Category Archives: Things I Love

The Tuesday Tank

“I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know where I’ve been.”

Pretty much, and I’m completely sober.

Oh, summer. You and your childish dreams of sitting in the sun all day, your optimistic adventures and restful face looking at me like I’m a traitor. “Spend more time with me,” you say. Truth is, you’re not loyal enough for me. You come in like a knight on a wine truck and captivate me with stories of your past. Then you’re gone, gone, gone. And I’m left here disinfecting the kiddie pool and questioning why I ever thought you’d stick around in the first place.

Am I right or am I right? Here we go, August. Here we go, kindergarten. Here we go, carnies at the state fair. Here we go, jalapeno pepper harvest and the procuring of grape blocks in the vineyards. Cheers to this month and all the transition in our veins. I’m back on the blog and celebrating with an installment of “The Tuesday Tank!”

Today’s Tank:

~We don’t need more time, we need a damn compound.

The kids are at grandma’s house this week. I have four days to get “everything” done I need to get done. BALONEY! I will not get it all done. My winemaker and I will probably not get to go to a movie or see friends we rarely see. Why? Because this: You Don’t Need More Free Time.

So, parents, let us stop feeding ourselves the lie that we’d get more done/see our friends/family more if we weren’t parents. And non-parents, you’re totally guilty of your equivalent lies. There’s a reason compounds exist and perhaps those people have it all figured out. Or perhaps we should just keep the wine rack stocked and continue on…

~’Tis the season for youth sports and Red 40 food coloring!

I’m all about all things in moderation. I’m also all about maybe not having to hear “Mom I pooped green!” If you have a child in sports you may be interested in making your own hydration solution. If so, read how to make Homemade Gatorade Concentrate. Or maybe you love green poop, hell if I know. Who am I to give a child limits?

Photo Credit: homeremedyshop.com
Photo Credit: homeremedyshop.com

~Hello, my name is Crystal and I put snail mucus on my face.

Korean skin care is kind of a thing and it’s kind of addicting. As someone who isn’t exactly old and isn’t exactly 20-something (unless ACDC comes on….ohhhh watch OUT world!), I’m definitely into skin care these days and probably for the rest of the days. I’m also into knowing what’s in the stuff that goes on my face. Enter: Here’s How to Find ‘Safe’ and ‘Natural’ Korean Beauty Products.

Psst: Secure yourself a sheet mask and wear it like you just don’t care.

~Someone stole my book idea. No really.

I’ve always wanted to write a book about the different paths our lives could take if we made just one decision differently. The genius Laura Barnett beat me to it, rats! Guess that’s what happens when you don’t actually ever write a book. The Versions of Us is currently open on my Kindle and I’m digging the three different versions of this story. Now…I wonder what turn my life would have taken if my winemaker hadn’t fixed my wine bottle opener when we were just beginning to date…

PhotoCredit: geekgetsglam.uk.co
PhotoCredit: geekgetsglam.uk.co

~I hate shopping. Please somebody, give me the highlights.

Say what you want about Trader Joe’s, there are some sweet finds there. Every three months or so I stock up on a few frozen items just to have on-hand for those crazy evenings when you have no time to prep a meal but you also have no desire to eat out. This list of 10 Things I Buy from Trader Joe’s for No-Cook Dinners was supposed to find you and me. See also my favorite quick-cooking steel cut oats from Trader Joe’s, listed in a previous “Tuesday Tank” installment here.

~I know you probably know how to cook your fruits and vegetables but Yours Truly just did this in the oven for the first time and you’re gonna hear about it.

Photo Credit: Onceuponasmallbostonkitchen.blogspot
Photo Credit: Onceuponasmallbostonkitchen.blogspot

Roasted tomatoes should be a food group. Typically we grill tomatoes in the summer or eat them raw (or on cucumber/tomato sandwiches) but I wanted that quasi-crispy, slightly-sweet taste you can only get from a roasted tomato. Turns out all I needed was to squeeze some serious seeds to get it. This recipe is perfection, even on a Monday night. Especially on a Monday night.

Thanks for playing with me, happy Tuesday-trudging!

Jalapeno Wine & Ginger Cocktail + Chomps Snacks Sticks Review

Christmas shopping: Check. Workout: Check. Workout other people: Check. Ship wine to wonderful customers: Check. Drink wine in my pajamas while wrapping presents: Check. Share new cocktail recipe: Check!

This is the stuff that matters, friends: Cocktails and wine. And personal hygiene.

My winemaker and I wanted to come up with a new Jalapeno Wine cocktail recipe to share in time for cheers’ing the New Year. Last weekend a star was born! For now I’m calling it a Jalapeno Wine & Ginger Cocktail but I’m still searching for clever names. It’s very similar to a margarita made with ginger ale…if that margarita also were to incorporate Jalapeno Wine (which ours usually do around here, see this recipe on the website). A Potter Wines Ginger Margarita may make more sense but then it would lack the Jalapeno Wine kick-in-the-attention-span I want people to receive when reading/saying it. Folks, tip your mixologist well the next time you’re at a bar. For they know some of life’s biggest secrets like how to adequately name a cocktail.

