Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Summer Bucket List | 2016

Memorial Day has come and gone.  Time to put on your white pants, your white shoes, your white hats…. and make a summer bucket list.

summer bucket list

We have time booked down the Cape (I’d be happy if the only item on my summer bucket list was “be at the Cape as much as possible, if not more”) and a weekend in Maine for a wedding, but the rest of our summer is free for all sorts of adventures.  Or naps.  

SUMMER BUCKET LIST | 2016

  • Yoga outside.  A few classes I have in mind: Pop Up Asana in the Seaport and M Street Park, Castle Island Beach Yoga with Radiant Yoga, Fit By the Field yoga at Patriot Place (free), Yoga on The Green at The Street in Chestnut Hill (free), Island Yoga on Spectacle Island (free with ferry ticket, requires pre-registration) and hopefully a few beach classes in Harwichport with MoveWith again this summer.
  • Mini golf.  We pass by the golf course at Franklin Park a few times a week and Grace is fascinated.  She keeps asking if Uncle Christopher will take her (and a dog… presumably Clark?) golfing.  I sort of think mini golf might be more our speed.  Holiday Hill in Dennisport is an old favorite, but there’s also McGolf closer to the city, in Dedham.
  • Take a boat somewhere.  Another special request from Grace. 
  • Swimming lessons for both babes.  We took a little hiatus when Nick was born, but he’s now old enough for class and Grace has missed taking lessons, so we’ve got them signed up for back-to-back classes.  We spend so much time near the water (we live across the street from the ocean + my parents have a pool), that focusing on water safety is sort of a non-negotiable.  Plus, lessons are fun.  And baby bathing suits are ridiculous.  
  • Visit a lighthouse.  
  • Read 5+ beach books.  I feel like I used to read 1,003 books each summer.  And if I counted how many times I’ve read Elmo Goes to the Potty, I’d probably be close already.  And it’s been less than 24 hours since Memorial Day.  But I’m talking about real, actual, normal, grown-up books.  Please let me know if you have recommendations!
  • Watch fireworks.
  • Visit Martha’s Vineyard and/or Nantucket.  Both are easy trips from the Cape… and require boat travel, thus checking off two bucket list items.  I love being efficient (mostly because it’s a very rare occurrence these days).  
  • Make a non-dangerous (if that’s possible) slip-n-slide.  Maybe get helmets.  And mouth guards.

You know me.  Safety first… (summer) fun second.  

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your summer bucket list?

Don’t quit before the miracle | Midweek motivation

Because your Monday motivational pep talk (…to yourself) may have worn off, here’s a bit of mid-week motivation.

Don’t quit before the miracle.

don't quit before the miracle

Don’t quit before the miracle.  Keep working.  Keep praying.  Keep reaching.  Keep remembering to pack snacks.  And six changes of clothes.  Just in case.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your current mantra?  

Raining + training | Last week’s workouts

The sun has finally returned, so I decided to be a pleasant, semi-normal person again.  I figured I’d do the things pleasant, semi-normal people do.  For example, share.  Let’s start with last week’s workouts (and who knows, maybe I’ll work up to sharing something you actually want.  Or need.  Or like. #nopromises).

raining and training last weeks workouts

Raining + training | Last week’s workouts

Monday: Class with the Mama Beasts – I’ve had to give myself some serious Monday morning pep talks the past few weeks.  The gloomy weather hasn’t helped.  I’m glad we made it to all three classes this week, though… mostly because the alternative was being cooped up in the house.  Where there is chocolate.  And no other adults between 8 AM – 6 PM.

Tuesday: Tone it Up workout + 2.5 mile loop around the Sugar Bowl and Castle Island

Wednesday: Class

Thursday: 3 mile walk in varying degrees of rain (sprinkling… drizzling… full on raining… and down pouring) to the post office (where we got to chat with a nun from the neighborhood, so that was a bonus) and the library (which was closed… and I am a dingbat for not checking the schedule ahead of time) and to the store for Zantac (the glamour of my GI-challenged life never ceases to amaze).  And some much needed yoga.

Friday: Class (it seemed like an especially tough one), lots of stretching and foam rolling.

