Some Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Ladies

Well.  Because I’m a lady I’m starting with gift ideas for us. Specifically chicas like me.  The mom, fit person, and who loves fashion but doesn’t like to splurge on herself because she spends her money on everyone else. But if you fit in any of the categories you can find something here.

Right now my inner yogi wants the following which would be a great idea for any Namaste friend you  may have:

Beautiful mala prayer beads!  You can find these at various prices on Etsy and my lululemon app just told me they have new sets on their site for sale but I’ve had my heart set out on several over at Silver & Sage Jewelry (photo cred below to them):

Open Heart Mala (Silver and Sage Jewelry)

Open Heart Mala (Silver and Sage Jewelry)

Also for the yogi – a great yoga mat, again my friends at lululemon have a popular yoga mat (the mat) but I love and adore my Manduka Pro mat.  It is LOVELY and durable and perfect for my daily practice.  I also own their eKO Lite mat which is super easy to travel with but how in love am I with their Limited Ed. metallic mat?  Seriously.:

manduka

 

I’m all about workout gear.  I like to feel good in what I wear and lately am a little obsessed with the tight pants; loose top look.  Again lulu gets a shoutout because they are almost all I own but Onzie has some awesome printed capris that I would love to rock with a loose black top to a yoga class.  Check out both sites for awesome gear.  I promise fitness people will love the goods ;-)

Also nothing says I love you then paying for classes at her favorite local yoga studio.  One of my FAVORITE studios – Core Power Yoga has a deal on gift cards 80 for 100.

yoga

(source)

Ideas for runners?  Buying entrance to races is always fun.  Because I live in a big city who has a 5k pretty much every weekend (even in the winter lol) – there are some super fun ones that come to town and the entries can quickly add up$$ so buy friends race entries to some of the popular ones!  Rock n Roll series are awesome and CARA’s website has links to tons of others.

Runner’s Road ID - I’ve wanted one of these for sometime, alas have never gotten one but they are super duper popular.  You should get there now as they are having an AWESOME sale ;-)

I also love the idea of commemorating important things with jewelry – and this Etsy site has some awesome little goodies:

xxvi

(that site has a lot of cute things, not just running related, check them out!  Fantastic reviews too.)

This sweat away bracelet:

sweat away braclet

Or for the distance runner with lots of medals?  A custom medal rack:

runners

Ok, so your gal isn’t into the running/yoga/studio thing. Every girl wants more SHOES. Wintertime deserves new boots.  Although I want the dreamy Stuart Weitzman 5050s – they aren’t quiet in my budget hahaha but big stores like Macy’s do have great sales this time of year where you can get some designer goods at somewhat of a discount and your gal will not be upset with a new pair of boots.

I feel like girls are so easy to buy for – except for my sister. lol

For the moms, Moms – the active ones – doesn’t hurt to get some memberships to cool nearby places. Or giftcards to spas.

This year I’m just hoping for a cute family photo & maybe to fit into some of my old clothes hahaha.

Any awesome ideas for gifts this year?

 

 

 

 

Love & Light

Happy Monday!  Another week, unreal. This weekend went by so fast I’m not even sure what I did. I do know that I took an AH-MAZING hot yoga class last night – and I swear each day I get back into the swing of daily practice I feel so much better.

yoga-image-quotes-12

(source)

What I love about yoga is it teaches me to breathe (a stress reliever for me, I breathe through stress, always have – yoga helps me cultivate that breath) and humbles me deeply.  I’m proud of where I am right now in my practice even if I can’t do crow again just yet, or if my stretches aren’t as deep as they used to be (my balance in balance poses has never been better though #winning).  I will get there. Hot yoga always gets me to sweat it out too – like toxins are just leaving my body.  Yoga isn’t all I do fitness-wise but it is an excellent place to start my postpartum journey.  I’m definitely a lifter (who wants to add to her “at home gym” collection), and a runner (haven’t started back just yet) and I love to try Pilates & Barre dvds/videos I enjoy challenging myself and am excited to get back into my normal routines but I’m taking my time with it.  Good workouts keep me balanced, mentally strong and healthy – they are the most selfish thing I do and makes me a better, happier person. A better wife, mom, employee and a better ME.

