A healthy dose of bizarre-ness

I burn stuff all the time.  Just the other day I forgot about a pan of vegetables I had roasting in the oven and 75% of them were then inedible.  I wish the face of Jesus was imprinted on the burnt ashes like this guy‘s.  Crazy.

Coffee that you inhale?  Yes someone invented that.  Call me crazy but I prefer to drink a mug or a tall iced any day.  Would you try it?

I probably watched about 5 minutes total of the Winter Olympics, but I did come across a pic of Shaun White at an Oscar party, and so began the hair envy.  Our curls are actually similar but his look so healthy, shiny, and frizz-free without looking like there’s a ton of product on it.  A quick google search tells me I’m not the only one curious about his hair products, but everything I’ve found says the same thing, he just uses nothing but water.  SO NOT FAIR.  Guys always have it easy.  I like to think he just doesn’t want to spill his secrets.

Winter Beauty Woes

The time has come for me, as I’m sure that it has for a lot of people, where I am just so over winter.  Enjoying a week in 60-something degree weather in LA for a week and coming home to a few gorgeous spring-like days (a mean trick mother nature!) and now back to cold has me seriously hankering for summer.

I’m also over dealing with the havoc the cold air outside combined with the hot air inside does with my skin.  Although my skin is combo towards oily, I much prefer the hot humid weather over the cold weather.

I’ve already expressed my love of Lush Lip Service lip balm and Aquaphor, but there are a few other non lip products that I’ve used (and loved) for a while now.

And so a list of tried and true BeautyandtheBeef tested products I love to help battle winter skin.

For face:

Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief

Fantastic alone or for super dry skin under another moisturizer.

Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Sensitive Skin Creme

I use this around my eyes and on dry spots/flaky patches.

Dessert Essence Jojoba Oil

I saved the best for last.  I LOVE jojoba oil and have been using it for years.  Use it on your face at night over treatment products or mix a drop with your regular moisturizer for added moisture.  These are just a couple of the many uses of jojoba oil.

For body:

Curel Ultra Healing Intensive Moisture Lotion

Great for daily use.  Enough said.

AmLactin Moisturizing lotion

Spectacular for exfoliating.  Use it on your whole body for ultra-soft skin.  Also especially good for elbows, feet, and dry, rough patches.

Getting back in the groove

Well I’m back from sunny California and trying to get back in the swing of things!  I always have a such a hard time coming back from a vacation, especially from places as nice as this:

Los Olivos, CA

my first time wine-tasting, Santa Barbara county

These pictures were actually from my last trip back in October, I haven’t uploaded my new pictures yet and plan on doing a recap post, but you get the picture.  Plus I wanted to at least include a couple of pictures in this boring post!

Coming home to NJ after that is sad!  At least I came back to gorgeous weather here but unfortunately starting tomorrow it will be raining for 3 days straight!

I’ve been trying to get back into my workout routine/good eating habit  since I’ve been back.  I didn’t go to the gym at all while I was away (I never do), but I did do lots of other fun fitness activities.  My eating wasn’t that bad, not great, but not as awful as I sometimes let myself be when on vacation.  I did good about sticking to my no-wheat rule until the last 3 days, then it was downhill.  Too many delicious bread options when going out to dinner.  All in all I think I did pretty well, it’s not that I ate TON, but I ate out everyday which isn’t great.  The good news is that I didn’t get a sinus infection while I was gone, even after eating all that wheat.  I was very stuffy/congested the whole time, but I was like that before I even left, but never got SICK.  I thank Mucinex, Nasaline, and vitamins for that!

I jumped right back into my workouts on Monday.  I didn’t have the next stage of NROLW workout sheet printed out so I decided to do a workout on my own.  I haven’t done this in SO LONG so it was actually kind of nice.

Monday’s (3/8/10) workout:

Squats-3 sets 8, 1st set 95 pounds, 2nd and 3rds, 115 pounds

Single-leg deadlifts-3 sets 8, 115 pounds

Dumbbell shoulder press-3 sets 8, 20 pounds

Seated row-3 sets 8, 85 pounds

alternated with

Push-ups-3 sets 8

Straight arm cable pulldown-3 sets 8, 40 pounds

alternated with

Planks-3 sets 8, held for 60 seconds

Then I did what was basically one leg squats but where I literally sat down on a bench and then got up.  I did 3 sets 8 on each leg with 25 pounds.  I have no idea where I got the idea to do this, if they are even a real exercise, or what they are called!  If anyone knows please let me know!

I finished up with 20 minutes HIIT, doing 30 second sprints followed by 1 minute recoveries.

