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Dec 042015
 

Woohoo – we made it to Friday! Who’s ready for the weekend? Me, me, me! 🙂

I had some great workouts this week – some new and some not – so I thought today we could take a look back at them. Ready? Here we go!

Monday

To be honest, Monday’s workout was a total blur for me. I took a 6:00 am cycling class at one of my favorite studios – Biker Barre – and I think I may have been half asleep. Waking up that early after a long weekend was really tough, but I’m so glad I did it.

Recycled photo – it was definitely dark out when I got there this week!

Like usual, the class was up-beat with awesome music, and I got to just zone out on my bike. I left dripping in sweat and in a great mood, and I reconfirmed that I love starting off the week with a good spin class. It’s so nice that you don’t have to think too much, and you can just sweat your weekend out to some amazing music. 🙂

Tuesday

On Tuesday evening, I took a new-to-me yoga class at Sculpt DC. (I’ve taken their bootcamp-style yoga before and their spin class, but never their regular yoga.)

The best part was that this guy came with me!

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As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Fabio’s job had a “MOVEmber” initiative during the month of November where they offered a bunch of free fitness classes to employees. To wrap up the month-long initiative they had a free yoga class at Sculpt DC for employees and friends (i.e., me!).

The class itself was your basic yoga class, and it felt so good to stretch out!

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It’s actually been quite a while since I’ve taken a good yoga class, and since Sculpt DC is on ClassPass I’m thinking I’ll have to make my way over there for yoga more often.

Here’s the whole class, which includes a bunch of people from Fabio’s company. Thanks to this crew for letting me join their class!

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Side note: It was really funny to hear all the guys talking about the yoga class afterwords; they LOVED the savasana and also thought the class was way too hot for not being a “hot yoga” class. Haha! Apparently the group also took a barre class at some point during MOVEmber, and I totally would have paid money to see/hear their reactions!

Wednesday

On Wednesday evening, I took another yoga class, but this time it was more of a yoga bootcamp at Flow Yoga in Logan Circle. The class, called Flow Fit, was somewhat similar to my favorite Sculpt class at CorePower Yoga, but it included a lot more circuit exercises and a lot less yoga. In fact, the only thing really yoga related in the class was that we were in a yoga studio and working out barefoot on yoga mats. I don’t think we did one child’s pose, downward dog, or warrior one, two, or three. Instead we worked a lot with dumbbells and resistance bands, and completed a bunch of body-weight exercises.

Since I had just done yoga the night before I was totally fine with/happy about the style of this class, but I think I would have been disappointed if I was looking forward to a real yoga class. Either way, the style of the class was a lot of fun and I can definitely see myself going back.

(Sorry for the lack of pictures for this class, BTW. I wound up getting there a few minutes late and had to lay my mat in the middle of the room instead of along the sides like everyone else. Meaning everyone was staring at me I was right in front of everyone. Welcome to my worst nightmare, which was 100% my fault. UGH. Hence, no sneaky pictures of the studio were possible.)

Thursday

Yesterday morning, I joined my friends Anne and Kathleen for another killer workout at Urban Athletic Club. How festive are their Christmas lights along the workout board?

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I know I say this every week, but these classes continue to be among my favorites – they are just so tough! Our instructor for the day, Teisha, led us through a butt-kicking workout that involved shuffle drills on the turf, plank walks on the TRX, deadlifts, lunges, goblet squats, and much more. Her workouts are so challenging, but the variety and constantly changing movements makes the class fly by. If you are in the DC area and haven’t checked out these classes yet, you’re missing out!

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Anne & Kathleen 🙂

Overall I’d say this week was pretty successful in terms of workouts. I’m not planning to do too much real exercising over the weekend, but I know I’ll be walking all over NYC tomorrow so that will be a pretty active rest day.

Question of the day: How many times a week do you usually work out?

I usually aim for four “real” workouts each week, and then I try to include some active rest days. Sometimes I only get in three workouts though, and that’s ok too!

 Posted by on December 4, 2015
Dec 032015
 

Hello, hello! Happy Thursday to you. 🙂 I have a bunch of random tidbits to share with you guys today, so I thought I would just list them all out for you. Ready? Here we go!

1. Remember on Sunday when my Christmas tree looked like this?

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Well, when I came home on Monday evening after a cold and dreary (miserable) day, I opened the door to my apartment to see this.

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Nooooo!

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In the past, Fabio and I always put up a fake Christmas tree, but when we moved to our new apartment without a storage unit, we figured it was time to ditch the fake tree and try out the real thing.

Our new tree stand said it could hold a tree up to six feet, so when we bought our tree at Costco (for $30!), that’s exactly what size we asked for. I guess the one we got was a little taller than 6 feet because it wasn’t very secure, and after just one day with Jack, it went tumbling over. Ugh.

After spending about an hour fixing the stupid tree on Monday night, we wound up driving to Home Depot (in the rain) and getting a bigger stand to be safe. Hopefully now it should be secure, even with a wagging tail from Jack. Fingers crossed!

