Summer Bucket List

beachbagHi friends! So sorry I have been MIA for the past few weeks. I haven’t forgotten about my readers and my blog. I have so much to write about, it’s just that… the summer sun officially got the best of me.

This is my absolute FAVORITE time of year and I’ll take any chance to get outside to soak it up. Needless to say, my evenings and weekends have been spent far, far from my laptop.

Forgive me?

On the topic of summer: a few months back, I jotted down my summer bucket list which I thought I’d share today. Hey, at least I’ve been productive in this department!

My Perfect Summer:

beach cruisin

baseball games

pool days

beach days

ice cream dates

sunset picnics

family vacation

road trips

bonfire

BBQ with friends

a nice tan 

the perfect bikini

new sundresses 

girls nights 

acai bowls

Laguna Beach day trips

long walks with my pups

fly a kite

boating 

stand up paddle boarding

kayaking

Tell me: What’s on your summer bucket list? 

 

Does FRUIT make you FAT?

Very Vanilla Fruit Salad_787x426.ashxAhhh…the great fruit makes you fat debate.

The first time I heard this I literally LOL’d. Fruit makes you FAT? I mean, it’s just fruit.

Well…

Even though its better than a candy bar, its best to stick to small portions and choose lower sugar, higher fiber options. If your goal is weight loss or cutting back on sugar, all carbs count. Consuming high amounts of any sugar or carbs, whether natural or not, can increase hunger levels and fat storage.

Don’t get me wrong, I still eat fruit on a daily basis. After all, there are tons of vitamins and nutrients found in fruit. I encourage you to enjoy fruit as part of your healthy diet, but remember that fruit should be eaten in moderation. Aim for no more than ½ cup or 1 piece at a time and no more than twice a day.

I like to think of fruit as an ingredient and not a snack on its own. Enjoying it with a little protein will prevent a spike in blood sugar levels and also help keep you nice and satisfied. Think: an apple with almond butter in the afternoon or a banana in your protein smoothie at breakfast.

Also, choose fruits that are high in fiber! Fiber is what helps us feel full. So, eat fresh whole fruit, including the skin when you can. Berries tend to be the lowest in sugar while still being high in fiber. Fruits that are lower in sugar also tend to have more nutritional value. Hello antioxidants!

Enjoy these low sugar/high fiber fruits:

++ Berries (Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries)

++  Melon (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon)

++ Peaches and Nectarines

++ Grapefruit

++ Apples

Eating a moderate amount of fruit will not pack on the pounds. Fruit can be a great part of your meal and a healthy dessert option. But, like everything in life, too much of a good thing can stall weight loss. Remember, fruit is nature’s candy, and moderation in key.

Tell me: What is your favorite fruit? How many servings of fruit do you typically eat in a day?

Skinny Chicken Lettuce Wraps

lThis is a recipe from my Mom and as with all her recipes, it is delicious! So, of course, I had to share. (Thanks Mom!!)

These chicken lettuce wraps are perfect for an appetizer or a light lunch or dinner.

Each lettuce wrap has only 62 calories and 2 grams of fat. Oh, so skinny.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

What you’ll need:
(for the wraps)

  • 1 pound ground chicken or ground turkey
  • 8 scallions, white and green parts chopped
  • 1 (8oz) can water chestnuts, drained, rinsed and chopped fine
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2½ tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 large head butter lettuce, wash, dried and leaves separated

(for the sauce)

  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ tablespoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic

What you’ll do:

  1. In a large pan, brown the ground chicken over medium-high heat, breaking up the pieces. Pour into a colander, in the sink and drain fat. Return chicken to pan. When cool enough to handle, break up the chicken pieces until minced.
  2. Add the scallions, water chestnuts, red pepper, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, water and sesame oil. Cook for a few minutes until the scallions and red pepper are soft. Keep warm.
  3. In a small bowl, add all the dipping sauce ingredients and mix well.
  4. To assemble each chicken wrap, spoon about ⅓ cup of chicken filling onto one lettuce leaf and roll it up. Serve with dipping sauce on the side.

Makes about 16 lettuce wraps

Bikini Hunting

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<Vix Swimwear>>

Summer days are fast approaching, guys. While it’s not officially begun, here in San Diego its felt like summer for few weeks months now.

So, I’m currently on the hunt for the perfect new bikini. An annual summer kick-off trend for me.

The only problem is, there are like 352,609,663 to choose from!

I allow myself ONE new bikini purchase per summer. I’m much more a quality over quantity person, so I do splurge a little when bikini shopping. The perfect bikini is tough to find, and sometimes investing in higher quality pieces is necessary to find something that hugs in all the right places while still pulling off an adorable look.

I’ve got my eye on these (plus the one up top):

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<Vix Swimwear>>

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<<Mahail Tie Dye by Sofia by Vix Swimwear>>

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<<Verana de Rumba by Luli Fama>>

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<Vix Swimwear>>

I’m obviously partial to the Vix Swimwear line. After buying a few pieces before my honeymoon in Tahiti a few years ago, I was hooked. The soft fabric that Vix uses is to die for and the details of their swimwear are attractive and classy. They feel even more luxurious on!

Tell me:

Did you get new bikini for summer 2014? Are you a quantity or quality person, in general? What’s your favorite brand of swimwear? What’s your vote for my summer bikini splurge from the ones above?

Running: My Love/Hate Relationship

16BEST_SPAN-tmagArticleI have a love/hate relationship with running.