I love the brightness of this drink. It’s got the right amount of spice and tequila, not too much sweetness and the ginger ale makes it fizzy and fun. You could probably also use ginger beer and get a similar result. We tried a local ginger cider the second time around and while it was also good, I preferred mine made with ginger ale to capture the Jalapeno Wine just right and deliver it to my taste buds in a way that made them say “Let’s keep doing this, team.”

In other news, the good people over at Chomps Snack Sticks sent me some samples of their 100% grass fed beef sticks (because protein gets kind of boring and I also asked nicely for them). I have that review for you at the end of this post so stay tuned if you’re a cocktail/wine lover who likes beef to go with your buzz. Or maybe just a high-protein snack to go with your New Year’s resolution.

First, let’s cheers it up!

Jalapeno Wine and Ginger Cocktail
Jalapeno Wine and Ginger Cocktail

Jalapeno Wine & Ginger Cocktail Recipe

(Serves two)

Ingredients:

3 ounces Reposado tequila

2 ounces lime juice

1 ounce simple syrup

8 ounces ginger ale

2 ounces Original Jalapeno Wine (you could also use our Chipotle Jalapeno Wine if you prefer a smoky flavor)

Ice

Lime wedge and/or slice of jalapeno for garnish (optional)

Directions:

(Optional: Chill two glasses in freezer 5-10 minutes ahead of time. We used martini glasses because we live recklessly and sometimes drink our margaritas in a martini glass.)

Place a fair amount of ice in a shaker. Add all ingredients and roll in your hand to mix. My winemaker shook it very briefly for me because he knows I’m odd and I loathe carbonation. I recommend you DON’T shake it up unless you too get puffy like a seagull on Alka-Seltzer when you drink carbonated beverages.

Strain into glasses.

If you’d like you can add ice. We found adding ice only dilutes the brightness of the drink, hence why we instead chill our glasses ahead of time and drank sans-rocks.

Happy New Year!

Chomp Snack Sticks Review

Photo courtesy of gochomps.com
Photo courtesy of gochomps.com

Here’s the thing with me: I believe in eating a high-protein diet (for most people, this is beneficial as well as a tried-and-true method for keeping pounds off). But if I’m being honest? Borrrringggg. I’m constantly changing up my protein sources because let’s face it – I’m a carb and cheese girl. So I have to get creative on how I get my protein in. Yes, protein powder helps. Which leads me back to above-mentioned snooze drill and the fact that I’m not going to recommend to all my clients that they shell out more money by buying protein powder around the clock. You can always find ways to eat more protein – so I hit up the people at Chomp.

It’s not like I’m a big beef stick fanatic but when I’m on the road, especially with my kids, I get super annoyed at all the gross food options I’m faced with. Same goes when we’re working a wine event and it’s 4-5 hours before we can eat. So usually my go-to is a pepperoni stick or jerky. Which means it’s great protein-wise but pathetic processed-wise. And the last time I “treated” all of us to a round of all-natural, store-bought jerky in the car (which I found at Target), I vowed to never do it again unless I was depressed that I hadn’t seen my gag reflex kick in for a while.

Chomp sent me their snack sticks in three different flavors: Original, Hoppin’ Jalapeno (uh, clearly they know their demographic), and Crankin’ Cran.  Here’s the skinny:

The Pros

  • Tasty. I pretty much inhaled the Original between clients at the studio and all thumbs pointed up. I think that’s the first time I’ve had a beef stick that didn’t break my teeth. Wayyyy better than that junk they sell at Jackson’s.
  • Nutritionally sound. These are the nutrition facts and list of ingredients. It’s pretty much like finding out there’s pirate treasure buried in your back yard.
Photo courtesy of gochomps.com
Photo courtesy of gochomps.com

 

  • Niche market. While I’m not a Paleo or Whole30 follower, I can appreciate where these guys are coming from. Kudos to them for diving into a market that needed some realistic options.
  • Grab and go, my friends. Grab and go.
  • Crisis aversion. Your 2 ½ year old is beginning to use his powers for evil because it’s been two minutes since he ate something. Lucky for you you’ve got a Chomps Snack Stick in your bag. Well done, parent. Proceed to curse at whomever coordinates traffic light patterns.
  • Whaaat?! There aren’t any sugars in here. There AREN’T ANY SUGARS! Perhaps other food manufacturers will catch on and we can all move on with our lives without added sugars in every product we consume. That’d be a Christmas miracle!
  • Price. Have you purchased a stick of (questionable) beef or jerky lately? A financial planner passes out every time a sale is made. And forget about turkey jerky. I purchased a bag for $6.99 once and there were three lousy pieces inside. No I mean it, they were really, really lousy. Chomps Snack Sticks are actually more reasonably priced considering you get more for your buck. A financial planner somewhere just got their wings.
  • Flavors. Um, Crankin’ Cran? Who does that to a beef stick?! And who pulls it off?! These guys. And the Hoppin’ Jalapeno flavor is a winner with the jalapeno-obsessed over here. What’s even better is these flavors don’t taste like fake beef with fake flavoring mixed in. They taste like…real food. Insanity.
  • Post workout snack. I’m usually ravenous after a workout and if I’m exercising at the studio it means I don’t have time for an entire meal before my next client. Which leads us back to that whole grab-and-go thing I mentioned above.
  • Spousal agreement. Even the hubby liked these. I asked him to sample the Hoppin’ Jalapeno since…well, it’s obvious seeing as he’s the Jalapeno Winemaker, isn’t it? “That’s good. It’s a lot better than any others I’ve tried. I’d give it a 4.5 out of 5.” (That means it’s pretty dang good.) “But there’s no jalapeno in this.” Which means there is definitely jalapeno in it but his taste buds are completely immune at this point.

