January Fitness Update

January is a popular time of year for people to get back into their fitness goals as well as for people to make New Year’s Resolutions to get involved with fitness or lose weight.  January is also the time when I re-evaluate my fitness goals and start preparing for the spring cutting season.  I know spring seams far away, but by the time it arrives the hope is that I have built up enough muscle to be able to cut and still maintain my strength levels.

A few weeks before Christmas, Jake and I started a new lifting routine which includes a basic three-day split.  I decided to invest in a pair of lifting straps at the advice of a coworker to improve my grip strength and overall improve my dead lifts.  For the past two years, I’ve used gloves for lifting but it’s not my hands that need the help anymore as I’ve built up some pretty good calluses.  Ladies, do not be afraid of getting calluses from weight lifting.  Mine aren’t even noticeable to the eye and most days no one is holding my hands to feel them.  In addition to our three-day split, my goal is run or do some form of cardio twice a week.  I don’t put a lot of emphasis on cardio during fall or winter, but moving into spring I like to keep it consistent.  I’ve never been one for doing ab exercises (I hate them), but this year I’d like to make it one of my goals.  Jake and I will probably add ab exercises onto leg day because generally that is our fastest moving day.  This weekend I’d like to find a basic everyday ab exercise that I can do in the mornings or evenings on a yoga mat, nothing intense likes those ad challenges I see rolling around on Pinterest.  Remember abs are made in the kitchen, not at the gym.

During the fall and winter months, I spoil myself with Pumpkin Spice Lattes, pumpkin cookies, holiday parties, and all weight lifting at the gym.  Right now at the turn of the year, I have decided to start tracking what I eat and count my calorie intake.  I have used the app My Fitness Pal in the past and I really enjoy it.  Not only does it allow my to track my calories, but I can also see the breakdown of the nutrition in the food.  The app can keep track of your exercises and how many calories you burn which are then negated from your daily caloric intake.  The one downside to the app is that it doesn’t know how many calories are burned during strength exercises.  One of my best tips to eating healthy is to meal plan.  I like to prepare my lunch and dinners every week, cooking on Sunday’s and packing everything in containers for busy weekdays.  I just ordered a weekly whiteboard so that I can better organize meals for myself and for when Jake comes over.  I love lists and organizing my thoughts and I have been wanting a whiteboard for over a year now.

I’d like to do these fitness updates every three to four months, during the change of the seasons and fitness routines.  Moving into spring, my diet will become more strict with less carbs and high amounts of vegetables and protein.  The most important part of my fitness routine is making sure I’m keeping hydrated: drink all the water.  Start with a glass right after to step out of bed and add an additional glass or two if you exercise that day.

Getting Ready to Party

Fall officially begins on September 23 this year; the autumnal equinox.  For the past two years now I’ve been attending my boyfriend’s seasonal parties with the fall party being the biggest and the best.  Jake and his friends have been having these parties for the past four years or so and they’re the highlight of the seasons.  We’re having the party a few days early and I get to be a little more hands-on with the planning (yes, I’m all giddy on the inside about it), and today Jake and I start cleaning up his house and I did some shopping for the items we need.

I started searching a few week ago and found some fall shaped cookie cutters and sprinkles for cookies I’m planning to make.  I’m making pumpkin cookies, however, I’m still looking for a good recipe.  Me and my friend did a test run a few weeks ago with these Melt-In-Your-Mouth pumpkin cookies, but they were almost too melty.  Since I’m not much of a baker I may be getting some store bought dough (don’t tell anyone) and just make some pumpkin cream-cheese frosting to go on top.  As for food, I’m planning to make a crock pot chili with chicken and a small crock pot of chili for the vegetarians.

