A blog about happiness and healthy living...

Monday, January 7, 2013

3 Silly Things That Keep Me Motivated To Work Out

Funny story…

I was planning on doing this post about things that give me an extra boost of motivation to workout which in itself motivated me to kick butt at the gym last night. I did some really intense intervals on the treadmill. In the past intervals have really helped me with increasing my running speed, which is something I have recently wanted to focus on again.

Then maybe five minutes after getting home I RAMMED my knee into the corner of my coffee table. And I mean RAMMED. Luckily I could bend it after a while and nothing felt like it snapped (which honestly surprised me because I RAMMED it) but that sucker swelled up like a balloon. Nothing some frozen veggies couldn’t fix, but just enough to keep me from the gym for a few days. Ugh.

Luckily this morning when I woke up I was pleasantly surprised that it was only a little bit sore and nicely black and blue.

Anyways… onto what I had planned on writing about:

I find with fitness only 10% of the challenge is the actual workouts. The remaining 90% is in keeping motivated.

While I like to think that the elusive concepts of “being healthy” and “taking care of myself”  are my core motivators, I find more times than not it is the little things that keep me enthusiastic about hitting the gym.

Here are three things that have been working like a charm for me lately.

#1 Cute Workout “Stuff”

A sleek new water bottle, some new running shoes with funky laces, or my personal current favorite some super cute sports bras. I got these for Christmas, and yes that top one is indeed SPARKLEY.

#2 A New Playlist

I love having new music to work out to. Putting together a new combo of old favorites or buying a new album always gets me nice and excited. I am a weirdo and typically prefer more easy going calm songs when I am working out over the typical “Eye of the Tiger,” and here are some that I have been loving for the gym:

Near To You, A Fine Frenzy

You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome, Miley Cyrus

Today, Joshua Radin

Your Body Is a Wonderland, John Mayer

#3 Having a treat waiting at home for me

It is no secret that I love tea J So a big glass of iced tea is the perfect thing for me when I am done sweating. I have been brewing some before I leave for the gym to pop into the fridge so that it is nice and cold when I get back. It gives me a tangible short term sense of accomplishment for working out which is always a great motivator.




What silly little things keep you motivated to work out?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Gingerbread Pancakes

Hello all. I hope everyone had a good weekend. This is a new recipe I tried on Saturday morning for gingerbread pancakes that I figured I would share because it was so so delicious.

This recipe has no butter or oil in it and it still manages to taste nice and rich thanks to the molasses and Greek yogurt.

1 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg

1 ¼ cups milk

¼ cup molasses

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

These amounts will make you around 8 pancakes depending on how large you make them.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and combine the wet ingredients into a large mixing bowl . Add dry ingredients little by little into the wet.

The batter smells absolutely HEAVENLY even before it is cooked.

Set your burner to medium heat to cook these. It took me a few tries to get the cooking quite right but just keep in mind that these are quite dense pancakes so they need to be cooked long enough to get the centers fully cooked. However, the heat needs to be gentle enough so as not to burn the outside.

I ate mine plain with some fresh strawberries on the side and it was delicious that way, but the gingerbread flavor in this is mild enough that syrup or peanut butter would be yummy on top. I also think for a treat mixing in some semi-sweet chocolate chips would be delish.

Once again, I hope everyone had a great weekend and is enjoying the New Year thus far!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Five Friday Favorites 1/4

After Eight Mints
I mentioned these in my last post, and I’ll mention them again. Yep. They really are THAT good. They are dark chocolate and mint and are perfect for when I am craving something sweet.

My Fish Cup

This I bought for Michael for Christmas because I wanted it. I think this is hysterical. The only kicker is when I drink anthing besides plain old water the fish look like they are swimming in a very dirty tank.

Jasmine Tropica Tea Blend

Aka: The perfect thing to drink out of my fish cup. This is a Teavana tea that I got during their after Christmas Sale in a set. It is easily my favorite of them. It smells like a sweat perfume and has a really light fruity taste. I used to prefer my Candy Cane Lane tea hands down to everything and thought I would never find another love… but this stuff is so nice.


Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer

I have really sensitive dry skin that the cold New England winter weather takes a beating on each year. This stuff really does the trick for me. No flakey skin here! An added bonus is that it has spf built right into it. Usually facial lotions with sunscreen in them get really greasy but that is not the case with this one. Oh, and it is all natural.


I find writing to be a fantastic release for difficult emotions. It is really satisfying to spill them onto the page and then have the ability to shut the journal and walk away. I used to not “know” how to journal. I would start and then stop because I felt like I was doing it “wrong” or it would simply turn into a list of things that I did each day. I find it much easier to go into it answering the question “How do I feel?” That is my magic question that makes me write and write and write. I could probably go all day long if I let myself.


I hope everyone had a good week, and has an even better weekend!


What are some of your favorite things lately?
Any fun weekend plans?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Curbing My Nighttime Cravings

Hey, remember how my New Year’s resolution was to cook from home more often?

