Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Getting Past Hump Day: Lunchtime Workout

I really look forward to my lunch time workouts. It gives me a chance to get out of the office, stop staring at a screen and to get in my gym time before it gets dark out. If you are like me, your motivation comes to a quick stop the second you get home from work.

Easy for me I have our wedding to motivate me to get into shape. I posted on my Facebook page today that today, 75% of people would drop their New Years resolutions. I got my workout in, did you?

The biggest advice I can give you is to not focus on seeing the pounds dropping from the scale, focus more so on how you feel. Is your body sore the next day? Great! You are working your muscles that have been in hibernation. If you watched the Biggest Loser, week 2 is ALWAYS the hardest. The first week you are loosing the extra water weight your body had been carrying around. If you don't see a change the second week, why not push through it and see how well you do during the third week!

My workout tomorrow will look a little like this: 

I'll start off with 20 minutes on the elliptical at a level 12-14 depending how I feel while doing it. Rather than doing chair dips, I plan on doing 20 overhead tricep extensions and standing cable tricep extensions.

To end the workout I always do 25 regular sit-ups, 25 reverse sit ups and a 40 sec - 1 minute plank.

Here is what's motivating me this week:

I'm trying on wedding gowns this weekend and am absolutely terrified! Hopefully I find something amazing! I'm doing a juice detox Thursday and Friday so I'll share my smoothie recipes with you!

Friday, January 6, 2012

What to Ask Your Wedding Florist

Friday after work I headed to Towson to meet our florist for the first time. She was recommended to me from a handful of girls at work so I had full confidence that I didn't need to look into other florists. 
I'm one who loves to be prepared. I printed out photos of what I envisioned my bouquet as, my bridesmaids, the boutonnieres, the tall centerpieces, the short centerpieces... you get the idea. I had already filled out a form telling her more about our wedding - the location, the wedding party, the colors... but I had no idea what to ask her!

I quickly did a Google search and tweeted asking for brides advice! I quickly gathered all the questions thanks to Real Simple, Lindsay, and Heather.

I want to share with you the questions I found, because it came in handy to have during our appointment so I didn't forget anything! The answers in pink are from my florist, so you get an idea of what yours may say.

1. Will you set the flowers up at the site according to my specifications? If not, you may need to hire a wedding coordinator. If the florist will be setting up, make sure you both go over a diagram of where everything will be. 
Yes. I am giving my florist a copy of our finalized room layout and ceremony layout so she knows exactly where to put everything. It is the florist's job to set up - and since you are busy getting ready for your big day you shouldn't have to worry. I'm also giving a copy to our wedding coordinator and my bridesmaids/mom so they can go down and check.

2. Will you take away the arrangements at the end? This could incur an extra fee, but it might be worth the price if it allows you and your wedding party to depart without a backward glance. If you are renting containers or other decorative items, don’t assume the florist will retrieve them. Check the contract to make sure who’s responsible. And be sure you know the venue’s policies about cleanup. 
 Our florist does come to pick up the materials she has rented to us that night. Make sure you tell her the time the wedding ends and that your guests take home the flowers they want before she cleans up. This does include an extra fee, but our florist requires it so she doesn't lose any of her belongings. You may also want to bring extra vases so your guests have something to take the arrangements home in.

3. Who will be in charge of my wedding flowers? For quality control―and to make sure all your conversations haven’t gone to waste―get confirmation that the floral designer you’ve been dealing with will do the arranging. If you’re having a large wedding, it may be too much work for one florist, so she should be aided by a trusted associate. 
Our florist.
4. Do you typically limit the number of weddings you have slated on a weekend? Ideally, the answer to this is yes―the florist should have one or two, max. However, this may depend on the size of your wedding and the size of the florist. If the florist seems to have an astronomical amount of weddings on her plate, make sure she is confident that she can devote ample time to your event. 
 She limits herself to one wedding a week! This is great for us because I know our flowers will have the time needed to make sure they are perfect.

