The Blonde Behind The Blog: Current Favorites

June 27, 2014

I write often about my weight loss journey and all things health and fitness. I then write about my weekends and random things that happen in life. Since I do not really write anything else about me personally, I thought every now and then it would be fun to post a blog entry with random answered questions about me and my personality. If you have any questions you would like to ask, feel free to leave the below! I am kicking things off with a list of things that I consider my "favorites". One thing I did learn about myself while answering these questions is that I am a little boring, ha!

Now on to my giveaway. I believe that knowledge is power and if a person wants to be healthy and fit for the rest of their life, they need to LEARN about proper nutrition and exercise, not just rely on someone else to tell them what to do. When I first started my journey in 2008, purchasing health and fitness magazines were a stable for me. I was constantly cutting out recipes, informative articles, and exercises I wanted to try. These magazines offer a lot of good information. Thus I wanted to give some away! All of the magazines given away are from 2014. There will be 3 winners - each winner will receive 6 different magazines with the 1st place winner also receive the 2014 Women's Health Training Guide. The contest is open to all residents of the US and Canada, you must be 18 years old or older to enter. The contest will end Saturday, July 5th at midnight and the winners will be chosen at random via Random.org and will then be displayed via blog post on Wednesday, July 9th. 

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Clean Cake Batter Pancakes!

June 26, 2014

I received a special request from one of my best friends over the weekend to create a cleaner version of "cake batter" pancakes. I thought this sounded delicious so I immediately got to work. It was fairly simple to create, however, it is easy to mess up the taste. It was hard to keep the calorie count and carbohydrate count low because this recipe is two delicious, sweet things -- cake and pancakes. I made it work though!

A few things:
- I did not add protein powder to this, it made it too grainy. I would recommend having egg whites or lean turkey as a side for protein.
- I know I have seen low sugar cake mix on the market, I would opt for that if you can.
- The calorie count is a little higher than I would like it to be, however, the serving size is 3 pancakes and for 275 calories with 10g of protein, that isn't too bad.
- The recipe does not have that overly sweet, fake taste. That is what I enjoyed most.
- I did not add a glaze like you may see on other "cake batter pancake" recipes. It adds unnecessary calories and sugar; the pancakes are sweet enough. 
- If you want something "wet" on top, I would recommend a sugar free jam or fat and sugar free cool whip.

What you need:
   - 1/2 cup of oats
   - 1/2 cup of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
   - Dash of sugar and fat free pudding mix (for thickness)
   - 1 tablespoon of liquid Stevia or two packets of Stevia
   - 1 egg
   - 1 tablespoon of cake mix
   - 1 teaspoon of baking powder
   - 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)
   -1 tablespoon organic/sugar free sprinkles of choice [found at most health food grocers]

What you do:
   - Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until you have creamy, well blended batter
   - Coat skillet with nonstick spray
  - Cook via stovetop as you would a regular pancake. I kept the heat on 5-6 and it took about 8-9 minutes.

Nutrition Facts
This vary based upon different ingredents, specific brands, and portions used. This is to be used as a guide only
Serving size: 3 pancakes
Servings per mixture: 1
   -Calories: 275
   -Fat: 3g
   -Carbohydrates: 46g
   -Sugar: 10g
   -Fiber: 6g
   -Protein: 10g

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My Weekly Nutrition and Training Plan

June 25, 2014

The below nutrition plan is what I eat Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday during the day I still eat clean but will eat whatever is left over or what I have around my apartment. Two nights a week I have "treat" meals - whatever I choose. They are usually Saturday and Sunday night, but it does vary. I switch up my eating every week. I plan the week before what I want to have for meals, make the grocery list, and prep the food on Sunday's. A lot of times people will ask me if I get bored eating the same thing everyday. The answer is no. It is only 5 days a week that I eat the same thing. I eat to live - not live to eat. It took me a long time to come to that.  I also do this to save money. I live alone so I can't really cook tons of different things during the week because it's too expensive and will go bad. There are also ways you can switch up your eating day to day. Like my Quest Bars for instance; I eat a different flavor everyday, same with my yogurt. You can read here for meal prep ideas!