Saturday: Marine Corps Honor Run 5k and a 1.5 mile walk – I feel like kind of a boob saying this, but I’m pretty proud of how it went.  Running with the double stroller is no joke.  But Grace and baby Nick provide a good distraction.  And there’s room for snacks in the handlebar pouch thing, so… there are definite advantages.  I checked with our pediatrician first (obvi), but with its flat course and my current turtle pace, this race provided the perfect opportunity to run with both babes.  I’ve run the Marine Corps Honor Run before and it’s always a pretty moving event.  It’s an honor to be able to run it, for sure.

Sunday: Rest day

Despite all the rain, this felt like my strongest week of workouts in ages.  

I’m slowly emerging from that postpartum fog (mostly I’ve come to accept that I will live like some sort of medieval peasant, getting 4 hours of sleep at night and subsisting solely on Grace’s table scraps until a miraculous 10 free minutes appear and I manage to consume the equivalent of breakfast, lunch, lunch 2, lunch 3 and dinner all at one).  

And I’m so appreciative of this body I have.  That matters as much (likely more) than any workout I finish.

On that cheeseball note,  let’s go (responsibly) enjoy some sunshine.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you feeling proud of this week?

Today: Running + Purple Rain.

You know you’ve been listening to more Prince than usual when your two-year-old starts singing “Purple Rain” to her Fisher Price farm animals.  It’s making me alternately very happy and a bit depressed.

Materials used: Golden fluid acrylics (Dioxazine Purple), Handmade Modern acrylic paint (lavender, violet), Winsor + Newton professional watercolor (ivory black)

I think I’ve always loved Prince’s music.  And while “Purple Rain” is sort of an obvious song to single out, it’s been an important part of nearly every race I’ve started (and finished).  Long, short and everything in between.

Being a bit of a sponge person, I used to get way too wrapped up in the starting line energy (and all the weird vibes that come from other people being nervous, excited, and/or trying out new Gu.  Or stretches.  Or Spandex).  In the corral before my first marathon, a woman told me she was going to run despite not training (like, at all) and I think I pulled every worry muscle in my body just listening to her.  

I’d start each race all wrapped up in everything going on around me, inevitably running too fast, and nearly expiring by mile two.

prince and running

I knew early on that I needed a strategy.  (For the record: I don’t mean that in a competitive or high performing way… I mostly mean that in a “figure out how to keep running without dying” kind of way.) I must’ve had my iPod set to shuffle during a run (or maybe I intentionally picked “Purple Rain,” but I don’t think so), but as soon as I heard “I didn’t mean to cause you any sorrow,” I knew Prince would join me for the rest of my races.

“Purple Rain” is just slow enough to keep my heart rate low and pace on target.   And when all 8 minutes and 24 seconds have passed, I’m approaching my first mile and first third of a 5k.  And if I could do math, I’d tell you how much of a 10k or marathon would be left.  But I can’t (do math, that is).  Like so much of Prince’s music, the song is somehow uplifting, confusing, bittersweet, sad, and weird all at once.  In other words, it’s the perfect soundtrack to all the things that might pop into my head on any given run.  

Oh, and don’t get me started on the music itself.  If I wasn’t positive I’d be an even worse musician than I am a runner, “Purple Rain” would have convinced me to take up guitar lessons.

While I’m saddened that so many talented people have left the Earth lately, I’m grateful we can still take them along on our runs, our races, our walks, our adventures, our drives and our day-to-days.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your go-to running (or painting, or planting, or walking, or waiting) jam?

Today: Peanut butter, cranberry + dark chocolate granola bars.

I recently found myself scrolling through the entirety of the Internet (it’s an uppercase word… until June 1…) for a good granola bar recipe and scanning the contents of our pantry, hoping the stars ingredients would align.  

gluten free peanut butter cranberry dark chocolate granola bars

It was 10:30 on Sunday night, and I had no business being awake, let alone attempting to make granola bars… but sometimes we get peer pressured into these things (i.e. I did it for the Mama Beasts Spring Challenge points…).  And in this case, the pressure paid off.

I should know better than to mess with baking recipes (unlike cooking, there’s some actual science and measuring involved) and you know I’d never be so bold as to question my queen Martha… but um… I messed with a Martha recipe (this one for peanut-butter granola bars — you’ll see I made a few changes, but used her recipe as a guide).  Mostly because I needed to work with what I had.  And because Martha seemed to have forgotten to include chocolate chips.  She’s got a lot going on.  

