A Day of Eats + House Rules

Happy hump day friends! We’re half way to the weekend and things are looking up!

Today I am sharing my meals from yesterday, partially to keep me accountable and partially because it’s nice to have ideas when the usual routine gets a little old. 

Breakfast 7:30am – 1 PerfectFit protein pancake with cinnamon, maple syrup, blackberries, and raspberries. (This recipe is from the Tone It Up nutrition plan, which I finally caved and got. I plan to commit 100% and write a full review after the half marathon.)  

Coffee.

Snack 10am – 1 medium grapefruit (I forgot to take a picture)

 Lunch 12:30pm – leftover Easiest Broccoli Pasta. I’m partially following along with the Skinnytaste meal plan this week!
Green tea 1:30pm

Snack 2pm – Coconut Chia Seed Pudding  (also from the Tone It Up nutrition plan) topped with coconut flakes and cacao nibs
  

Snack 4pm – Cherry pie Larabar (forgot to snap a picture)

Dinner 7pm – Crockpot Chicken and Black Bean Taco Salad
  

I ended the evening with a mug of warm mint tea and 2 pieces of Dove dark chocolate. 

On a side note, we are currently ‘puppy sitting’ (all dogs will forever be puppies to me) for Kris’ parents for 3 weeks and we’ve had to implement some pretty strict house rules for these houligans… 

  
  

It’s sad how much of a kick we get out of our new little catch phrase. 

What ridiculous saying do you use at your house?

Half Marathon Training – Week 6

In keeping with my commitment to share the truths of my training and hold myself accountable, here is my latest training recap! 

You can find the others here: 

Half Marathon Training – Week 5
Half Marathon Training Plan + Mantra
Last week’s half marathon training was not exactly what I had planned out, but I did get in 5 days of cardio, so I’m calling it a win. I moved the prior week’s long run to Monday instead of a rest day and I ended up doing the same this week.  I would have liked to have made it to yoga, but I’ve never claimed to be perfect. 

Monday- 6 miles 

Tuesday- at home circuit & stairs

Wednesday- 3 miles

Thursday- tempo run 3 cycles (3.82 miles)

Friday- rest

Saturday- rest

Sunday- 4 miles

Total miles – 16.82

I think Thursday’s tempo run might have been the most difficult. It consisted of 3 cycles of 10 minute runs followed by 2 minutes of jogging. The plan said I should have made it 4.1 miles by the time it was all said and done…

  
… There’s definitely some room for improvement. But overall I felt good. 

Sunday it was warm enough to run outside. I can’t wait for spring running! The outside run was supposed to be 7 miles, but it was cut a little short to allow for a hockey date. 

 
And I got to see my beloved Penguins deliver a healthy smackdown on the Buffalo Sabres. Totally worth it. 

9 weeks until the Pittsburgh Half! 

Are you training for any races? 

Finance Friday – 5 Ways to Save $1,000 In 1 Year

If you could save a thousand dollars in a year by making a few changes to your weekly routine, would you give it a try?

At our house, with a wedding on the horizon and new home expenses, we have been making a concerted effort to save where we can.

These five lifestyle changes could save you up to $1,000 each per year.  And if you can do all five, you can probably afford that dream vacation, downpayment, or pesky credit card balance you’ve been chipping away at.

1. Check your coffee habits.  If you’re currently making a stop at your favorite coffee joint every day, you may want to evaluate the impact on your wallet.  I know it might be the best part of your morning, but hear me out.  You don’t have to cut out those coveted coffee trips completely.  If you cut back to 3 trips a week, with an average drink costing $5, you can save $1,040 in one year (assuming you are cutting out 4 days). You can still frequent your local coffee shop on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to dull the pain of the week. But for the other days do some coffee prep at home. You won’t regret it.

2. Reevaluate your cable & insurance bills.  I know how the cable fairytale begins… there is a great 1 year rate on a bundle deal, 6 months of free HBO, and sometimes even a prepaid gift card… before you know it you have a DVR/HDMI cable box in every room of the house and you’re all set to live happily ever after… until that 6 months to a year is up.  It’s not unusual to stop one day and wonder how your cable bill has sky rocketed to its current rate.  I know first hand how excruciating it is to call the cable company.  It seems like a chore just to get a real person on the phone, but if you play your cards right you will walk away with some extra dough in your pocket.

A cable representative can help you walk through all of your current options and identify areas you could cut costs.  Do you have 4 DVR boxes in rooms that you rarely use?  If your current options are already pretty lean, you can price out other companies and go to bat with your current company.  They  might give you what you’re looking for up front, but if they don’t, be prepared to walk away… or at least pretend you are.  Most companies will ask you what they can do to keep your business (within reason), and if they don’t they usually give you more than enough chances to re-install or change your mind before they will actually terminate your service.