The Cons

  • That sodium thing. There is a little bit of added salt, likely for preservation purposes. Still, this beats the entire salt flat you’ll find in something like a Slim Jim. And if you’re on the road, sitting for hours in the car, we all know how much fun extra sodium adds to that experience.
  • Price. Notice I mentioned price as a Pro above. While these are definitely more reasonably priced than other natural options out there (and you do get more for your buck nutritionally), they’re still an extra cost for protein. With that said, if you find yourself grabbing protein bars or shakes anyway, I think this makes sense cost-wise as another option. Or if you find yourself over-eating (or under-eating) because you never eat enough protein to begin with, these are definitely worth the money.
gochomps1
If you’re intrigued and want to try them for yourself, go get ‘em at gochomps.com!
(This review was powered by BrandBacker, but all opinions and sarcasm are my own.)

The Tuesday Tank: Thursday Edition

It’s been a while. The Tuesday Tank is among my favorite post types to write yet somehow four months have gone by since the last installment. And here I am, two sleeps past Tuesday. Unforgivable. The upside: I have lots to distract you away from my lameness with.

I’m feeling a tad unfocused lately, how about you? I’m hearing talk of pumpkin-everything and I’m still over here racking my brain over what I’m going to do with all these $#@! tomatoes. Don’t RUSH me! I froze my butt off working the farmers’ market last Saturday and on Sunday the kids and I lathered up with sunscreen and waded in the river. Mother Nature is about as decisive as a 2-year-old. But in general, the mornings are cool and the days are warm – it’s the best of times. I’ve almost stopped white wine consumption completely, yet I’m a bit unsettled with everyone cheering for snow. Let’s live in the moment, can we please? Stop talking about winterizing our gardens and keep drinking margaritas for another month. Then we’ll re-evaluate. Deal? And don’t even mention Christmas to me. I’m just not that kind of girl.

Now that we’ve settled that drama, let’s see what the world has to say according to 10 links of web stuff. Some of my latest faves, to be exact. Here’s what’s trending according to my preoccupied brain.

The Tuesday Tank

~Some of these are actual fears of mine. Others are just nonsensical. Things That Will Happen If I Don’t Take My Phone Out Right Now. I mean, how will I remember my to-do list if I don’t text it to myself?

~Dear 32-year-old, Don’t waste calories on sub-par wine. Love, You + One Year. Watch How to Age Gracefully and get more real-deal advice (I’m kind of in agreement with the girl with the hashtag vendetta).

~Stitchfix is my Plan B, which often becomes my Plan A because Plan A would require me to shop on my own. I would rather do 1000 lunges. Sick, I know. And apparently I’m not alone. Read: Is Stitchfix Worth It? Then head on over to my referral link to try it!

~Ever wonder why your own 6 ounce pour doesn’t look like the bartender’s? Turns out it’s just you and your flawed wine conspiracy theories again. Wine by the Glass: Do Women Get Less? The answer might surprise you.

Photo credit: Sophisticatedignorance.net
Photo credit: Sophisticatedignorance.net

~I want to be informed but I also don’t want to hate the world upon waking. Can we skip that part of the morning newscast? Why yes, yes we can. Skimm it and you shall come away with hope still intact. Because laughter is important always. Even when everyone is freaking nuts and viral cat videos are making headlines everywhere.

~Soooo this looks like a serious new addiction waiting to happen. And soreness. Lots and lots of soreness. If you’re into that sort of thing. A client of mine highly recommends these Booya workouts and I happen to know she has good taste in workouts.

~I’m going to add an 11th tip to this list on my husband’s behalf: Strap bottle rockets to the back of the kids’ bikes. Reference: 10 ways to make driveway bike riding more fun for kids. I swear I’m going to try one of these with the kiddos before summer ends. Particularly #7 because it may be the only way our car and the dog gets washed.

~I don’t have anything intellectual to say about this – but you should watch it anyway. Particularly if you think beer is God’s gift to mankind. Laugh: Watch Australians Try American Alcohol Like Four Loko and Bud Light.

~From time to time I want to go on a tirade of all that is wrong in the fitness industry but I’ll let this woman do it for me. From meal plans to MLMs to the latest and greatest energy drinks to supplements; Nothing will work better than eating whole foods and exercising. And I’m the crazy person!

~Do not keep reading if you are in the waiting room at the doctor’s office/about to pick your kids up from school/at your office computer/doing anything anywhere where someone might witness what’s about to go down. When I’m Gone will get you. Do what my step son does and pretend there’s a dust storm in front of your face.

Now you know. Go do!