I’ve made these granola bars twice now (proof that they don’t take a lot of effort or time or thought, all things I seem to be perpetually lacking).  

I’m always looking for filling, mostly-healthy snacks and these turned out to be both.  And they don’t taste like an old shoe (always a plus).  That’s a terrible way of telling you they’re delicious.  They’re delicious.  

peanut butter cranberry dark chocolate granola bars

Homemade peanut butter, cranberry + dark chocolate granola bars

gluten free, makes approximately 12 bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips 
  • 1/4 cup palm sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • Pinch of sea salt (I use Maldon flakes)

Directions

  1. Prep work:   Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment or freezer paper, leaving a bit of overhang. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix oats, cranberries, almonds and dark chocolate.
  3. In a small sauce pan over low heat, mix nut butter, oil, and palm sugar until sugar dissolves.  Remove pan from heat and mix in egg white.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and pour into prepared pan, pressing mixture evenly with a spatula.
  5. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, allow to cool in pan (approximately 10 minutes).
  7. Remove baked granola (technically, they’re not bars… yet) from the pan, using the parchment or freezer paper and freeze overnight on a cookie sheet.
  8. Cut bars to desired size, store refrigerated.

Recipe notes:  You could include just about any nuts and dried fruit.  I don’t recommend skipping the chocolate.  (Because, really, why?)  You could throw caution to the wind and cut them after cooling, but I found freezing the bars really helped keep them from crumbling.  Martha’s recipe calls for light brown sugar, which you could use if you don’t have palm sugar on hand.  Similarly, you could substitute (1:1) coconut oil for vegetable oil.  The Maldon is definitely optional, but I have such a thing for salty/sweet.  I used 70% cocoa chocolate chips and Bob’s Red Mill gluten free rolled oats, but again, use what you have.

That’s basically my life’s motto at the moment… use what you have.  Or, like, order it from Amazon Prime.  Just kidding.  Kind of.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Very interesting read: The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry and What to Do About It via lifehacker
  • Attempting to read an actual book (one that is not about “positive parenting” or “thriving toddlers” or “making your dog promise to live forever”) …I’m currently on page 13 and consider that a huge victory
  • Catching up on some postcrossing 

Today: April goals (and a printable calendar).

I didn’t feel like painting April showers, so I skipped right to the May flowers.  Hope you don’t mind.

April goals (and a printable calendar)

april calendar printable

Materials used: Winsor + Newton professional watercolors and gouache; round brushes (4 and 8), liner brush (0); super-inexpensive mixed media paper (from the kids’ craft aisle at Target)

click here to download your free, hand painted April calendar

April goals

Family

  • Set plans for Nick’s baptism
  • Pick a new Audubon sanctuary to visit this month
  • Make a “warmer weather” bucket list (because I never did this in March… semi-related, it’s going to snow next week…)
  • Day trip to the Cape

Wellness

  • Continue to workout at least twice in the real world and twice at home (per week) and increase weekly mileage
  • Increase low plank hold to 45 seconds, high plank to 2 minutes (gettin’ there!)
  • Continue to keep food diary (this is something I got back into a few weeks ago — it’s been really helpful… and eye-opening)

Home

  • Donate newborn and baby clothes (seeing as both my children are toddler-sized, including the four-month-old)
  • Consign or sell our single running stroller
  • Get the deck ready for spring/summer
  • Continue to meal plan on Sundays (it’s really helping to cut down food waste)

Bring on the April showers.  So we can cut to the May flowers.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s On Tap for your April?

Today: The week ahead + a free planning printable

True Life: If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t get done.  And sometimes even if I write it down, it doesn’t get done (can’t win ’em all).  And sometimes I write down things I’ve already done, just for the satisfaction of crossing something off.  Whatever.  Here’s a free printable.

The week ahead

click here to download your free planning printable

I use a weekly planner (the Get to Work Book — love it) to keep track of appointments, writing and art projects and general “to dos,” and Co-Schedule for an editorial calendar, but I prefer something simple when it comes to my weekly plan.  After a little design trial and error, I came up with this pretty number, and thought I’d share it.  Feel free to download and print and plan all kinds of things.  

