Summertime Workout Essentials

May 28, 2015

Now that it's basically summer, I'm coming out of gym hibernation and taking a lot of my workouts outdoors. It's a much better view and smells nicer. ;) I'm so excited that it's time to swap my capris for shorts and hit the ground running. (Pun intended.) Oh, and note to self: buy more sunscreen because I've already gotten burnt twice. #palepeopleproblems I tell ya.

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Garmin Vivofit - I love using my Garmin watch to track my steps, calories and keep track of my daily goals. It's a great way to stay motivated - especially with a desk job. My only complaint: the time is an hour off and I can't figure out how change it! Darn daylight savings. (Anyone know how to fix this?)

No Tug Hair Ties - These are the only kind of hair ties I use because they don't break my hair or leave much of a crease. (However, when they stretch, this happens.) A little dry shampoo the next day and I'm good to go! And I really enjoy matching them to my gym outfit. Weird? Maybe.

Sunscreen - Because no one wants to be that person peeling like a lizard during a workout. And no that's never happened to me.....

Water Bottle - It's so important to stay hydrated during any workout - especially outside in the hot sun. And you can get closer to the recommended 8 glasses/day! #bonus

Resistance Band - Instead of lugging weights outdoors, grab a resistance band and get to work! How cute is this pink one?!

Hat - Just another (cute) way to make sure your hair is out of your face while you work up a sweat.. and the sun is out of your face.

Training Shoes - Shoes can wear out quickly so be sure you're wearing proper shoes to train. Nike's training shoes are lightweight and great for weight training and outdoor circuits.

What are your summer workout essentials?


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Artoga

May 27, 2015

As my yoga journey continues, I love finding new venues and ways to practice yoga to make sure my body is still challenged. Recently, I came across Artoga DC and was curious to learn more about it. Turns out, the concept is pretty easy: Artoga = art + yoga. How fun does that sound?


I was so excited when I discovered such a cool new (and local) yoga practice. The workshops are in the most unique spaces - museums, outdoors - and I love the idea of painting while practicing my lunges or downward dog. Talk about a new workout!



I'm sure you're wondering (as I did) if you have to be the next Picasso to attend a class. Before you start sweating bullets, anyone is encouraged to join a class. There are several levels of workshops, from the most basic and beyond:

Classic Vinyasa Paint - Paint at an elementary level in between your vinyasa flow and connect the elements you paint to the poses you hold. (Both painting and yoga instruction provided in the class.)

Acro-Artoga - Infused with Acroyoga, you'll fly with DC Acro Yogis, share a canvas with your partner and support each other in poses while you paint.

Partner-Artoga - You and your partner share a canvas and paint together as you stretch and twist.

Vet-Artoga - Vet, Justin Blazejewski, teaches the movement therapy of yoga and creative art therapy of painting to veterans. It's a wonderful way to connect back into the body and release feelings from the mind.



I already have a Vinyasa class in my calendar and I cannot wait to try it!! (More on that later) If you're interested, you can check the events calendar or Facebook for upcoming classes. There's even a class September 19th at 4pm at Hera Hub DC.


Photos Courtesy of Artoga/Jason Friday

My Style: Flashback Friday

May 22, 2015

Hey, remember that time when I used to blog solely about my style and fashion cravings? Well, I'm still incorporating my style posts here every Friday (see my first three posts here, here and here) but today I wanted to share some of my favorite past warm weather looks. Can you say maaajor #flashbackfriday to long hair, top knots and tans?!

ASOS dress, lace dress, ASOS lace dress, wine festival, target glitter sandals
Original post here

Blue maxi dress, blue chevron maxi dress, Gap clutch, yellow wall
Original post here

White vest, white v-neck, white jeans, Gap jeans, white Gap jeans, white out
Original post here

Tropical shorts, Target shorts, striped tank top, black sandals
Original post here

Styled by Shell B, lace top, J Crew skirt, purple skirt, Tory Burch cuff
Original post here

Striped top, floral skirt, blue heels, yellow Aldo clutch
Original post here

White jeans, white Gap jeans, turquoise clutch, T strap top
Original post here

Algerson Vincent, Target crop top, blue skirt
Original post here

White vest, white tank top, floral shorts, black Old Navy wedges, bucket bag, Old Navy bucket bag, tan bucket bag
Original post here

Have a great (long) weekend! What's everyone have planned? My Memorial Day weekend will consist of relaxing, pool time, cookouts and a wine festival! Cannot wait!

Blueberry Vanilla Granola

May 21, 2015

I'm planning some yummy recipe posts, but I wanted to start with one from my friend, Justine from Cooking and Beer. We were talking about what recipe to share and decided on an easy and light granola. It's the perfect go-to snack for summer! I love the idea of making a batch (or 2) and bagging it up for an outdoor hiking or biking trip. Keep on reading for the recipe details and be sure to check out Justine's blog - her recipes are to die for!