Total down (since 11/25/13):  55 pounds!

Meal 1 (7:15 AM)
1 egg, 1 egg white, spinach, and low fat cottage cheese all scrambled together, with a side of organic whole grain bread (the deli in my grocery store makes this fresh - it is so delicious).

Meal 2 (4 10:30 AM)

Meal 3 (1:15 PM)
4 oz. chicken breast cooked via stove top with Carolina Blackened seasoning, roasted zucchini (diced and cooked in the oven with extra virgin olive oil and garlic and wine seasoning), and a side of organic whole grain bread. 

Meal 4 (3:45 PM) 
1/4 cup of plain grits with 4 ingredient, organic turkey bacon

Gym 4:30-6PM

Meal 5 (6:30 PM) [Post workout]
1 scoop of smore's protein powder with 1 cup of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk and a 100 calorie pack of nuts.

Meal 6 (9 PM)
Homemade turkey meat loaf, roasted zucchini (diced and cooked in the oven with extra virgin olive oil and garlic and wine seasoning), and a side of organic whole grain bread.

Bed time 11PM
Sunday: (Rest)

Monday: (Weight Circuit + squats) - done!
-30 minutes of cardio: StairMill (80 SPM regular work and 70 SPM with skipping every other step, 60 SPM for resting work - alternating all 3 levels every 3-4 minutes. Rest work is only 1 minute)
-Weight Circuit:
   -Shoulders: 3 x 15
   -Back: 3 x 15
   -Biceps: 3 x 15
   -Chest: 3 x 15
   -Triceps: 3 x 15
-Back Squats (4 x 15. Two sets of 55 pounds and Two sets of 75 pounds)
-15 minutes cardio: Elliptical (Incline 9 and 12, Resistance 10)

Tuesday: (Core) - Missed.
Bad, bad day. I missed my workout and my derailed off my food plan some. It was a very defeated feeling day.

Wednesday: (Weights)
-30 minutes of cardio: StairMill (80 SPM regular work and 70 SPM with skipping every other step, 60 SPM for resting work - alternating all 3 levels every 3-4 minutes. Rest work is only 1 minute)
-Weight Circuit:
   -Shoulders: 3 x 15
   -Back: 3 x 15
   -Biceps: 3 x 15
   -Chest: 3 x 15
   -Triceps: 3 x 15
-15 minutes cardio: Elliptical (Incline 9 and 12, Resistance 10)

Thursday: (Core)
-20 minutes of high intensity interval training: Tredmill (Work: 3 minutes at 3.2 speed and 12 incline and rest 2 minutes at 3.4 speed and 0 incline. No holding onto the tredmill at all)
-10 minutes of cardio: Elliptical (Incline 9/10, Resistance 10)
- 3 sets of 45 second planks
- 3 sets of "Russian Twists" with a 10 pound weight plate
- 3 sets of 20 crunches
- 3 sets of 20 heel touches
- 3 sets of  10 elevated leg crunches
-10 minutes cardio: StairMill (5 minutes at 80 SPM and 5 minutes at 60 SPM. No holding onto machine)
Friday: (Weight Circuit + squats)
-30 minutes of cardio: StairMill (80 SPM regular work and 70 SPM with skipping every other step, 60 SPM for resting work - alternating all 3 levels every 3-4 minutes. Rest work is only 1 minute)
-Weight Circuit:
   -Shoulders: 3 x 15
   -Back: 3 x 15
   -Biceps: 3 x 15
   -Chest: 3 x 15
   -Triceps: 3 x 15
-Back Squats (4 x 15. Two sets of 55 pounds and Two sets of 75 pounds)
-15 minutes cardio: Elliptical (Incline 9 and 12, Resistance 10)

Saturday: (Hiking)
10 miles of hiking at Crowder's Mountain

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The Hump Day Blog Hop!

Happy Hump Day everyone! We are halfway through the week and the hump day camel is too freaking cool, so lets have some fun and a blog hop to celebrate.