At the very least, if HBO is an absolute must in your home, switching from the cable company to HBO Now will probably save you an easy $5 a month.

Another area with major savings potential is home and car insurance.  Here is a great article on switching car insurance.

3. Pack your lunch. Let’s say after meal, drink, and tip, the average cost of eating lunch at a restaurant is $10.  Now let’s also say that the average cost to pack a lunch is $3.  If you’re currently going out everyday at lunch, try packing or eating at home 3 days a week.  If you can pocket that extra cash you will have an extra $1,000 a year.

4. Replace one dinner out. In our household we have an intense love for pizza.  We would usually go out to eat one night a week for our favorite food group.  It’s actually kind of crazy how much a large pizza costs these days.  Say you go out to a restaurant and order a large one topping pizza with drinks, before you know it you’re $25 in the hole.  In our budget madness, we recently discovered that Wegmans sells 3 packs of pepperoni pizza in the frozen section for $10… and the best part… they’re actually pretty darn delicious.  With a savings of about $22 a week, you can easily save $1,000 a year on pizza alone.

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5. Evaluate all areas of spending.  If you can spot an opportunity in your lifestyle to save $20 a week, or around $80 a month you can pocket up to $1,000 in one year.

What would you do with an extra $1,000?

Half Marathon Training – Week 5

Last week I hit a few set backs in my half marathon training. But as part of my commitment to stay accountable, I’m sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

On Super Bowl Sunday I came down with a nasty head cold that really put me out of commission for a few days. I’m typically one to try to run through a cold because I think it actually helps loosen up the bad stuff and gets things moving. But this time my body was telling me I needed the rest, so I honored that. 

I took a few days off and by Wednesday I felt like I could struggle through a 3 mile run to get back on track. 

Here’s what the week looked like:

Monday – rest (sick)

Tuesday – rest (sick)

Wednesday – 3 mile run (30 minutes)

Thursday – 4 mile run (40 minutes)

Friday – shovel snow

Saturday – 3 mile run (30 minutes) 

Sunday – rest

Total Miles – 10

I was pretty happy with myself for getting 4 workouts in, all things considered (and if your wondering if shoveling snow counts as a workout, come on over to our place on a snowy day. BYOS).

My diet on the other hand was pretty poor. Something about being sick just made me crave sweets. I honestly think the real issue is that being sick stresses me out. I never used to think of myself as a worrier; boy, how things have changed. I resorted to SO many peanut M&Ms it’s embarrassing… not to mention Fruit Loops and Valentine’s Day chocolate

So on Sunday I made a huge batch of Minestrone soup to have for lunches this week in an effort to get back on track. Sugar is definitely addictive to me. But once I can work through a few days without it I don’t usually crave it. 

  

In a surprising twist of events all of that sugar must have benefited me because I felt good running 6 miles this Monday. It’s so strange how just when you think you have it all figured out, you run like a champ after pounding sugar for a week straight. I know from past experience excessive sugar usually slows me down and makes me feel like I’m running with bricks strapped to my feet. But I guess sometimes the opposite is true and I can eat clean and still feel that way, so I’m definitely not complaining! 

Incase you missed it, you can read about my 2016 Half Marathon plan here: 

2016 Half Marathon Plan
How do you keep yourself accountable? 

Can you tell a difference in the way you feel when you eat a lot of sugar?

A Subzero Valentine’s Day

Happy hump day, my friends! What a cold/snowy week it has been so far. Did I mention cold?

Let’s start by recapping the weekend. I know I am a little late this week, but snow and cold really add time to the everyday routine.

Here’s the short version – it was freezing cold, we braved the elements, I discovered the value of wax paper, and we did a lot of shoveling.

And now the long version:

This beautiful display of chocolate dipped fruit and pretzels had to be painstakingly scraped off of this plate because I didn’t use wax paper, and it’s mostly the result of pure laziness. The good news though is that it still tasted great. So great that I practically ate the whole thing myself.

This is a picture documenting a day in the life of someone with self-diagnosed Raynaud’s Disease. (It’s not life threatening or excruciatingly painful so I’ve managed to avoid a doctor). If I can go a day without losing circulation in a finger or toe it’s a miracle. I need to migrate somewhere warm (and probably stop googling and see a real doctor).

Friday on my way home I witnessed this debacle. I thought maybe school buses were immune to snow up until this point, but apparently nobody is safe!


