Things I’m Loving Lately: March 2013 Edition

Happy Friday, all!  Thought it would be fun to wrap up the week with my March “Things I’m Loving Lately” post.

Favorite Things

Pomegranate White Tea
This tea from Trader Joe’s is my new favorite.  It’s made with organic white tea leaves, hibiscus flowers, and lemongrass and it’s so yummy
.  I’ve been drinking it around 3pm at work for a little afternoon treat.

Trader Joe's Pomegranate White Tea

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers
Can’t take credit for these, but these burgers have been part of our Sunday food prep for a few weeks now.  You can find the recipe here over at The Lean Green Bean!  Great vegetarian option, and awesome flavor.  There’s feta in them, obviously.

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

Single Leg Mountain Climbers
New favorite plyo type move, thanks to Liz’s sweet find in a magazine last week!  Start in a straight-arm plank and pull your right knee in toward your chest, keeping the left leg extended.  Keeping the right knee tucked in, jump your left leg forward then jump it back to full plank position.  Basically you keep hopping in and out with the same leg instead of switching.  You could also do this move like we did in class on Tuesday night, pulling the knee in and back while doing mini hops with the other foot that’s on the ground.  Either way!

Single Leg Mountain Climbers

Food Network Magazine
It’s still thrilling to get snail mail, people.  Especially when fun recipes are involved!  Was psyched when this month’s issue of Food Network Magazine arrived at the front door.

Food Network Magazine

New Bistro Set
Even though the Boston weather has prevented us from enjoying our new table and chairs for the back porch, I’m still loving it every time I walk by it just hanging out in the dining room.  I can’t wait to eat dinner OUTSIDE once it warms up a bit!  C’mon, snow – melt please!  For anyone looking for an outdoor bistro set, Christmas Tree Shops has some cute ones for around $60 each (thanks Shannon for the heads up on this).  Can’t beat that!

Christmas Tree Shops Bistro Set

Note:  Not my porch and not our set, but the only picture I could find online.  [Source]

What are some things you’ve been loving in March?

Have a great weekend everybody, and make sure to stay tuned for details about my April Arms Challenge early next week!

New York Weekend: Visiting Jen!

I wish it were still the weekend!  I know everyone probably says this every single Monday, but this weekend was so fun.  Ashley and I took a little road trip out to New York to visit Jen, who is back in the United States for two weeks and staying at her parents house.  Jen beat me to blogging about the weekend, but she honestly sums it up perfectly with this sentence:  “I seriously just really loved having a healthy dose of girl time – filled with good food, drinks, a workout, and fitness talk (my secret favorite indulgence).”  I couldn’t agree more.  The only other thing I would add is that I really just loved sitting and doing nothing except chit chatting over breakfast and coffee.  It was nice to be somewhere that I didn’t feel obligated to clean the house or guilty about not doing something else.  You know, Type A problems.

When Ashley and I arrived on Friday afternoon, Jen showed us to our rooms where she had some treats waiting for us next to our beds.

Visiting Jen Two funny cards, Saratoga Springs sparkling water, bottled water, pistachios, tea from Canada, and body butter.  It was like a little bed and breakfast!  We were pretty much starving when we got there, so we headed out to a little brewery called Davidson’s for dinner on the early side.

Me & Ashley at Davidson's

We split nachos, and I ordered the turkey apple melt which consisted of sliced deli turkey grilled on wheat bread with cheddar cheese, green apples, tomato, and cranberry aoili.  I kind of hate the word aoili because 1) I can never spell it, and 2) it reminds me of an areola.


We spent the rest of the night hanging out at a couple different bars in Glens Falls.  The funniest moment was cashing in our free beer tokens.  I can’t really reenact the humor via this blog post, but we were all dying laughing.  One of those “had to be there” kind of moments.

Ashley & Jen in Glens Falls Bars

On Saturday, went spent a solid chunk of time sitting in the kitchen over a ginormous breakfast just catching up on life and drinking coffee.  Well, juice for Ashley, but multiple coffee cups for Jen and I!

Breakfast at Jen's

One of my favorite parts of breakfast was Ashley’s homemade pine nut butter (I seriously just wrote pine but nutter at first baha), and it was so good.  Especially on the homemade muffins that Jen’s mom made.  We were spoiled!

Eventually we decided to stop lounging around and got ready for, what else… a workout at the local Y.  I posted on Facebook this weekend that some people may call this pathetic or crazy, but I love that we worked out at the Y during our weekend.  Tim texted me as we were walking in the gym to ask what we were doing.  I replied, “we are at the Y” to which he responded, “you guys are weird.”  Tim, I say psssh to you.  Working out with Jen again was so great!

Glens Falls YMCA

Since all three of us had already done our Best Body Bootcamp workouts for the week, we wanted to do something different for Saturday.  We felt inspired by Jen Ryder’s Facebook post that morning that said she did Bob Harper’s deck of cards workout, so that’s what went with.  The basic premise of the workout is that each suit of cards represents a different exercise of choice.  For number cards, you do that many reps of the exercise.  Face cards all equal 10 reps, and aces equal 11.  You just flip through the cards and get sweaty!!  This would be a great workout idea for traveling on the road, especially because you could pick exercises that don’t require any equipment.

Deck of cards workout

For the first round, here’s what we decided to go with:

Deck of Cards Workout

Note, the squats were weighted squats!  We held dumbbells.  We had trouble with the math, but I am pretty sure going through the whole deck makes you do each exercise 95 times.  That being said, we were sweaty and shaking, but secretly (or not so secretly?) loving it.