Today, Jake and I are going to start cleaning up his house in preparation of guests.  This includes typical yard work and cleaning, but I also went thrifting for some lights to use along the fence and in the garage.  I pick-up three boxes of basic white lights and a string of orange lights! Yeah, orange is more Halloween themed, but I figured mixed in with white and multi-colored lights no one will really notice.  Jake and his friends really wanted hay bails for the backyard, just as we’ve had for the past two years.  On Friday I found a coworker who was getting hay bails over the weekend for her horses, and she offered a few up to me.

And of course, my outfit is already picked out!  The weather for Saturday is a looking a little gloomy, but mild.  The past two yeas have been pretty cold, in the 30s once the sun has gone down.  The first year I attended, I remember being sick with one of the worst colds I’d had in years, and I decided wearing a short dress with only tights and a jacket was acceptable.  Last year, though I wasn’t sick, I was wearing a short skirt, tights, and about three layers on top.  This year, a similar outfit, with a mini skirt, black with mustard yellow stripes, tights paired with these new black boots I got from DSW in black.  On top, if it’s really warm I’ll just go with a lace tank top and a sweater, other wise, I think the skirt will look good with a cream colored sweater I purchased in spring  It’s thick, but it’s crocheted so I won’t overheat.  My favorite accessory in fall (and all year round really) is my denim jacket.  I thrifted it years ago for $11, and now it’s starting to wear holes in it.  You know I’ll be wearing it paired with a matte lipstick.

I love getting ready for the day on a fall day, doing my makeup and getting dressed while listening to relaxing music.  Getting to spend another party with Jake is definitely the highlight of it all, especially as he’s usually working nights on the weekends.  Then there’s of course seeing all my friends and having a few drinks bringing in my favorite season to make it all worth while.

Tea Time

As soon as the weather started cooling down I brought my Keurig back out so I could start drinking hot coffee again, but sometimes I really enjoy a cup of tea.  I love coffee, but even after drinking it for the past six years or so, I find that coffee can be too strong and bitter after more than two cups (sometimes even one cup).  I’m not breaking ground here by talking about my favorite teas because I have only ever purchased bagged tea.  I know that loose leaf tea is really the way to go, but I haven’t ventured into buying a coffee press or tea pot for that yet.

Now whether I prefer my tea hot versus cold is a toss up.  I always like iced tea whether it’s black, green, or herbal.  However, I usually don’t like black or herbal tea hot with a few exceptions.  Mint tea is very good hot and that’s the only way I’ll drink it, but I almost never drink black tea hot unless it’s a chai.  So many exceptions! Now on to my favorites.

Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea
Yeah, we’re back on that pumpkin kick.  I got this at Target, which is the only place I’ve seen it.  It’s pretty amazing; I almost like it more than a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks.  I add just a bit of soy milk into it and it’s perfect for a nice breezy morning.

Lipton Mixed Berry Green Tea
This is my current favorite for a late morning cup of tea.  It love the berry taste, as berries are still in season.  I haven’t tried it over ice yet, and I doubt I will this season, but I’m sure it would be lovely iced.

Lipton Decaffeinated Honey Lemon Green Tea
This my favorite tea to drink if I’m feeling at all under the weather.  It feels nice on the throat when it’s a bit scratchy or clears your sinuses when they seem to be stuffy.  Sometimes I even add a little extra honey to cup if my throat is really sore.  Of course, I drink this often in the afternoon since it’s decaffeinated.

Lipton Green Mangosteen Peach Green Tea
This green tea is amazing over ice, so maybe it’s not the best option for the upcoming fall season, but it’s still very good.  I don’t mind it though either.  Mango and peach are my favorite flavors ever! I love getting mango black iced tea from a local tea shop, so being able to get it in green and just make it myself is affordable and more convenient.

Pumpkin Time!

I am beyond excited for pumpkin everything this fall! I know some people are going to get sick of hearing about pumpkin scented and flavored products pretty soon, but I’m guilty of being one of those lovers.