1dcacd743121b15f2553b1e9d406ceb9

I’m constantly on the go, constantly thinking, need to get things done… Stressing myself out relentlessly with lists, to-dos, want-to-dos, etc.  I get upset if I don’t make time to pump enough or clean enough or if I’m late to something because I haven’t yet got down how to pack a newborn & two year old (it is a juggling act, I swear). Yoga reminds me – slow down, if you are aware of what you need to do and are doing what you need to do.  That’s what recovery and time off is for, figuring everything out again.  Also this is TEMPORARY. I’ve done it before with Evan, and then got used to running out of the house with just his hand in my hand (not an extra pair of clothes 5 diapers, wipes, breast pads, blankets, burp cloths oh and 5 pacifiers because those suckers just seem to disappear) and a smile on his face.  Life needs to be lived by the day and I need to enjoy these newbie moments because they are fleeting and will be over before I know it…

People ask how I fit it all in – mom, work, fitness.  It really is simple I make time for what is important to me. Working out these days has never been easier with the internet, there is no excuse.  You can become ultra-fit with just your body and determination – #truestory – you don’t NEED fancy equipment or a personal trainer – you just need you and the will to do it. You don’t need a treadmill, or heavy weights start with pushups and burpies if you have to.  For yoga, you really only need a mat and a want to keep yourself happy and healthy.

Yoga it out. Workout 2

Be active. Love. Light. My journey to be fit is never ending and my body is ever evolving.  If I thought it was amazing above, it is so much better now.  It gave life to my beautiful boys.  It has a few scars, but they MEAN something now. They won’t hid the fact that I will have killer abs again or that I will set PRs and be able to do crazy inversions once again for now I’ll bask in the the beautiful soreness I missed after a good workout, it means I’m changing.

IMG_8338_2

Because let’s face it… the above is pretty AH-MAZING.

Nurse. Yoga. Play. Sleep. Eat. Repeat.

These are the words of the moment.  Six words that I live over and over and over again. I’m cool with it though because, I feel so content right now.

IMG_7990_2

Our lives are absolutely nuts right now.  The days are blurred together and I rarely know what day of the week it is.  Most days I’m living in yoga stuff because a lot of things still don’t fit me… I’m struggling with my new “right now” body.  Change when it comes to my body is and always has been so hard for me, but snuggles and smiles from my boys helps me remember it is worth it and I will get back to where I need to be.  But the daily dose of yoga also helps me find contentment, balance and humbles me that I have to take it slow and steady…I was given a special gift yesterday –  a trip to the yoga studio special thanks to my husband and medela for making that possible. It was a beautiful Hot Power Fusion class, a mix of hot yoga static postures, glorious heat and short vinyasa flows. I will definitely be easing that back into my regular schedule.  BUT Merry early Christmas to me via the Fitnessista is 15 days free to Barre3 which has some postnatal videos as short as 10 minutes long I plan on doing everyday for the next two weeks!  Boom. #winning

What else is going on?  Christmas Cheer and incomplete trees:

IMG_3270

 

Again, it will get there – it is pretty though – I love the magical Christmas lights :) I put over 700 lights on that tree, it was sappy.  But really pretty:

IMG_3202 IMG_3206

 

Evan was an amazing little helper:

IMG_3238

So our “play” time has been a lot of decorating, and watching “The Santa Clause” over and over. I love that movie and know almost all the words by heart.  Evan loves “santa” and “christmas” too. <3 He also enjoys mixing all his play doh colors together until it is a nice shade of grey. ;-)

Today I have a coffee date, and some cleaning to do.  It should be crazy. Just the way we like it over here.

 

Train thoughts Ed2

Nothing like iPhone blog updates! Today I walked through Union Station and felt totally nostalgic about the different run expos that I’ve been to there. I’m pretty sure my first 5k packet pickup was there. It excited me about running again. Not sure how the brain picks up these things I think it’s a mixture of me thinking “geez this is perfect running weather” or the fact most of my races have been held in the city so it automatically gets my run brain workin. Anywho, I’m too afraid to run now because of my ankle but ran well into my third trimester with Evan. I have a love hate relationship with running. Some days I would force myself out of bed to run “because I had to” other days I looked forward to my runs for so many reasons: stress relief, me time, race prep. I’d be all in or need a break. I’m considering this my time to fall in love again.

This baby is due at a time that will likely put me outside of ideal running conditions outside, but that hasn’t stopped me from REALLY contemplating Long Grove’s turkey trot this Thanksgiving, they have a run/walk 5k and strollers are allowed so I’m sorta daydreaming about walking with my sis and a stroller while wearing baby 2. It will be too soon for a run goal, but I think a walk in the race atmosphere sounds totally blissful and It sounds like the perfect way to 1) remind myself I love the race atmosphere so much!! And 2) a great way to get in some mileage on a day I usually indulge a bit ❤️.