I stick with a Monday start partly to pretend I’m a sophisticated non-American (just kidding… kind of) but mostly because I like carving out time on Sundays to plan for the week ahead.  If you’d prefer a file with a Sunday start, reach out or leave a comment below and I’m sure I can help you out.

You might use this weekly planning printable for

  • Meal planning
  • Food log
  • Scheduling workouts
  • A gratitude diary
  • 1-2 must dos (or want to dos) per day
  • Daily doodles

I laminated mine using a 3M self-sealing pouch (you can find them on Amazon in packages of 10 for less than $10, or in the office supply aisle at Target) and use a fine tip dry erase marker, rather than printing a new page every week (I feel like I am forever living dangerously… in the low ink zone).  

Time to go write something down.  And maybe, eventually do that something.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your #1 productivity tool?

Today: Last week’s workouts + a SLS3 running belt giveaway

What is it about spring that makes me want to be a runner again?  

That year I ran two marathons (the Walt Disney World Marathon and the NYC marathon <– click though for recaps, if you’d like to read about very mediocre running, but above average emotional expression) seems like ancient history, but give me a new pair of kicks and a 60 degree day and you’d think I was heading for the starting line (more likely: I’m heading to Target because I forgot to buy hand soap… but remembered to buy chocolate chips…).

last week's workouts

Regardless, I’m looking forward to several spring races (the Marine Corps Honor Run in Southie and the Corrib 5k in West Roxbury for starts) and sort of feel my running mojo coming back.  Whatever that means.  If you’re getting back outside to train, I’ve got a great giveaway below that might make your (running) life a little better.

Last week’s workouts

last week's workouts

Monday: Mama Beasts — I’m always a little giddy when the deck of cards comes out (and I’m impressed at how many ways Antoinette puts those cards to use!).

Tuesday: Mama Beasts spring challenge workout (at home) and a long walk with the little people.  Grace went on a two week nap strike (and attempted to eat a crayon while I changed Nick’s diaper), so escaping getting out of the house felt very necessary.  It’s amazing what a little fresh air (and ocean views) can do.

Wednesday: Mama Beasts and BeFit abs + arms

Thursday: Push-up playdate with my sister-in-law, Colleen– we earned a point for our MB team for every push-up we completed in an hour.  I’m still working on being able to do regular push-ups on my toes (hello, two children… and a temporary goodbye to core/back strength), but got 163 good form push-ups done on my knees.   I rounded out the day with a gentle flow from OneOEight yoga.  

Friday: Mama Beasts (followed by an adorable egg hunt for the little ones!)

Saturday: Mileage day for the MB challenge — a morning walk and an afternoon trip to the track for a total of 5 miles.

Sunday: Rest.  Any by rest, I mean… Easter candy.

SLS3 Dual Pocket Run Belt Giveaway

SLS3 giveaway

I recently received a dual pocket run belt from SLS3 and have used it on several outdoor runs and walks, and loaned it to Nick for a rowing workout.  I’ve used other running belts in the past, and this one is far more comfortable (it doesn’t bounce around and has a wide, fully adjustable belt) and it can hold an iPhone 6+ (and comparably giant phones), keys, IDs, gels, snacks, and heavens knows what else. I look forward to continuing to use it for spring runs and races and am thrilled to host a giveaway today.

sls3 giveaway 

The giveaway is open for a week, and a random winner will be chosen and contacted by SLS3.  Please enter by using the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The dual pocket run belt is currently on sale at Amazon for $16.90 (more than 40% off the retail price).  Additionally, you can receive 40% off the entire SLSTRI website using the code BLOG40.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary running belt in exchange for my review and hosting this giveaway. 

Also On Tap for Today:

Upcoming races?  Or belated Easter egg hunts?