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Hello Naturally Me Blog readers! Justine from Cooking and Beer here to share one of my favorite granola recipes with you today.

I was absolutely thrilled when Alissa asked me to do a guest post for her. Alissa and I go way back; like so far back that I don't even remember the first time we met. It is quite possible that I was still in the cradle! Our parents have always been fantastic friends, and it seems that the tradition has been passed right along!

I also have such a deep respect for what she is doing. Her constant enthusiasm and determination for maintaining a healthy and wholesome lifestyle is overwhelmingly amazing. I don't know if I will ever be as good of a yogi as she is as my flexibility has become non-existent since I turned 29, but I will spend the rest of my life trying to be!

Recipe, granola, granola recipe, Cooking and Beer blog, Blueberry Vanilla Granola with Chocolate Chunks

So how is everyone's spring going so far? I am from Colorado, and let me just tell you that it has basically been raining for like a month straight. If you didn't already know, Colorado is one of the sunniest spots in the country, with over 300 days of sunshine per year.

Lately however, this has not been the case. It has been gloomy, rainy and annoying. I'm definitely one of those types where the weather affects my mood. I hate the rain, and I'm over it! I guess the biggest problem with the current weather situation is that it makes my daily run difficult to tackle. I am a very active runner, but when it's icky outside, I basically have to force myself out of bed and into my running shoes. It's a good thing I have a big old batch of this blueberry vanilla granola to keep me sane.

Recipe, granola, granola recipe, Cooking and Beer blog, Blueberry Vanilla Granola with Chocolate Chunks

I don't know about you guys, but the primary thought going through my head while I'm running is food. Seriously, I have daydreams about hamburgers and cupcakes at the 6-mile mark. While I don't always have a hamburger or cupcake on hand to munch on after a long run, I definitely need some sort of nourishment.

Recipe, granola, granola recipe, Cooking and Beer blog, Blueberry Vanilla Granola with Chocolate Chunks

Enter this blueberry vanilla granola. I am a granola snob. I hate to admit it, but I am. There is like one brand at Trader Joe's that I will actually buy. Other than that, I always make it myself. You guys, if you have never made granola from scratch, you need to. It is RIDICULOUS how easy it is to make. This recipe is super easy, too.

Loaded with oats and nuts, this granola packs a big old punch of flavor. Bursts of dried blueberries are the tart component you need to tone down the sweetness from the vanilla and dark chocolate chunks. Coconut oil and almond butter are the glue that holds this granola together. This granola is crunchy, sweet and so addicting that you'll never buy the pre-made stuff again.

Recipe is below!

Recipe, granola, granola recipe, Cooking and Beer blog, Blueberry Vanilla Granola with Chocolate Chunks



Blueberry Vanilla Granola with Chocolate Chunks

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Total Time: 40 min

Yield: 10 cups  

Ingredients

2/3 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup almond butter (I used salted)
1/2 cup raw honey
1-2 teaspoons good-quality vanilla extract (I used a coconut/vanilla blend)
5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups raw sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (adjust to taste based on personal preference)
2 cups dried blueberries
4 ounces at least 65% cacao dark chocolate chunks  

Instructions

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F, and line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Set aside.

2. To a small saucepan, add the coconut oil. Melt over medium-low heat, and then whisk in the almond butter, honey and vanilla extract. Continue to whisk until melty and smooth. Keep the pan over low heat while you prepare your dry ingredients.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, salt and blueberries. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. (Try to avoid breaking up the blueberries.)

4. Pour the granola onto both baking sheets; spread evenly.

5. Bake the granola in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until evenly brown.

6. Give the granola a good stir at the 12 minute mark. Remove from heat and let the granola cool COMPLETELY in the pan.

7. Once completely cool, break up the granola into small clumps. Sir in the chocolate chunks.

8. Store the granola in an airtight container for about a month. It is best served with Greek yogurt. Enjoy!

NOTE: I always use coconut oil as the moistening agent for granola. It browns up so nicely in the oven (better than butter and other fats). Although coconut oil provides the perfect "crispness," it can burn easily. Keep a close eye on it while it's in the oven. If you find it's browning up too much, give it an additional stir or pull it from the oven completely.