2. I’ve been enjoying the best salads with Thanksgiving leftovers this week!

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These bad boys are complete with a mix of greens, feta cheese, turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce (as dressing). I figure the stuffing is pretty close to croutons anyway, and the cranberry sauce makes a really tasty dressing. Yum! Definitely try this if you have any more Thanksgiving leftovers. I’ll be so sad when all my leftovers are gone and I can’t make this salad anymore!

3. We’ve also had some really delicious dinners this week, including turkey soup (perfect for more Thanksgiving leftovers!) and a NY strip steak! Fabio has seriously perfected steak cooking, and mine was perfectly medium-rare. So good! (Jack thought so too.)

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On the side we had more stuffing (because why not), roasted potatoes with thyme, and a huge pile of green beans. This plate of food was gigantic and I was only able to make it halfway through everything, but it sure was good!

4. Guys – I’m finished with my Invisalign! Yesterday I headed back to Alex’s office (Fabio’s brother-in-law and my Invisalign dentist!) to have the little attachments on my teeth removed and get my retainers ordered.

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Bye bye, Invisalign!

If you are even somewhat considering getting Invisalign I would totally recommend it; the process was so easy for me and since I only had to do nine steps, I qualified for Invisalign Express which was faster and cheaper. Win! After just about four and a half months, my teeth are straight again! Woohoo!

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I’m so happy with how they turned out, and I can’t thank Alex enough for working with me on them. 😀

5. I am loving all things holiday right now (who isn’t?!) and I was especially happy last night when I saw that the Grinch was on TV – and not the Jim Carrey version but the original cartoon.

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It’s one of my favorite movies, and it brings back memories of watching it with my mom while eating festive green snicker doodle cookies as a kid. 🙂

I’m also heading up to NYC this weekend to see some of my friends, and I’m so excited for all the holiday activities we are going to partake in! In addition to seeing the Rockefeller Christmas tree (which now seems to be a bit of a yearly tradition?) we are finally going to Rolf’s, the bar that decorates like crazy around the holidays. I’ve been wanting to go there for years, so I can’t wait!

Think I should wear my Christmas vest??

Yes? Cool.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

 Posted by on December 3, 2015
Dec 012015
 

Hi there! As I mentioned yesterday, sides are my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Turkey is tasty and all, especially when drizzled with gravy, but I can never get enough of the sides! My favorite side of all has got to be the stuffing. I don’t know why we only ever eat stuffing on Thanksgiving; who says we can’t eat it year round? I think we should change this.

Before Thanksgiving, I was contacted by the folks at Jones Dairy Farm who asked if I would be interested in an ongoing partnership, part of which would allow me to use some of their products to make one of these delicious stuffing recipes. Their email came right around the time I was making my Thanksgiving plan, so it was perfect timing! After browsing lots of delicious stuffing recipes like butternut squash stuffing, smoky jalepeno and corn bread stuffing, and brussels sprouts and bacon stuffing, I decided on this more traditional recipe: sausage, cranberry, and apple stuffing.

Yum! Once I told the folks at Jones Dairy Farm which recipe I wanted, they mailed me everything I would need to make the recipe (minus the wine, chicken broth and fresh herbs, for shipping reasons). Check out the size of the package!

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I loved that they sent me everything I would need, even down to the butter. They thought of everything! It reminded me a bit of Blue Apron, actually.

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You know what I loved even more? The ingredient list on the sausage: pork, water, salt, and spices. That’s it.

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In fact, one of the main reasons I was excited to work with Jones Dairy Farm is that their products are made with only premium ingredients and contain no fillers, binders, preservatives, allergens or MSG. They’re also certified gluten free and sponsor the Celiac Disease Foundation, for those who have gluten concerns. I typically try to limit my intake of processed meats because you just don’t know what the heck is in those products, but I was so happy to see that products from Jones Dairy Farm are completely natural.

Once I had the ingredients, it was time to get cooking! I started by chopping everything in advance – including the shallots, nuts, and herbs – and made sure to cube and toast the sourdough bread ahead of time. Yummm – I definitely snacked a bit on the bread while I made this. 😉

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Then on Friday morning (the day that we ate at my apartment) I cooked up the sausage and then the shallots and herbs.

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Easy peasy!

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Then I mixed everything together, topped the mixture with a reduction of chicken stock, butter, and wine, and threw some eggs in. I covered the stuffing with tin foil and baked it for 40 minutes, and then when the turkey had about 15 minutes left I threw it back into the oven – uncovered this time – to crisp up. And voila! Delicious sourdough, sausage, cranberry, apple stuffing! 🙂

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You can find the full recipe with measurements and more detailed instructions here.

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Overall the stuffing was a huge hit, and everyone gobbled it right up. I also loved telling everyone that the sausage was all natural with only four ingredients; it made me feel good to serve my guests food that I can support.

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This recipe also made a ton of leftovers, and after sending some off with my guests, I still had enough leftover that I’ve been adding it to my salads this week. What? It’s basically the same as croutons! 😉

Question of the day: What kind of stuffing do you make? Do you stuff it in your turkey or bake it separately? Do you call it dressing if you don’t put it in your turkey? I personally don’t, but I know some people do!

 Posted by on December 1, 2015