Thursday, January 27, 2011

Do You Bosu?

After work today I headed to a local gym to get a workout in while I let traffic die down. The group fitness class being offered when I arrived was "Bosu Bootcamp".

All I knew about Bosu was that it involved a large ball.

As it turns out Bosu is so much more than I expected! You can use the Bosu Ball to get a total body workout in a short period of time. 

We started out doing some cardio step with the ball, like this:

We got our hearts pumping and added some squats and lunges. After just ten minutes my legs were burning! 

Our legs got a reprieve when we moved to the floor and worked our arms with the Bosu Ball, like this:

Then we worked our abs by using the ball like this:

and this:

All of my muscles were so tired by the end of the workout but I felt great! Because the Bosu Ball challenges your balance, your muscles and your core have to stay engaged throughout the workout. Even though I am totally going to be feeling this class tomorrow, I really enjoyed it. I checked out Bosu online and it looks like there are a lot of ways to vary your workout and target different muscle groups. I can't wait to try it again!

 Today's Question: Do you Bosu? What other trendy workouts have you experimented with and been pleasantly surprised with the results?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

8 A Day

I think the mountain air did me some good this weekend because I started the week off feeling positive and full of energy. I powered right through my workday, chatted on the phone with my fam and picked up my husband from work.

I was all ready to keep the momentum going and cook a gourmet dinner.

Unfortunately, I am in serious need of a grocery trip.

So I did some "creative cooking". Specifically, piecing together enough random stuff from my fridge and pantry to make a meal.

I started with a can of Fresh & Easy Organic Black Bean Soup. It had some carrots and tomatoes in it but was not nearly enough for two entree meals. So I dug deep and came up with the following add-ins:

-black beans
-adobo chilis (with sauce)
-a sprinkling of Lawry's taco seasoning

I threw everything in a pot and let it simmer.

Then topped it off with cheese, a dollop of light sour cream and tortilla strips

It turned out really good and was hearty and filling. And SPICY- since I love spicy food I was totally in love with it but it definately had a kick!

The best part about this meal was the fact that it took only about ten minutes from start to finish.

After dinner I went to the sad little gym at my apartment complex.

**Sigh- I cannot WAIT for it to start staying light longer! I miss being able to spend time outside after I get home from work!

However, I had a decent little workout at the gym- 7ish miles on the stationary bike and an arm circuit.

I've been feeling seriously dehydrated over the past couple weeks so I am making a concerted effort this week to drink my 8 glasses of water a day. I like to think that it was a contributing factor to my increased energy level today!

Today's Question: What changes do you notice in your mood and overall level of health based on fluctuations in the amount of water you drink?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend Getaway

This weekend my husband and I had a little ski weekend planned.

We grew up in Salt Lake City and have both been skiing since we were kids but we haven't been in a few years so we were really excited. My husband is a very good skier and I've always been alright but since it had been so long since I'd been so I was a little nervous that I was going to be very rusty.

When we left LA the thermostat in my car read 77 degrees! So it was with a loooong backwards look towards LA that we headed out.

Although we left early we still hit some LA traffic :(

Big Bear Lake is only a couple of hours from our home but due to a road closure we had to take a little detour. It ended up being just fine though because it was a pretty detour so we stopped for a sunset photo.
We arrived at Big Bear and checked into our cozy cabin and lit a fire.

Then headed out to hit the town. Which lasted about ten minutes! We were surprised to see that all of the shops had already shut down and the main touristy area looked like a ghost town! So we scrapped the "check out the town" plan and decided to get some food.

We settled on a local brewery with your typical pub fare. I modified my menu choice to be vegetarian-friendly by substituting chicken for a veggie patty. The rest of the sandwich was made up of some of my favorite things- pickles, mustard, onion, and sauerkraut. With a side of sweet potato fries.

My husband ordered the brewery sampler so I taste-tested each of the brews.

After dinner we headed back to our cabin to relax in front of the fire and get some rest for tomorrow's ski day.

Saturday morning we got up bright and early and headed to Starbucks for breakfast. I had a Skinny Vanilla Latte and the "Perfect" Oatmeal.

My oatmeal was less than perfect. It was goopy and luke-warm. So when my husband stopped at McDonald's I weighed my options and ditched my oatmeal and had a McMuffin with egg and cheese. Which I immediately regretted.