I hope you guys love this recipe for blueberry vanilla granola with chocolate chunks just as much as I do. Have a wonderful day!

xoxo - Justine

All images via Cooking & Beer

My Style: Celfie

May 15, 2015

My style, Celfie, Target Celfie tee, Old Navy denim shorts, Target Espadrilles, Target Espadrille flats, bucket bag

TEE: Target // SHORTS: Old Navy [similar] // ESPADRILLES: Target //
BUCKET BAG: Old Navy [similar] // SUNNIES: Betsey Johnson [similar] //

This one time, at Target, I ended up spending way too much money on items that I totally needed but never knew it. Okay, wait that's every time I go to Target. But seriously, if you haven't seen all the goodies Target has lately, we can't be friends. I grabbed this Celfie tee (and this one too) in a medium for a more relaxed fit and it is just so perfect for a Sunday stroll.

Now, bring on the weekend!! What's everyone up to?

My style, Celfie, Target Celfie tee, Old Navy denim shorts, Target Espadrilles, Target Espadrille flats, bucket bag

My style, Celfie, Target Celfie tee, Old Navy denim shorts, Target Espadrilles, Target Espadrille flats, bucket bag

My style, Celfie, Target Celfie tee, Old Navy denim shorts, Target Espadrilles, Target Espadrille flats, bucket bag

My style, Celfie, Target Celfie tee, Old Navy denim shorts, Target Espadrilles, Target Espadrille flats, bucket bag

My style, Celfie, Target Celfie tee, Old Navy denim shorts, Target Espadrilles, Target Espadrille flats, bucket bag


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My Fitness Transformation Part 2

May 12, 2015

When I first started working out regularly, I decided to take pictures along the way to really see my progress. My first set of photos (from this post) already showed such a difference in my body and it's really motivating to see my hard work. (My goal is to take photos every 6 months!)

For this transformation post, I wanted to do something a little different and focus on how much stronger I am. It's amazing how clean eating and working out 6 days a week has increased my strength!

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Since my last fitness transformation post, a lot has changed. Every few weeks, I take my workout to the mat and go to a kickboxing class. It's an hour of intense cardio and I am literally dripping sweat by the time I'm done. (Photographic evidence here.) I just wouldn't advise eating an airhead right before... or anything for that matter.

I'm also increasing my weight on nearly every set - from dumb bell curls to dead lifts. Even adding those little 2.5 pound weights make me struggle but I like it! I usually do 3 sets of each exercise but sometimes if I have to do a shorter workout, I perform 4 sets.

My favorite accomplishment: after 2 months of focusing more on building my back muscles, I FINALLY did a chin up!!! Now I do them regularly and they're actually fun!

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With bikini season just around the corner (eee!) I am now increasing my training and making some changes to get to the next level:

Increasing my HIIT (high intensity interval training) - I still loooove the stair master, but now I'm adding more HIIT to my workout before picking up the weights. It increases my heart rate and burns more calories in a shorter period of time. Yes, please.

Doing abs daily - I love trying new ab exercises and always finish my workouts with a set. (This is one of my favorites.) When you have a strong core, your form is better and workouts are easier to do.

Slower reps - I'm working on slowing my reps down a bit and focusing on targeting the correct muscle(s). Sometimes, if you rush to get through a workout too fast, your muscles aren't working to their maximum potential, or you use a different set of muscles than what you're aiming for. Slowing down (and breathing) helps work specific areas better.

MyFitnessPal - I've been using MyFitnessPal for 4 weeks now and it's really helped me to understand my eating habits. (It's also a free download!) The app calculates the amount of calories you need each day - breaking each meal down by calories, carbohydrates, sodium, etc.

In the short time I've been using the app, I'm already noticing a few trends: my sodium and carb intake is a bit too high (and I'm not even eating pasta...), I do reach my daily protein goals, but by the end of the day I'm still about 800 calories short of my daily caloric goal (even though I'm eating 5-6 times a day). The app has been a huge help for me to understand how to choose the right foods to fuel my body and make changes accordingly.

I'm excited for these little changes that will have a big impact and can't wait to check in with you guys again soon! 

Shop: Chic Gym Bags

May 11, 2015

I had my eyes on the cutest gym bag online at Kate Spade Saturday (RIP) but never pulled the trigger and it sold out fast so my search continues. Just like active wear, gym bags are a good investment. I didn't think I'd have to really dig to find gym bags online, but after a search of my favorite stores, I found some that I really like!

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Right now, I'm using an old gym bag that just doesn't cut it. There are no pockets, so I have my gym essentials everywhere and find myself digging for my ear buds and gloves on the reg. Ain't nobody got time for that. The perfect gym bag for me has plenty of pocket space (zippers are a bonus), isn't too bulky and if it's washable - that's a plus! And it also has to be cute, duh... which all of my picks totally fit the bill.

Under Armour also has several great picks. Especially this bag with a removable laundry bag and flat iron compartment!


P.S. I finally tackled a new blog design! Actually, I enlisted the help of Melissa and she totally understood my vision. If you ever need blog work done, contact her! I hope you all like it as much as I do :)

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