Tipsy Peach Smoothie

rp_1d3181ee-3779-11e4-ba80-22000afd2dc7.jpg

Prior to living in Colorado, I didn’t realize that peaches were something that the state was known for. Like many people, I automatically associate peaches with Georgia (although Maryland has some delicious ones as well!). I’ve come to find out that the town of Palisade, Colorado has some of the most delicious, juicy peaches I’ve ever tasted!

The first crop of peach trees in Palisade were said to have been planted around 1882, and other fruit crops like apples, cherries and apricots were soon to follow. However, Palisade quickly became known for its peaches and they have since remained the pride of Colorado. There’s a huge peach festival each August in Palisade along with other towns around the state (including Lafeyette- where I live!).

[Read more...]

ACL Reconstruction: 15 Weeks Post-Op

15weekknees

Happy (belated) Labor Day!

I am so not ready to see the summer end! On one hand, I’m glad that it went by quickly because I was not in the best of shape for most of it. But, I also feel totally ripped off! Now that I’m a lot more mobile, I want a re-do of summer! At least there’s still fall (which is the best for hiking, cycling, running and a lot of other outdoor activities!).

This Thursday will mark 5 months since I had my skiing accident. Time flies! Today is the 15 week anniversary of my ACL reconstruction surgery, and so much has changed over that period of time. In many ways, I’m pretty close to “normal” and can do just about anything that I could do before tearing my ACL. I’m also constantly reminded that I am still pretty far from normal and have a long way yet to go. I do everything a little bit slower, with less intensity. I’ve back been to teaching my group exercises classes for over a month now, but still can’t lift quite as heavy, crank as much tension on the flywheel or pedal as fast (I know that this will improve with time!).

Here’s the formal update on my progress…

Pain Level:

No pain (and very little swelling)! There is still quite a bit of tightness in my left knee, but it’s improved a great deal. I have just a tiny bit of pain and sensitivity in the area around my large incision, but nowhere near where it was even a few weeks ago. I can kneel down on the ground now, do a standing quad stretch and kind of get into child’s pose. All three of those were a very big deal and I celebrated each accomplishment! I often have numbness around my knee (mostly below the knee cap), which I’ve heard is very normal. It’s still very weird.

I’ve actually been having more pain in my right (non-operative) leg than my left, because I tend to bear more weight on it- especially when I’m running. All in all, the level of pain in pretty much non-existent and a million times better than it was during the first few weeks after surgery.

Here’s a photo of my knees today (directly after a run!):

15weekknees

I wish my scars would start to fade a bit more (some people’s scars fade right away!), but it will take some time. My left quad muscle is definitely growing back and my calves are pretty much the same size now. My left leg is definitely still weaker than my right, but at least it’s starting to look similar in size.

[Read more...]

[Simple] Wellness “Life Hacks”

rp_57288718-2ee0-11e4-9279-22000afd2dc7.JPG

Whether I’d like to admit it or not, I can’t help but ignore the fact that I’ve let some of my “healthy habits” slide in the last two years. Back in my former life as a high school teacher, it was so easy to be pretty structured and organized when it came to dieting- because my whole life was so structured and organized! When I ended my teaching career and found myself at home much more often, my bad habits of mindlessly snacking and eating too much kicked in and the pounds started to pile on. Two years later, I can’t ignore it. I’ve got at least 20 extra pounds that I’d like to get rid of and need to buckle down and FOCUS.

On paper, weight loss seems so easy! You eat less, move more and slowly but surely those pounds of unwanted fat come off. The truth is, it’s not easy at all! Improving your health, whether it means losing a few pounds, getting in better shape or simply wanting to feel better overall takes hard work, dedication and staying power.

I often find that I have the most motivation to make positive changes to my diet after returning home from vacation (which I just did this week!). Something about days full of eating out for every meal, drinking more than usual, staying up late and being off of my routine seems to make me crave a healthy lifestyle. To get back on track, I refer to a simple list of “wellness hacks.” The ideas on this list are nothing new or revolutionary, but sometimes we just need a reminder of how simple it can be to make positive, healthy changes.