After we shoveled ourselves in to the house on Friday evening after work, I cranked up the fireplace while making dinner and watching The Notebook. That’s when I glanced over and caught someone enjoying the heat wave. #busted

 From there things only got colder. Saturday night we braved the elements and went out for a dinner date in Lewiston at a restaurant called Casa Antica.  Lewiston is such a neat place, and this restaurant is phenomenal.  I’ve raved about it before for Kris’ birthday dinner.
When we woke up on Sunday morning it was -17 degrees. So extreme precautions were taken:

She’s such a good sport (most of the time).

Have you ever self-diagnosed based on an internet search?

What’s the coldest temp you’ve experienced so far this winter?

Half Marathon Training Plan + Mantra

This year I signed up for my 4th half marathon.  

  
There was a time when I never would have believed that. I distinctly remember finding a book on running form at a friend’s house and thinking anyone who ran as a sport or hobby was extremely boring and insane. Yeah, that was probably a little harsh. Someone should have told me never to say never.

  
So now here I am painfully chasing down that 2 hour goal time. (And even the term ‘chasing’ is probably generous.) 

   
The past few years I’ve really floundered. My first race I pretty much ran solely on determination, and although the time was not impressive, I know I could not do that again if I tried (ahhh, youth).

2013 Pittsburgh Half Marathon – 2:21:44

 The second year that I ran the half marathon was my best. I trained, I felt good, and I improved…but I still didn’t meet my goal. 

  
2014 Pittsburgh Half Marathon – 2:08:34

The third year that I ran was filled with moving, starting a new job, and mass confusion. I actually debated skipping. 

2015 Pittsburgh Half Marathon – 2:22:19

Woof. 

So that brings us to 2016. I knew I needed to be committed to a training program, but I also needed a plan that would help me with my speed. So I launched a search… And it was surprisingly successful. 

That’s when I found RUNfit365 and was able to download their 16 Week Intermediate Half-Marathon Training Plan for free.

The plan breaks down different training techniques, explains all of the terminology, and allows you to base your training off of a goal pace. The other thing I really like about it is that it doesn’t require logging crazy miles so it’s completely attainable. 

I am on week 4, and so far I have missed the weekend runs (major fail) and replaced one easy run with a hot yoga class each week. 

So to stay on track I’m going to check in on F&F each week to report my progress, and I’m also going to have a mantra.

  

I’ve heard that having a running mantra can do wonders for your race game. Which I actually believe to be true because I definitely had one for my second half marathon. (Something along the lines of ‘Hell hath no fury like that of a scorned woman’… You get the picture.)

As cheesy as it sounds I’m going to make my mantra to appreciate that I have the time and the ability to train this year. (Having a wedding on the horizon doesn’t hurt either).

Do you have a running mantra? 

Have you ever crushed your goal time? 

Meals, Deals, and an Early Spring

This week I was a little late to the meal planning party. I normally try to plan on weekends but sometimes with our busy schedules (and my current Shameless addiction) that’s just not an option.   

So things were a little delayed this week, but luckily we had some leftovers to get us through Monday.

My sister got me The Skinnytaste Cookbook for Christmas and I have to say I’ve been loving it. I was a little nervous at first that the ingredients would be super expensive because the recipes looked so fancy, but that was not the case at all. 

In the lineup for this week: 

Monday – leftover skinny enchiladas (from the cookbook)

Tuesday – Cheeseburger Casserole

  

Wednesday – Grilled romaine steak salads with roasted baby potatoes and blue cheese/balsamic vinegar (and obviously a side of wine)
  

Thursday – Bangin’ Good Shrimp (skinnytaste cookbook) 

Friday – frozen pizza

On a side note, I totally jumped on board with the Victoria’s Secret swim suit deals this year. They still have some going on right now that are ending soon. 

Code SPRING2015 – $15 off $100, $25 off $150, $50 off $250

Code DIVEIN – free shipping and returns on swimwear (ends Friday)

Bras – any 2 / $49.50

Yoga pants & Leggings – 2 / $65

FYI – I’m sure if you’ve purchased anything recently you know, but I’ve noticed that the offers/coupon code step of the payment process always gets skipped over by default and I have to go back and add each coupon code. The free shipping and returns are not automatically applied. Do not fall victim to the trickery! 

And Punxatony Phil predicted an early spring?! I never thought that little fur ball would come through for us, but hopefully he is right!  

5 Things About the Weekend

Good morning!  This weekend was one of those rare weekends that everything just comes together.  My family took a trip up to the Great White North to visit us and although I failed at taking many quality pictures, I did capture a few things that made me happy about this weekend (besides sharing quality time with loved ones of course).