Tuesday (3/9/10) was an easy 15 minutes on the elliptical to kill time until my 45 minute spin class.  I hadn’t taken spin in a couple of weeks so it was pretty tough but felt good at the same time.

Today’s (3/10/10) workout wound up being my own made up workout again since I haven’t had time (ahem and also forgot) to make my workout log.  Must do that for Friday.

Plie squats-3 sets 8, 95 pounds

Step-ups, 3 sets 8, 50 pounds

alternated with

T push-ups, 4 sets 10 (2 sets narrow, 2 sets wide)

Stability ball against wall squats-3 sets 10, 50 pounds

alternated with

Front and lateral shoulder raises-3 sets 10, 10 pounds

Wide grip lat pulldown-3 sets 8, 75 pounds

alternated with

Bicycle crunch, 3 sets 8

2 rounds of 10 x-crunches, 10 pikes, and 10 oblique crunches on a stability ball

I ended with 20 minutes on the elliptical.

Another thing I forgot is my gloves.  I took them out to wash and totally forgot to put them back in my bag.  That’s why my workout didn’t include a lot of having to really hold a heavy weight.  I need to stop being so forgetful!

I also got back to tracking my food intake (calories/macros) on Monday and have been doing well with that.  I know, I know it’s only been 3 days but I find it so hard to get back into things after vacation!

I really don’t know if I gained while I was away because I didn’t weigh myself right before I left and don’t plan on weighing again for at least a couple of weeks but I definitely am feeling bloated.

What are your eating habits like when you travel?  Still stick to the healthy eating?  Healthy eating but include some treats?  Or a free-for-all?

Bon voyage NJ!

The NY/NJ area got hit hard by another snowstorm yesterday and today.  I shouldn’t complain because I got a  half day off yesterday and the whole day off from work today, but I am just so sick of the snow and winter!  My poor dog is sick of it too, he hates the snow, and it’s high enough that it’s hard for him to go out to go the the bathroom.

brutus braving the elements

Look at that face!  It’s a look of misery!

At least having off from work  gave me lots of time to pack and get ready to leave for my trip to LA tomorrow.  Hopefully my flight will not be delayed, but according to Continental.com my flight as of now is ON TIME.

My day started at the bright and early time of 11:30 am.  I cannot get my butt out of bed early on days I don’t have to work.  So that means weekends and snowdays I sleep in.  I’ve been working full-time 9-5 for 5 years now and I still am not used to getting up early.  I mean I’ll wake up early on a day I have off but have no problem rolling over and going back to bed for another few hours.

I usually wind up getting up when my dog wakes me up or when I wake up and am hungry.  Today it was because I was hungry.  Brutus was cuddling next to me sleeping and I actually didn’t want to get up because he looked so peaceful!  Once I started moving he got up so it was time to prepare my breakfast.  I had my usual non-work morning breakfast of quinoa flakes but I switched it up a bit this time.  Instead of doing the usual banana/peanut butter combo, I opted for blueberries and apples made into a sort of apple pie filling.  I just chopped up some apple and cooked it on low heat with a little bit of water, cinnamon, and 3 tsp. brown sugar.  While that simmered I cooked the quinoa and added some f rozen blueberries to it along with a tbsp. of flax meal and, half a scoop of vanilla protein powder, and some more cinnamon.  When everything was done I just topped the quinoa with the cooked apples.  It was SO GOOD.  Tasted like apple pie with blueberries mixed in.  I’ll definitely have this combo again.

there are blueberries under there

Once I digested that along with some decaf coffee, I forced myself to do Jillian Michael’s No More Trouble Zones.  I had to force myself because I was feeling a little crappy, that I may or may not be getting sick feeling.  More about that in a second.  But I knew that this would be my last real workout until I got back from California.  While I do plan on doing physical activities like hiking and biking while I’m there, I’m 99% sure I will not be going to the gym.  So No More Trouble Zones it was.  This was tough even the 2nd time around, and I’m still surprised that this workout is as hard as it is!

Back to the fact that I may or may not be getting sick.  I’ve had that post-nasal drip/scratchy throat feeling for the past couple of days.  When this happens I start my arsenal of Mucinex/nasal irrigation/tons of vitamins to ward it off.  Usually it helps, but I am nervous that traveling is going to turn this into a full on sinus infection.  I really, really hope this doesn’t happen because I’ve gotten sick the last 2 times I’ve gone to California.  The first time I got the flu the 2nd to last day I was there and the 2nd time I got a raging sinus infection.  Hopefully this time I will stay healthy the whole trip!