5. What would you consider suitable substitutions for the flowers we have discussed if these are unavailable? Hammer this out now so you aren’t surprised minutes before you hit the aisle. The florist should guarantee color harmony, size, look, and price. You may even want to request a picture of what the florist has in mind before approving. 

6. How will I reach you on the wedding day? The florist should give you a cell-phone or pager number. 
I have her cell programmed in my phone. Make sure you give her number to your family and bridesmaids as well just in case!

7. When will the flowers arrive, how will they be transported, and how will they be packaged when they arrive? Flowers should be delivered at the last possible moment, even if the building is air-conditioned, to prevent wilting. Bouquets should be delivered about half an hour before photography is scheduled to begin. Your florist will determine the delivery time, taking into account the time of year, the temperature, and the sun’s brightness. Florists use climate-controlled vehicles (some have refrigeration), so the blooms arrive fresh. 
My bouquet and our bridal party's flowers will be delivered at the time the photographer arrives. This ensures we have them for the photos. 

8. Can you advise me on which flowers would be best for my wedding? What is in season and what we could do to limit the price (i.e., substitutions that are cheaper)? You and your florist should discuss whether it’s an indoor or outdoor event (with sun exposure a factor), the length of the photo session, the gap between ceremony and reception, and so on. These factors will help determine if the flowers you select will be hardy enough. 
Our florist recommended not using hydrangeas in our personal flowers because they wilt quickly.

9. Are there any taxes, overtime charges, gratuities, or fees that aren’t included in the contract? You don’t want hidden fees to pop up after the wedding (there will be enough last-minute expenses as it is). Make sure the cancellation policy and associated fees are also in the contract. 

10. When will the balance be due? While there’s no hard and fast rule, florists generally request payment about two weeks before the wedding. 
Two weeks before the wedding the full payment is due. A deposit is required to hold our weekend and due at the signing of our contract.

11. Do you supply vases/votives or do we? 
Our florist can supply both. The vases/votives pricing depends on the size.

12. Have you worked at the our venue before? 
She has several times. I was thankful she actually knew the room names at our venue before we even told her. This put me at ease because knowing the venue helps her to design and envision our wedding.

13. Do you create sample centerpieces and bouquets for us to approve/review?
At a price. This is something Lindsay suggested to me and thank goodness she did! I have heard of many brides being unhappy with their flowers. We are ordering a sample tall centerpiece and my bouquet a month prior so we are using the same flowers that will be in season. Thank you Mom!

I hope these questions and answers help you during your wedding planning! It really helped me know the right questions to ask and to make sure our wedding day is nothing short of perfect! 

What's In My Gym Bag

What's in my gym bag?

I always get blog post ideas in the strangest places. Yesterday while showering after my workout, I was thinking to myself that I bet you guys would love to know what's in my gym bag. I'm actually really curious about what's in yours!

This is exactly what's in my gym bag at this second:

1. 2 pairs of headphones. I always keep a second pair in case I leave one in the car, if it accidentally is shoved into my coat pocket, or if my workout buddy forgets theirs! Okay, so the second pair might be circa 1995, but they still work! 

2. 2 Cappuccino Larabars. I keep at least 2 protein bars in my bag for "just in case" purposes. I love the new Cappuccino flavor and that is saying a lot for a non-coffee drinker! I have these bad boys just in case I don't have time to make breakfast for the gym, in case I'm feeling weak after a big workout, in case Chris is hungry after our workout... you get the hint. I like having a healthy snack in my bag to help me make smart decisions!

3. Socks. I stuffed 3 pairs of socks into my bag because some days I wear heals or flats to work without socks and I hate hate hate not wearing socks with my tennis shoes. I keep a few pairs for the times I forget!

