Exercise Away the Blues

Hello everyone!

Today is Thursday which means we are almost to the weekend. Evan and I headed to visit my mom yesterday. We have enjoyed great food and company.

Yesterday, we stopped to see Katie, one of my old friends. This woman is incredible–she just had a baby and is already back to school and work. Katie loves running and we enjoy sharing recipes and exercise tips with one another. Doesn’t visiting old friends give you a great feeling? (Drake is adorable by the way!)

I also have had the pleasure of snuggling with my kitty while at home! I have missed her!

The sad news is that Evan left for Georgia around 2pm today. He accepted a summer position at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I am so happy he has the opportunity to work and live in a new location! I am, however, sad that I won’t have him by my side this summer in Iowa ūüė¶ We went out for coffee this morning before he left. (You can tell I’m dreading the goodbye from my facial expression)

I was in the mood for a boost so I decided to head to the local gym. Each time I work out I remember how much better exercise makes me feel. It’s very common for everyday life events to bring us down. Therefore, I thought it may be helpful to provide some reasoning for why exercise can boost our moods. In a nutshell, physical activity triggers our brain to release “feel-good” hormones such as serotonin. Individuals who suffer with depression typically have an imbalance of serotonin which is why exercise is recommended.

I figured a little activity could do me good today and I was right!

Here is a great article I found from “Life Hacker” that explains the power of exercise!
Why Exercise Makes Us Happy

I hope that you too can find time for physical activity when you are feeling down. It really does help!

Have a great evening,



The Dirty Dozen

Good morning, blog readers! I can’t believe it’s already Tuesday–my vacation is going quickly, as always. I have been loving the time spent with Evan’s family (including the family dog). Isn’t Thyme cute?


I spent some time in Trader Joe’s yesterday and overheard a conversation between two people regarding the importance of purchasing organic produce. It seems that our media is flooding us with the allure of organic food, claiming it’s super nutritious powers and improved taste. Organic food does provide many¬†benefits¬†to one’s body such as lack of pesticide and harsh chemicals. However, it is not always realistic or affordable to purchase solely organic. Therefore, I wanted to provide my blog readers a chance to understand the fruits and vegetables that¬†should¬†be purchased as organic and ones that can be acceptable in their conventional form.

The term “Dirty Dozen” refers to 12 fruits and vegetables that are more¬†susceptible¬†to containing high levels of pesticide toxicity. This may be due to their method of growth or extra absorbant skin. This list can change over the years as farming methods vary.

According to organic.org, the Dirty Dozen currently includes…

1) Peaches

2) Apples

3) Sweet Bell Peppers

4) Celery

5) Nectarines

6) Strawberries

7) Cherries

8) Pears

9) Imported Grapes

10) Spinach

11) Lettuce

12) Tomatoes


(Photo Source)

The “Clean Dozen” can be foods that are acceptable being purchased in conventional form…

1) Onions

2) Avocados

3) Frozen Sweet Corn

4) Pineapples

5) Mangos

6) Asparagus

7) Frozen Sweet Peas

8) Kiwi

9) Bananas

10) Cabbage

11) Brocooli

12) Papaya

Organic foods are more expensive because of the way they are produced and the smaller size of the crops. It takes the farmer more energy and time to ensure that the organic crops are producing. Know that the increased price is for a reason and shopping locally can better ensure your money is going to support the farmer.

Related articles

I hope that helps provide a little insight on the reasoning for the recent organic push. I would encourage you to do your own research and learn your stance on the issue. Now we are off to go check out the local YMCA! Have a great day!


Daily Question: What is your favorite fruit/vegetable? 

A Foodie Weekend

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you are enjoying your potential extra day off and recognizing those who have served!

Evan and I have been loving our weekend back in Wisconsin with family. We spent most of yesterday alternating between relaxing and shopping. For lunch, we ended up in downtown Milwaukee at Whole Foods. Their salad bar is the BEST. I grabbed a bowl and quickly filled it up!

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As you can see below, I included a hodgepodge of greens. I began with a base of baby¬†spinach¬†and built it up through layers of fresh veggies, tofu, noodles, and chicken salad. I topped off the bowl with some sesame¬†ginger salad. My favorite part was the kale detox salad which included mandarin¬†oranges¬†and cabbage. You can see it on the top center part of the picture below. Yumm….an easy way to enjoy clean eating!

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After more shopping and relaxing, we headed home to catch up with the rest of Evan’s family. I took a little nap (that’s what vacation is for, right? :)) Upon waking up, I could smell dinner cooking downstairs. Evan is the better cook between the two of us. He ¬†took it upon himself to make us fresh fish tacos! He grilled Tilapia and made¬†homemade¬†guacamole with pico de gallo. It was a perfectly light and fresh dinner spent with family.

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Of course,¬†afterwards¬†we HAD to get some ice cream. We went to a creamery nearby that makes their own custard. I chose a local favorite which is the “Cake Batter Shake”. It was wonderful and extremely filling.