1. Plan ahead (even if it’s just one day- or one meal!).

As hard as I’ve tried, I am just not the type of person who can plan out a week’s worth of meals in advance. I feel pressured and I almost always end up changing everything throughout the week. For me, planning out ONE day in advance is the most realistic. I like to eat about six times throughout the day and have a guideline for what I’m going to be eating throughout the day helps me stick to a healthier diet.

Sometimes I’ll write out a “daily diet plan” the night before, and sometimes it’s the same morning. Either way, it makes me far less likely to “boredom snack” while thinking about what to make for my next meal.

[Read more...]

Currently: August 2014

bachelorinparadise

Hello!

I’m heading out to Boston tomorrow and frantically trying to schedule everything for work while I’m gone, pack a suitcase and get my house in order before leaving. So I thought- why not sit down and write a blog post??

It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s the end of summer. My teacher friends in Maryland all went back to school this week (there was an overwhelming amount of sadness in my Facebook feed yesterday!)- and I’m super glad to not get the “August blues” any more. I don’t miss my former life as a teacher. Not one bit!

Work has been insane (in the best possible way) and I’ve had my share of 11+ hour days, working on Saturdays and eating, sleeping and breathing FlapJacked… but I love it! I definitely don’t mind working all the time when it’s something I LOVE. On top of that, I’ve been teaching Bodypump regularly again (hurrah!) and am starting teaching early morning indoor cycling at a Cycling/TRX studio in two weeks (the same one Paige works at!). Overall, things are good. :)

Currently: July

Current books: I mentioned last month that I was about to pick up Just Like The Movies. I have about six (short) chapters left, so I predict that I’ll finish it tonight. I adore this book (and will be posting a review soon!). If you’re into Young Adult Fiction, check this book out!

Current music: I listened to this song at least three times yesterday:

I’m a big fan of Eminem and this is probably my favorite song of his. I remember one of my Spinning instructors playing it all the time (long before I started teaching classes myself) and I would get SO pumped. It happened to come on my Pandora station while I was running (yes, running!) on the treadmill yesterday and made the run so much easier to get through. It’s most definitely my all-time favorite POWER song.
[Read more...]

Silk Frozen Soy Latte

rp_cea5a1c2-225b-11e4-bd33-22000afd2dc7.jpg

Like most of the people that I know, my day pretty much always begins with a cup of coffee. I’ve certainly enjoyed my fair share of coffee over the years and love everything about it: the smell, the taste… and those few moments or relaxation that I enjoy while drinking it. It seems like everyone I know takes their coffee differently- some like cream and sugar, others take it straight black. I’ve tried all of the options and can confidently say that I’ve found my favorite way to enjoy my coffee: with a hefty splash of Silk Soy Milk.

Soy milk has definitely gotten a bad reputation over the last few years for it’s tie to GMOs. I definitely have no desire to consume genetically modified food and feel good about purchasing products with this seal:

[Read more...]

Balsamic, Rosemary + Sea Salt Roasted Almonds

almonds03

Oh, boy. I am very excited to share this recipe with you guys today!

almonds01

I’ll start from the beginning…

Back in 2010 (when I was still living in Maryland), Greg and I were enjoying our annual summer trip out to Colorado. We went hiking to Eldorado Canyon one morning and decided to stop by the grocery store first to buy some food for a post-hike picnic on the creek. We picked up some sandwiches from the deli and both stopped in our tracks when we spotted a bag of Boulder Canyon chips. They were Balsamic Vinegar & Rosemary – two of my favorite flavors combined!

[Read more...]

ACL Reconstruction Surgery: Post-Op Week 10

kneesweek10

It’s a little hard for me to believe that ten weeks have gone by since I underwent ACL Reconstruction surgery! Thankfully, time has flown by pretty quickly, thanks to my intent to stay really busy. I’m definitely happy to wrap up July and see what new “abilities” August will bring. I haven’t seen my surgeon in a really long time and am excited about going in for my 11-week check-up next week. Hopefully he’ll be pleased with my progress and tell me I’m on the right track.

