Things I’m Loving Lately: April/May 2013 Edition

I’ve seen a lot of new subscribes to the blog in the last month or so.  If you are a new reader, welcome to my little community.  I hope you will stay for a while, as I love sharing my life and love of food and fitness with all of you!  For you newbies, every month or two I post about some things I’m loving lately, and today seems like a good day to share with you what I haven’t been able to get enough of so far this spring.

Favorite ThingsBarley on salads
It’s kind of hidden beneath all the fruit in this picture, but I seriously am loving the combination of barley on greens lately.  Does anyone else like this combo?  It gives my salads that little extra to keep them from being too boring, and it fills me up.

Barley fruit salad

My new flats
I rarely wear heels anymore (not worth it to my poor bunion), so anytime I can find a pair of comfortable AND cute flats, I’m all for it.  Marshall’s FTW (for the win).  Plus, they are blue.  I’m really branching out.

Flats from Marshalls

Larabar ALT bars
This week I got an unexpected delivery to my doorstep:  the new alternative protein bars by Larabar!
  Larabars are one of my go to choices when it comes to a bar, and they just came out with their first ever bar with added protein.  A lot of other bars use soy or whey protein, but Larabar chose to use an alternative protein source instead, peas!  These are also vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, and non-GMO.  Thank you, Larabar, for my yummy new treats!

Larabar ALT

Jumping rope
You’ve probably seen me mention this in some of my workout posts lately, but I am seriously loving jumping rope (with an actual rope) for cardio workouts.  It’s tough and a calorie torcher!  I’m so glad we have the new ropes at the Y to use in classes.

15 minute jump rope & ab circuit

Thera-Roll textured foam roller
And finally, my latest favorite foam roller.  There are so many different types of foam rollers out there, but this baby is my latest find.  The Thera-Roll is small enough to pack into a bag and carry around, and I’ve used it at work under my desk to roll under the arches of my feet.  Hurts so good!

Thera Roll

What have you guys been loving lately?  Please share!

Free LÄRABAR® Giveaway

I’m going to share a couple of things you’ll probably glaze over since the title of this post includes the words “free” and “giveaway.”

1.  Pomegranates.  New discovery.  How the HECK have I gone all these years without them?  I love Chobani’s pomegranate yogurt, and I love pom juice, and of course Michelob Ultra Pom Ras, but somehow after all this time I realized that I’ve never really bought the real fruit.  And oh my God, they are amazing!  A little messy to cut, but amazing nonetheless.  Pomegranate seeds in plain or vanilla Greek yogurt = new favorite snack.  Tastes like dessert.  Yum.

2.  My “telephone” workout playlist.  I don’t think I ever shared it.

Call Me Maybe Workout Playlist

I’m calling it my “Call Me Maybe” playlist, but I can’t take credit for the idea.  At Boston Mania, all the fitness music companies had headphones out where you could listen to the tracks on the CD’s on iPhones before purchasing.  In true Athena fashion, I didn’t want to buy the CD, so I just snapped pictures of the theme playlists with my super smart phone so I could remember them.  Then I came home and just downloaded all the songs I didn’t have to recreate the playlist.

Boston Mania Music

I actually recommend that you take out “Operator” by Midnight Star because it is an insanely long and WEIRD song, and instead replace it with Backstreet Boys “The Call” or Christina Milian’s “Call Me Beep Me If You Wanna Reach Me.”  Don’t judge.

3.  Humor:

80's Workout Book

My funny co-workers at the Y found this insanely old group ex instructor manual yesterday and decided it would be funny to paste my head on there and leave it in my mailbox.  Sad part?  I think I probably own, or once owned, that same outfit.  Again I say, don’t judge.

Okay, now for the good stuff!

LÄRABAR® Giveaway

About a month ago, the folks over at Larabar sent me four of their yummy little bars to try.  This company believes that “the foundation of a sound mind, body and spirit is derived from what you eat,” and their bars are a blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts, and spices.  Made from whole food, each flavor has no more than nine ingredients.

Larabar Flavors

Larabar sent me their Peanut Butter Cookie, Apple Pie, and Banana Bread flavors to try.  I brought all three along as snacks to eat between workshops at Boston Mania, and while I thought they seemed kind of small at first, they did keep me full and helped hold me over between meals.


My favorite was Peanut Butter Cookie, obviously!  This bar has 7 grams of protein and only has three ingredients (peanuts, dates and salt) in it.  Apple Pie was good too, especially for a bar that’s under 200 calories.  This one provides 1 full serving of fruit and 5 grams of fiber.  I liked that it wasn’t TOO sweet, but I still got a nice chewy taste of cinnamon with it.  I don’t think I loved Banana Bread that much, but I think my expectations were pretty high because I bake homemade banana bread all the time.  It had a weird after taste?

Larabar also sent me the Apple Turnover flavor of their new line of über bars.

Larabar Uber Apple Turnover

These have a different texture from the original larabars and are branded as more of a sweet and salty product.  They are still made from whole fruit and nuts.  This one didn’t disappoint, and now I want to try the other über flavors, especially roasted nut roll!

All that being said, I’m excited to give one lucky F&F reader a box of sixteen Larabars!  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite Larabar flavor is, or if you have yet to try a Larabar, what flavor you would want to try most.  You can check out all the flavors here.

Of course, you can also get an extra entry in the giveaway by liking BOTH Fitness & Feta and Larabar on Facebook, following BOTH Fitness & Feta and Larabar on Twitter, or sharing about this giveaway on any form of social media.  Make sure to leave a separate comment for each of those extra options in order for it to count.

Contest closes at 11:59pm on Thursday night (12/6), and I’ll announce the winner on Friday morning (12/7).

Good luck!