Monday, September 22, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fit Friday

I just finished my final week of T25 Alpha. With vacation and trying to get back into my routine after vacation it took a bit longer than it should have. But that's not the point. The point is I finished Alpha! Woohoo!!!

The stats this week:

Pounds Lost: 3 pounds

To Go: 55 to go

Yeah... Vacation wasn't kind to me. I don't know what it is about vacation, but I throw everything out the window and eat ALL THE FOOD. I was pretty active on this trip so it surprised me how much I had gained.  

I know it's not all about what a scale says, but it was a wake up call. I need to get back to my goal and there are no future vacations or holidays or any excuse that will trip me up. I'm in it to win it. I'm in such a healthier state of mind this time around. I know I'm truly ready to start this journey and FINISH this journey once and for all.

So! Here is what has changed that will make this reboot this time around the time I do lose the weight once and for all. What I'm about to share are personal preferences. There isn't a one size fits all way to lose weight. You have to do what works for you and this is working for me (3 pounds lost this week!! YAYAYA!). A lot of what I'm about to share is coming from Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel. I didn't expect that book to have such a heavy influence on me, but it did. It revolutionized my thinking. It was light bulb moment after light bulb moment and I think it will end up being the key to my success. Without further ado:

  • Calorie count. I know, I know! It is not ideal and cannot be done long term, but I love it. It keeps me accountable. It helps me really watch what I'm eating. I mean, clearly, not counting hurt me! I gained 6 pounds not counting so I think it's just best for me to count right now. MyFitness Pal makes it EXTREMELY easy and there is no greater feeling than sticking to tracking for 11 days and consistently eating 1700-1800 calories a day of feel good food.

  • Nothing is off limits. This was huge for me. I always felt to lose weight I had to restrict myself. No eating takeout. No carbs. This just set me up for failure because as soon as I can't have something I desperately want it. Sure, I can go a few days, weeks even without carbs or takeout but eventually I'll cave and then I'll overeat and feel gross. This time around I know it's all about moderation, eating slower, and eating a plate of veggies before I eat the main course. Even eating out is okay! It's about filling up on veggies, ordering what you truly want and stopping when the food doesn't taste as incredible as it once did. 
  • Eat slow and truly savor. This was probably the biggest revelation I had. I didn't realize how much mindless eating I would do in front of the TV. Once I turned off the TV, sat at the table, and truly enjoyed and savored each and every bite I found myself eating a whole heck of a lot less. I was shocked at how full I was after one cup of pasta once I savored it and took sips of water (or wine!) between each bite. I also ate sugar snap peas before and didn't feel an ounce of deprivation.

  • Plan ahead. I always thought I was too busy to plan ahead, but that was just an excuse. It really didn't take all that much time. I made a huge batch of chili Saturday and put it into mason jars for us to eat for lunches during the week. On Sunday I made a big batch of pasta for us to eat for the next few dinners. I also started making protein shakes the night before so we could grab them and go in the morning. 

  • Look at pictures of where I want to be. This has been HUGE for me. Weekends are always the hardest for me and when I'm tempted to have a second glass of wine or snack out of boredom I'll pull up this picture and the craving instantly subsides.

  • Be consistent. One of the main reasons I have failed in the past is because I get discouraged that I have 55 pounds to lose and give up. ARGH. That is the worst thing I could do. If I kept with it I'd be at my goal by now! It's all about consistency. It doesn't happen overnight. Just keep swimming. In 6 months I could be at my goal if I keep following these guidelines and in a bikini on a beach celebrating my anniversary. That helps keep me motivated!

  • Eat more fruits and veggies. I eat a fruit and/or veggie with every meal and at least one fruit or veggie with one snack. It really helps with feeling full and fruits are just so dang delicious. Last week we went grocery shopping and I stocked up on spinach, blueberries, apples, strawberries, blueberries, sugar snap peas and carrots. I'm happy to report we have finished almost all of them without them being even close to expiring. Success!
I know these may sound so obvious to you guys, but they really have been life changing and I truly believe they are the keys to my success this week and in the weeks to come. Do you have any tips or guidelines that have helped you lose or maintain? I would love to hear them! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Eats Last Week

Last week I wasn't prepared as I would have liked to be, but the first week back from vacation is always the hardest so I'm giving myself grace. I still did pretty good all things considered. Here is a snap shot of some of my eats last week:

I replicated my favorite Greek Salad with romaine, feta, onions, chickpeas, chicken and Light Greek salad dressing. YUM! I made a huge batch and enjoyed a couple lunches and dinners with this.