Opening Day at The Boise Farmer’s Market

So last weekend was kind of big deal, wasn’t it? Lots of food and wine, people and conversations, family and friends. Oh and then Easter was somewhere in there too. I’m only kidding, please don’t whack my hand with a ruler and make me spell God on the blackboard 1000 times. (Insider joke – I grew up Catholic.) Easter was terrific too, but for blog-intensive purposes I’m referring to opening day at The Boise Farmer’s Market last Saturday.

Waiting for 9 am...
Waiting for 9 am…

Despite the chilly morning, the turnout from the public and participating vendors was impressive! Last year my winemaker and I were just visiting vendors at this market but we loved it so much we adopted it. This year we’re back as full-fledged members and we’re there every Saturday (with the exception of two – one for grape harvest/crushing and one for a family vacation). To be honest, as much as we enjoyed three months of not setting up a canopy every Saturday, I missed the market with all its people and its bounty and its energy. You really do have to be a people person to enjoy working at a market every week. Plus I get all my produce shopping done for the week by 9:30 AM.

Here’s how this works for us every Saturday morning:

We arrive by 7:30 AM to set up our booth. Any later than that and we aren’t allowed to drive in directly to our spot, which means we must haul everything by foot from the parking lot. Not fun if you’re carrying cases of wine and tables and a 10’ by 10’ canopy before you’ve finished your coffee.

Our mobile tasting room.
Our mobile tasting room.

Once we’re all set-up, I usually walk a couple blocks to Alia’s for one of these amazing sandwiches and a coffee for Von:

Manhattan Morning bagel sandwich. So good! Too bad I was saving my belly for something else later...
Manhattan Morning bagel sandwich. So good! Too bad I was saving my belly for something else later…
The nice man making the sandwich bought a couple bottles of wine. Which qualified this as a free breakfast!
The nice man making the sandwich bought a couple bottles of wine, which meant in the end I got paid for the bagel and coffee!

Once my winemaker’s fed, I go shopping. Vendors can’t sell to the public until the opening bell rings precisely at 9 AM, but we can sell to other vendors. Often this is the only time vendors have to step away from their booths, so it’s not uncommon to see everyone chatting. Last Saturday I was overjoyed to learn one of the farmers was selling duck eggs.

duckegg.jpg

These rich, beautiful babies are twice the size of chicken eggs and packed with nutrients. I love the taste, but not everyone does. I’ve heard people describe it as gamey, which is probably why it appeals to me. Give me elk or deer over chicken or beef any day. Gross, right? This trainer eats wild stuff.

Speaking of wild, the booth across from us had about six kinds of mushrooms which I became fascinated with. You’ll only find these kinds of things at the market.

mushrooms3.jpg

mushrooms2.jpg

So I went home with a bag of one kind for my girl friend and a bag filled with this thing to cook later that evening for dinner:

A giant oyster...mushroom that is. Turns out the oyster mushroom is my new favorite fungi.
A giant oyster…mushroom that is. Turns out the oyster mushroom is my new favorite fungi.

How do you go about cooking this, you ask? I was instructed by the mushroom guy to drizzle it with olive oil, throw some herbs on top and roast it whole in the oven at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until the outer leaves were crispy. Back at home that evening I did exactly that and barely managed to share with the hubby.

Now I know a few of you are thinking about calling your reading session quits right about now. I get it, you’re thinking “You’re disgusting. Where’s the wine? I read your blog because of wine, woman!” I hear you. So about that…

We aren’t the only winery at The Boise Farmer’s Market (there are actually two to three besides us, depending on the weekend). Our good friends over at Seven Day Wines are also members and we love their faces and their vino. So after my major ‘shroom geek-out I hopped over there to take a couple photos of their booth. If you haven’t checked them out yet you should. Seven Day Wines is owned by Angie Shaltry of Periple, so if you’ve had any of her parent company wines you already know she’s good at making the juice. Tuesday Night White is a crowd favorite.

7daywines2.jpg

7daywines1.jpg

Back at our booth, it was time to wait for the masses. We poured the usual line-up of Jalapeno Wine Lemonade, both kinds of Jalapeno Wines and our Riesling. Since wine sales typically pick up after 11 AM (and often times our booth is a fun cloud of excitement until closing bell at 1 PM), I hurried over to one of my favorite mobile makers-of-delicious-things (aka: food truck) so I could fuel-up before the crowd came.

Ah, Funky Taco. How I missed your Bahn Mi Mi!

funkytaco1.jpg

funkytaco3.jpg

This taco is worth waiting for. Yes, there’s tofu. But before you write it off, let me just tell you that if my dad and winemaker both sign off on this thing with all its tofu-ness, there’s something to it. Try it the next time you see Funky Taco near you!

I think I’ve given you a few reasons to go check out this spectacular market. You can find Von, me or Tony (he’s our hired booth babe) there every Saturday through September. For more info on where else you can find us pouring, check out this Calendar of Events post!

Oh, and in honor of Easter, these pretty Easter Lilies were there too.

easterlily1.jpg

Liebster Award Q & A!

About 37 sleeps ago, the very kind Julia over at Grace Makes New nominated me for a Liebster Award and I am just now pulling my head out of the barrel and getting to it here on the blog. This is Julia: www.gracemakesnew.blogspot.com What the bleep’s a Liebster Award? you ask. A Liebster Award is a blogging award given to and by fellow bloggers in order to recognize and discover more fantastic blogs out there (and there are a LOT, I know this because it took me over an hour just to narrow it down to 11 of my own nominations).