Deck of Cards Workout

After a quick break, we went with round 2.  We changed our original plan up a bit:

Deck of Cards Workout

If you are wondering what a plieT is, it’s really just a plie with a spelling error.  We did the jump plies by doing two hops (feet together), then one big plie, then jumping back into the hops.  Jen started singing “we will… we will… rock you” as we were doing them, and that’s actually a great way to explain the timing of this move!  Two hops on the “we” and an extra long plie hold on the “will.”  Some more sweaty pics:

Deck of Cards Workout

After our workout, we grabbed a late lunch at the cutest little café called Rock Hill Bakehouse.  Jen and I ordered the same lunch, which was a delicious salad with a side of veggie black bean chili.  I was proud of myself for ordering something (and finishing something) that had a little kick to it!

Rock Hill Bakehouse

This meal hit the spot after our workout.  Saturday night we headed into Saratoga Springs, which I am actually bummed we didn’t get to spend more time in.  The town had a really cute downtown area with shops and different restaurants.  It’s okay though, because next time Jen is home we can put that on the to do list.  Well, maybe not next time since next time is technically her wedding, but you get the idea.  We spent the first part of the night in Cantina sipping on some delicious pomegranate margaritas.  I also couldn’t stop shoveling tortilla chips into my mouth daintily eating chips of a small portion size.  Eventually we got hungry again for dinner.  I ordered shrimp tacos, my second spicy-ish meal of the day.  Go me!


The rest of the night was spent at another bar, where we proudly rocked our long sleeved sweaters and scarves amongst a crowd of, uhh, interesting outfits.  After some awesome people watching, a little dancing, and a very chatty cab driver on the way home, we called it a night.


Sunday morning we were a little sluggish, but some more coffee and chit-chat over breakfast helped with that.  It was so great to just talk for so long about LIFE, and especially being able to have in-depth conversations about fitness and blogging with friends that just get it.  I was sad to leave, but happy we had the chance to see Jen while she was back.  Thanks for a great weekend, Jen!

How was your weekend?  When’s the last time you visited a friend that moved away?  Have you ever done the deck of cards workout? 

I’ll be back later with my Weekly Workouts post for this week!  Catch you then!

My First Foodie Penpal Experience

Hi friends!

This is the first month I participated in the Foodie Penpal program run by The Lean Green Bean.  Ever since I saw my friend Jen post about all the amazing food she was receiving in the mail, I wanted to sign up for it!  I decided to wait until I was settled in my new apartment before signing up.  Before I get to all the amazing things that were sent to me, let me explain how Foodie Penpals works in case any of you F&F readers want to participate.

Foodie Penpals:  How it Works

–> On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email.  It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

–> You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail.

–> On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!

–> The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items, or even homemade treats!  The spending limit is $15.  The box must also include something written.  This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe… use your imagination!

–> You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

–> Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers.  If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received.  If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

–> Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only.

If this sounds fun to you, just CLICK HERE and fill out the form to participate!  Remember anyone can participate whether you are a blogger or not, which is one of my favorite parts of this program. 

Foodie Penpals:  September Goodies

Do you guys even know how THRILLING it is to get food in the mail?  I’m serious.  Like day brightening, mood enhancing, borderline need to get checked out for excessive excitement levels thrilling.

Tim was working from home when that bad boy arrived, and I told him I would hurt him BAD if he even tried any of the food without me before I got home.  Even though he got me those bee-yoo-ti-ful fall flowers you can see in the background.  Food > flowers, Tim.  Kidding.  Kind of.

Anyways!  Dani over at On Hollywood Ave sent me a wonderful assortment of things — mainly a nut butter, granola, and chocolate theme.  Love all the above, and love themes too of course.


Here’s the “something written” that gets mailed with all the food:


And here’s a little breakdown of the goodies!

Granola Galore


  • Archer Farms Chocolate Chunk Hazelnut Biscotti Granola
  • Archer Farms Pecan Sticky Bun Granola
  • Archer Farms French Vanilla Almond Crunch Granola
  • Archer Farms Blueberry Granola with Flax Cereal
  • Raw Wildberry Trail Mix — I wasn’t sure what this even was but I Google imaged it and I think it is this – includes organic raw cashews, organic sprouted pumpkin seeds, organic mulberries, wild goldenberries, wild goji berries, organic Himalayan gold raisins, organic currants, organic sultanas and wild barberries.  NEVER would have tried those things on my own but they were pretty good!!
  • Ginger Zing & More Ginger Zing
  • Superfood Hemp Granola
  • White Chocolate Macademia Nut Clif Crunch Granola Bar
  • Peanut Butter Clif Crunch Granola Bar

I mean, just this would have been enough.  But the awesomeness continues:

Nut Butters


  • Justin’s Nut Butters — maple almond butter, honey peanut butter, chocolate hazelnut butter
  • Homemade cinnamon honey peanut butter.  Amazeballs.  Favorite part of the package, hands down.
  • Jif mocha cappuccino flavored hazelnut spread
  • Nutella to Go! with breadsticks.  YUM.




  • 2 Adora Calcium chocolate supplements
  • Alter Eco mini dark noir organic chocolate
  • Alter Eco mini dark velvet organic chocolate



  • Stash premium moroccan mint green tea


And as if all that wasn’t enough, Dani also included two mini candles!  I’ve had the apple one lit all week in my bathroom and it seriously spreads to all rooms in my apartment.  I love it!


I haven’t gotten to try every single thing yet, but I’m enjoying what I have tried so far and am so appreciative of my first amazing Foodie Penpal endeavor.

Thanks again, Dani!

Oh, and if you guys want to see the stash of stuff I sent to my foodie penpal (you don’t send to the same person you receive from), click on over to Lex’s Life as a New Wife at some point today and check out Alexis’s reveal post too!

Have any of you readers participated in a foodie penpal program before?   If not, head over to The Lean Green Bean and sign up for October!!

Happy Monday, all!