A month of being thankful

One of my favorite bloggers Cori had a month-long project that I just knew I had to participate in.  We were supposed to fill out a calendar, writing down something everyday that we were thankful for.  While some of these are just normal day-to-day, smaller things, I think it’s important to look back and reflect on all the things we are thankful for.

count-your-blessings1

Some of the things I am always reminded of and thankful for is that my mom is currently in remission, that I have a healthy and happy son and husband, that we have a roof over our heads and food on the table and that I have wonderful friends, family and co-workers.   After all, those are the things that mean the most in this life.

I hope you are having a great day and take a moment to think about all the things you are thankful for!

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Question of the day

Have you ever written down all the things you are thankful for? Any surprises on that list?

Things I’m loving V

Happy Black Friday!   While I am not participating in the shopping extravaganza today along with millions of others, I am celebrating the Thing’s I’m loving today.  Please join in below!!

Bubble Tea

green bubble tea

I’ve been a long time lover of bubble tea.  When I was living in my first apartment out of college in Boston, there was a little place right around the corner that I would go to at least twice a week to get a honeydew or green tea bubble tea.   Bubble tea is yummy drink with a tea base mixed with fruit or milk that have small chewy tapioca balls.  When I moved out of the city almost 8 years ago, I couldn’t find any place in the area that offered this delicious drink.  However, that has all changed now.  There is a new place that just opened up in my local mall,  I saw the bubble tea sign and I was sucked in.  I ordered a green tea bubble tea and it tasted better than I remember. Oh, did this drink make me so incredibly happy, especially after the multiple kitchen disasters this week!

 

Chromecastchromecast

Robyn bought this little device a few months ago and I didn’t understand what all the hype was about.  However, over the past 3 weeks, I have used it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  This little thumb drive plugs into your tv and you can stream online videos from places like Netflix, You Tube and elsewhere.  The best part is that you don’t need a special app to control it, you can use your computer, tablet or phone as  the remote control and once you tell the device what to play, you can continue to use your phone, tablet or computer or turn it off.  I watch a ton of tv shows online since I don’t get a chance to watch them while they are actually playing and watching them on our big screen tv is WAY better than on my laptop or tablet.  I have drank the Google koolaid, I love Chromecast!!

 

Talenti Sea Salt Caramel Gelato

talenti

I have a serious love for anything salted caramel, so when I saw this pint staring at me in the grocery store aisle about 4 months ago, I had to give it a try and it did not disappoint.  The texture is so creamy and smooth and literally melts in your mouth.  At first, you taste a little bit of salt, but then the sweet caramel pushes through and you think you are in heaven…until you come across the caramel truffles and then you KNOW you are in heaven.  If you like salted caramel, run to your nearest grocery store and try this, you won’t regret it!  I have purchased multiple pints over the course of the past few months and it’s worth every penny.

 

Starbucks Lucky Dozen

starbucksluckydozen,jpgI received an email earlier this week about the Lucky Dozen from Starbucks.  I always use my Gold Card when I go to Starbucks and as a reward, they loaded a free reward onto my Starbucks account. That means I can redeem my reward for a handcrafted beverage, a Starbucks bottled beverages, or the food item of your choice at Starbucks stores or I could redeem it at a Teavana store for a free drink or 1 oz of loose-leaf tea.  How awesome is that? I love being rewarded for things I would normally purchase on my own anyways!

 

One on one time with my little monster

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This is my favorite thing in this edition of Things I’m Loving.  Robyn has to work today, which means I get Ashton all to myself.  This very rarely happens so I am really excited to have a fun day of climbing, running, playing hide and seek and reading all his favorite books together .  We are also putting the Christmas tree up and will decorate it tonight as a family while eating pizza.  I can’t think of a better way to kick off the weekend!

 

Past Things I’m Loving Friday posts:

 October 25

November 8

November 15

November 22

 

Have an amazing weekend!!

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Question of the day

Tell me something you are loving right now?