Cup o' berries for a morning snack.

I've been eating my usual egg in a cup in the mornings with 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. An oldie but a goodie.

I made a big batch of Italian Chicken in the crock pot and it made a few great lunches and dinners as well. Versatile too. I could eat chicken with veggies and brown rice or with sweet potato fries. 

My sweet coworker brought me a nonfat Caramel Macchiato and it HIT. THE. SPOT. Also, I have never had my beloved Caramel Macchiato iced before and it was magic.

I've been eating KIND bars for months and in fear of getting sick of them I switched it up and tried a Larabar. They are a bit higher in calories, but really delicious. A nice change for sure. Sometimes I would have two hard boiled eggs instead which was also a good choice.

Over the weekend I made a big batch of Cooking Light Chili. Bonus: It made great leftovers!

A new favorite lately is a cup of cherry tomatoes, grilled chicken with Greek Yogurt Dip. YUM. 

Post workout Sunday I made a nice protein shake to recover. It hit the spot!

What have you been eating this week?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ten for Tuesday

1. I reorganized my pantry, fridge and freezer last week and it felt amazing. It was also kinda sad how much food had expired that I had to throw away. The process did help me plan meals around what I did have and grocery shop accordingly to avoid future wasting. I hate wasting food!

2. You should read Anna's (The Yellow Table) blogs on Traverse City, Michigan. It's so neat to see an outsider's (she lives in NYC!) perspective of my home state. See, I'm not crazy when I talked about Suttons Bay feeling like I'm in France.


3. I'm starting to dream up turning one of the bedrooms upstairs into a closet. There is a white desk in the room with a day bed. We don't have too many guests so the room is basically unused. Of course, the day bed will stay. I'll just fluff it up and make it more fun with a comforter set. I'm dreaming about painting the white desk purple and displaying all of my scarves, necklaces, and headbands on it. SO EXCITE.

4. How have I just heard about Good Reads?! I have found many great book recommendations from this site. I just finished reading Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella and it's cute. Not can't put it down good like Liane Moriarty books, but a fun, cute read nonetheless. 

5. Tips for Grabbing Life by the Balls is a great motivational article. It serves as such a good reminder that there is no such thing as overnight success. Success is a result of small, daily habits and a whole lot of patience. It was just what I needed to hear this morning.

6. This past weekend was such a good one. G is working on building a bar in the basement and it's really coming along great. I'm excited to have a Stock The Bar Party when it's completed! There was also a lot of football watching. Fall candles. Reading. Walking Manny. Cooking chili. Cleaning. Yard work. The perfect balance of productive and relaxing with zero obligations. 

7. I do love fall, but I just wasn't ready for it this year. It snuck up on me so fast. Our summer hasn't been the warmest so I wasn't ready for the temps to drop so quickly. It was so chilly I even turned the fire place on one night. I guess I'll embrace fall so I busted out the fall candles and made a big batch of chili. The temps will be back in the high 70s this weekend, yay!

8. I'm a reading machine lately. Now I'm onto #Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso and Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel. I guess the busyness of the summer has subsided and I can really dig into good books with a warm blanket and a side of tea. Love it!

9. The first week back from vacation is always the hardest. Is it just me or is it just tough to get back into a routine? I love routines, but after a week off it's hard to get back into the swing of the things. And I just can't help thinking "last Monday I was doing this." The first week is always survival week, but I made it. Now I'm in my groove and ready to kick some butt! More on that tomorrow...

10. Don't you love that after I say I'm only posted Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays I start posing more? I'm not gonna fight it. I got something to say so I'll just let it flow and enjoy it while it lasts!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mondays with Manny

Manny and G love to play.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Vacation Recap Part Three: Traverse City

The final leg of our trip. Sad times. Why does vacation go so fast? If you missed the first two parts of our vacay you can find them here and here

We slept in and enjoyed coffee and breakfast on the beach one more time before packing up. I almost went for one last swim, but didn't want to be rushed. We packed the car, said good bye to the other couple and checked out.

We stopped in Traverse City at one our favorite spots, Blue Tractor. They have THE best mac and cheese. So good! It's a fun little rustic place with good food and good service. Also, free parking. Score!