This is a little different than a link up. To participate, simply add your blog link. There is no required entry or anything like that. This is about networking, making new friends, and finding new blogs.

All I ask:
1) "The Hump Day" blog hop button button be displayed anywhere on your blog page or a specific entry with a link back to me or the weekly co-host. (Please do this. These blog hops take a lot of work and preparation.)
2) You don't have to follow me, but in the words of Blake Shelton: it'd sure be cool if ya did.
3) Please follow the co-host. I love helping and promoting these amazing women in the blog world! I do this to not only meet new people, but help my friends make new friends and readers.
4) Mingle with your fellow Bloggers.

Image Map
The Hump Day Blog Hop

Please join me in welcoming this weeks co-host, the beautiful, sweet, amazing, kind, and most awesome girl in the whole wide world; Trace from "Hey Trace!"

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Leg Training 101 for Women

June 23, 2014

This post is brought to you by popular demand. You guys wanted it, so you guys get it. This is a follow up post to Weight Lifting 101 for Women. This post is of course essential, because what good is a muscular, toned upper body without sexy, sculpted legs to match? Today I listed some of my favorite leg exercises to do. I have always had big, muscular legs. It runs in my family and genetics definitely play apart. To add to that when I was growing up, I danced, did gymnastics, ran track, played volleyball, and was a cheerleader. All of those activities just added more muscle. I hated my legs and butt when I was younger. I constantly wore baggy shirts that were too big for me so they would cover up my butt since it stuck out so much. As I grew older, I learned to embrace it. Now, I love it. For me, legs are a fun group of muscles to push to the limits since they are the strongest part of my body. I know it is important to a LOT of women out there to sculpt beautiful legs, so I hope this post is a reference for you to rely on for ideas and education. 

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My Fun Girl's Weekend Recap!

June 22, 2014

It has been a really fun, nonstop weekend! I have talked about how busy work has been and the long hours I have been working, and the weekend was just the same, ha! There is no rest for the wicked... except for this upcoming one! I can't wait. 

My mom and sister-in-law arrived at my apartment around 3:30 PM on Friday. I was still working and then hit the gym for leg day! Friday's are my hard leg workouts so I couldn't miss it. I pushed hard and it felt great. 

After the gym I met my crazy girls at home so I could get ready. We then went to one of my favorite restaurants "Cantina 1511". Mama and Amber love Mexican food, so I wanted to show them my favorite spot that is authentic and fresh. We enjoyed our dinner and cocktails on the patio while a man sang and played the acoustic guitar. You can't beat that! I ordered my strawberry and mint Mojito, mom had Sangria, and Amber had a passion fruit Margarita. Mom of course had to get a shot of Fireball whiskey. I have created a monster, y'all. Homegirl loves her whiskey now. After dinner, we went to see "22 Jumpstreet". That movie was absolutely hilarious. I have not laughed that hard in a long time. It is a must see!

Saturday morning we slept in then spent the day shopping. Mama and Amber wanted to get some sexy new clothes for an evening out. With Mama being single and ready to mingle, we have to keep her looking good. We went a ton of places and had a lot of fun. I scored a cute new pair of heels, a strapless dress, and S'MORES FLAVORED protein powder! Yum! 

When we got back to the apartment after shopping, Amber and I were going to lay out by the pool for a while. However, it started to storm (of course). So she and my mom made a pizza and I took off to the gym! I did 45 minutes of cardio -- 25 on the StairMill and 20 on the Elliptical. I was so proud that I went - especially since it was a rest day. I did not want to be around pizza!  

We then took showers and got glam for another evening out. I wore my new sexy Corset top from Venus and I was ready to be a man-eater, ha! Kidding. I got cute pictures of mom and Amber, but they were not reciprocating. The pictures they took were hilarious. We could not get it right. 