My my ride is coming to an end! Geez express train that was fast!

Thanks for reading my train thoughts! Happy Friday!

20140815-172834-62914760.jpg

Favorite Coffee Cup & Why I Need to Live Somewhere Warm

Anyone have a favorite coffee cup?  I do. I do. I do.  I irrationally love this cup.

DSC_0422

I have two others just like it except the color inside is different and so is the logo on the front of the cup, it has to be the bear (Yukon blend).  It’s the perfect size, perfect texture (matte), great handle… Well made!   I don’t know what it is but when someone else uses my cup I have an inside irrational response of *gasp* “MINE” lol.  Luckily unlike my one and half year old, I don’t scream “Mine Mine” at the person using the cup, but I do practically hug it the next time it is in my hands.

So this morning is a good morning, my computer, Lorde Pandora, and my cup <3

I’ve always been a person who has worked on ways to make myself and the things around me better.  My newest endeavor?  Waking up really early everyday of the week.  My alarm goes off around 4:30 a.m.  problem is, I use the cold as an excuse to cuddle under my covers for the next half hour.  Then when I head to the treadmill it is cold down there!  This weather hates me, and the rest of Chicago.  I literally sit here and day dream about morning runs outside with my early morning companion, Oso:

IMG_1408

 

I just keep telling myself:  It’s coming. It’s coming.

But, to avoid this crap in the future.  I should just move somewhere warm! :) hehe.

No, on the bright side, I’m crazy blessed and lucky to have the option of running on a tredmill at my gym or in my home.  I just can’t wait until the snow and ice melts so I can run the early morning streets of my neighborhood. (Trust me, Oso can’t wait either!)

Happy Tuesday!

Awesome Wave

Happy Saturday, friends!

What a week this was!  I really am over the cold, snowy environment surrounding me.  Even though I’ve never really been comfortable in a bikini – I’m CRAVING bikini weather.  I seriously sit in my heated yoga classes and pretend it is sunny and warm.  My body is definitely craving some homemade vitamin D and when it is literally below zero degrees out or snowing CONSTANTLY, I’m not getting even a tiny bit of it.  At least my boys have fun with their shovels:

DSC_1003

Like everything in my life, I hit waves.  Waves of lazy periods (well in my book lazy, other people see me go go go), then focused waves of awesome.  Right now, I’m on a awesome wave.  I’ve majorly cleaned up eats and have been focusing on getting my heart rate up in some shape or form at least once a day.  It’s a cycle that I need to have not only for myself but for my family.  I want Evan to have lots of healthy home cooked meals, and I want to experiment more with food.  Something that helps me stay on track is reading.  I load my kindle with books on health and fitness, meditation and yoga – even though some sit unread for days and days because I’m knees deep in some novel or catching up on Mob Wives and Scandal (I know, I know… ) I feel like life is all about balance.  However, when I feed my soul with those books, even though every fiber of my being knows how to eat and live well, it reminds me to keep on track. When I eat clean and sweat I’m happier much happier, and isn’t that what life is about?  That said, I’m really enjoying Cameron Diaz’s The Body Book right now.  It is an easy, lighthearted read that I think would actually be really great for a teenager or someone just getting into a clean healthy lifestyle it is just presented in a way that is not overwhelming and is packed with info (although she uses soy as an example of something to switch out for milk, I’m not a soy fan at all).  When I finish up the book I’d like to do a review ;-) – Something that I live by is eating with color.  LOTS of color.  Vibrant color.  No iceberg lettuce, give me the super green kale and spinach and crispy romaine please!  I mean not only are these so good for you but they are so pretty *insert heart eyes*:

DSC_0885

My mom recently bought a vitamix.  I’ve talked about it before and I’ll talk about it again:  I want one so bad! I have a high powered blender and like the reviews here I’m not a fan.  It is bigger and louder than my mom’s shiny new vitamix and more importantly it does not work as well. So I’m saving for my own.  I know they are pricey but I’ve only heard awesome reviews from the basic to the fancy.  Plus, Hector is sick of seeing lulu bags at the doorstep (not that they would ever go away forever, just maybe a little less frequent).

Are you hitting winter slum?  Are you busting through?  I went shopping today at target and they had GARDEN stuff out!  I’m ready to feed the need to get my hands in the dirt and do some gardening and RUN OUTSIDE!!!  So stoked for this.