 

Happy Thanksgiving

Hi!! I’m just quickly stopping in to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you enjoy quality time with your friends and family and take time to appreciate all the wonderful things in your life.  I’m off for a run (I’ve committed to the Runner’s World 2013 Holiday Running Streak!!)  and then we are hosting lunch/dinner for 7 people.  I’ll see you all tomorrow after I wake up from my turkey coma 🙂

happy thanksgiving

The day before Thanksgiving

Well, I have had a pretty eventful 24 hours.  After my two kitchen disasters on Monday, I broke ANOTHER bowl while pulling out all the serving platters we need to host Thanksgiving dinner. Wonderful, right?

broken bowl

I think I am going to stay away from anything breakable for the foreseeable future. 🙂  I actually laughed so hard I cried when I broke the last dish, I mean seriously, I am usually the opposite of clumsy?!  They say that bad things happen in 3’s, so I thought I was in the clear.  Well, they LIED.

My throat had been scratchy for a few days  but I thought nothing of it. However, as the day went on, swallowing became incredibly painful.  I rarely ever go to the Dr but with my mom coming to Thanksgiving, I had to make sure whatever I had wasn’t contagious because her immune system is suppressed due to the stem cell transplant she had in April and her current chemo.  So, if I was contagious, I needed to get on medicine ASAP.  I went to the CVS minute clinic and sure enough, not only did I have strep throat, but I had a viral infection on top of that, something the nurse was was not all that common.  Leave it to me to be an overachiever in this aspect of my life! I left with a prescription for penicillin that I need to take 3x a day for 10 days and a lidocaine solution to gurgle so I can eat/drink with less pain.

The good news is that I woke up feeling much better!!  YAY!  I left bright and early this morning to go pick up my mom in Western, MA and brought her to our house where she will stay for the next couple of days. I haven’t seen my mom in a few months as she has been at her house in Florida, so I am really looking forward to seeing her and catching up!

I’m going to be soaking in the next few days with my family.  This time with them is what is truly important, not a broken dish (or multiple dishes) or a sore throat. I am so very thankful to have another holiday with the people I love the most and that is what I am going to focus on!

be thankful

 

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Question of the day

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you hosting?

What are you most thankful for?

A goal to get in the kitchen

While on my vacation, one of my goals was to make a few dinners I had pinned on Pinterest.  In our house, I rarely cook.  Robyn loves to cook and is seriously so good that he does 98% of the cooking.  However, since I was home this week, I didn’t think it was fair for him to work all day and then come home and have to cook while I get to play with Ashton.  So, I planned out three meals that I wanted to make via my Pinterest boards.

The first meal I made was Tortellini Vegetable Soup from Spoonful.

tortellini-vegetable-soup

This soup was super easy and very tasty! I made a big batch on Sunday and we had it for dinner and then I ate it for lunch on Monday and today.  I love it when meals can stretch throughout the week and I am a total soup nut.  I could (and often do) eat soup most days of the week. With the temps hovering in single to very low double digits around here, soup will be on the menu a lot more than usual.

The second recipe I was going to embark on was making the Chicken Tamale Pie from Pinch of Yum.

chicken tamale pie

I prepped everything and cooked the cornbread to perfection.  That is when everything started to go downhill and fast!  I took the cornbread out of the oven and put in on the stove top while I finished shredding the chicken and grating the cheese.  All of a sudden I started to smell something burning but I was confused because I wasn’t cooking!  Well…..it turns out I never turned off the stove top and of course, it was the burner that I placed the corn bread on.  Smooth move Sara!! I quickly lifted the Pyrex glass off the burner and noticed the bottom of the cornbread was now charred black.  I quickly put it onto the counter top and suddenly it exploded. Like loud noise, glass flying everyone, and me screaming and ducking.  Yes, I ducked, why? I have no idea, but it seemed like a good idea at the time when glass was flying at me.

kitchen disaster

I was fine, but needless to say, I had a LOT of cleaning up to do.  This pic was snapped after I got all the little pieces and most of the bigger pieces off the counter and floor to ensure no one got hurt.  Normally I would have laughed at this, but not an hour earlier while I was putting away the dishes, I shattered Robyn’s glass teapot that I bought him for his birthday a few years ago.  He uses this almost everyday so I was feeling SO bad about breaking it.  I had swept, vacuumed and washed the kitchen floors already once and was back at it again an hour later, after ruining dinner… I was seeing red.  Luckily Robyn wasn’t upset at all and made me laugh at the situation while we were texting as I was sweeping for the second time!

