April round-up: Healthy eats, pregnancy workouts, and furry friends

After March flew by this month has been slightly more focused from a personal perspective. I have tried to spend more time getting inspired, getting motivated to claim what I want in life and take the steps to get there, and connecting with my ever changing body.

Here are a few things we’ve been enjoying, coveting, and anticipating over the last month.

Eats

I couldn't leave without a little baklava :)

I couldn’t leave without a little baklava 🙂

Step one to getting inspired always seems to revolve around food for me. Food and friendship, which naturally go hand-in-hand. That is why I was thrilled to meet up with a good friend at an old favorite I hadn’t been to in years. Gardens of Salonica in Minneapolis never fails to deliver. Over a shared sampler plate of melitzana, fava dip, salata, and patzaria and an entrée of makaronia kai souvlaki we caught up on life, laughed, and dreamed future travels.

Even though I’ve tried to slow the pace of life a little over the past month I do have days when all I have time for are small meals or snacks. I am also five months pregnant so noshing is sort of a must. Trying to keep it healthy I’ve been leaning on a few favorites: CoffeeBars, Nourish clusters, and dried pineapple from Nature Box (now available at Target!).

snacks

Getting Inspired

 Step two to getting and staying inspired is keeping up the activity level — even when I feel like sleeping all day. My growing belly and shifting center of gravity have made it time to make some slight adjustments to my workouts.

While still getting three-mile runs in I’ve had to slow my pace and remember not to push myself when Map my Run pops in to tell me I’ve taking more than 10 minutes to complete a mile.

Even though my abs don’t do quite what they use to I am still squeezing in ab work and weightlifting to maintain muscle tone and make delivery easier. A few places I’ve found some great tips on exercising while pregnant:

Parents Magazine  •  Girls Gone Strong

I’m always looking for different options to mix things up so if you know of any other sites please share!!!

Reads

While Minnesota can’t seem to decide what season we are in — is it spring or winter or maybe a day or two of summer – it is the perfect time to enjoy a good book. Since finishing my MBA in January I have tried to meet my goal of READING at least one book a month. So far, so good.

April’s book of choice was Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Amazing on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn by Dave Kerpen. I was hesitant to tackle this book because I had done a good job of staying away from business-oriented books since finishing grad school, but it is a passion so I jumped right in.

There are some great tidbits in Likeable Social Media and if you are new to marketing or tackling it from the small business perspective it would be worth a read. Actually, the overall message is something that all of us could be reminded of at a personal level when using social media – everyone on these platforms are humans and should be treated as such.

I have also picked up the audiobook habit again. I highly recommend checking your local library for audiobook app options to get your free fill. I’ve used One Click Digital for years through our local library and enjoyed some great books when I don’t have a tone of time to actually curl up with a good book. While working I’ve listened to two new books this month – Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.

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Our biggest news of this past month, however, is the addition of a furry family member. Meet Clifford! Abandoned on an Indian reservation he ended up with mange and malnourished. He is doing great now and we look forward to having him grow with us.

Looking ahead

The home projects have begun– updates and photos to come next week!


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CoffeeBars: A cup of coffee in every bar

Photo credit: newgroundsfood.com

Photo credit: newgroundsfood.com

Who hasn’t rolled out of bed on a busy day only to realize you don’t have time for breakfast or coffee? That is exactly what inspired two Northeastern University students to create a caffeinated bar to kick them into gear for an 8am class.

Three years later and their creation is keeping more than college students awake for the important stuff in life. As soon as I came across it CoffeeBars on Undiscovered Kitchen’s online artisan food shop I knew I needed to give them a try. A mother working full time with more than a few extracurricular activities – I can use a little more caffeine, especially when that inevitable afternoon slouch occurs.

And best of all they are made of all natural ingredients. Oats, nuts, dates, organic coconut, vegan chocolate chips, and fair trade coffee – 100% organic, vegan, and gluten-free. New Grounds Food is certainly well on its way to making products that “keep you healthy and energized for all of life’s adventures”.