I already have started collecting some pumpkin items, but the wish list grows.  I have pumpkin string lights that I have placed on my TV stand.  I found pumpkin spice coffee creamer at Target this week, which I had already been searching for.  Starbucks’ famous Pumpkin Spice Latte became available this past Monday, early by popular demand.  I purchased some very wonderful scented candles at Walmart of all places.  They smell amazing and inexpensive compared to Bath and Body Works; I just can’t justify spending $22.50 on a candle, or even two candles.  That being said, I am headed out to Bath and Body works today to check out their pumpkin and other fall scented body washes.

Pumpkin silicone trays, Walmart
I’m very tempted to go and buy these for the fall party that we’re going to be having a few weeks.  I’d make ice cubes for our beverages and even orange Jell-O shots.

Bath and Body Works body wash
I haven’t been able to find many options elsewhere for fall scented body was so I’ll likely cave to Bath and Body Works.  They are having a 50% off sale this weekend, Labor Day, so I don’t feel purchasing them.

Pumpkin Cream-Cheese Frosting
I’m making this for the fall party, that I previously mentioned.  It’s my first time attempting to make this as well as pumpkin cookies.  I made pumpkin cheesecake last year and it turned out pretty good.  I’m not a baker, so I think cheesecake was a bit outside of my baking abilities.  Cookies are much more up my alley.

Pumpkin carving
This is so simple, yet I can’t wait to do it.  I told Jake I wanted to go to a pumpkin patch this year instead of an apple orchard.  I haven’t carved a pumpkin since I was a child and honestly I don’t remember what age I was.

Summer is Almost Over

I know that nobody wants to hear it, but summer is coming to an end.  Most colleges start classes in about three weeks, many 18-year-old’s will be starting classes for the first time. Today is last day of of Warped Tour, which to many music fans is the end of summer.  I realized yesterday that I need to start wearing my summer dress and crop tops before I can no longer wear them next month when the leaves start to change.  I’m not that sad about it; my favorite season is fall.  I’ve already seen some fall scented products out in stores.

This summer has been one of the better in my recent memory.  My job has been going very well.  I won’t get into the details of my job or where it is I work, but I will say that I’ve gotten two new titles over the course of summer.  I feel welcomed at my job and like I’m making a difference, which is really what I look for in many aspects of my life.

I unintentionally took quite a few weeks off from my part-time job because my life starting getting busier than I expected.  The first weekend of July was Independence Day which I spent with my friends having a barbecue.  The second weekend I went up to my friend’s cabin for our annual summer party.  My boyfriend introduced me to these seasonal parties a few months after we started dating, and they are one of highlights of every season.  I spent time paddle boarding and kayaking on the lake at this cabin, something that not many people could see me doing; I’m more of an indoor girl.  The third week of July was my boyfriend’s birthday as well as Warped Tour in Minnesota; they actually landed on the same day.  I don’t get too giddy over bands anymore, but when I got offered to watch my favorite band, The Devil Wears Prada, on stage I couldn’t contain myself.  It’s not the first time I’ve been on stage for a performance, but it’s much better when it’s your favorite band.  Then next week of July I got to go to Warped Tour again, this time in Milwaukee.  I can’t say that Wisconsin is my favorite place to go, but there is Dunkin’ Donuts there so I had that for two days.

As we move into August, I still have so many good plans for the remainder of summer.  My dad’s birthday is this upcoming week, as well as our family’s picnic next weekend. My boyfriend and I are attending a wedding in a few weeks, and we’re getting very well dressed for it.  I got my dress on a bargain and I must say we look quite amazing dressed at our best.  I’m going to see who used to be my favorite band Linkin Park at the Minnesota State Fair.  This is the second time I’ll be seeing them, and I will probably be very giddy that day.  Finally, I’m planning a new tattoo either this month or early next month.

Even though its 86 degrees today with humidity, within a month or so the leaves will be changing colors and I will have pumpkin anything.  Enjoy the rest of your summer.  Cherish the warm weather and sunshine.  Get outside to a lake.  Live your life.