I ended up going back out to the grocery store to get another set of everything I needed to remake the portion of the meal I lost to the explosion and I am happy to say, I am glad I didn’t give up. This meal was AMAZING,  I will definitely be making it again.  Everyone went back for seconds, so that says a lot in our house!

The last meal on my list to make was Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Sandwiches from Food Family Finds.

Slow-Cooker-Chicken-Philly-Sandwich

I’m happy to say this meal has no long drawn out story that goes along with it.  It was super easy to prepare and it smells wonderful cooking in the crock pot.  We will be devouring it later on tonight!

 

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Questions of the day

Do you do the cooking in your house?  If so, what’s the last thing you cooked?

Does anyone have a crazy kitchen story they want to share?

 

First day of vacation, two gym workouts and some shopping!

Today was my first day of vacation and I was so excited to sleep until 6:00 a.m.  Usually by this time, I have already driven the hour + to work and am out on my morning run.  First on the agenda was a run and a Group Power class at my gym.  Since I’ve had Ashton, I don’t have the time in the evenings to go to the gym to take classes, something I used to do almost every night pre-baby. I work so far from home and none of the morning class times allow me to get to work on time, so I drive into work early everyday and get my workout in there and then go straight to work. Since I only get to my home gym on Thursday evenings when I teach Group Power, I was really excited to have a few days off so I could take a few classes in the morning.

I left my house at 7:45 a.m. in order to get in a good run before the 9:15 a.m. Group Power class.  I did the speed workout below for a total of 5.75 miles. I have to admit, there were times during the recovery I had to walk, I wanted to cry it hurt so bad.

Treadmill Speed Workout

The mile repeat pace was VERY TOUGH for me.  I was hurting and was SO glad when it was over.  I finished with about 10 minutes to stretch and set up for class.

I love going to other instructors Group Power classes for a lot of reasons.  One is that I like being able to go heavier on my weight factor than what I teach at and REALLY challenge myself.  When I am teaching, I of course am challenged, I have to present a weight factor that is motivating to all my participants, however, when I teach, it’s not MY workout, it is THEIRS and they are my focus throughout the entire class.  I have to be motivating and constantly think of ways to inspire and keep them engaged with the workout.  With that said, going to other’s classes allows me to get in the zone because I am not worried about coaching.  However, my most favorite part about going to other’s classes is because we all have very different styles of teaching.  When I can observe others teaching, often I can pick up some new cues or am reminded of tracks that I haven’t taught in a while that I want to incorporate in my own class. I am a big believer that we learn the most from our peers and observing other instructors makes me a better instructor.

Today I took class with a newer instructor who actually used to be a regular participant in my classes when I first started teaching at a small little gym back in 2007.  I chose this class specifically because I had not seen her teach before and it was a great opportunity for me to try out a new instructor and see a different style.  I really enjoyed her class.  Her style is much different than mine, so it was a nice change of pace.  Overall, it was a great class and I’m really happy I was able to attend.

After the gym, I ran home, showered and set out to the mall to get a little Christmas shopping done.  I have taken the week of Thanksgiving off of work for the past 7 years, using this time to get the majority of my shopping done before everyone else swarms the malls in December.  For some reason, the holiday season snuck up on me and I have not gotten a single bit of Christmas shopping done!

My trip was successful in that I got a few really cute outfits for Ashton.  I still have a ton to do, so I hope I can get it together over the next few days and put a dent in my list.  Wish me luck!