After lunch we headed up Old Mission Peninsula for some wine tasting. I love the Leelanau Peninsula and all, but there is just something about Old Mission. It's smaller, the views are incredible and it was the first place we ever wine tasted so I'm sure there is some nostalgia there too. I love everything about wine tasting. The taste. The glamour of it. The views. The passion people have talking about wine. I love it all. 

We stopped at Black Star Farms first. It is always our first stop. I told you we were creatures of habit! Next up we went to Chateau Grand Traverse. The place was completely remodeled this year and looked gorgeous. Also, the guy doing our tasting was hilarious. This was a fun one. Next up was 2 Lads. 

We really go here for the views. They are spectacular! They had a sparkling white we enjoyed quite a bit though.

After those three we went to The Lighthouse Park at the tip of the peninsula and hiked for a bit. Next up we went to Chateau Chantal for a tasting. We love their Celebrate Champagne and grab a bottle every time. 

The view isn't too shabby either. We also stopped at this organic winery and the owner of the winery was an exact doppleganger for our friend Brad. He looked just like him and had the same exact mannerisms. We had to buy a bottle from him just because of that fact alone. Crazy!

Next up we went to Brys Estate. This was a favorite last year because we got to sit outside and relax. Get the cheese and meat plate. Support the South African wine maker that works here. And this year they revamped and have a gorgeous deck. Butttttttttt it started to rain so we got the cheese plate to go and did one last wine tasting. The owners of Brys were next to us so it was fun watching everyone on their BEST behavior and just fun to see the owners. They looked so normal but they must be so rich. 

How could we do so many wine tastings all in one day you ask? The secret is we would share one tasting at each winery. Cheaper too! 

It was getting late in the day and we were ready to check in to the hotel and relax. Ahhhhh that view. We stayed at The Bayshore like we did last year and as much as I adore that view and the hot tub, the rooms were just so outdated. I guess we were spoiled in Suttons Bay so it was hard to adjust afterwards (even though we were paying the same rate!). We still had a great time and we were walking distance to Traverse City so you can't beat that. 

We opened up a bottle of Pinot and unpacked our cheese plate from Brys on the balcony and enjoyed a nice romantic dinner in our room. We talked, enjoyed the good food and wine and had a nice time.

I mean, seriously, how could you get tired of that view?! Love it so much. It was a nice relaxing night. We watched some TV, enjoyed the hot tub and crashed.

We slept in, grabbed breakfast in the lobby and brought it back to our room. How beautiful are the sunrises?! It was wavy today too so it was so relaxing listening to the waves.

Friday was much more low key than Thursday. I think G even took a nap after breakfast while I enjoyed a bubble bath and read (and finished!) What Alice Forgot that day. I loved that even more than The Husband's Secret. I could NOT put it down. It was such a lazy perfect day.

We did take a break in the day and walked into town. We did our usual exploring of the city, walking around and poking into different shops (and not buying anything, of course) and then stopped at Bubba's for a late lunch. The atmosphere was really fun and even for a random Friday late afternoon it was PACKED and we had to wait for a table. But it was good food. They bring these pretzels with this homemade mustard to your table and it was divine. I ordered their turkey wrap with avocado, turkey, Havarti cheese and a lime-dill ranch and it was divine. But the star of the meal was definitely the tater tots. G, on the other hand, had the best meal of his life. He had their tacos and deemed them the best he ever ate. 

Afterwards we walked back to the hotel and G watched the Travel Channel while I proceeded to finish my book. It was that good. You must read it! I was sad when it was over. We ate our lunch leftovers for dinner and sat on the deck talking. We went for a nice walk on the beach before calling it a night.

Saturday we were the crazy dog parents. We were homesick and I didn't want to be home without Manny, but his boarding place closes at noon on Saturdays so we had to wake up at six! I told you we were crazy. It was worth it though. We grabbed breakfast and ate it on the deck enjoying the sunrise, packed up the car and headed out. 

It worked out great because nobody was on the road that early on Saturday so we made really good time. Such good time we could pick up lunch and grocery shop for the week before picking up the munchkin. I think he was quite happy to see us. We were happy to see him and to be HOME. It was a perfect week away unwinding and refreshing, but there is no better feeling than being home.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Vacation Recap Part Two: Suttons Bay

If you missed Part One you can find it here. Monday we ended up leaving our hotel earlier than expected due to the annoying smoke detector chirping every eight seconds (yes, I timed it). It worked out perfectly though because we got into Traverse City around 11 for a nice early lunch. 