Just like I did for my last post, I’m doing a little breakdown of how things have been going during over the last few weeks:

Pain Level: I very rarely feel pain in my actual knee- more in the muscles surrounding it. Although the scar in my large incision is definitely starting to look better, I still feel some pressure and soreness there from time to time. My quads have been sore a few times (after a lot of activity) and I’ve pulled a muscle in my left hamstring twice (which sucks!). There’s definitely still quite a bit of stiffness around my knee in general, which is a constant reminder that I am still very much on the mend. I still can’t kneel on the ground because it causes great pain to my operative knee (and the large incision)- and can not wait until I’m able to. It’s amazing what I took for granted before this whole injury thing happened.

Here’s a close-up of my knees yesterday:

kneesweek10

And to compare, here’s a shot from week 6:

[Read more...]

Currently: July

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 2.27.00 PM

Hello! Dang… I am in a good mood today and just feel this sense of happiness that I haven’t had in months. I taught my first Bodypump class (at 6:00am!) this morning since surgery! The last class that I taught was May 15th… that’s a long break! I was excited (and a little nervous) to go back, but I had no idea just how much I missed teaching until today. It was great to see everyone and be welcomed back and I’m happy to say that I survived the entire hour of teaching. I had just about forgotten about the feeling I get from teaching a class until this morning. It’s just one of the best feelings in the world- a combination of endorphins and a sense of accomplishment- I’m so glad to have it back in my life.

Okay, enough gushing about Bodypump. (Except one more thing- the latest release, Bodypump 90, ROCKS.) Here’s what’s going on in my world, currently:

Currently: July

Current books: I’m about to pick up a copy of my friend Kelly’s second novel, which was just released this past Tuesday!

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 2.27.00 PM

She’s had two books published in less than a year (here’s the first)- I’m so proud!! If you’re into Young Adult Fiction, check this book out!

Current music: Bodypump 90 ALL THE TIME. I was cramming to learn the choreography this past week!

[Read more...]

Celebrating Three Years

Three years ago today Greg and I were married at a small vineyard in northern Virginia.

071719

Actually… we were technically married on a hiking trail in Maryland earlier that morning. (If you want all the details, feel free to check out this post.)

The last three years have brought a lot of major life changes for Greg and I, including me quitting my teaching job and us moving 1700 miles across the country. Through it all, Greg has been my greatest supporter, best friend and partner in crime.

[Read more...]

Current Favorite Things

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 3.01.06 PM

Hello! I hope you had a fabulous weekend and were able to get out and enjoy some beautiful summer weather. Summer has always been my favorite season, but honestly, I’m wishing it would hurry up and get to fall. Of course, that’s for selfish reasons because I want to just fast-forward my recovery (I’ll post another update on that soon).

Other than that whole knee thing, life has been pretty swell lately. I’ll be going back to teaching group exercise at the end of this month (yay!) and can’t wait! Work has been great and I’m celebrating my third wedding anniversary later this week. Greg and I are going to continue our tradition of summitting a 14er… sort of. We’re also attending a special dinner with my favorite chef ever and can’t wait to see what he cooks up.

Now, let’s get on to the main subject of this post: my current favorite things. In no particular order, they are:

My Nesco Food Dehydrator

I received this food dehydrator as a bridal shower gift from my stepmom. I didn’t have it on my registry, but my stepmom had a feeling that it was something that I would enjoy having (and she was right!). I seem to go through a phase of wanting to dehydrate everything a few times each year (and am currently going through one of those phases!). My absolute favorite thing to dehydrate, hands down, is watermelon. Lately I’ve been dehydrating that along with bananas, strawberries and blueberries.

nesco

I also made apple fruit leather (the stuff on the right) with cinnamon. It’s almost as good as the watermelon. ;)

[Read more...]