Well tonight I burned my mixing spoon because I left it on the stove top over a burner on high. Oopsies.

So far this is going well…

Anyway, I have mentioned before that I am a horrible night snacker. I will do really well all day, and then boom, come eight o’clock it is time for nachos and popcorn galore. Ok, not every night, but it is definitely a habit of mine that I am trying to keep under control. Here are a couple things that have been working for me:
Fresh Fruit

If I am going to snack at night, at least it can be something healthy that isn’t too heavy in my belly. I buy the pre-cut fruit salad from the grocery store because it makes it more “snackable” to me. It is easy to grab and eat and I know myself well enough to say that I will always pick fresh fruit over junk food so long as there is no extra work for me.

These Yummy Mints

I had never heard of these until recently, but there are basically a slim square shaped York. I love anything mint so one of these guys satisfies my sweet tooth perfectly. Just enough to hit the craving J



For Christmas one of my presents was a tea maker and I have been LOVING it. I found a few delicious fruity blends, like this pineapple one from Teavana, that have been great. Tea is my choice night time drink because it is nice and light.

Philosophy Soaps

And when all else fails...I love these because they come in so many delicious dessert flavors and are a completely guilt-free way of indulging. Seriously, they smell just like what they say they will. They are expensive for body wash in my opinion, but I find that TJ Maxx carries them all the time at good discounts so that’s where I get mine.

And that’s everything!

I hope 2013 is serving everyone well thus far and only continues to get better J


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Eve

I had a quaint night in for New Year's Eve this year. Michael picked up a TON of stuff from the dollar store like noise makers and confetti guns and we ate ice cream and cupcakes. Michael's parent's dog, Jamie, also spent the evening with us. We made sure she had fun.

Here are some photos from the night:

(2013 is VERY exciting)

I hope everyone enjoyed their New Year's Eve!


Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolution

Happy New Year!

I have never set a formal “resolution” before which is odd because I am always one for setting focused personal goals. But hey, there’s a first time for everything right?

This year I will cook at home. Yep. That’s right. From-scratch cooking as much as possible.

The past few months I have gone through phases of regularly cooking meals, but I want to be more consistent with it. Mind you, I dine in most every day of the week already, but I have a hard time considering my phases of cooking waffle mix and cheese quesadillas “cooking.”
For Christmas I got this awesome meal planner that I have loving which has been the biggest help in getting me started.

But I also got some new mixing bowls, a recipe box and recipe cards, cook books, and an adorable set of measuring spoons. So I am pretty much set to go!

Wish me luck!

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Use Up Your Cold Cuts!: Creamy Turkey Pasta

I hope everyone had a great holiday. I haven’t posted in a while beacause I have been having my own great holiday and finishing up my finals for school. Phew.

But I am back.

Michael and I got a bunch of new cook books for Christmas which I spent some time flipping through, getting inspiration, this morning to plan the week’s meals. And tonight’s dish was a creamy turkey pasta!

This recipe turned out delicious and uses cold cut turkey (you can use whatever type you prefer, however) which is really great for if you have some meat from the deli that is about to go bad. The cream sauce also tasted deceptively fatty, but was actually made with all skim milk and a small amount of margarine.

Start cooking up your pasta first thing. I used bow ties because it was what I had in my cabinet, but use whatever you want. I always like fettuccini with cream sauces because it holds on to just the right amount of sauce in my opinion. The rest of this recipe is cooking the sauce for half a box of bowtie pasta.

I will preface the rest of this by saying I did not use precise measuring at all, but I have guestimates of about how much I used. You’ll be able to “feel” when you have enough of everything.

I melted 1.5-2 tablespoons of margarine into a large sauce pan on low heat and then tossed in about the same amount of jarred minced garlic. Fresh garlic would also work but if you use fresh you won't need as much for the same punch of flavor. Melt the two until they are evenly mixed.

I added my flour 1 teaspoon at a time until the mixture in the saucepan took on a paste-like texture.

Add about a half cup of milk to that and slowly stir until everything melts together. The mixture will once again return to a paste consistency as the milk heats up. Make sure the heat is nice and low and keep adding milk until you get a creamy consistency that is to your liking.

I sliced up about five slices of cold cut turkey roughly into strips.

 I dumped the turkey right into the sauce pan along with some dried basil and parsley.

Strain the pasta really well and dump it into the sauce pan and stir it in with the sauce.

And then it is ready to go!

This recipe went over very well so I will definitely make again.
I love the idea of using cold cuts in this because it is such a simple way of incorporating some protein in with a pasta dish. Also, how many times do you find yourself tossing away expensive deli meat because you didn’t finish it quickly enough. Uhm, me. All the time. I will for sure think of this dish if I have some lunch meat approaching its expiration date.

 (PS The Christmas Pig had a very nice holiday as well. She has been LOVING the snow here in New England.)
Have a fantastic New Year everyone :)