We went to North Peak Brewery, a favorite TC spot of ours. Look at that handsome guy!

I'm sure G ordered some type of IPA and I ordered their Siren Amber. I tried the Beer Cheese Soup and it was really good. G loved it so much I shared it with him. I will definitely get that again! 

During our meal the owner of White Fence called and said our room was ready early. Score! See, it all worked out that we left early from GR. We finished our meal and headed straight over. It started to down pour so badly that we had to pull over for a few minutes. It was quite a scary 15 minute drive, but we eventually made it. Praise the Lord! Of course, as soon as we arrived it stopped raining.

The owner was really sweet. She gave us a tour of our room. The rooms here are gorgeous. Seriously. My pictures don't do it justice, but if you check out this site you will see how nice they are. We stayed in The Cottage Suite and loved the modern, cozy atmosphere and felt like we were truly living in luxury. 

The extra touches were so nice and just put our stay over the top. G and I dream of owning a b&b someday and for as much as we love to vacation we think we would be pretty good at it. I loved that they had local cheese, beer, wine, snacks and tea in our kitchen for us to enjoy. It was sch a lovely personal touch and something G and I would definitely do someday if we get the pleasure of owning our own little b&b.

We unpacked, checked out their notebook of all their recommendations of what to do and what to see (we would totally do that too!) and I checked out the four large book shelves of books to read. I love books! That was so unique and as a book worm I appreciated it.

The rain had stopped, but it cooled down quite a bit. We basically had a private beach, shared only by one other couple. There were some really comfortable couches and lounge chairs with outdoor cushions and a table. We sipped a glass of wine while enjoying that gorgeous view of Lake Michigan. The other couple in the second suite came down with a drink and we chatted with them for a bit. They were an older couple from Colorado that were staying for two weeks. Lucky ducks!

We walked downtown Suttons Bay after our pre-dinner drink. Downtown Suttons Bay was only a 2 minute walk away which was so nice. Yay for no driving! It is a dream of mine to live somewhere I don't have to drive (I hate driving!). Anyways, we walked to Boone's Prime Time Pub. According to our hosts and Yelp this place had great burgers and steak. 

The atmosphere was really fun. It was a cute, cozy place right on the water with a cabin feel. The staff was super friendly and you could just tell this was a local spot because everyone seemed to know each other. Love that. G got the burger and loved it. I got their filet and OH MY GOSH. I didn't have super high expectations because I'm kinda picky about my steak, but it was so flavorful and so juicy and so divine. (I'm sure it had something to do what the big hunk of butter on top). Even G loved it and ate my leftovers later that night as a midnight snack, ha! 

After dinner we walked around the town and then made a cup of tea (Tazo Chai Tea was in our room, my fave!) and headed to the beach before the sun went down. How amazing is that view?! I loved sitting on that beach just the two of us relaxing, talking, laughing. I don't know what it is about being away from work, home, chores, but we are just goofier. More talkative. Laugh more. Relaxed. Dreaming about the future. It was just the perfect setting to do all that. 

Tuesday morning we slept in, made our coffee and breakfast and headed to the beach to enjoy it. The other couple in the guest house had family in town so they weren't at the beach the rest of the trip.  So we basically had this little slice of paradise all to ourselves our entire trip. They did come say good bye to us before we left though. So sweet!

After breakfast it was really warming up so we put on our bathing suits and I read one of the books in the room (French Women Don't Get Fat, loved it!). Ahhhh reading on the beach is my favorite thing everrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. After a couple hours G was bored so we braved the freezing cold water temps and swam. You guys, it was COLD. Like, my feet were numb. I finally had to pull a Baywatch move and just run in. But once we started swimming around the bay I warmed up and really had a lovely time. It woke me up! It was so refreshing and fun to check out the houses as we swam. 

Swimming was the perfect morning workout. Afterwards we dried off, showered and got ready for the day and headed out for some wine tasting. Our first stop was Leelanau Wine Cellars. (Can I just say how amazing going on vacay in September is?!). The rates are lower, the crowds are gone and the weather is still pretty perfect! So we were the only ones in the winery and we asked how many tastings we get. The lady said "within reason" and we nodded. She asked what we liked and we told her our favorites were dry whites so she suggested just doing all five dry whites. Perfect! So we did them and she chatted about the wine and how it's made and the differences in the oak vs. steel barrel chardonnays. After we finished we decided to purchase the Pinot, but the lady asked if we liked dry reds. We said yes so she proceeded to let us try all five dry reds as well!! How fun is she?! Afterwards we thanked her profusely and told her we would take the Pinot and she asked if we liked Port. We didn't know what Port was and she got so exciting and proclaimed "You must try it!" Twist my arm. The port is red wine and brandy and it's really sweet and it goes well with chocolate and it makes you feel all warm afterwards. I loved it. 