The rest of the day was spent doing laundry, packing, and beauty preparations.  I took a nice long shower where I did a deep conditioning treatment, a face scrub/mask, a body scrub, and shaved my legs.  I don’t even remember the last time I shaved my legs before today, that’s single life for ya!  I also gave myself a pedicure and manicure (I’m actually in the middle of the mani as I finish this post, it’s all about multi-tasking).

What products did I use you ask?  The conditioning treatment was Philip B. Light Weight Deep-Conditioning Creme Rinse.  Highly recommend this if you like a lighter conditioner.  I have thin hair and not a lot of it so this is perfect for me.  I found this for cheap at Marshall’s though so not sure if I’ll cough up the money and pay full-price for this.  I tend to cheap out on hair products since I go through them so quickly.

The face scrub/mask and body scrubs are super cheap though!  The face scrub/mask was just sugar and honey, gently rubbed on and left on for awhile to let the honey work it’s magic.  Honey is wonderful for your skin, it has anti-bacterial properties so it is good for acne but is also hydrating.  I LOVE doing honey masks.  The body scrub was…again sugar and honey but also included olive oil.  Simply add the 3 together, add a bit of water once you’re in the shower to get it to mix and scrub away.  I promise your skin will be baby soft afterward.

Well I’m off to LA tomorrow to get in some much needed sun and stalk celebrities!  I’m only half serious about the stalking part.   I’ll try to post while I’m there but if not I’ll be sure to recap the trip when I get back!

Stress, finishing Stage 5 NROLW, and easy eats

So for the past few weeks I’ve been under a tremendous amount of stress.  Thankfully I leave Saturday for what I’m hoping will be a warm(-er than here) and sunny trip to California!  It’s a good thing I don’t leave tomorrow or Friday because a big storm (s?)is supposed to be hitting the northeast again.  Hopefully my flight won’t be too delayed, but I’m suspecting it will be at least a little.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

So what have I been doing to deal with the stress in my life?  Working out and Bach’s Rescue Remedy.  It’s already known by many people what a good workout can do for stress.  It really is pretty miraculous.  Even if it’s the kind of stress that comes back soon after leaving the gym (this is what I was dealing with), at least during the workout you should feel better.  This is how it has been for me for the last few weeks.  I would really look forward to my workouts because this was the one time of day where I knew I would be feeling some relief.  I also find that working out regularly really does give a better nights sleep.  Nothing like knocking yourself out with a good workout.

A nice little product I find helpful is Bach’s Rescue Remedy.  I used this years ago and then kind of forgot about it.  I picked some up recently one day when I was this close to start to pull my hair out.  OK not really but it was a rough day.  It really does work.  Is it like popping a Xanax?  No, but it does take the edge off.

Onto some workouts…I finished Stage 5 of The New Rules of Lifting for Women on Monday.  Stage 5 was not my favorite stage, with the 4 sets of 4 reps scheme which was totally new to me, but I got through it.  I found it hard to find a weight that was heavy enough to feel fatigued at only 4 reps without it being too heavy to actually be able to do the move with the proper form.  Hopefully I worked hard enough in this stage to gain some strength.  My last stage 5 workout went like this:

Deadlift 4 sets 4, 125 pounds

Barbell bent over row, 4 sets 4, 95 pounds (Note-according to the book you should do a combo deadlift bent over row, but I found the deadlifts not hard enough with the weight I needed to row, hence I separated the two).

Partial-single-leg squat, 4 sets 4, 95 pounds

Wide-grip lat pulldown, 4 sets 4, 90 pounds

Back extension, 4 sets 10, 25 pounds

YTWL, 4 sets 4, 8 pounds

Alternating

Swiss-ball crunch, 4 sets 8, 25 pounds

Pike on ball-4 sets 8

Oblique crunch on ball-4 sets 8

Own set-prone cobra, 1st and 2nd sets held 90 seconds, 3rd set held 70 seconds

15 min HIIT on the elliptical

Another thing I should add about this stage is that I did most of the exercise sets on their own instead of alternating sets like it says too in the book.  The way the exercises are laid out it was just not possible for me to alternate the sets.  For example the partial single-leg squat and the wide-grip lat pulldown…I needed the squat rack for the squats and it’s just not feasible to go back and forth between the squat rack and the pulldown machine because they are on opposite ends of the gym and someone would inevitably take the rack/pulldown while I wasn’t there.  So I made do and still think I got some good workouts in.

Yesterday I skipped spin because there a sub teacher I’m not crazy about and braved the stepmill again for 20 minutes and finished with 20 minutes on the elliptical.  I didn’t get to the gym today because of a Dr. appointment so if I’m not snowed in tomorrow will get a lifting session in.  I’d like to get a good lifting session in before I leave on Saturday!