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So far today, ¬†I got outside for a 3 mile run. The rain and wind made it difficult but I¬†persevered. ¬†I downloaded “Map My Run+” app today on my iPhone. I was able to hear my milage and pace time through my headphones. The app kept me motivated and engaged while listening to music.

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Upon coming home, I had an egg sandwich and took a shower.

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Now we are watching a recording of Superbowl 45 when the Green Bay Packers played the Steelers. When in Rome…

Enjoy your day!


Question of the Day: What is your favorite thing to put on a salad?

Holiday Road Trip

Ahhh….weekends are great! I hope you all are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend and taking time to honor those who have served and passed in our military.

My weekend so far has been pretty packed with fun activities. Let’s just say, I was excited to go to bed at 9:00pm last night!

Our weekend began on Friday afternoon when we traveled from Iowa to Wisconsin’s capitol, Madison. I haven’t spent a lot of time in the city of Madison. Evan and I took the¬†opportunity¬†to do our own exploring and found lots of¬†eclectic¬†restaurants¬†and stores in the downtown area. Evan also snapped a photo of me outside the capitol. We look like such tourist even though we are from the state!

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On Saturday, our gang woke up early for the 5K. Our friends Nate, Sarah and Brianne had never run in a race before. We knew that this race would be light-hearted, so they never became too nervous. The race was called the “Bun Run” and was part of a bigger program that spanned over the entire weekend called, “Brat Fest”. So Wisconsin, I know ūüėČ

Our group split into packs and I ended up running with my friend Sarah. We both¬†agreed that we ran really well together and kept each other motivated throughout the race. Our finish time met our goal of under 30 minutes, but we are already planning our next race to lower our times. Evan and Sarah’s husband, Nate ran the 5K in 23 minutes! They decided they wanted to try and run as quickly as possible–and they ended up placing in the top 50 finishers! Brianne and her friend, Ben both ran it for pure fun and ended up finishing a little over 30 mintes (which is still great!). Brianne mentioned that they poured water over each other at the water stations and kept trying to trip each other throughout. Everyone handles running races a little different, no need for newbies to be¬†intimated, right? ūüôā

Our group took a pic after we all crossed the finish line!

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Brianne, Ben, Sarah, Nate, me, Evan

After the race we quickly showered and headed out the door for Milwaukee. We wanted the group members who were not from Wisconsin to enjoy a little baseball. If you know anything about Wisconsin, you know that we all love to tailgate before games. We took advantage of our premier parking spot outside of Miller Park and celebrated for hours before the game started.


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My favorite guy ūüôā

Now that Sunday is here, we are planning to relax. Evan and I are ¬†currently visiting with Evan’s parents who live in Milwaukee. We may run a few errands and enjoy the down time. That’s what Sundays are all about!

I hope you all have a great rest of your holiday weekend!


Daily Question: What are your plans for the Memorial Day weekend?

5K Playlist

TGIF! Who is ready for the weekend?

To begin, I found these new Nike Free  shoes at a consignment store yesterday. They have the Nike Plus capability I have been looking for! I will share my reviews of the shoes after I test drive them. The best part is that they cost $22!

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As I prepare for a fun 5K this weekend, I wanted to share my play list with you. This music really gets me pumped to run!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend! I will post pictures from the race and baseball game later this weekend!


Daily Question (anyone can comment): What are songs that you like to exercise to?

Always Movin’ & Shakin’

Good afternoon, everyone! I hope your Thursday is off to a fantastic start. First of all, cherries are back in season? I picked some up at the store yesterday. So good!

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This weekend, we are planning on running a 5K in Madison, WI and then heading off to a Milwaukee Brewer’s game! More pictures and details to come…

I wanted to share tips for remaining motivated with your exercise routine. Most people begin working out feeling great, but fizzle out over time. Have you heard the quote, “If you are tired of starting over, stop quitting.”?

….Well, I think that’s a little harsh. My style is more supportive! So I hope to provide you helpful tips to maintain your motivation!

1) “Change your thoughts and you will change your world” Begin believing that you are capable of reaching your fitness goals. Stop viewing your ability to become fit as an uphill battle. Just like anything in life, it builds slowly over time. You will accomplish your goals if you repeatedly believe that you can!

2) “The early bird catches the worm” Some people find it easiest to workout in the morning. I personally have struggled with this but am currently trying! Regardless of the best time for you, it’s important that your workout time is consistently scheduled. Consider the morning before going work and school if it’s feasible. Otherwise, afternoons or evenings work too. Mark the same time off in your calender daily (if possible) for best results.