So after our first wine tasting we needed to walk it off. And lunch. We headed to North Port first because our hosts said it was a cute town. It was cute and I love checking out little shops and just exploring so it was nice. It wasn't on the water though so I had my heart set on Leland (Fishtown). We did grab donuts from Barb's Bakery for breakfast the next day, but more on that tomorrow. We were now starving and all I could think about was that life changing sandwich from Village Cheese Shanty that I raved about last year and haven't stopped thinking about since. 

Funny story: My boss and his wife were in Fishtown in August and I raved about this place so much that they went. They were there in the peak of summer and had to wait TWO HOURS and then another TWENTY minutes for the sandwich to be made. Yikes. I felt so bad I made them wait and I'm not sure the sandwich lived up to the reputation after all that. 

But my sandwich. Oh my goodness. It was everything I hoped it would be. Seriously, the pretzel bun makes it. The unexpected surprise of the salt. Gosh, I sound like Joey from friends right now with my love of sandwiches. It is just seriously that good. If you're in the area you must go. Since we weren't there in the peak summer this time around we were able to sit at the picnic table right next to the dam. What a view while eating such a yummy sandwich! Seriously. Perfection!

We walked around the town after lunch. I love Suttons Bay, but Fishtown will always be my favorite. It's just so stinkin' quaint and CUTE. And beachy. Suttons Bay is beachy and quaint and cute too, don't get me wrong. Something about Fishtown though has my heart. 

G had to take a picture of this candy store because of the name: Dam Candy Store. We are ten sometimes. Ha! We stopped at Boathouse Vineyards for a tasting and grabbed a bottle and headed back to WF.

We put our suits on and floated in the water for a bit. I got kinda cold so I got out and did some more beach reading. G swam. It was a nice relaxing afternoon. 

We came back and got dressed and walked into town for dinner. We were a bit tired from the afternoon exploring and wine tasting so we grabbed takeout. Hang-On Express got really great reviews so we grabed tofu pad thai and brought it back to our room. We enjoyed a nice quiet dinner before taking our cups of tea down to the water to enjoy the view before darkness took over. 

Wednesday was our beach day. We slept in, made our coffee and headed to the beach to enjoy our Barb's Bakery donuts. YUM! After breakfast we did our usual routine: put our suits on, read on the beach for a few hours (I read, G played on his phone), and then braved the water temps and swam laps around the bay. 

Around lunchtime we showered, got dressed and walked into town for lunch. We decided on 9 Bean Rows solely based on the comments to get their fries with garlic aioli. I'm a sucker for good garlic aioli. You guys, these fries and garlic aioli were AMAZING. So dang good.

But nothing compared to my grilled veggie sandwich with goat cheese on house made sourdough bread. SO. GOOD. G got a lamb burger which he said was pretty amazing as well. It was a great choice for lunch! 

We walked around town afterwards a bit. Meandered into a few shops. I'm the worst. I always want to buy something cute for our house from our travels, but then I can't decide what I want and what will look good and then I justify that it's too expensive and I can find it online and spend an hour in a store and buy nothing. It drives G crazy. 

We walked back to WF afterwards and put our suits back on and proceeded to float all afternoon long and it was glorious. We had to check out by ten the next day so we wanted to soak up that private, dreamy beach as much as we could.

We finally came up for dinner hours later. It was just a hodge podge of leftovers from lunch and thai from our night before and it was excellent. I feel bad that I complained so much about leftovers as a kid because I simply adore them now. I think leftovers taste better sometimes. 

As the creatures of habit that we are, we made our cup of tea and headed down to the beach after dinner one last evening. 

This time though G made a fire in the pit and it was glorious. The water was so calm. The fire was so enticing. The tea was delicious. It was the perfect ending to a perfect stay in Suttons Bay! 

What a stay! I felt like we were in Italy or France living in the lap of luxury. Wine tasting. Swimming. Walking into town for meals. Living the life! It was truly amazing and I'm so glad we finally got the chance to stay here. 

Next up, Traverse City!