Off to cuddle with the napping baby, followed by a run on the dreadmill treadmill;)

 

 

New Year, New You – Happy 2014 – Starter Tips

Hello from snowy Chicago!  Happy New Year all.   I hope everyone had a fun, safe and blissful start to their new year!

photo3 photo4

There is something magical about waking up to a new year with a blanket of snow.  Like everything is being cleaned.  We kept last night super low-key.  My sister and I went to the gym for a last minute end of the year sweat sesh followed by welches grape juice, Taboo and a sick hubby and needy little dude (he is all about Mama, Mama, Mama – in fact he won’t leave my lap/arms/sight, even now as he sits on my lap saying “mama, mama”).

photo

I’m not big on New Year resolutions but I do think it isn’t a bad time review goals, revamp a wardrobe, and double check where you are physically and mentally.  The Holidays can be a stressful time of year filled with too many processed foods (or not, and if not, good for you!) or cookies or days when you are like “I’d rather have hot chocolate and watch the Santa Clause with my son tonight instead of killing it at the gym” (guilty!!).

For all those who are trying to make 2014 a healthier year than 2013 whether it is purging unhealthy habits or relationships – good luck!  Keep me updated on your journey and build a strong foundation so that you don’t set yourself up for failure.  For those of you hitting the gym here are some tricks for keeping you on a path rather than over doing it and discouraging progress so early:

  1. Be realistic.  Don’t think you can go from not benching ANYTHING to benching a ridiculous amount of weight or not running to being able to run 4 miles without issue.  Your body will need some time to build up to these things so set little goals and listen to your body.  Nothing is worse then waking up on Jan. 2nd feeling like you were ran over by a Mac Truck.  Take it easy ;-) – your body can do amazing things – but pace yourself.
  2. Ask, ask, ask!  If you look at a machine/person lifting and are watching someone who looks fit fly through movements – don’t assume they are doing the machine/movement correctly.  Ask a trainer walking the floor if your form is correct THERE IS NO SHAME IN THIS.  You don’t want to start the year off with an injury, and I’m warning you now, just because that girl/dude has nice muscles doesn’t mean they are using the machine/free weights correctly and doing 20 incorrect movements at top speed with bad form is way less impressive (and stupid) than doing 3 correct perfect form moves.  Trust me, your injury-less body will thank you for the questions.
  3. Don’t feel intimidated at the gym.  This is easier said than done, but everyone starts somewhere.  Respect your journey for where it is.  You don’t have to be a size 0 to be healthy.
  4. Change takes time.  Just because your first week at the gym feels like a success does not mean it will show on the scale.  In fact, I’d throw the scale out.  Happiness is not tied to a number, it is tied to a feeling.  When you feel good, that is happiness.  Be thankful for what your body can do for you now, and know it is an amazing tool.
  5. Try new things!  Take classes.  Try TRX, Yoga, Pilates, spin, crossfit – weightlifting!  There are so many ways to stay in shape.  You don’t have to hate it.  You do not have to run because so many people run.  Hit a fun machine – the rower, a bike, the AMT, and don’t forget to get strength training in.  Take it outside too – get the family involved.  Take the dog for a fast walk in the snow, go ice skating, jump in the pool.  Like I said, change it up and try new things.  Find something you enjoy.  Fitness is a way of life – and it can be fun!  It doesn’t mean hitting the dreadmill and eating celery.
  6. Find a good blogs to read both fitness and food!  I love reading about other people’s journeys and what they do to stay fit.  The amazing thing is they are all different!  Everyone stays fit in different ways and nothing is more motivating then a good before and after picture! (Fitnessista.com is my fav!!!)
  7. Update the playlist.  Enough said.  Music is amazing – some of it can really push you through machines/cardio.
  8. Treat yourself to new workout gear!  Although there is nothing wrong with a cotton t-shirt and yoga pants.  I LOVE my tech gear.  Makes me feel fierce.  Honestly, hit a yoga or Pilates class cute gear?  Winning.  My favs include: lulu of course, under armor, nike, reebok and one of kind saying shirts that are all over the place “Keep calm, Ohm on”.  How awesome, and appropriate are my “Chase Snowflakes” socks?!photo2
  9. Give yourself a pat on the back!  You did it!  You started your fitness journey.  This is a lifestyle change you will have to commit to this for life.  Once you reach a goal weight, you still have to maintain and that takes work too!  You need to continue to eat clean, and hit the gym.

Good luck everyone! Stay safe, stay fit and eat clean.