4. Shower Necessities. I have travel sized face wash, shampoo, conditioner, a hair brush, head bands, hair ties, chapstick, deodorant, tampons (sorry for the tmi) and mascara. To be honest, all the gyms I go to supply body wash and a towel service so I don't keep those in my bag. More room for extra junk! Half of the time I have my makeup bag with me in case I went to the gym before meeting up with friends. I also keep dry shampoo in my bag for the days that I don't have time to wash my hair in the shower. A few sprays and I'm all set!

5. Workout Clothes. Sports bra, yoga capris, tank top, shirt, sweatshirt and my brooks running shoes are in my bag at all times. 

6. Foot/Shoe spray. I spray my shoes (both work and tennis) after/before I work out. I'm always nervous that they are going to stink up everything else in the bag if I don't spray them! Plus, Chris gave me about 3 bottles two years ago as stocking stuffers. I think he was hinting at something...

7. Notes. I usually write notes of workouts I want to do or have done. The other day I wrote out a treadmill interval and arm workout routine I wanted to do. Writing it down makes me more efficient with my gym time during lunch!

I'm pretty sure that's it! Sometimes I find random things in there like camera chargers, jewelry that I took off before a run, license or gym class schedules. I don't keep my iPod with me because I've been using my phone as a stopwatch for planks and Pandora radio while running!

Am I missing anything?!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Treadmill Intervals, Lean Arms and Motivation

Yesterday I had a lunch meeting at work and missed going to the gym. I was actually bummed since I had washed all my gym clothes and packed my gym bag the night before to hold me accountable. When Chris called me at lunch the first thing out of his mouth was, "You on a treadmill?!" haha. That's because this past week I have actually been looking forward to my lunch time work out. It breaks the day up and I've actually found myself to be less hungry.

Lunch was at the Flying Avocado - a local cafe across from my work that serves organic and healthy lunches. I ordered the ahi tuna avocado ceasar salad. Their salads are huge and so good! I probably had 6-7 oz of tuna in my salad! Ahi is one of my favorite things to eat! I love it blackened with lots of spices :)

I wish I snapped a photo, but I was in public with co-workers... oh, and too busy stuffing my face!

If you are working out like me over lunch here is what I'll be doing!

and for your motivation...

If I could have one celebrity's body it would probably be Jessica Beil! She is fit, in shape, toned and not super skinny... just what I strive to be! That's sexy!

Hope you have a great workout!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How to Stay Accountable in 2012

While asking myself how I will stay accountable in 2012 with my workouts and healthy eating, I've decided to share my personal tips and goals with you guys as well so we can all stay on track past January.

1. Download an app on your smart phone to keep track of your food and exercises. I have the app "Lose It" and "Map My Run" on my phone to keep track of what I eat daily and how many calories I am burning on my trail runs. Obviously this only works as well as the amount of effort you put into it, but if you get into a daily routine about logging down your exercises and food you are sure to see results. Don't lie to the app and say you only had 10 chips, when you really had 20. Use it to your advantage to help you make smart decisions! This app has helped me say no to desserts while out to dinner and making meal selections. Sometimes we think a salad is a healthy choice, but after logging in all of our toppings and dressings it may surprise you that a salad can easily be calorie dense.

2. Pack your lunch and gym bag the night before. Let's face it. We all love pushing the snooze button on the alarm. The more you have to do in the mornings, the less likely you will be to complete it. The night before take out your dirty clothes from your gym bag and stuff it with new ones before you have a chance to forget. Make sure your shower stuff is in there along with fresh socks and your tennis shoes. Don't forget your headphones either! Pre-make a huge bowl of salad for the week or a healthy soup to take to work. Stock up on fruits and veggies that are easy to throw into your lunch box. This way you can easily pack your lunch without wondering what to take!

3. Plan your weekly schedule each Sunday. Look at your schedule for the upcoming week and plan at least 3 days to go to the gym and 1-2 days where you will hold yourself accountable to work out at home. Call your friends and see what their schedule looks like for the week. Having a workout partner always helps to hold me accountable at the gym.