I made a couple of simple, easy, yet tasty things over the weekend to have to eat this week.  First was the turkey and zucchini skillet to which I added chopped red peppes and of course topped with parmesan cheese.

Then I made some sauteed cabbage with turkey bacon.

I just sauteed about a quarter onion and chopped garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil, then added 6 slices turkey bacon, let that cook for a few then added half a head of sliced/chopped cabbage.  Just keep stirring until cooked, voila!

sauteed cabbage with turkey bacon, simple and yum

Next up is something so ridiculously easy made with basically one ingredient.  Broccoli.  Made into soup by blending it with the water you boil it in.  Add salt and pepper to taste…and for me parmesan cheese and it’s ready.  The actual recipe and ideas for other add-ons can be found  here.

Step 1-boil broccoli

Step 2-blend

Step 3-top with parmesan and eat

Let me just say that you definitely have to add salt to this, if not it’s very bland.  I’d like to experiment with making this with maybe some chicken broth instead of plain water to see how it tastes then.  But this is surprisingly good for being just broccoli and water!

Now I’m off to put on some inside-out pajamas in hopes for a snow day tomorrow!

Meatballs Shmeatballs

Let’s see if I can do a quick recap of what I’ve been doing workout wise.  Last week was a little different from what I’ve been doing because I only did  ONE NROLW workout.  That was not my original plan but with being snowed in one day and getting out of work super late another day that’s how it worked out.  I did do a lot more cardio then I usually do but I did enjoy it a lot more than usual.  I guess changing things up once in a while is a good thing!  I also tried 2 new things last week, the stairmill (I actually tried it once before a couple of years ago but didn’t do it for very long) and Jillian Michael’s No More Trouble Zones.

At first I thought the stairmill was easy peasy, but after a few minutes I could feel what all the fuss is about with this thing.  I did 20 minutes on level 7 and by the end I was so ready to get off that thing and was wishing I had only set it for 15 minutes.  I did it again this week and plan on adding this for some of my cardio.  The only problem is that there are only 3 of these in my gym and they are often taken, but I will grab it when I can.

Now…No More Trouble Zones…that Jillian is no joke.  Here I am thinking I’m pretty strong with my lifting and then I go and do this video with 5 pound weights and was dying.  I guess once I finish NROLW I need to start working on my muscle endurance.  I will do a proper review of this in the future but I’d like to do it a couple of more times before I do that.

slave driver

This week I was back to my NROLW workouts and did that M/W/F and cardio (combo of stairmill and elliptical) on Tuesday and Thursday.  I’ll only give the specifics about today’s lifting workout because the other ones are basically the same as this and the other ones I’ve been posting about.

Today’s workout:  NROLW Workout A5

One-armed dumbbell snatch-4 sets of 4, 25 pound dumbbells

Dumbbell single-leg Romanian deadlift-4 sets of 4, 30 pound dumbbells

Dumbbell-single arm overhead squat-4 sets of 4, 15 and 30 pound dumbbells

alternated with

Dumbbell incline bench press-1st set 4, 2nd and 3rd sets 5, 4th set 6, 30 pound dumbbells (I should have tried a heavier weight because I should have only been able to do 4)

Narrow seated row-4 sets of 4, 105 pounds

Plank-1st held for 90 seconds, 2nd for 70 seconds, and 3rd 60 seconds

Reverse wood chop-4 sets of 4, 15 pounds (I realized I was doing these wrong so had to lower my weight when I did them correctly)

Then it was the body-weight matrix which consists of 24 squats, 12 lunges on each leg, 12 lunge jumps on each leg, and 24 jump squats, repeated twice, which I find super hard.  I had to stop a bunch of times during each round BUT I did finish each round in a significantly shorter amount of time then I have in the past.  40 seconds to a minute shorter to be exact!  I don’t know how I pulled that off but I’m glad I did!

Food wise last week was great.  I went food shopping for the week and prepared lots of stuff to bring for lunch and to have for dinner.  And by lots I mean 3 things.  For me this is good!  I had planned on a treat meal or 2 for the weekend but I think I went a little too overboard with the chocolate and I wound up eating out twice when the plan was just once.