Today: Last week’s workouts + a BeFit giveaway

Consider this post a two-for-one special… two weeks, one post.  Or, a three-for-one if you count the BeFit giveaway.  I’m all for rounding up.

last weeks workouts be fit giveaway

Last week’s workouts

Monday: Class with the Mama Beasts (a new session just started, and Saturday classes will be starting soon — check out the Quiet Beasts website for more info), BeFit Cardio Extreme (12 minutes)

Tuesday: BeFit Dynamic Strength (12 minutes), yoga (Mellow Me Out with One0Eight.tv — I am obsessed with this slow stretch)

Wednesday: Class with the Mama Beasts 

Thursday: Rest day (and lots of stretching… my birth week had me feeling especially old and creaky)

Friday: Class with the Mama Beasts, BeFit Lower Body Blast (10.5 minutes)

Saturday: Special challenge class with the Mama Beasts (aaaand it was a tough one)

Sunday: Rest

last weeks workouts befit giveaway

BeFit Toned Abs + Arms

…and the week before last week’s workouts

Monday: Class with the Mama Beasts 

Tuesday: BeFit Toned Abs and Arms (13 minutes)

Wednesday: Class with the Mama Beasts

Thursday: Make-up class with the Mama Beasts — 12 Days of Christmas!  I’m really glad I made it to this class, as I missed this workout when Antoinette ran it in December, just after Nick was born.  I had to scale back some of the running (indoor laps instead of outdoor) half-way through… I pretended I needed to be close to the babes, but in reality, my lungs and legs were burning).  Merry Christmas, body!

Friday: Class with the Mama Beasts, BeFit Toned Abs and Arms — class three days in a row was no joke, but I really liked the abs/arms workout from earlier in the week, so I snuck that in, too.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Yoga (Mellow Me Out… again, and a yin yoga class)

BeFit Giveaway

last weeks workouts befit giveaway

In addition to making it to class four times both weeks (there was an extra class held both weeks), I managed to sneak in a few short at-home workouts, too.  I’m really enjoying BeFit’s 30 Day Workout Calendar, which corresponds to this YouTube playlist.  The program is free to access — I definitely recommend checking it out.

Each workout is short, but intense (check out this intro video to learn more) — perfect for fitting in between appointments, during nap time, or whenever your schedule allows.  You could work through the 30 day calendar as it is laid out, or pick and choose, as I have been doing.  This program is both really well organized and manageable (especially when you consider how little time you need to carve out) — and the variety of workouts has kept me feeling engaged and motivated.  

befit giveaway

As a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I was given the chance to review BeFit’s 30 Day Fat Burn program and received a generous gift of BeFit nutritional products from the company.  

Because I’m breastfeeding Nick, I am not taking any supplements (just a prenatal vitamin and my good ol’ Floridix for anemia), but I’ve heard great things about the products we received from my fellow ambassadors and look forward to trying them in the future.  I’m especially excited to try the pre-workout formula, as well as a few of the whey protein recipes that BeFit has shared on Instagram.  If you’d like to win your own gift set from BeFit, please see details below.

You can use any of the following methods to enter (each option will earn you an entry; please leave a separate comment below for each entry): 

Giveaway restrictions:

  • U.S. only
  • One prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won another prize from BeFit through another blog, please disclose that you have already won so we can choose another winner. 

One winner will be randomly chosen on Thursday, March 10th.

This post is sponsored by BeFit, in partnership with Sweat Pink.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Really helpful… and kind of cool: 36 Pictures To See Which Muscle You’re Stretching via Be Young Be Green 
  • Listening to Grace repeatedly talk about how she is going to pick up the Easter Bunny and take him for a walk (???)
  • Catching up on #makeyourmarkMARCH

What’s your favorite work out these days?

Today: March goals (and a printable calendar).

It’s March 1st, which means

march goals printable calendar

Materials used: Zig Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors, Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen (black), round brushes (sizes 2 and 4)

You can download your March calendar here.

March goals 

Family

  • This is mortifying… but I still need to make Nick’s birth announcement…
  • Date night afternoon at the museum
  • Make a few playdates for Grace
  • Make a “warmer weather” bucket list

Wellness

  • Continue to workout at least twice in the real world and twice at home (per week)
  • Meet my fitbit goals (10,000 steps/30 minutes of activity/10 floors climbed) 5 days a week
  • Increase low plank hold to 45 seconds, high plank to 1 minute 
  • Register for 2 spring races
  • Less TV, more reading

Home

  • Organize and donate Nick’s too-small baby clothes 
  • Wash deck windows
  • Limit food waste

Community

  • Make plans with friends
  • Win March Madness (or whatever)
  • Enjoy the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Southie

I hope your March is… super.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on tap for your March?