Hi friends and happy hump day!  I’m so excited to get through the rest of the week because this weekend we are heading to Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo for vacation! Bobby’s aunt and uncle live there for half of the year so it will be nice to see them! I can not wait for tons of sun, relaxation, reading, and tanning! Before I get too ahead of myself with lots of fun this weekend, I have an informative post centered around spring cleaning.

With spring finally here, I’ve been focusing on deep cleaning the house..on the inside and out!  (Weird fact about me: I actually enjoy cleaning!  You heard that right!  I love seeing the results of a messy room becoming a clean and organized space!  This past weekend we did our “spring cleaning” and I feel so cleansed and way less stressed!..I don’t know why, but messy places stress me out!

I was recently thinking about how often you should clean various rooms and things in your house and decide it would make a great post!  I’ve categorized this cleaning guide based on the recommended frequency of how often you should clean with a spring cleaning checklist at the end!

Daily 

  • Make your bed: this is necessarily “cleaning”, but it does make your bedroom appear more tidy and organized!Bed made
  • Kitchen counters & sink:  I like to use Lysol or any other product with antibacterial properties to kill germs!
  • Wash the dishes and clean sink: I hate nothing more than waking up in the morning to a sink full of dirty dishes!  One of the things I do every night before bed is fill up the dishwasher.
  • Sort through mail: I have a basket on our console table where mail is placed so that it’s all in one place and looks organized.  I try to go through it every evening to get rid of junk mail.Mail Organizer

Twice a Week

  • Dust: I don’t know who has time to dust twice a week (I know this full-time woman does not, haha!), but cudos to you if you do!  I pretty much dust once a week and it works for me!  Use a microfiber cloth and remember to start dusting high and finish low.
  • Replace dish towels: wash dirty towels with your normal towels that week!
  • Wash towels: only reuse your towel 2-3 times before throwing it in the hamper.  If you do reuse your towel, make sure you hang it so that it dries after each use (bacteria like to grow in moist environments).
  • Bathroom sinks/counters 
  • Scrub toilet

Weekly

  • Vacuum
  • Mop
  • Launder sheets + pillow cases
  • Wash toothbrush:There are so many germs in our mouths, so cleaning your toothbrush is very important! Use an equal amount of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to clean your brush and then rinse.   cleaning toothbrush
  • Scrub bathtub/shower 

*Tip*: just because its recommended you do these things weekly, doesn’t mean you have to do it all in one day each week! Who really wants to clean all day on Saturday or Sunday?!  I like to tackle one chore each night so that I don’t feel overwhelmed come the weekend!

Each Season

  • Wash pillows & comforter: most pillows are actually machine washable; just check the tags so you know how the water temperature, type of detergent to use, and cycle.  Because most people have large comforters that don’t fit into washing machines, I suggest taking it to the dry cleaner or a laundry mat with large washer and dryers!
  • Wash curtains: Most drapery and curtains are machine washable.  Just check the tags to see how to launder them.  I plan on doing this over the next few weeks because we may or may not be overdo on this one 😉Curtains
  • Organize your closet: donate items you no longer wear.  My rule of thumb is to donate the piece of garment if you didn’t wear it this season because chances are you also won’t wear it next season.  There are so many  organizations that will accept donated clothes (plus you can even get a tax break on the donation). You could also sell gently wore clothes  Every fall and spring I replace out of season clothes for clothes that are not in season.  I store clothes  in large plastic containers.

Beginning of Spring

  • Clean upholstery: you can actually just take upholstered furniture cushions outside and beat out excess dust.
  • Clean out pantry: throw out expired food and donate food that you don’t use (make sure it’s in date).  Buy airtight containers to organize food in pantry and keep fresh.
  • Shampoo rugs 
  • Wax wooden floors
  • Wipe walls and ceilings
  • Clean attic and/or basements: donate items you no longer use/want to clear out space
  • Clean up the garden:this includes trimming plants, mulching, planting new flowers/vegetables, etc.
  • Powerwash/sweep decks, patios, sidewalks, driveways
  • Clean/rinse off all outdoor furniture 
  • Clean inside and outside of all windows 

My spring check list was perfect for our townhouse, but I also suggest checking out Martha Stewart’s spring cleaning checklist that organizes the task based on the room!

Have a great day friends!  Can’t wait to chat soon!

Good morning and happy Wednesday!

The past few days I’ve had such a hard time waking up with the time change and dreary weather.  I was thankful I had to be to work at 11:30am instead of my usual 7:30am on Tuesday!  I had such a productive morning though and ended up waking up a little after 6:30am. I worked on the blog before heading to the gym around 8am.