One meal worth mentioning was Saturdays late-night trip to  The Meatball Shop.  This was an end to a night out with my friends and I was starving because I didn’t eat a proper dinner.  NEVER a good idea before going out.  Technically this was Valentine’s day because it was at 3 am…what a better way for a bunch of single girls to celebrate Valentine’s day then with a bowl of meatballs?!?!  The Meatball Shop has a bunch of different kind of meatballs to choose from (beef, chicken, salmon, etc.) as well as your choice of sauce (tomato, parmesan cream, and a couple others).  Of course I chose the beef meatballs with tomato sauce.  I also ordered a side of roasted veggies, not knowing what kind of veggies they were, and was ecstatic when it was butternut squash-something I tried recently and love.  SO GOOD.  They also have ice cream sandwiches with your choice of freshly baked cookies and your choice of ice cream.  I had a bite of my friends and it was fantastic.  If you are in the area in NYC I totally recommend this place.

not my pic but what mine looked like sans the pasta

freshly made ice cream sandwich (also not my pic)

Speaking of Valentine’s Day check out the awesome package I received through Janetha’s Secret Bloggie Valentine!

goodies

Thank you Shannon for everything!  And thanks Janetha for setting everything up!

This week I’ve had a bit of a hard time keeping within my calorie range a couple of days.  PMS doesn’t help.  It also doesn’t help that I didn’t do my big food shopping trip over the weekend or prepare anything for the week so it’s always harder when I’m not prepared.  What is that saying…failing to prepare is preparing to fail?  SO TRUE.  Well I wouldn’t call myself a failure but didn’t eat as well as I would have liked and didn’t eat as many veggies as I would have liked but still did pretty OK.

Snow day!

Finally!  A storm that was not on a weekend!  I think it’s safe to say I’m snowed in.

snow day!

There’s only about 6 inches on the ground right now but it started to snow again and we could get up to another foot!  Luckily my job sent out an alert last night that we would be closed today so I could go to bed without wondering if I was going to have work or not.

I figure now is a good time to post about some of the food I’ve been eating lately.  I’m not good at daily food posting like a lot of bloggers are!  For breakfast today (and my newest fave breakfast) was quinoa flakes with half banana cooked in with ground flax seeds/quarter scoop vanilla protein powder/cinnamon/almond butter.  Yes almond butter instead of peanut butter.  I’m doing a little experiment this week and eliminating peanuts to see if they affect my sinus issues.  They were one of the foods that my food allergy testing showed I was mildy allergic too but my Dr. said you would just know if you had a nut allergy.  I figure I’ll try eliminating them just to make sure.  My first taste of almond butter the other day left me less than impressed but it’s growing on me-sorta like the quinoa flakes did!  That happens to me a lot so I try to give foods a shot even if I don’t LOVE it at first.  And oddly enough this taste kind of like cashews to me.

cashews are you hiding in there?

That this almond butter is sweetened with organic unrefined cane sugar but with 3g per 2 tablespoons is that so bad?  I don’t know if I will ever like un-sweetened nut butters but I’m not going to make myself crazy over it.

I just had some lunch and it was a Jennie-O Lean Savory Seasoned turkey burger and healthified creamed spinach.  The turkey burgers are a total lifesaver sometimes and what I consider a convenience food.  Sometimes I want/need some protein as part of a meal but don’t really feel like making something.  OK maybe this is more like a lot of the time. These turkey burgers are actually really good because they are already seasoned and I just eat them with a bit of ketchup, no bun required.  They’re also great to “cook” ahead of time and eat cold (which is what I did today) and because of this are good to bring to work for lunch.  With 160 calories, 0g carbs, and 18 grams of protein I think they are a great find.

find them in your grocer's freezer

Now onto the healthified creamed spinach.  For this I tweaked a recipe that someone posted on a fitness board and I’ve been eating it a lot lately because it’s so good yet so easy.

For this you will need:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      about a 1/8 of an onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic (the garlic is a good addition but I’ve also made it without and it’s still yummy)

2-3 cups frozen spinach

2 Laughing Cow Light cheese wedges

milk

parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste

First I saute the onion and garlic in some cooking spray while defrosting the spinach in the microwave.

onions and garlic, my favorite

Once the onions are translucent I add the thawed spinach, Laughing cow wedges, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese (I like at least a tablespoon) and a little bit of milk.

mixing everything up

I just add a little bit of milk at a time to make a creamy consistency, you do not need a lot.  Then just sort of chop up the Laughing cow to break it up into smaller pieces so it will melt and mix everything together.  Add more milk if it looks too dry.  It’s not actually going to look that creamy but don’t worry it will taste creamy.

the final product

This makes 2 side dish servings or one large serving.

mmmm...lunch

I know that turkey burger doesn’t look too appetizing there but trust me it is!  That was half the spinach, but don’t be fooled, I then went back and ate the rest because I was still hungry.

must have been good!

Even my mother who is not a fan of a lot of the stuff I try out really likes this so give it a try!