4. Find a gym near you! Some of us are just unable to wake up an extra hour early in the mornings and drag after a long day of work. If this is the case for you, find a gym near your work. This allows you to go during your lunch break or after work. For me, it's hard to drag myself to the gym after I get home. I'd rather spend my night with my pups and family. By finding a gym near work, I am giving myself a mental break and getting my workout out of the way!

5. Don't get discouraged. Just because you have one off day where you eat crappy or don't have time to fit a work out in, that doesn't give you an excuse to continue that habit the next day. Pick yourself back up and start fresh!

6. Search for new recipes! I know that searching Pinterest or Whole Foods website for new healthy recipes helps me plan my meals for the week. I find a list of 5 new recipes and write down all the ingredients I'll need, that way I make sure to grab them at the grocery store. 

Hopefully these tips will help you stay accountable in 2012! I'm planning on including them all into my daily routine.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bridesmaids Gift: Painted Wine Glasses

Break is over... wahhh. I have enjoyed being off work for a week and a half. Especially being able to wake up late, make a healthy and delicious breakfast and go to the gym whenever I wanted. 

I made a batch of black bean soup and premade tomorrow's salad so I have lunch covered for the week. Soup is one of those things that is so easy to make and I never get sick of.

Today's workout was 35 minutes on the AMT elliptical and a mile and a half run on the treadmill. All of which was spent watching food network and Sex and the City. Let me just say, watching SJP walk around her apartment half naked with a six pack was very motivating. 

After coming home from the gym I whipped us up the same salads as yesterday and made some wild rice for Chris to have for the week. I could eat the fuji apple salad every day and not get sick of it (fingers crossed). 

I decided to invite all of the bridesmaids (not including mine or CL's sisters) to dinner so everyone could meet and get to know each other. I wanted everyone to get a chance to hang out, especially since we all will be spending a good amount of time together over the next 10 months! I knew since the moment I became engaged that I wanted to do something special for my bridesmaids. I know being in a wedding is a big responsibility and can be expensive and I really wanted to make sure my girls knew how much I appreciate them. 

Pin It
I bought some cute wedding cake stickers and pink stationary at the craft store and wrote a special note to each of the girls. I have different memories with each of them and love them all for so many reasons! I topped the letters with the quote, "As I prepare for the day that I'm to be a bride. It means the world to have you sipping by my side!". 

To go with that quote, I painted each girl a wine glass in our wedding colors with their name and our wedding date on the base. *Note: I first used regular acrylic paint that wasn't dishwasher safe and then bought a clear varnish to paint over it and it still washed off after testing. Make sure you buy dishwasher safe acrylic paint. Martha Stewart has several at Michaels!

Each girl got their own designed wine glass and a mini bottle of wine to go with it!

Pin It
I think they all turned out so cute and will definitely be put to good use! It'll be a good photo opp for us to have matching wine glasses for wine festivals, the bridal shower and bachelorette party :)

Of course I had to make one for myself ;-) It's so exciting writing Mrs. Lucas! I added a few extra gems on mine. I love Chevron!

I wrapped the gifts up nice and pretty and I'm so glad the girls loved them! I have such a great group of girls supporting me on my big day. I can't wait!

Did you ask your bridesmaids in a special way? I know a girl who made chocolate cookie cakes for each girl asking them. It was so cute!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year! Looking Back on 2011.

Happy New Year to everyone! I am so excited to start this year!

In 2012 I will experience many big life events and I will not take them for granted. I will cherish them and the people who are in my life!

I have been working out the past 3 days straight. I know, not a huge accomplishment... but you have to start somewhere! I've started to log my meals in the Lose It! app on my iphone so I can lose 1 pound a week in a healthy way.

Breakfast was a low-carb tortilla with an egg and two egg whites with salsa and a tablespoon of Mexican cheese. Filling and so good! Around 350 calories per my app :)

After Chris and I went to the park for an easy run, I made us both salads. I felt pretty good, because I totally kicked his butt on the run! Probably because I run better with good music and I definitely have a lot of motivation to work out before trying on dresses next month!

