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i’ve got about three and a half weeks until a girl’s beach vacation to nicaragua, so i want to really try to stay on track this month and feel good in a swimsuit on my trip. it’s a good goal for me! this weekend will mark my 6 weeks on the challenge. a lot of people have asked how long we are going to run this column, and the answer is, we aren’t really sure. we feel really motivated by your feedback and comments and love the interactive quality to this new column, so we are just going to take it week by week. if you all still like seeing it, we will try to just keep writing it and coming up with new content based on living a healthier lifestyle. and remember, i’m new to this journey too, so i’m not claiming to be an expert here, just someone who wants to feel better about their body and health!
joanie: i’ve been focusing on shorter, more intense workouts. i realize if i give myself a limited amount of time to workout that i’m more likely to push myself harder since i know i need to get a lot of bang for my buck (time). when i have a wide open window of when i can workout i just keep putting it off and end up skipping. so i’ve been giving myself a 35 minute time frame and trying to do high intensity intervals. running as fast as i can for 90 seconds, walking for 30, running up hill for 1 minute, jogging for 45 seconds, basically focusing on getting my heart rate up really high, letting it come back down and doing it again.
bri: last weekend i went to vegas with my family and was determined not to lose the momentum i had with working out. before i left, i made sure to do three workout days in a row, so that i could have a day of rest once we arrived. on saturday, i dragged my sister and dad to the hotel gym (which i never thought i would say!) and we all ran on the treadmill for 30 minutes, and then did some weights and leg exercises. it was fun to work out all together and was a first for us! the other two days i just made sure i was really active. we walked a few miles a day, when i was in the pool i was looking kinda crazy by doing some of these moves, and i also did 150 crunches and leg lifts in the room (it doesn’t take that long and made me feel better to be doing something)
i’m always really motivated to get back on my normal schedule after traveling. i made sure to sign up for a few classes for the week in advance and work my social schedule around them. i’m still doing classpass, yoga, bar method, and at-home workouts. i also went to a meditation workshop on sunday night, which focuses on your breathing. it was so relaxing and felt very much like self love. to take some time to clear your mind and just be still feels very important. at first, my body and mind resist, but if you breath long enough you can fully let the anxiety move through you. during my breathing my mind wanders to healthier places…feeling proud of myself, feeling love for myself, wanting to help others and give back. it’s a good thing.
my sister told me about daily burn and that she’s been really enjoying it. so i just signed up for my free 30 day trial, and joanie and i ran a 30 minute boxing class in my living room on our lunch break. maybe i’m just used to the stimulation of the 20 person classes, but i was pretty bored and could barely finish it. (eek, sorry daily burn) but i will give it a couple more tries and maybe it will stick. it would be nice to have some videos i like on days that i can’t make it to a class. do you have any favorites?
and no, that’s not a real move we’re doing above. who knows. haha
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one of my FAVORITE things to do is entertain. there’s not much that makes me happier than a night with friends laughing and eating good food together. we have been gathering quite a bit now that the summer weather is perfect in the evenings, rotating who’s house we’re eating at. jesse’s roof, victoria’s backyard, jen’s patio…it’s been so nice to eat outside! i’ve been wanting to make my awkward long hallway in the back of my place into something that felt cozy and almost like an extension of my home. considering it’s mostly covered it almost does feel like an extra room now!
here’s the before and after and the little party we threw with williams-sonoma and visa checkout to celebrate. visa created an easy way to safely navigate checkout from any devices with just a few clicks so that you can spend less time online and more time hanging out on your patio drinking margaritas (which is always a win in my book)!
first off, my washer and dryer and a whole bunch of junk i never use lives back there, so the first step was to declutter. because the hallway is so long, i wanted to focus on only half of it for now (and maybe put a table on that other side eventually and build a cabinet for my washer and dryer) we hung a compression rod and a few of my favorite white linen curtains to create a separation, but also make it easy to access the other side. now it’s not a huge space, but plenty big to have 4-6 friends over. we scrubbed the floors the best we could, and laid down a bunch of vintage rugs that overlap each other and create a beautiful array of color.
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bri: luckily after some physical therapy and switching up some of my workouts, my ankle/knee is on the mend and i’ve been able to continue working out. i’ve really noticed a shift within myself after a month of consistently working out…like i almost need it as part of my routine. dare i say, i even crave it & look forward to it. that is such a big change for me mentally, and i feel really happy about it.
i’ve been sticking to bar method and strength yoga for now, and i’m working up the nerve to try another spin class. the last time i tried one i thought i was going to die right there and then. everyone raves about it though, so i think i gotta give it another shot. we also haven’t find the right pool in LA to just freely exercise, but we really want to! i’m going to vegas this weekend with my sister and dad for father’s day, and they both like to work out. hopefully the hotel has a gym!
after seeing the physical trainer i have realized how tight the muscles in my legs are. my calves and IT band are probably the worst areas. i’ve been learning exercises to do to strengthen the muscles in my legs and protect my joints in the future. i just ordered a foam roller to relieve some tension, a large gym ball and 3 pound weights for home workouts, a small lacrosse ball to roll my foot over and get the knots out, and a few resistance bands for leg exercises at home. these will be great for days that i can’t make it to a workout class due to my schedule.
in these four and a half weeks, my flexibility has already increased a ton, and i’ve been noticing my legs and butt feeling a little harder which i’m not mad at. i also gotta say, as someone who deals with anxiety, this area of my life is drastically improving. i find myself feeling calm and happier more days than not.