It was the most beautiful day! And I was so happy to see that skiing was just like riding a bike and it came back to me really quickly.

We were having a wonderful time and enjoying the fabulous scenery. Before too long my legs were aching for a break and I had worked up an appetite.

Since my last two meals had me feeling a little greasy, I was relieved to that the Snow Summit lodge had exactly what I was craving- fruits and veggies.

The terrain at Snow Summit was more mild and the resort less crowded than we were used to back in Utah so we were able to cover pretty much the entire mountain.

Happy and sufficiently worn-out we headed back to our cabin but got sidetracked by the local Sugar Pine Bakeshop where we decided to sample the local cuisine. ;) So we split a smore's bar and a cookies n cream brownie. And they were delish.

Back at the cabin we decided to preemptively relax our soon-to-be sore muscles in the hot tub.

For dinner we went to a local Mexican restaurant- my favorite!

I had Enchiladas Suiza and the sauce was really flavorful. The portion size was huge so I took about half home and am looking forward to it for lunch tomorrow!

It was a relaxed atmosphere and the perfect way to cap off a great day!

Sunday morning I had another Vanilla Skinny Latte but skipped the oatmeal. Instead I opted for my own Kashi Cinnamon Harvest that I had brought along from home.

Since we hadn't had a chance to check out the city center after dark, we decided to check it out during the light of day. "The Village" as it's called, was full of cute local shops, galleries, and boutiques. We explored the area and tried out some of the local fashions.

Then we spent some time enjoying the lake scenery once more before getting on the road.

Driving back down the mountain was very scenic as well and at one point we could see all the way to the ocean! It was amazing!

We stopped for lunch in Lake Arrowhead so that we could scout out potential camping destinations for this summer. Lake Arrowhead also had a cute little shopping area. We stopped at The Tea Exchange and I had a spinach, sun-dried tomato and feta crepe.

After getting a feel for the Lake Arrowhead, we got back on the road and made it home in speedy time with no traffic. :)

We had such a wonderful time exploring a new city and spending time outdoors. Now we are just hanging out at home and getting ready for the coming work week. Overall, it was so nice to get away and enjoy a change of scenery. I feel refreshed!

Today's Question: It is so much fun to spend time in a new area- what getaway vacations have you taken recently and what did you enjoy exploring the most?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Full Day

I feel like I had a very well-rounded Monday. While some lucky ducks had the day off, I trucked myself to the office.

Fortunately, due to the holiday I got to sleep in a bit and got a short reprieve from the horrors of LA traffic.

I had the usual granola, yogurt and berries for breakfast, followed by some pasta primavera with zucchini, squash, and bell pepper for lunch. And an apple.

Work was super-busy and before I knew it, it was time to hit the highway again and my stomach was starting to growl.

Confession: I could live off of nothing but mexican food. I lovelovelove mexican flavors and sauces! I was craving something warm and spicy so I played around in the kitchen and came up with this burrito bowl.

In the bowl:

-brown rice
-black beans
-salsa verde
-sauteed onion
-sauteed bell pepper
-pepperjack cheese
-sour cream

It was ooey and gooey and delicious.

After dinner I wanted to get some exercise and unwind so I decided to spend some quality time with Rodney Yee.

I enjoy my at-home yoga videos and the Gaiam brand with Rodney Yee are my favorite. He is very zen and has a soothing voice! I did a series of standing poses and then the "yoga abs" video for a total of 45 mins of yoga.

Feeling invigorated and free of tension I settled in to bed to read Jonathan Franzen's Freedom.

Here's hoping the rest of my week is just as satisfying and productive.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My New Toy

Finally feeling better so my husband and I took a long walk around our neighborhood, which was wonderful because we got to enjoy some BEAUTIFUL Southern California weather. It was 80 degrees today and blue skies so I was thankful to get out and get some Vitamin D.

After the walk I had some serious business to attend to- namely, the Jets/Patriots game and the Golden Globes. :) Since I was setting up camp on my couch for the evening I decided I needed a snack to accompany me and it seemed like a perfect opportunity to play with my new toy.

I got a food processor for Christmas and have been having a lot of fun experimenting. Thus far I've mostly been using my food processor to make gallons of hummus.