  1. House warming gifts in my favorite color.  I love green/blue/teal. And I love baking.  And I love Valentine’s day.  So these towels and dishes from my parents were a wonderful surprise housewarming gift.
  2. Furry family members coming along for the road trip
  3. Brunch! We tried a new-to-us restaurant on Sunday morning to celebrate my sister’s birthday and the food was incredible.  The restaurant was called Trattoria Aroma, and if you’re ever in the north towns of Buffalo it’s definitely worth the stop.

      

  4. Valentine’s Day cookies.  I made these sugar cookies and they are the BEST cookie recipe I think I have ever tasted.  I would argue that they give Eat n’ Park a run for their money.  And they’re easy to decorate with this royal icing recipe.img_4978
  5. Engagement picture canvases.  I found a Groupon and got an awesome deal on these canvases from canvasonsale.com.  They came in the mail on Saturday and I was so pumped to get them up.  (The canvases turned out awesome and the picture quality was great… but does anyone actually pay the full prices listed on that site??).img_4982

And on that note, I suppose it’s back to the grind.  Do we really have the Monday already?

Anything good happening over the weekend in your neck of the woods?

Is anyone else super into Valentine’s Day decorations?

 

Blogging Resurrection – We Bought A House

Happy Friday! Man, am I happy to say that.

If you read the blog regularly you know I have been MIA for the past two months. I hope you will accept this recap as my sincere apology for temporarily abandoning F&F. 

I do have some exciting news though, we finally closed on our house! And we are all moved in. After planning on closing in October, it has been a heck of a ride. 

We actually closed in December about 2 weeks before Christmas, so you can imagine the craziness that ensued. 

After signing the papers we picked up the B dog and headed over to the house for a small celebration. 

 
  

Early the next week we got everything moved in and began the unpacking.  

I have to say the kitchen is really the only place that isn’t still in limbo. We have a lot of projects in mind already, and we are super excited to begin this exciting and slightly overwhelming adventure!  

 

Some other things that happened over the holiday season… 

Kris’ work threw an awesome Christmas party
  

(I got my dress from LuLu’s. It was a little tighter than I expected but it was definitely a good purchase. It will be worn again!)

We celebrated Christmas in Pittsburgh
  
My mom, sister, and I made more Christmas cookies than one family should ever consume
  

And we rang in the New Year with wine, cheese, and a 2,000 piece puzzle… And I totally fell asleep on the couch long before midnight. 
  
…everyone was thrilled.

That about sums up the highlight reel. This weekend my family is coming in to celebrate my sister’s birthday. 

I hope you have a great weekend! 

What’s on your weekend agenda? 

Are you currently working on any house projects? 

Baked Salmon with Guac & Baby Bok Choy

Lately I have been making an effort to eat less processed foods around here. So when I did my meal planning for this week I quickly realized that many of the recipes that fit that criteria can get pretty time consuming.  So I tried to find things that were fairly quick and easy, but packed with natural nutrients and ingredients that would satisfy our hunger.

Over the weekend I made the more time consuming meals, but to be honest, with the crockpot it wasn’t too terrible.

Last night’s dinner was inspired by this salmon and avocado salsa recipe.  I really didn’t change too much, but I used sesame oil on the salmon along with the spices, and added cherry tomatoes to the avocado salsa instead of the jalapeños (I couldn’t find them at the store, I’m actually a little disappointed about this).

baked salmon with guac and baby bok choy

I also added baby bok choy to the mix, mostly because I bought it at Trader Joe’s last week on a whim and I figured this meal could use a side of greens.  I have actually never had baby bok choy before (at least that I can remember), and I was a little nervous when I googled a recipe and saw that it was also referred to as Chinese cabbage.  So I decided to play it safe with a 5 star recipe, that basically smothers it in butter and garlic and it turned out pretty good!

baby bok choy

This dinner is definitely a make again.

On the exercise front, (in typical Shae-fashion), I signed up to participate in Pile on the Miles and then kind of changed my exercise approach.  With it getting dark out so early (and colder), I don’t feel very comfortable logging tons of miles, so I’ve decided to run shorter distances and try to work on my speed.

running at night

Night time running is so peaceful and creepy all at the same time.  If I hadn’t seen a coyote run across the road on my way to work one morning I probably wouldn’t be such a baby.  (Ok, I might.)

Last night I logged 3 miles and I felt really good (maybe all the food prep is paying off??).  My time was nothing impressive, but it was still an improvement for me.

garmin forerunner

Do you notice an improvement in your running when you eat well?

What are your thoughts on running in the dark?