So here’s how this is going down: I’m going to answer the 11 questions Julia gave me and then I’m going to make up 11 questions of my own (I promise to do this before I pour the wine) and subsequently nominate 11 other bloggers to answer said questions on their blogs. I found my victims nominees on Bloglovin’, which is a pretty handy blog subscription site where you can save posts from all your favorites. The requirements? They must have 100 or less Bloglovin’ followers. Ready? Let’s do this! Liebster Award My Questions

1. What made you want to start a blog?

Between designing workouts for my clients, raising children and figuring out the wine industry, I kind of felt like things needed to get written down somewhere. Maybe people read it, maybe people don’t. But $#@! needed documented before my head exploded. Okay, okay…the real reason: Writing was my first baby. Fitness, health, wine, entrepreneurship and child-rearing were born two to three decades later. Here’s where all my babies play together.

2. What do you mostly blog about?

All of the above-mentioned things. Some months I’m heavy on the health and fitness posts, others I’m consumed with winery happenings. The parenting theme is always peppered throughout because, quite frankly, little people are always in your business.

3. What are your goals for 2015?

Come out alive. Wear more dresses. Tear out the carpet. And maybe squeeze some camping in there somewhere.

4. Favorite flavor of ice cream?

I’m a frozen yogurt girl. Not for health reasons really, I just prefer the taste. Unless it’s gelato or green tea flavored, then I’ll eat any of it. I recently concocted an Orange Chocolate Chipotle flavor of frozen yogurt using our Chipotle Jalapeno Wine. It came out really well. I’ll bet at your house you don’t have to tell your 3 1/2 year old things like “No sweetie, you can’t have this frozen yogurt because it has wine in it.”

5. What are three things you never leave the house without?

A wine bottle opener, water and my Fitbit.

6. Have you ever traveled outside of the US? If so, where?

I’ve been to Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun. I don’t know why Mexico ended up on my radar but I can confidently tell you I’m a-ok with not going back and my gastrointestinal system thanks me for that. There are some places I’ve got my eye on: Chile, the country side of Italy, Europe and Australia. The first two are mostly wine-oriented and by far the highest priorities.

7. Do you have a “life quote”, something that perfectly articulates your view on life?

“You have to do what scares you in order to know it can’t hurt you.” Except when it comes to snakes. Just$#@! run.

8. Do you have any siblings, or are you an only child?

I have two older brothers. I’m the youngest and the only girl. Which saved me from a lot of curling iron fights. Sisters are a different level of crazy. My brothers just did normal things like throw me down the stairs, lock me in the clothes dryer and shoot me with BB guns.

9. What is your regular order at Starbucks?

Although I’m not a Starbucks regular, I order a skinny latte at the coffee shop. I usually get asked if I’d like a flavored syrup in it to which I say “Yes, the flavor that tastes like a skinny latte.”

10. What is the best vacation you have ever had?

The best as a kid was Kaui with my family. The best as a 21-year-old was Vegas for my dad’s surprise 50th. The best as a non-married mid-20-something was San Fran and Sonoma/Napa with my present-day winemaker. The best so far as a wife and mom was Westport, WA. Later this year I will certainly have a new best with my entire family: Maui.

Westport Winery
Taking a mommy break at Westport Winery.

11. What is your favorite place to shop?

The grocery store. Seriously, I hate shopping so much. I will basically buy everything at the grocery store or online. Stitch Fix has saved me. Without it I would surely still be walking around in breast milk-stained t-shirts and a crap-ton of stretched out yoga pants.

Now it’s time for my own nominations, so line it up, ladies!

I hereby nominate:

Wine & Butter

Here’s my list of questions for you all to answer:

1. What is your favorite part about blogging?

2. What is your favorite blog post you’ve written?

3. If you could have any occupation right now, what would it be?

4. What is your favorite kind of workout?

5. What is your favorite recipe, healthy or unhealthy?

6. What, or who, inspires you most?

7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where and why?

8. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

9. What’s your best piece of advice for your younger self?

10. What book(s) are you reading right now and if you’re not a book reader, which blog/magazine/etc. are you currently loving?

11. If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you want to be cast as you?

Thanks for playing!

The Best Fitness Journals

I debated between posting a holiday-inspired recipe or a fitness-inspired gift idea this week. So you’re gonna get both! Today I bring you the best fitness journals according to moi. Later this week, watch for my favorite way to get my sugar on this time of year (yes, it pairs nicely with wine – pfft! – what doesn’t?).

Now I realize many people may prefer tracking their workouts and eating habits online or on an app, which I indeed do myself from time to time. But some of us ol’ fashioned geezers still enjoy writing things down in order to revel in their completeness (or mope at their undoneness). And if you have any health enthusiasts in your life, giving them the gift of a fitness journal will make them feel you understand them. You support them. You GET IT. Never mind the fact that you may be thinking, “you are a control freak and I don’t understand you or get you but here’s your silly journal.”