All my life I hated it. Until I tried it. Like, really, really tried it. I changed my ways of thinking about running from “I can’t run” and “it’s too hard” to “I can run” and “it’s pretty easy, actually.”

So my love for running began. I ran every day. Anywhere from one to four miles per day. Not long distances by any means, but I was running nonetheless. I had conquered my fear of running, and proved to myself that I, in fact, can run.

I even joined a running club at work. After work, a group of us would run in Point Loma. Our daily course was down to Sunset Cliffs up and down a road called “Hill Street.” I kid you not, this is a San Francisco type hill. It is no joke. But it was great for training, and great for my figure.

After months of doing this 5 days a week, my body was telling me to stop. But I didn’t listen. I loved running and I loved my new body. I powered through and kept running.

Eventually, my knees got really weak. (I blame Hill Street). Weak to the point that I could no longer run. I tried a bunch of knee braces and even did some physical therapy. But ultimately it was time to give running a break.

At this point I despised running because I was forced to stop. I was introduced to Pilates, yoga, and The Bar Method, since they were low impact forms of exercise and great for strengthening your joints.

Fast forward several years, and I’ve finally found my running happy place. I’ve found a way to incorporate running into my life again. My knees still scream when I push too hard, but I LISTEN. A medium paced jog, once or twice a week is perfect for me. I can still benefit from the mental clarity running brings and I still get the “runner’s high.” But I have no interest in racing at this point. I learned to listen to my body and do what’s best for ME.

Speaking of running… It’s NATIONAL RUNNING DAY!

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Celebrate JUNE 4!

Be a part of National Running Day — a coast to coast celebration of running. On this day, long time runners reaffirm their love of running and beginners can kick off a lifetime and life-changing commitment.

Visit http://www.runningday.org for more info.

Tell me: Are you a runner? What is your love/hate exercise? What do you love or hate about running? Will you celebrate National Running Day?

Slim Down Your Sushi

sushi

Sushi can be super healthy, but it can also be…not so healthy. Some of us tend to categorize all sushi into an easy healthy meal option. It’s a no-brainer, right?

Well let’s unwrap the sushi roll.

The main ingredient is plain white rice. Now, you might figure it’s not too bad since each piece is bite sized. But unroll all 8 pieces and you’d be surprised just how much rice it really is. Have you ever seen a sushi chef at work? He squeezes the shit out of the roll with that bamboo deal. (WTH is that called anyway??) You better believe that rice is PACKED. So, my point is: while it doesn’t look like much, it is really way too much rice. My advice: ask the server for ½ the rice or find a roll that is rice free! (There are usually 1 or 2 on the menu.)

My next issue with sushi is that it’s often served “family style.” Meaning, the restaurants recommend ordering a few different rolls amongst the group and sharing it. I’ll all about sharing, but this is where you can easily consume a lot more than if you were just ordering your own roll. My advice: order a roll rainbow roll for yourself. There is enough variety in a rainbow roll that you won’t be tempted to pick off the community plates.

Oh, and avoid any sushi drizzled with a creamy sauce or anything involving tempura.

Your best bet: SASHIMI.

June Favorites

collage

Lip Gloss & Lunges

|| 1 || MORE || …Of The Fit Woman’s Secrets by Lorna Jane. The day I met Lorna Jane, I bought her new book (and got it signed!). I’ve loved reading her story, her inspirations and her personal experiences on Active Living.

|| 2 || JASON Soothing Aloe Vera || My daily secret weapon for instant dry skin relief. Not just for a bad sunburn, this non-oily moisturizing also gel helps to calm and renew dry, irritated and freshly shaven skin. Plus all the ingredients are all natural and certified organic!

|| 3 || Green Tea || In effort to reduce my coffee intake, I’ve found myself craving a warm beverage first thing in the morning and before bed. Green tea is beyond a superfood, promoting healthy heart and brain function, aiding in weight loss and reducing stress, and preventing cancer and diabetes. Drink up!

|| 4 || The Bachelorette || I don’t care how cheesy it gets, as long as The Bachelorette is airing, I will watch it.

|| 5 || Asics || Move over Nike Free’s! This is my new favorite cross training shoe. Insane comfort and support, major cushioning and durability. These shoes actually make me look forward to my next workout. Can’t get enough.

|| 6 || MacBook Air || A blogger’s dream. When my hubby came home with this last week, I literally squealed. You know what they say: “Once you go MAC…”

Questions:

What are some of your favorite things right now?
Do you watch The Bachelor/ette?
Are you a MAC or PC person? 

 

The Mind/Body Connection

f7098f06ac72fe0dae6bed63240c4ec7Diet + Exercise = Success. Right?

Errrr… not so fast.

It’s so easy to overlook the mental aspect of health. How we handle stress, anger, sadness, loneliness, frustration, and all the little ups and downs in between can truly affect our health.

When you are dealing with a bad breakup, a devastating loss, or you are anxious about your future, there are chemical processes in your body that can easily throw your health goals out of whack. All of a sudden the equation is not so simple. You can eat clean and train mean, but if your mind is not in a good place, you won’t progress.

For example, depression not only affects your mood, but your appetite, thoughts, and behavior. And remember that stress hormone cortisol? It’s no joke. These factors really do make you more likely to eat poorly, skip your workout, and potentially gain weight.

Dealing with life’s roller coaster ride is not easy. But it’s so important we take action to invest in our mental health.

Question: What steps do you take to boost your mood and relieve stress?

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