HIIT Treadmill Workout

Like usual, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I hopped on the treadmill and came up with this HIIT (high intensity interval training) treadmill workout.  I wanted to maximize my time by burning as many calories and fat as I could in 30 minutes.  I increased the intensity of my run during quick bursts, before decreasing the speed to my normal pace.  This caused my heart rate to spike and made my  usual pace much harder to maintain during my “rests”.  I ended up burning more calories and running a longer distance during this 30 minute workout than I usually do when running (I ran 3.54 miles in 30 minutes when I usually run around 3 miles). I was a sweaty mess when I was done!

HIT Treadmill Workout

HIIT cardio workouts are definitely more challenging than traditional steady-state workouts!  There are also many benefits of HIIT workouts:

  • Burn more calories and fat in a shorter amount of time- some studies show you burn up to 9x the calories than a traditional steady-state treadmill run
  • Burn off calories for up to 24 hours after your HIIT workout
  • Increase your metabolism
  • Maintain muscle while burning fat

If you’ve never tried a HIIT workout, I highly encourage you to do so!  You can start with my treadmill HIIT workout!  You can easily change the pace or incline to your fitness level which is the great thing about HIIT!  Yes, it will be hard, but think of it as a challenge and a reward when you are done!  Just knowing I’ll be burning more calories off throughout the rest of the day is enough incentive for me!

Once I came home from the gym, I cut up an apple with peanut butter for breakfast before prepping a healthy snack I can eat for the week ahead!

Fresh cut veggies + hummus

prep ahead snack

I wanted to have readily available cut up veggies to dip into hummus throughout the week because I tend to grab processed snacks when I’m hungry if I don’t plan ahead!  It only took me a few minutes to cut up fresh peppers and cucumbers and I know it will be worth it during the week when I don’t have as much time to prepare a quick snack!

You could also prep rinsed and cut broccoli or carrots to have in tupperware containers for the week, which is probably what I will do next week!

 

I plan on packing a portion of veggies and hummus with me to work so that I can eat it as an afternoon snack instead of my usual Goldfish, popcorn, and animal crackers!

I also want to try to make my own hummus this weekend! If all turns out well, I’ll share my recipe and experience :)

Question of the day: What is your favorite healthy snack to eat during the week?

Today I’m sharing one of my new favorite rooms in our house, our dining room, thanks to the affordable and chic furniture we recently purchased on Wayfair.

Before…

Before dining room pic

After…

Dining room pic

I’ve been looking to update our dining room ever since Bobby bought the house almost two years ago! We originally didn’t have any dining room furniture until Bobby was able to take a workbench from work to serve as our dining room table.  I didn’t like it at all because it was so low to the ground, I couldn’t even cross my legs under the table. It was very uncomfortable!  We also took a small coffee cart from his parent’s basement, but it had almost no storage or counter space.  I wanted a space where we could have dinner in a comfortable space that had a classic, yet “homey” feel.

I have to be honest and tell you that I’ve always loved Pottery Barn’s dining room sets, but found them to be super expensive! We were in need of a new dining room table, but had a budget that Pottery Barn couldn’t fit into.  That’s when I looked at Wayfair and I’m so glad I did!  I browsed their site for hours trying to find the perfect dining room table. I knew I wanted something with a rustic, but classic feel, rectangular, made of wood, and with cushioned seats.  I stumbled upon the Newberry 7 piece dining table set by Alphine Furniture, which seemed to be exactly what I had in mind.  I was a bit nervous to order a dining room set online without seeing it in person first, but after reading the reviews I felt reassured that it was beautiful in person and made of quality wood.  I also purchased the matching Newberry sideboard. (Wayfair must have sold out of this product because it’s no longer available.  I linked the furniture to a similar site, Hayneedle, that is selling this dining room set currently.)

My nerves quickly absolved when the furniture arrived!  I couldn’t believe I bought this from Wayfair because it truly resembles a Pottery Barn dining room table (My friend, Heather, even asked if it was from Pottery Barn when she first saw it).

The table is very sturdy (doesn’t shake at all) and made from quality wood.  The chairs almost look like they are made from a burlap material, which gives them a farmhouse chic feel!  I also love the bench!  It gives the room a more casual atmosphere, which is just up my alley!

Dining rm table

My favorite piece is probably the sideboard!  It has so much storage space for our serving trays, crockpot, food processor, cookbooks, kitchen towels, and Keurig/coffee accessories.

Sideboard

I know it looks like you can really see everything stored in the sideboard, but in person you truly can’t.  The mesh is pretty dark, but you could always add wicker baskets to the inside to hide the storage even more.

The table, sideboard, chairs, and bench were delivered to the room of our choice and assembled without an extra charge!  That’s a score in my book because it saved Bobby and I so much time (and money)!

My only “complains” are the wood is more of a dark brown/black stain than grey as the description states and the chairs feel a little “hard”.  Nonetheless, they truly are comfortable to sit in and I think they will give a little with each use.  I’ve also gotten used to the darker stain of the wood and I love it now!