I hope your Monday is off to a great start!

 

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Questions of the day

What did you do for a workout today?

Do you get your holiday shopping done in advance or do you wait until the last minute?

My 2013 Runner’s Gift Guide

Every year around this time, family and friends start asking me what I want for Christmas.  I always have to take a pause and think really hard about that because I am the type of person who just goes out and buys everything I want when I decide I really want something. However, I have promised that between now and Christmas, if I mention that there is something in particular I want, I will not go out and buy it (I am notorious for this…and I am sorry!)  So, I thought long and hard about the things I want  and of course, 90% of were running related.  Since most people like to buy gifts that people will use right away, my list includes things that can either be used year round or during the Winter (assuming you live in a cold weather climate).  Here is  my runner’s gift guide of 2013!

sara gift list 20131Tifosi Optics Core Sun Glasses 

Squnting while running is not ideal, so having a solid pair of sunglasses protects your eyes from the sun, wind, etc.  Things that are important to me when buying sunglasses are a good fit (I can’t stand having to readjust anything while I run), polycarbonate lenses, and 100% UVA and UVB protection.  These sun glasses fit those criteria, were reasonably priced (under $50) and had great reviews.

2: Brooks Defyance 6 Shoes

These are my favorite running shoes.  They are so comfortable and when I put them on, I feel like I am walking on air.  I am going to need a new pair come early January as I start my Spring marathon training so I’d love to get a pair for Christmas.

3: Feetures! Elite Light Cushion No Show Tab Socks

Having the right socks when you are running is critical and these socks come VERY highly rated and reviewed.  They have targeted support and cushioning,  iWick fibers to keep feet dry and odor-free, anatomical right and left foot design to eliminate blisters and no toe seam.  Plus, they come in a bunch of fun colors, so you don’t have to pick your normal white, grey or black if  you want something more vibrant.

4: Tiger Tail

There is nothing more important pre and post run than ensuring your muscles are stretched and relaxed.  While  foam rollers are great, they are a bit too bulky to throw in a bag when you head to the gym or are travelling and sometimes the foam roller just can’t get deep enough into the muscle.  This tiger tail will help perform deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy and it’s small enough to carry around in your bag.

5: North Face Women’s ETip Pamir Windstopper Glove                                                                                                                                           

For anyone living in a cold weather climate, running outdoors in the Winter can be brutal, so it’s important to have everything covered up against the elements.  Breathable gloves that can handle cold and wind plus a X Static fingertip so you can accurately operate your phone or MP3 payer?  SCORE!

6: Under Armour Women’s ColdGear 3.0 Baselayer Pants                                                                                                                           

Layering is critical to successful Winter running and Under Armour hasn’t failed me yet with their cold gear line.  These base layer pants provide maximum warmth for extreme cold conditions. They have a soft, moisture-wicking interior that helps to regulate your core temp, anti-odor technology to prevent the growth of odor-causing microbes to keep your leggings fresher, longer and ergonomic seam placement to prevent the dreaded chafing.

 

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Question of the day

What is missing from the list above?  Tell me some of your “must haves” or wants this coming holiday!

EXCITING NEWS!

I have some really exciting news.  Yesterday I was accepted as a Sweat Pink Ambassador!

sweat pinkpng

I am SO incredibly happy to be a part of this community whose mission speaks directly to me:

“We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we’re also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too. We’re all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We’re all for looking great and feeling even better. We’re committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick.”
This community is comprised of AMAZING women who love fitness as much as I do and who work out hard because they believe in sweating hard and being the very best they can be!  These are definitely the kind of women I love to surround myself with and that is the purpose of this blog.  I want to motivate people to live their best life, to be healthy and fit while enjoying all of what life has to offer.  What’s not to love about that, right?

If you are interested in learning more about this great group,  check out Fit Approach!

I am off to “SWEAT PINK!”  Have a great weekend!