I had some leftover jalapenos and cilantro from last week's farmer's market trip so today I made Cilantro-Jalapeno Hummus.
-garbanzo beans
-lemon juice
-olive oil

I served it up with pita chips and it is delicious!

Now I am snacking and cruelly passing judgment on celebrity red carpet choices. Sigh- life is good!

Today's Questions: What is your favorite kitchen gadget and what do you prepare with it?

Friday, January 14, 2011


This week I have been under the weather. :(

So I've mostly been taking it easy.

Eating a lot of fruit

And soup

And sleeping.

Since I have been channeling my inner hibernating animal this week, I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about my experience with Livestrong.

The Livestrong App was the single most instrumental tool in my weight loss and the advent of my committment to healthy living. The Livestrong App is $2.99 in the App Store and so worth it.

Through Livestrong you create a profile with your height, weight, activity level and weight loss goal. Based on this, Livestrong will generate your target daily caloric intake. Using the "Food" tab you can use the search tool for what you've eaten throughout the day. Because you Livestrong users can post things that they've eaten on the server, I always double check the labels or the nutrtitional info from restaurant websites to validate the calories reported on the app.

Once you've logged your food, you can use the "Fitness" tab to search activities and track any exercise you've done throughout the day. Same general rule applies here as it does for the "Food" tab, the calories burned may not always be accurate so I double check these as well.

The "My Plate" tab tracks your daily progress using calories consumed and calories burned to show you where you net out for the day and what percentage of your total calorie goal your net calories represent.

For me, the Livestrong App was not about obessing over every calorie consumed, it was a tool to get me to look at the cost/benefit analysis of what I was putting in my body. I learned to focus on nutrient dense foods because I quickly realized that this was the key to staying satisfied and feeling full.

The Livestrong App has totally changed the way that I eat. My meals now consist more heavily of fresh fruits, vegetable, and whole grains versus the full fat dairy and processed meals that I was relying on before.

Having reached my maintenance weight, I no longer track my food daily because the nutritional value of my food has become a cornerstone of every meal.

*A couple of notes regarding Livestrong:

     -If you do not have a smart phone, you can use the livestrong tools on but I strongly favor the phone version because of the ease of being able to track your food as you are eating it. I find that it is too easy to conveniently forget your snacking throughout the day if you only log at night.

     -The Livestrong App does not appear to have any built in calorie base floor. That is, if you are 105lbs and want to lose 2lbs per week, it will generate an obscene daily calorie goal of 600 calories per day or something ridiculous. Please use your own good judgment and use this as a helpful tracking tool. DO NOT fall into a trap of trying to maintain a dangerous starvation diet. If you are concerned about your daily caloric goal on Livestrong, I would encourage you to check with a doctor.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Farm Fresh Sunday

On Saturday night I went out for cocktails for a friend's birthday to a swanky Beverly Hills lounge. The lounge was full of chic people and quirky decor. My scene is not usually so fancy but it is fun to pretend every once in awhile!

I ended up going to bed WAY past my bedtime and as a result slept through most of Sunday morning. When I finally got my sleepy self up and moving, my husband and I decided to take a lazy Sunday trip to the LA Farmer's Market.

I absolutely love shopping for produce at farmer's markets and the LA Farmer's Market is my favorite because it is like a miniature city! Located in the heart of West Hollywood, the LA Farmer's Market is a maze of food vendors and ethnic eateries.

We stopped for a late breakfast (brunch?) at The French Crepe Company where I ordered a savory L'Opera crepe filled with avocado, tomato, swiss cheese, egg and onion with a side of greens. It was light but very filling.

I went a little overboard as I wandered through the produce vendors- everything looked so juicy and delicious I couldn't resist!

Last night I cooked a farmer's market fajita feast with black beans, adobo chile, onion, jalapeno, bell pepper, green chile, cilantro, tomato, avocado, black olive and mushroom. All of the veggies were delicious but I was a little heavy handed with the habanero sauce and spent a lot of my meal with watery eyes, reaching for my drink!

Today's Question: Sometimes I am intimidated by the unfamiliar produce at the farmer's market because I am unsure how to prepare it. What is the most adventurous new food item you've attempted? How did it turn out?