Here is a list of other item’s we bought for the dining room with links to the direct website:

The dining room has quickly become my go to room when I want to work on the computer, especially my blog!  I love sitting at the table, spreading out, and drinking a nice cup of coffee from my Keurig!  I can’t wait to host a family dinner here now that we actually have a real dining room table instead of a work bench!

PS: We took these pictures a while ago when I still had our winter decorations up! I currently have a really cute glass bottle vase centerpiece with with faux flowers from Kirkland’s that I am in love with!

Do you ever have those days when you don’t know what you want to do at the gym? Or you don’t feel like doing the same old workout? That is exactly how I felt at the gym last Thursday! I knew I wanted to do cardio since I did Bodypump the previous day, but I didn’t feel like running or doing the elliptical. So, I turned to the Nike Training Club App for some inspiration! It’s a great resource to have on your phone when you need an awesome workout FAST!

If you’ve never used this FREE app, you must download it! It provides a variety of workouts based on a few different factors: your fitness level (based on the number of times you workout each week), the type of workout you want to complete (high interval cardio, definition, strength, or a specific body part), and how long you want to work out (between 15 to 45 minutes)!  Once you choose a workout, it allows you to sync music from your phone and has a timer on the screen so you know how long the exercise is and how much time you have left. My favorite feature is that at any point through out the workout you can watch a video of any move you’re not sure of how to do (don’t worry, it pauses the work out when you click on a video so you don’t miss any time)! Overall, the Nike Training app is super user-friendly!

 Below is a glimpse of a workout (top) and what you’re screen will actually look like while completing the workout (bottom):

Nike Training Workout

 

Nike Training App Move

It even lets you customize some of the moves to your specific body’s needs before starting the workout (see below). I love that option, but I wish it allowed you to customize more of the moves!

Customiza NKA

The reason I didn’t follow the workout completely is because I didn’t want to do a ton of jumping due to my knee. I dislocated my knee cap multiple times playing field hockey in high school, resulting in a torn ligament, sprained muscle, and chipped pieces of my patellar. I had two knee surgeries to correct the issues, but still have occasional pain to this day.

To decrease knee pressure, I tweaked an advanced high interval cardio workout on the Nike Training Club app and found the inspiration for the following workout!

30 Min Cardio Burn

For reference, I used two 10 pound dumbbells for lunges and one 15 pound dumbbell for woodchops and cross back lunges!

Here are links to some of the exercises:

This workout left me with a pulsin’ heart & a lot of sweat! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Good morning! How was your weekend?! I hope it was nice and relaxing and also full of fun! We spent the weekend in Lancaster with Bobby’s parents because his dad was coaching indoor field hockey at the National Indoor Tournament!

We left home Friday after work and arrived in Lancaster around dinnertime and headed to Federal Tap House, a pub with 100 craft beers on tap!  If you don’t already know, Bobby and his dad are huge craft beer lovers! We got two pizzas and french fries to share for dinner and everything was so delicious!

On Saturday, we grabbed breakfast and coffee before watching the girls play in one of their games! It was so fun to watch them play, especially because I played hockey in high school!  They ended up winning first place in their age group which was so exciting!

Since we were in Lancaster, we spent the afternoon browsing in various farmers markets, antique shops, bakeries, quilt shops (oh my gosh the detail in the Amish-made quilts are unbelievable), and any little store along the way!

Lancaster Shops

Bakery

I found these really cute cookie mix mason jars that I thought would make a perfect homemade gift!

Cookie Mix in Mason Jar

We then stopped at Lancaster Brewing Company for dinner. (Sorry for the horrible picture!)

Lancaster Brewing Company

It was pretty busy and after eating there its no wonder- they had a fun atmosphere, cool decor, plenty of beer (plus wine for us ladies), and amazing food! If you visit Lancaster I highly recommend going there for dinner or even just appetizers (the pretzel with cheese and hummus appetizers were excellent and only $5 each)!

After a weekend full of eating out, I’m ready for a week full of healthy eating!  Below I’m sharing some of my favorite breakfast meals!

Because I have to be at work pretty early (anywhere from 6:30-7:30 A.M.), I tend to gravitate towards healthy meals that are quick and easily portable.