Photo credit: newgroundsfood.com

Photo credit: newgroundsfood.com

The bars come in three different flavors: Caramel Macchiato, Coconut Mocha, and Mocha Latte. So far we have re-energized with the Caramel Macchiato and the Coconut Mocha and enjoyed both equally. We’ll keep you posted on the Mocha Latte, but you should definitely give them a try for yourself. coffee bar

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Weekly randomness: The Happy Hour Effect, 5 minute abs, and snacks.

Special events with a lot of people use to be panic attack inducing experiences, but this week I had an amazing special event that was anything but anxiety fueled. Thanks to my MBA classmates and the confidence I’ve found in myself, I was able to attend a happy hour event with author Kristen Brown and I am glad I didn’t miss it. Kristen has an inspiring story, lots of energy, and guidance you can actually follow. Number one take-away from her 40 minute presentation – forget the word balance when it comes to work/life; there is only harmony. You should check her out and I recommend her book The Happy Hour Effect.

After that great happy hour, my brain was on vacation mode. This weekend is the first annual sisters weekend. Chicago here we come! One thing I don’t look forward to when traveling is airport and airplane food. They have come a long way from the cheap junk, but the good stuff is often super expensive. So I like to come prepared.

Some of my favorite carry-on snacks

snacks for travelPlum chocolate chip go bars

Lightly salted roasted almonds

Chocolate peanut butter monkey bars

Apples

Wild Garden hummus to go
Ab workouts
I’ve been running for over 15 years and never gotten bored with it. I have, however, cut back over the years from runs twice a day to four runs a week. It is good to mix up your workouts to tone your whole body and avoid injuries form overuse. However, I get bored with workouts other than running. I’m constantly switching them up and looking for something that I love doing just as much. I have found the Insanity workouts keep me going, but I still have a hard time with an ab focused workout. I use to do pilates religiously and I’ve tried yoga, but my brain moves too fast for either of those slower paced workouts. So I went to YouTube to find some ideas and found this new one to do that only takes 5 minutes. That means on a busy morning I can still fit in a good ab workout and some weightlifting! Plus, the channel that it is on is full of wonderful quick workouts that you can challenge yourself with when you are bored or short on time. The accents help too 🙂
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqxxtxXWMsM]

I hope you all enjoy a little happy hour, snacking, and healthy activity this Memorial Day weekend!

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March Nature Box

Between work, school, spending time with family, and trying to do a few things for myself a few items had to get dropped from the to-do list. One of those things was making healthy homemade snacks. I use to make homemade granola, prep snacks the night before, and nibble on healthy options that would fuel a full day of activities.

Since starting classes I’ve taken to grabbing whatever I can and nibbling on things that definitely don’t fuel a full day of work, chasing a toddler, and homework. I found myself getting tired early in the day and then feeling guilty for what I was eating.

So I have broken down and subscribed to Nature Box to get healthy snacks delivered to our door monthly. Month one has arrived . . .

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Cherry Berry Bonanza – a medley of dried cranberries, cherries and blueberries. This snack wasn’t my favorite. It is a very tart blend and plain dried fruit isn’t my favorite, but I’m looking forward to adding it to yogurt and a snack mix of multigrain cheerios and nuts.

Roasted Kettle Kernels – honey coated roasted corn. Wow! These are a sweet, salty, crunchy kernels of delight. Growing up in the corn belt I now think about all of those little kernels laying outside the grain elevator with a whole new potential.

French Toast Granola – maple flavored granola with pecans. Yummy. A little sweet and way healthier than most store bought versions. We have been enjoying this on our morning yogurt and will definitely be sorry to see the bottom of the bag.

Masa crisps – corn chips with flax seeds. From the first bite my taste buds said Fritos, but my brain said way better. We enjoyed these with chicken tortilla soup and even the little one couldn’t stop eating them.

Pistachio Power Clusters – nut squares with almonds, cashews, and pistachios. These were my favorite snack in the box and I have been rationing them since I ate the first cube. Slightly sweet and a little bump in energy with each bite.

I can’t wait for April’s box!

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