 

Things I’m loving IV

Hi!!  I cannot believe another week has flown by!  I am actually really excited because as of 3:00 p.m. today, I am on vacation until December 2nd!!  I always take the whole week of Thanksgiving off to get ready for the holidays, do my Christmas shopping and just decompress.  I am really excited to hopefully sleep in until 6 a.m. and work out during the day instead of the crack of dawn!

Anyways, here we are back at Friday, which means it’s time for Things I’m loving!

 

red velvet yankee candleI’ve never been a big candle person.  Do I like them?  Sure, but I don’t think, oh man, I wish I had a candle to light!  Well, that has all changed.  The past week, Robyn has been lighting this candle we received as a gift and I have to say, I am LOVING it.  It  fills our house with such a wonderful aroma, it’s incredible.  I actually wish we didn’t have to blow it out at the end of the night, it’s THAT good.

 

urban decay naked paletteI am pretty simple when it comes to hair and beauty products.  I have been wearing the same color eyeshadow since I started wearing make-up at like 15 years old.  I don’t know how to apply make up correctly, which is why I have only ever worn one basic color eye shadow, some mascara and called it a day.  However, lately, I have tried to expand my skill set.  My niece is a make up maven and told me I HAD to get this Urban Decay Naked Palette and that it would change my life.  Well, after reading about it for a few months, I picked my niece up one weekend and drove to Sephora to buy this palette.  After watching a dozen YouTube videos on how to use the colors in it and how to properly apply the make up, I have to say, this is one of the best beauty purchases I have ever made!  It definitely makes such a huge difference in the way I look and I love it!

the voiceThis show makes me SO happy! I mean, how can you not love listing to people battle out for a chance to do what they are passionate about?  It is so inspiring!  One of the talents I wish I had was a good singing voice.  I am always in awe at what amazing singers they are on this show.   I also love that I am always finding new songs that I haven’t heard before to add to my playlists.

lucky bootsIt’s Fall here in Boston so I pulled out my favorite boots that I bought last year.  These boots are so incredibly comfortable and look great with jeans or a skirt/dress.  There is something about riding boots that just makes me feet cozy!

Spotify_logo_vertical_whiteThis little green icon on my desktop brings me happiness every. single. day.  Whenever I am in my office at work, I have Spotify playing.  Currently playing…Bomshel.  This duo is awesome, check em out!

 

Past Things I’m Loving Friday posts:

 October 25

November 8

November 15

 

Have an awesome rest of your day and weekend!!

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Question of the day

Join along, what are you loving right now?

 

Linked in to The Fitness Fridays link up on Running Bloggers.

29 degrees and coming a long way

GOOD MORNING!  It’s almost the weekend and that means I am on vacation all next week!  Can you tell I am a little excited?? 🙂  It was really cold out this morning.  When I started my run, it was only 29 degrees!  When I first got outside, I was FREEZING, but surprisingly by the time I hit the 1/2 mile mark, I felt pretty warm.  I think I may have figured out the right layering system for my winter runs.  My goal this morning was to run at a comfortable pace, nothing too crazy since my hamstrings were a little tight and I have to teach Group Power tonight.  I was able to quickly hit a nice groove and was able to keep all my miles in the 8’s.  I never thought I would say that I went out for an easy run and was running in the 8’s.

nov 21 runI covered a little over 5 miles at an 8:38 pace.  Not too shabby.  I’ve only been running for 3 years, but when I started running, I was running at a 10 minute pace and that felt HARD.  So, for me to be running in the 8’s and feeling good is amazing to me.  It just goes to show you that consistency is the key to improvements.

successWhile I know I will never be super speedy or crush race records, I am REALLY proud of how far I have come in such a small amount of time and that is good enough for me.  The most important thing for me is to always try to improve myself, in fitness and in all aspects of my life.  If I can do that, than I will be happy and feel successful!

 

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Question of the day

How have you improved yourself (physically or otherwise) over the past few months/years?