 I like half an apple, red onions, feta crumbles and pecans in my salad with some fuji apple salad dressing! Chris loves tomatoes, olives, almonds, cucumbers, red onions and parm in his with some olive oil and red wine vinegar!

I've also been having smoothies or greek yogurt for breakfast! This was a cup of plan non-fat greek yogurt, frozen mixed berries, a tablespoon of honey, a cup of OJ.

I also spotted this in home goods! I think I have to go back and purchase it for the bridal shower and wedding! I bet some of our cupcakes would look adorable on it!

I decided to give myself until February to try on dresses because I want to feel good about my body before trying them on. How can you say yes to the dress when you are focusing on your arms or waist line? So come February I will be ready!

Reflecting on last years resolutions, I would say I definitely stuck to all of them plus more!

Number 1 was to hang with more girls. I definitely have stuck to that. I am so thankful for all of my girl friends. I know I always have someone I could call up and talk to or hang out! I went on several beach trips with them, dinners, wine festivals, nights dancing, weddings and more. This upcoming year is no exception! I look forward to hanging out with my girls and bridesmaids more than ever! 

Number 2 was to never say never. Check! This year I did an adventure climbing trip for Mother's Day and faced my fear of heights by climbing on ropes mid air, zip lining and doing "the swing". I then accomplished the Warrior Dash 5k with a group of friends from college. Throughout the year I also ran 2 additional 5ks. While on vacation I kept up with my workouts and rode on a jet ski for the first time! Not to mention I faced my ultimate fear of riding in a hot air balloon!

Number 3 was to stop rushing life. To stop worrying about when Chris was going to propose or when I was going to buy a house. 24, to me, was a bigger age than 25. My parents were married and had a house at 24 and my cousin had his first kid at 24. I know you shouldn't compare your life to anyone elses, and that's when I stopped. When I actually let life happen on it's own, I became engaged! AND we are approved to buy a house so we are looking! 24 is the age I will remember all of my dreams coming true, and it happened because I let it come naturally. Not by forcing it. And thank goodness! I am so happy I was completely shocked and surprised when Chris proposed. It made it a 1000 times more memorable and special. And I'm glad I got to share that with all of you!

My resolutions this year?

1. Workout at least 3 times a week. I am not going to commit myself to 4 or 5 days. Let's face it. Work gets busy and I don't want to set myself up for failure. I am buying a gym membership near my office so I can work out during lunch.

2. Sign up for at least 3 5k's before the wedding. I know 5k's will keep me running, especially in the warmer months!

3. Use my 10 hot yoga passes! My sister gave me these passes in September for my birthday and I really want to use them. I have done hot yoga where it is about 90 degrees, but not 115 degrees! I'm excited to use them though!

4. I vow to not become a bridezilla. I am already so excited and happy with everything we have planned, I couldn't imagine making myself and others miserable with my stress and bad behavior! I do tend to be a people pleaser so the most challenging part of wedding planning will be to remember this day is for Chris and I and nobody else. I shouldn't change my colors because someone makes a negative comment, or bend over backwards to please someone else. This is the only time I will have a whole day to celebrate our love with our friends and family and I want it to be how we want.

5. Be thankful. This is a no brainer and something that comes naturally to me, but it's a good reminder. Be thankful for those in my life. For the things life has given me and for the things we have earned through hard work. I am thankful our two pups are healthy because I have been on the other side of the fence. I'm thankful in November I get to marry my best friend and I'm thankful so many people in my life have found love too.

I'm excited for all that 2012 has to offer me! Our 4 year anniversary this month, Valentine's Day in New York, a trip to Boston, a trip to somewhere sunny for my bachelorette party, my bridal shower, OUR WEDDING DAY, our honey moon, buying a house, celebrating the holidays in our new house and so much more.

Happy New Year! From me to you! xoxo