3) “I count my success in miles, not pounds.” Recognize that any exercise is better than no exercise. You are doing your body good by simply moving! Begin by taking a walk around the block and eventually increasing your speed and distance. Also, remember that your weight does not always accurately reflect the benefits you are providing to your body through exercise. I was told by a nutrition professor that an active, overweight person can be healthier than an average weight, inactive person. Finally, as mentioned in my previous post, what you eat is equally as relevant as what you do for activity. You can learn more about that here.

4) “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” It’s okay to dream of a new goals (fitness, career, school, whatever!) Set your goals and then communicate them to others. Individuals around you provide support and remind you of your desires when you are feeling down/disinterested. Consider putting in writing what you hope to accomplish through your fitness goals. Maybe it’s a 5K walk or being able to complete 10 laps in the swimming pool. After you have written down your initial goals, hang them up in a visible location and communicate to others who you know will support you.

My current goals!

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Other tangible things could be…

  • Creating a workout calender with sticky notes put on each day. After you have completed a workout, the take sticky note off. (Shout out to Evan’s sister, Natalie for the idea!)
  • Tracking your workouts on phone apps. Over time, you will see all of the days you have been active. Examples of these apps can be found in my previous post here.
  • Putting $1 in a jar for every completed workout. Once you have a set amount of money, purchase yourself something nice. (Maybe new workout clothes or itunes money for new music?)



Are you feeling motivated yet? Keep it up! Pretty soon people will turn around and go, “Who is that good looking, healthy person?!” (See face below)


Me and Katie–New Orleans 2011 ūüôā

I’m off to go shopping with a friend–have a great day!


Daily Question (anyone can comment below): How do you remain motivated to exercise?

Nutrition 101

Happy Tuesday! I hope the weather is sunny wherever you are. In Iowa, we have had a few severe storms lately that fizzled away to bring more sunshine!

I had a great workout yesterday and hope to do the same this afternoon. In light of all the talk surrounding exercise, I wanted to provide my blog followers a chance to hear more about the nutrition component behind healthy living.

When I began training for my first half marathon in 2009, I was surprised at the lack of change in my body composition. I figured that running 10+ miles every week would result in some sort of noticeable difference. Below is a picture of me finishing my first half marathon.


What I didn’t realize was that what you eat has much more of an influence on your weight than exercise alone. Therefore, proper nutrition paired with a exercise routine is the key for success…

I know that eating healthy can be both simple and complicated. Many people seem to fall into the trap of “eating healthy” by consuming primarily fruits and vegetables. Without much thought, this diet can quickly become monotonous. Other people can become obsessive and count their calories, which can lead to individuals feeling deprived.

So what are we supposed to do? I have found through studying nutrition as part of my undergraduate degree that focusing on a balance of macronutrients is the key ingredient to happy heart and body. What does the term “macronutrients” mean? It’s much more simple than it sounds. Macronutrients can be broken into three main categories of: carbs, fats, and proteins. All three are equally as important to fuel your body and provide energy for your day.

Carbohydrates (Carbs): Made up of various sugar structures, which turn into glucose. Glucose is a sugar that your brain and muscles use as fuel. Have you noticed that you find it hard to concentrate or¬† feel light-headed when you haven’t eaten? That’s your body’s way of saying that it’s missing sugar. To think that carbs feed our brain makes the bad rap they have diminish in my mind. It’s true that we need a particular amount of carbs and that excess can be converted into fat. However, the same rule applies with protein and fats. Society just blames carbs because of the abundance of food products they are found in. (ex: Snack items, breads, cereals).

Fats: Comprised of three different structures and can be broken into lay terms such as “good” and “bad” fats. “Good” fats are mono/polysaturated and unsaturated. Examples of good sources are: olive oil, avocados, and nuts. “Bad” fats are saturated and trans. Sources of these come from animal products (ie: whole milk) and vegetable fats (ie: packaged snack foods).¬† Everyone needs fat to survive. Not only does it provide insulation for our organs, it also helps chemical reactions in our body to speed up and ultimately run more efficiently. A common myth is that consuming fats makes you fat. The same principle above applies to fats. When you consume too much fat, it can be converted into literal body fat. However, by not consuming fat, your body will actually do the reverse and begin storing any fat eaten. The reason being that you put your body goes into survival mode and assumes you are starving. (The old caveman situation).

Protein: Helps keep us full and rebuild our muscles after exercise. Proteins are made up of amino acids. In order for your body to absorb the protein efficiently, you must ensure you are consuming a complete protein. Sources of complete proteins can be found in low-fat animal products, soy, and certain grains such as quinoa. If you are vegan or do not like animal products, you can learn about protein pairing here.

Many people argue on the proper ratio of these three macronutrients. I have found a plate through www.choosemyplate.gov/ that details a suggested balance.


I hope this helps you understand the basics of nutrition. I am by no means an expert, nor did I go into much detail.

Ultimately, I have learned that moderation is the best thing you can practice in your health. I try to eat healthy 85% of the time. But occasionally, I will not turn down a cupcake (like I was given today at lunch!)


Have a great day ūüôā