoiler alert up next.

Birchbox July

I liked all of the items I received this month. Can’t wait to try out the new goodies.

Birchbox July 2012

I was so excited when I saw that I got headphones in my Birchbox. I needed a new pair to keep in my gym bag and these actually match my iPhone case and the iPod nano I use at the gym. I tried them out already and the sound quality isn’t as good as the headphones that come with Apple products, but I adjusted the equalizer and they do sound a bit better.

Birchbox headphones

I also researched trips to Europe because my mom and I might go next spring. She’s never been to Germany, Austria or Switzerland and my dad and Craig don’t really want to go, so I’ll happily travel with my mom.

I get the travel bug and then start to excitedly research a bit early. We need to decide if we’re going to go on a guided tour or if I will just organize the whole thing, which I have done many times before. It kind of would be nice to sit back and let someone else do the work this time. Plus, we’d get to more destinations with a tour.

Here is my favorite route so far. It even includes a night in Lugano, which would allow me to show my mom where I lived for 6 months!

Europe route

And then I made a Target run for the $1 Chobani before the sale expires tonight and I was pleased to find some new jean shorts that are better than the ones I purchased last weekend.

We’re just staying in tonight. I think I am going to watch Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and just chill out on the couch. Hope your weekend is going well!