Once we were ready, we went and ate Asian for dinner then took off to a local bar, "Bradshaw's Social House" for drinks and to mingle. I sipped on the best drink. I LOVED IT! It was Skinny girl cucumber vodka, club soda water, and fresh cucumbers. That may sound weird to some, but it was so light and refreshing. If and when I drink this summer, that will be my go-to drink. I HATE drinks that are made with syrup that is loaded with sugar, so this is a great alternative without a ton of calories and sugar. My mantra is all about balance. I say go out and enjoy yourself, but keep it as healthy and you can. Those little victories completely add up.

This morning mama and Amber left around 11. As soon as they walked out of the door, I got right to work. It was such  a productive day! I did 3 loads of laundry - including all of my sheets and bedding. I then went to Target and Earthfare for this weeks groceries. 

When I arrived back home, before I got to cleaning and food prep I tried out a new recipe. Last night, my best friend Anna asked me to try and create a cleaner version of "Cake Batter Pancakes". I loved the idea so last night at 2 AM when I was in bed, I was putting a list together of ingredients, comparing calories, and just being the little food scientist I am sometimes, ha! I think I developed it so I went and got the ingredients  today while doing my regular shopping. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner! I will be sharing the recipe Thursday.

Once my trial of cake batter pancakes were finished, I got knee deep into cleaning and food prep. Unfortunately I will have to go out and buy more chicken tomorrow, I did not realize how little I had left (oops!). I then got in a 40 minute plyometric full body workout -- my hot mess express!

Now I am off to soak in a bubble bath then cuddle on the couch to watch the rest of the last season of "True Blood" and then the new season starts 9! I am SO freaking excited but also really, really sad. True Blood is my absolute favorite show of all time. I have read and own all of the Sookie Stackhouse books AND all seasons of "True Blood". That show is literally my favorite of all time. I feel such a connection to Sookie and people tell me all of the time I look like her - I even have the gap in my teeth like she does. It breaks my heart to see this ending. Oh well, at least I will always have the books to read and seasons to watch.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week. I am ready to kick it in high gear, burn some fat, and work over this plateau. I was able to play a lot and let loose this weekend so now it's time be focused!

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Lets Chat: Lots of Things to Share!

June 19, 2014

Since I am a little rebel, I am posting my Friday 5 a tad early. I feel chatty so I'm going to go with it!

What a week. I hate how I feel so drained by Friday, but I have been a little busier than normal. I was back in my hometown this past weekend, and that was nonstop with visiting family. When I arrived back in town Monday, that was just as busy getting things done from being gone. To top things off, I have been working 10-11 hour days at work. My mom and sister-in-law are coming into town tomorrow to spend the weekend with me, maybe get into some trouble, and have a little fun. I really feel like I need a release -- something to recharge me so I am hungry to keep pushing hard on my journey. I am hopefully gong to let loose some this weekend and get back on the grind Monday. I will still hit the gym though, I can't miss my leg workout! Okay, so things I want to talk about:

I love my Ipsy bag this month! They are really doing a great job. It has to be the best $10 I spend every month. On the below picture I am wearing the Bombshell mascara, DD cream, and the amazing NYX lip gloss. I am telling you guys, NYX has completely won my loyalty. I am obsessed with their lip colors and styles. They are so affordable too. Also in the picture, I am wearing gold/brown eye shadow I received in March's Ipsy bag which is also by the Bombshell brand. I am happy that so many of the products I receive are getting good use. 

If you don't know what Ipsy is - it is a monthly makeup bag you receive via mail. It is only $10 a month and with that you get a makeup bag and 3-4 beauty products. You are billed on the first of every month and products arrive between the 10-15th! When you sign up, you get to customize your settings so you get products closely matched to your beauty preferences. If you want to join, please click here and use my link! I will appreciate it so much!

I received the #SurfsUpVoxBox from the awesome Influenster this week. I am enjoying the products and  it easy to write about since I will definitely be able to use everything included!