So whether you are thinking of yourself or someone else while reading this post, these trackers are the perfect tools if you’re…

  • A Journal Lover: Let no move or munchy go unrecorded with the Fitbook. Track your measurements and daily diet, write down your goals and plot out strength, cardio and yoga sessions. Jot down your relections on how you did each day (“This day must @#$! die!”). They have books for every phase you’re in – the mama to-be, the teenager, even the fast-track-to-weight-loss motivated. This is the book I get my clients most often.
fitbook2
$22.95, getfitbook.com.

 

  • Busy Minded But Health-Conscious: Record daily and weekly fitness goals as well as track hydration, diet and even vitamin and mineral intake with the Bodyminder Workout and Exercise Journal.  This one works best for me because it’s simple and takes less than 5 minutes to fill out, yet it keeps all my stats and progress in check. I have about a dozen of these filled out and stacked together and sometimes I look back and marvel at how much of a badass I really was when I didn’t think I was.
$13.95 at amazon.com; Photo courtesy of workoutnirvana.com
$13.95, amazon.com; Photo courtesy of workoutnirvana.com

 

  • A Task Master: Write your weekly fitness goal on top of the Fit Me notepad page and fill in your planned daily exercise. Later, jot down details about what you did and ate throughout the day so you can see if you strayed. Super simple and super convenient. This is perfect for the no-nonsense get ‘er done individual.
$9.95, lobotome.com
$9.95, lobotome.com

 

A Free Spirit: If you’d rather approach fitness like you approach a blind wine tasting, check out the blank notebooks with various fun fitness covers at cafepress.com. You’re guaranteed to find one that matches your personality and your style. Plus if you go wine tasting instead of working out, you can make up your own check-off box later as though you really intended for it to happen that way.

$9.99, cafepress.com
$9.99, cafepress.com

 

 

Group Giveaway!

Soooo, I’m making a brief appearance on the blog on a Monday night to tell you about this thing I’m doing. Something about a group of us giving away cash and a fun personalized clutch! Yep, sometimes I’m in on cool stuff like that. As of now, anyway. So here you have it – the details on how to get in on the goods!

So much thanks to Karli over at SeptemberFARM for hosting this sweet deal! Now go get you some!

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true to form…some lady-ladies and i are back  to offer you some sweet sweet mula and a personalized clutch from monkeyseeboutique!

and you know what? i think you should thank us for such a fantastic opportunity! know why?

maybe you didn’t realize christmas is about five (FIVE!!!!) weeks away. (gasp!)

we wish you the very best of luck as you try to win yourself some christmas cash!

(and don’t forget to show each of these gal-faces some love while you’re at it.)

bailley | nellekarli | katie | hayley | crystallindsay | becca | amy | andreabex | kristin | karissa | lauren

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I don’t know about you but I could use some Christmas cash right about now. To spend on my kids and on wine, of course. Because that’s what I do.

Cheers!

Things That Inspire Me

You might guess that I’m inspired by wine, fit-like stuff and my children. You’d be right, but there’s a bit more to it than that. Recently when I was telling one of my clients how she might think about making a list of everything and everyone in her life that inspired her (in order to stay on-track with her health goals), she flipped the switch on me and asked what I find inspiring. While it was easy to superficially answer that question, I started making a list a week later and realized I was quite possibly going to run out of paper.

I think the point of making a list of what inspires us is to fully realize all we have going right for ourselves, even if we feel like we’ve stumbled off the beaten path, with a wine hangover and no H2O Fairy in sight. Not that I’ve been in that situation or anything…

So I’m just going to put this out there – my sources of inspiration – to practice what I preach and hopefully motivate others to do the same.

Things That Inspire Me

  • My kids – When they learn anything new about the world or themselves.
  • My family’s health history – Like many of you can relate, it’s a bit complicated. There’s Alzheimer’s and heart problems on the table and I’m just hoping I don’t take a whopping serving of either. Maybe having a healthy lifestyle matters in the long run, maybe it doesn’t, but in the end I want to say I did what I could.
  • The stairs – There are 3 flights of stairs at the studio and every morning I climb them with 30 pounds of crap attached to me because I am the Bag Lady. I did this throughout both pregnancies when I maxed out at 195 pounds just in bodyweight. I’m too stubborn to let these punks get to me.

Climbing Stairs

  • Writers – The ones I’ve read, the ones I’ve met, the ones I haven’t yet read or met. They’re an amazing breed.
  • Lone Survivor – Yes, the movie and yes, it has Mark Wahlberg in it. But that’s not actually why it inspires me, although it does help. This movie was just eye-opening for me in regard to what it means to persevere and fight for what you believe in.
  • A really good run – Like the kind of run where your mind just stays the **** out of it.
  • Good natured people – Yes, they do exist and when you find them you know instantly. I try to surround myself with them and let the others choke each other out.
  • The outdoors – Sometimes a good walk outside with my kids is what saves the day.
  • My mom – She’s always supportive, even when I tell her things she probably doesn’t want to hear.
  • My dad – The man’s work ethic is astounding. Plus, when you realize you have the same idiosyncrasies as one of your parents, you finally understand them better.
  • My brother – If I were telling him this to his face, the compliment would sound more like, “You’re kinda cool and I’ll admit for a second that I’m associated with you.” Truth be told, he’s awesome.
  • My husband – He’s a worker-bee and devoted father and partner. What’s more inspiring than that in a husband?
  • Really !@#$ hard workouts – The kind that make me realize I can suck wind AND survive it.
  • People who admit when they’re wrong – Please and thank you.
  • Elderly/Widows/Widowers – Those who are out there doing their thing anyway.
  • Open minded people – Except those who are so open minded I think their brain escaped.
  • Good friends – Like, REALLY good friends. You know who you are.
  • Moms who know how to style their kids’ hair – Which class did you take in school that I missed? I’m guessing it was offered the same time I was failing Math 025.
  • Anything super, super funny – Make me pee my pants and I will worship you.
  • Creative chefs – Those who spend so much time perfecting dishes all so we can figure out how to work them off later.
  • People who know their stuff – Even if they’re just a checker at the grocery store, I love it when they know it inside and out.
  • Drinking a glass of wine near a fire – Something about wine and the heat from a fire make me impressively thoughtful and incoherently exhausted.
  • The coast – I’m mostly talking about the West Coast simply because it’s where I’ve spent the most time and it’s remarkable. Every time.