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we do a ton of recipes on this blog, but how about something a little bit more practical and informative today? we are big trader joe’s fans in this office. i’m constantly making very simple meals at home with my staple ingredients, and joanie is always bringing a healthy lunch with her most recent favorite trader joe’s sauces. we keep our smeg fridge stocked with snacks and find that we spend the least amount of money when we shop for our essentials at trader joe’s. (and no, they aren’t sponsoring this, so you gotta trust us!)
we thought you could save these photos on your phone and use them as a shopping list on your next visit…and please tell us your favorites too.
roasted coconut chips, fresh mozzarella cheese sticks, crunchy almond butter (on brown rice cakes), organic pomegranate seeds, we keep lots of sparkling mineral water in the fridge, fig & olive crisps with that goat cheese, edamame is quick and healthy, and we love roasted seaweed snacks (especially the wasabi ones!).
i love to get the vegetables that are conveniently cut up and packaged for me. i just notice that i always eat those more when i buy them and they don’t just go bad in my fridge. the brussels sprouts, brocollini, and fingerling potatoes are my favorite. i love trader joe’s frozen brown rice because it’s so easy to make, and joanie introduced me to that cauliflower rice which is my new jam. canned beans and corn are always in my cart. joanie loves the taco mix for the meats she makes, and erika puts it in a slow cooker with chicken stock and chicken for tacos. the asian stir fry makes a healthy meal happen very quickly.
the quinoa is a great side dish – cook it in veggie stock and add a bay leaf for more flavor. their coconut oil is very reasonably priced and joanie adds a tablespoon to her smoothies in the morning. you can also cook your chicken in it on the frying pan and throw it on top of a salad for work lunches, their red curry sauce is the bomb (we’ll get to that below), light coconut milk -use this to make ice cubes for your smoothies, pink Himalayan salt makes it okay to salt your food, you can use their flaxseed meal to make protein bites, cage free eggs – always eggs (on everything!), and we love their irish butter you can use the unsalted version to make bulletproof coffee!
i love very simple foods for lunch. nothing too saucy or filling. i end up making this bowl with either cauliflower rice (healthier option) or one of the packets of frozen brown rice (just 3 mins in the microwave) and i’m happy every time. a lot of the times i’ll add hot sauce on top. my friends tease me for how often i eat this meal!
bri’s lunch bowl
• half a packet of trader joe’s cauliflower rice
• 1/4 cup of black beans (no salt)
• 1/4 cup of canned corn
• 1 over medium egg on top
• malden salt
• hot sauce optional
this is almost a weekly meal at my house. (bri is currently screaming in the background “it’s SOOO GOOOD!!!”) you can easily add any veggies you have laying around, or just make it with chicken. and the best part is, it’s even better as leftovers. i almost don’t want to tell you how easy this is to make because it feels like my little hostess secret.
joanie’s lunch bowl
makes 6 servings
• 1 can lite coconut milk
• 1 package organic chicken, i like to use the small cutlets but the breast work well, too.
• 1 bottle thai red curry sauce
• 2 bags of trader joe’s frozen brown rice
• optional: add sweet potatoes, onions, bell peppers, potatoes…
i pour the coconut milk and curry sauce in a pan and add in the raw chicken, i like to cook it over a very low heat for about an hour. if you’re adding veggies throw them in about 20 minutes before it’s done. pull out the chicken and shred it with a fork and knife, return to the pan and serve over brown rice.
and then there’s the guilty pleasures. bri’s favorite is the vegetarian japanese style fried rice (it’s amazing!) or the frozen mandarin orange chicken. joanie loves the mochi ice cream and her favorite under $10 bottle of red wine is the pinot noir by black mountain (it’s actually $6.99 which is almost too good to be true!). if you are feeling especially splurgy, try the almond croissants, you let them rise over night and bake them in the morning, they are truly amazing. and the sea salt almonds are seriously addicting. for less indulgent evenings, try the ginger chews.
you can’t miss trader joe’s during peony season. an unusually low price of $5 will get you these beauties that are normally wayyy more expensive!
now tell us, what are the items you always buy at trader joe’s?
photos by designlovefest