Healthy On the Go Breakfast Options

  • Apple with natural peanut butter: This is one of my favorite staples! I like it for breakfast or an afternoon snack.  My favorite apple is Macintosh because of its tart flavor and tender inside. I also only eat natural peanut butter and it taste so much better than peanut butter full of sugar! If you can’t get over the “runny” texture of the oil, I suggest placing 2 tablespoons in a small plastic container and putting it in the fridge overnight. This usually helps reduce the runny texture. I also keep my peanut butter jar in the fridge which helps as well.  One trick I recently learned to keep apples looking fresh and prevent browning after cutting is to dip the slices in lemon juice!  I have heard of other methods, but this is all-natural with no preservatives! There is nothing worse than brown apple slices!IMG_3046
  • Protein bar: I probably have a protein bar a few days a week for breakfast simply for the ease of packing it in my bag the night before. Plus, I know its healthy and full of protein! My favorites are Cliff bars (chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip, and walnut oatmeal) and GNC Lean Bars in chocolate chip. Can you tell I love chocolate? 😉 Anytime I can have chocolate in a healthy meal I’m a happy girl! I will warn you that GNC Lean Bars are a bit more expensive than Cliff bars, but have more protein and less calories! GNC Lean Bars are about $1.70/bar (with a GNC membership) while Cliff bars are $1.00/bar at Wegmans or Whole Foods. Some of my other favorites are Powerbars, Luna, and Balance.
  • Fruit + Veggie Packed Smoothie: I recently purchased a Nutribullet and I don’t know why I waited so long! Bobby’a had one for a while and I love when he makes me smoothies before work, but always hated how the smoothie would separate when I didn’t drink it right away! I decided to keep my Nutribullet in my locker at work so that I can blend up my smoothie at work. If you like “fresh” smoothies like me, then prep your smoothie at home and wait to blend it at work right before you’re ready for breakfast! I place rinsed fruit (minus my banana), spinach, and ice into my cup at home. Then, right before I’m ready to blend, I mix in my greek yogurt and banana! It comes out delicious every time!

Smoothie (Before)Smoothie (after)

  • Low fat greek yogurt + English muffin with natural peanut butter: I love having something warm for breakfast so toasting an English muffin and topping with peanut butter is heaven some mornings! Usually an english muffin is not enough to keep me full, so I’ll usually also have a yogurt.
  • Fruit salad + trail mix: To truly make this a quick breakfast option, I cut all my fruit on Sunday night and store in tupperware containers!  My favorite fruit salad contains watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, strawberries, and pineapples!  I like to also have a handful of trail mix for protein (and chocolate of course)!

As you will notice, I try to incorporate protein into my breakfast to keep me full throughout the morning until my lunch break. I also try to eat my breakfast into two parts so that I have the second half as a mid-morning snack.  This works well for me and I usually don’t find myself becoming ravenous for lunch (thankfully, haha). And the best part?  You can pack all of these options in your lunch bag the night before work so you can easily grab and go in the morning!  :)

Question of the day: What is your favorite healthy breakfast when you’re on the go?

Good morning and happy Friday! :)

Honestly, I love these ecards! They literally crack me up almost always!

Even though this week went by fairly quickly for me (I had off Tuesday), I’m so glad its the end of the week!  The past few days I’ve had to be to work at 6:30am (yea, I know it’s rough), so I’m more than ready to sleep in a little bit Saturday (and by sleeping in, I mean until 7am haha)!  We are taking a weekend trip to Lancaster and I can’t wait!  Bobby’s dad is an indoor field hockey coach and he has a tournament there so we can be his cheerleaders (plus do some shopping, eating, and exploring)!  I’m excited to get away for the weekend- Bobby has been doing a complete kitchen renovation on his own so we are ready for some R&R!

I’m getting a little ahead of myself!  Let’s back up to a workout I completed on Thursday!  I didn’t really feel like running so I decided to do an interval workout and alternate between walking and running!  It ended up keeping my heart rate up because I kept a very steady walking pace and increased the incline way up!

Run:walk Treadmill Workout

(Since were suppose to get an inch or so of snow tonight, I figure I would do a snowflake theme :) You’re welcome!)

In the end, I ran/walked 2.5 miles and burned 290 calories! The part that challenged me the most was the increased incline! I don’t know what it is about “hills”, but they literally take my breath away, haha! This workout can definitely be adjusted based on your fitness level.  If you want to make it more challenging, increase the pace or incline.  If you want to take it down a notch, slow down and lower the incline!  Either way, you will be getting a great work out!

If you really want to challenge yourself, complete 50 reps of the following exercises for an awesome core workout:

  • crunches
  • reverse crunches
  • 50 second plank
  • bicycle crunches
  • alternating leg drops
  • russian twists with medicine ball
  • 50 second plank
  • crunches

Here are some pictures on how to do some of the exercises above:

            alternating leg drops

                 russian twists

                reverse crunch

 

And that my friends was the end of my workout! Lately I’ve been loving doing ab exercises at the end of my workout and I think that’s because I love CXWORX, a Les Mills class I recently tried that focuses on your core for 30 continuous minutes (meaning there really isn’t a break)!  I highly recommend trying this class if you have it available at your local gym- it goes by so quick and you will wake up sore the next day, I promise!

Question of the day: What is your favorite muscle group to target?