Washington Coast

  • Trying new recipes – I screw them up just as much as I succeed at them. Either way it’s like crack for my soul.
  • Getting a list of things done – We list people can be so annoying. That is, unless we get our list of things accomplished. Then we are really fun to be around.
  • Other parents, who parent – Carry on, stay strong, and thank you for breeding.
  • Emergency service personnel – EMS, fire fighters, police officers, all of them. I’ve so much respect for what you see in a day and still come out the other side wanting to do it again tomorrow.
  • People who like my kids – I mean, I like them but I sorta have to like them. You liking them just makes me think I’m not crazy.
  • My clients – From 29 to 82 years old, they are all inspiring.
  • A warm cup of tea on a cold day – I feel like I should be doing something insanely profound. That may take a lot of tea.
  • Entrepreneurs – This stuff is tough! I don’t care if you own a food truck or Google, you’re taking risks and fueled by passion, faith, and adrenaline.
Shark Tank
“I think your idea is crap.” “Thank you, shark, I’ll show you.”

 

  • Memories of loved ones – They say we shouldn’t live in the past, but I have had in my life some incredible people who are the stokers of the fire that fuels me.
  • Being told no – It gets me every time. Maybe it’s a youngest child thing or maybe it’s just that I’m inherently a rebel, tell me no and I will do it again, but better.
  • Homemade anything – The crafts, the bread, the DIY garden boxes, the recycled wine bottle plant hangers, the tomato sauce…I love it all.
  • Winemakers – Captain Obvious over here. As a wife of a vintner, I’m inspired by the science behind it all and the glory of the end result. Amen.
  • A good book – The ones you just can’t shake. The ones you can’t put down. The ones you need a night off from reading because you’re still churning over last night’s pages and trying to catch up emotionally. The ones that make you think, “I will never write this good. Ever.”
  • People who don’t give up – Even if I don’t agree with you, I’m inspired by your tenacity. Unless the thing you won’t give up on is being annoying.

 

 

 

What I’m Reading Now

If you’re reading these words, you’ve probably already had the thought cross your mind, “Who has time to read books?” I find that when you’re a book dweeb like me you’ll make the time. I read bits and pieces of things at a time until I finish them. This makes me happy when, after about a year’s time, I can say I read four or five books in their entirety. As for reading material, I’m not partial to any one genre. And since I know many of my readers are also fans of the printed word, I thought I’d share a list of what I’m reading now in the hopes you’ll do the same because, you know, us nerds can never have too many books lined up to read. Even if we read them somewhere within the time frame of “that sounds nice.”

If you have any of your own to share, please let me know in the comment section below!

What I’m Reading Now

The Light Between Oceans

I’m halfway through this novel and it’s starting to get intense. If you’re a mother or father or kid lover at all, you’ll turn each page with equal parts excitement and anxiety about what’s about to happen. I think this review sums up my thoughts best:

“An extraordinary and heart-rending book about good people, tragic decisions and the beauty found in each of them.”—Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief

No Mind Has Conceived

 

Alright, I admittedly have not actually started reading this book yet because I’m adamant about getting a paperback copy (instead of the e-book version I sometimes opt for) because the husband/wife team behind Clifford Rush are wonderful people and friends and I’d very much like to get their autograph on it. So I’m waiting patiently. However, I have read their short stories and am in love with their writing. If you like Dan Brown, Nelson Demille, or John Grisham, you will flip for this stuff! Check out their blog for more great reading material.

Cozy's Complete Guide to Girls' Hair

Yes, seriously. Go ahead, laugh it up! I am absolutely inept when it comes to styling Lila’s hair. “You want an Elsa braid? Oh okay, let me just be born someone else real quick so I can get that done for you, sweetie.” Those of you moms who know hair – I am jealous. And slightly annoyed because I know it’s probably much easier than I’m making it out to be. So thanks, Cozy Friedman, for writing an entire book on the subject so that I can re-read it 28 times and still look everything up on YouTube (but this book really is helpful).