Smoothie Kit: I love smoothies, especially with the hot weather. That is when I crave them most. And it is a total win when you can make them in a healthy way. I can't wait to pick up my kit and get creative! 
After Sun Aloe: My sister-in-law and I will hopefully be having a pool day Saturday depending upon the weather. That aloe will definitely come in hand,y plus it smells great, which is always a plus.
Sinful colors nail polish: I do not wear a lot of yellow because I have never thought it looks that good on my skin tone. However, my mom has more Indian in her than I do, so I think it will look fabulous on her. We are getting pedicures tomorrow so I am going to let her use the polish.
First Aid Shot Therapy: Like I stated above, I want to cause a little trouble this weekend. I have a big feeling that bad boy may come in handy!
Covergirl Bombshell Curvaceous Mascara: Covergirl does it again -- but what else would you expect? I love how this mascara has two ends, plus the brushes are shorter, so you are able to pull on your lashes for extra length. One side is for volume and the other side for thickness.

Along with the awesome Covergirl mascara from Influenster, I have been using my beach spray that I received in my Ipsy bag. That has been a lifesaver for me this week with long hours at the office. The last thing I want to do in the morning is spend a lot of time on my hair. I spray and go with that product. Plus the smell reminds me so much of the beach. 

Gosh I just freaking love makeup and cosmetics!

You probably see a lot of #TBT (Throwback Thursday) pictures on social media. When I was home this past weekend, my mom gave me and old picture from when I was a toddler. I had completely forgotten about that picture, but still remember that day at my aunts pool. I thought it was hilarious so I wanted to share it!

One thing I love about my group of Blogging friends is that we are so supportive of one another. I have made so many friends and continue to make new ones on a daily basis. That being said, I have two sponsors this month that I would love to introduce you all too:

I am so happy to have found Trace. She has a heart of gold and is one of the sweetest women I have the pleasure of calling a friend. Plus I am all about a girl who loves her wine. Her blog is a lifestyle blog and it is very fun to follow along with her daily happenings. She is also working hard to get healthy. A lot of know how that is! Trace, you're doing an amazing job. A little more about her: I'm an ex-sorority girl, native Texan, former New Yorker, Gemini and lover of avocado margaritas, cooking, animals, GIFs, and proper spelling. I also enjoy using parentheses. By day, I work in digital marketing (these opinions are mine, by the way). I'm forever trying to lose weight while still loving to cook and eat things like fresh pasta, homemade bread, rich cheeses, and all of the wine in the land.

Tricia is a dear friend of mine with an awesome fitness blog. I'm a little jealous, but that's OK. She has a lot of recipes and workouts. Plus she has a lot of demonstration pictures to give a visual for different exercises -- which to me is better than someone simply typing how to do an exercise. She is gorgeous, so caring, and has the best sense of humor. To keep inspired, motivated, and up-to-date information in all things health, you should definitely follow Tricia! A little more about her: I love health and fitness.  The way the body works is absolutely amazing and I sometimes call it a “machine” because as long as it is given what it needs, it will give you what you need too. My favorite past time is dancing; music is great for the soul...and the thighs and legs! I continuously learn about the way the body functions and have been studying it for over a decade.  I seek ways to improve and how to overcome obstacles in the most natural way possible.

If you are interested in advertising, sponsoring, and/or anything in between click here! I am passionate about what I do, so let's make things happen together!
Since I have come into this plateau for a couple of weeks now, it makes it very easy to get discouraged and pessimistic about losing weight. Combine that with working a lot of extra hours, and it has been very hard to stay positive. Like I said earlier in the week, at least I am doing the best I can with everything going on. A couple of days ago I came across a picture of myself on my work computer. It was taken literally 3 days (November 22nd, 2013 not the 25th, I captioned it wrong) before I knew I had to start a new weight loss journey. This picture was my breaking point. I was utterly shocked at how big I was and how bad I had gotten. This picture was even taken very high up which is probably the most flattering angle a picture can be taken from. When I compare that picture to what I look like now, I know I am on the right path and making immense progress. And I will always keep pushing no matter how hard it gets. You literally just have to keep going, one healthy choice at a time.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Friday, the best weekend ever, and don't forget to link up and share your Friday things!

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