Playing BIg

I recently won this at a seminar I attended (shocking, I know, because the winning of things is not really a trend for me) and I was so excited to dive in. If you’re a business owner and have ever doubted yourself (*ahem: everyone everywhere*), you really should check this out. Kim tackles entrepreneurship by breaking it down into micro-steps with chapters like “The Truth About Your Business,” “The Truth About What You Really Want,” “Playing Big in Marketing,” and then some. This is perfect for those of us who never feel like we fully arrive at, well, anything.

The Omnivore's Dilemma
Photo Credit: Distractiblereader.blogspot.com

I’m super intrigued by this book. As always, Michael Pollan flirts on the edge of controversy with really great points and equally worthy “I’m gonna need to think about what you’re saying” moments. While I’m not one to jump on the bandwagon of extreme diets or even extreme food avoidance, I think information is power and this book is definitely informative and enlightening. If anything it’ll make you think twice about the food you eat and, hopefully, it will help us make better choices. I don’t think that’s ever a bad thing.

That’s what’s trending on my nightstand right now. I would love to hear what’s on yours!

The Tuesday Tank

It’s reflection time. I’m taking a moment to soak in all the little details that have shown their faces among the big happenings around here the last few weeks. All work and no play would be boring and obnoxious, after all. Times like these are when I’m grateful to my kids because they remind me to step away and get some play time in. Mostly they remind me by tearing the house apart and then drawing all over it. That’s when we go outside, breathe in the autumn air, ride bikes and crash nose-first into the concrete.

So here we have the second installment of “The Tuesday Tank.” This is where I share with you small tidbits I’ve either learned, read, cooked, purchased, attempted or simply found worth acknowledgment. You can catch the first installment of “The Tuesday Tank” here.

Read on, curious people.

Today’s Tank:

~It just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t start with breakfast.

You like oatmeal? You like eggs? You need 3 Minute Egg-White Oats from pbfingers.com. Possibly the most satisfying way to eat breakfast without overeating. This stuff happens in a microwave with a bigger-than-normal bowl (seriously, you will think I’ve lost my oats when you see how much it expands when cooked). My favorite way to eat this so far is by mixing in almond butter, pure maple syrup and flaxseed. Preferably before (or after) a good run or cardio workout.

Photo from pbfingers.com
Photo from pbfingers.com

~Speaking of breakfast, let’s speak of more breakfast.

I’m a big fan of steel cut oats but very rarely make them because they’re so dang time-consuming. Enter: Trader Joe’s Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats. I finally walked into Boise’s new Trader Joe’s not knowing what to buy and walked out with vino (duh), hummus and this brilliant timesaving container. Now I can enjoy my steel cut oats any day I want in under 10 minutes. Lila prefers to call them “steel cut oh’s.”

traderjoe'soats

~We’re on a roll, so let’s talk bread.

Specifically, oatmeal pumpkin spice bread. Yes, I’m a fan of the pumpkin bandwagon this time of year and yes, I jumped on it with this recipe a couple weeks ago. It makes 2 loaves and my intent was for the hubby to take one to work to share but turns out it was Friday. Whoops. Two loaves of fall-bliss-in-a-bite down this family’s hatch! It was originally a Paula Deen recipe but some nice people at Pop Sugar took the heart attack out of it.

Photo from popsugar.com
Photo from popsugar.com

~Now that you’re stoked about gluten, maybe this will make you feel less guilty about consuming it:

The findings in the study this article talks about are worth considering: “Science Proves Gluten Sensitivity Isn’t Real, People Are Just Whiners.” Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just saying, “hmmm…”

~Drink your wine instead of doing an hour of exercise?

I managed to steer clear of reading this study as it was circulating Facebook but after multiple clients came in the studio doors claiming they could just go drink 8 glasses of wine and call it a week’s worth of exercise, I finally gave it a look: “Is Drinking Wine Better Than Going to the Gym? According to Scientists, Yes!” Well folks, the bad news is they’re talking about ONE glass in this case and they’re also only talking about red wine. Which, from this red wine lover’s point of view, is not a problem. But you’re more likely to see me getting my sweat on so that I can enjoy TWO glasses of the good stuff. Sooo…not really encouraging science to me, but maybe you’ll find a way to justify it.

~Hey parents, bath time just got easier!

I’ve admittedly had a Lush addiction for over a decade now, so when the connoisseurs of homemade bath and beauty products opened up a store nearby I leapt at the chance to go with my favorite females. While I left with a few yummy things, my favorite new find was their FUN line – yummy smelling multi-purpose moldable soap for kids (and adults who like to act like kids). Lila flipped for this stuff and honestly, so did I. Bath time smelled even better and both kids were completely entertained while washing their own hair with this Play-Doh-like stuff. We’ve only tried the Blue Fun bar because the sleep-inducing smells of chamomile and lavender sold me (earlier bedtime for the kids means earlier wine time for mom), but we will definitely be trying them all.

Photo source: dolcevanity.com
Photo source: dolcevanity.com

~So about this parenting thing, how’s it working for our marriages?

“How American Parenting is Killing the American Marriage is worth thinking about. Even if you don’t agree with it I think we can all applaud the author who, when met with criticism about her viewpoint, rebutted by saying “her outlook has had a positive impact on her children by giving them a sense of security in their parents’ relationship.” Read the original essay, “Truly, Madly, Guiltily” in The New York Times, here.

Thanks for scrolling, good people!