4th of July Weekend 

For the 4th, we headed up to Vermont to spend time with family and take advantage of the beautiful lake and mountains. We spent the days outside, soaking in the vitamin D!

I did a pretty good job of following my own tips for staying healthy on the 4th of July. I enjoyed myself but didn’t overdo it too much! I went on long walks or ran every day which was a huge accomplishment! However, I am on a serious kick to get back in shape, clean up my diet and feel better about myself because things have gotten a little out of control…

4th of july lake rescue ludlow vt

It was Emerson’s first time on a boat. She did great, except really wanted to run around, which just isn’t possible!

4th of july ludlow vt
Every July 3rd, the locals put on a firework show on the lake. We all go out on the boats and watch the show from the water. It is such a fun tradition.

4th of july ludlow vt

My mom and Emerson had matching shirts on. My mom was super excited!

4th of july ludlow vt

Vinnie and I met up with some friends and went strawberry picking. Emerson LOVED the strawberries. They were super fresh and juicy. I can’t remember if I have ever been strawberry  picking but it was really fun and family friendly. And cheap! I love apple picking in the fall but it’s always so expensive for a bag. We got 2 large pints of strawberries for $4.50… score! 🙂

douglas orchard and cider mill shoreham vt

douglas orchard and cider mill shoreham vt

I hope you had a great 4th!

5 Tips to Feeling Good This 4th of July

To me, the 4th of July marks the height of Summer. A chance to spend time on the lake, soak up the sun and be surrounded by family and friends. It also means lots of day drinking, BBQing and treats. It is easy to fall off your normal schedule and throw caution to the wind. There is nothing wrong with that! But, if you want to try and have a balanced weekend where you have fun, enjoy some treats and cocktails but don’t totally sabotage all the hard work you’ve done, below are 5 tips to feeling good this 4th of July.

Five Tips For Feeling Good This 4th Of July

1. Drink water.
On the 4th, typically you are out in the sun, lounging by the water which makes is easy to get dehydrated so it’s extra important to drink water. My dad always says, “One drink. One water.” That’s how you can last all night, and feel good in the morning. I try to stick to this as much as I can, especially on weekends were we are drinking and celebrating a lot. Staying hydrated also helps to keep you feeling full, debloated and looking bikini ready.

2. Eat a good breakfast with lots of protein and fat.
The food you eat first thing in the morning typically sets the ton for the day. I find if I have a bagel, I want sugar and carbs all day. If I just eat fruit, I am hungry in an hour. Since there will be a lot of process foods, sugar and BBQ treats around all day, try to start your day with a good breakfast that is high in protein and fats. I love having scrambled eggs and avocado with a side of strawberry or watermelon.

3. Make sure to eat a meal.
Don’t snack through meals. Often times, especially on long weekends or holiday’s I find myself snacking a ton and then I’m like, “I just ate so many chips and cookies, I don’t need lunch.” So I skip it. But then 2 hours later, I am hungry and start snacking again and end up eating way more calories, way worse food, and feeling shitty. Whereas, if I just sat down and made myself a big salad or light sandwich with healthy fats, protein and carbs I would be so much more satisfied.

4. Move your body.
Don’t stress too much about getting a killer workout in, but try to move your body at least for 30 minutes (preferably in the morning). I find that when you move, you feel better about yourself, you feel lighter and it helps you make better decisions through out the day.

5. Don’t over think it.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in “staying on track” that it is all we can think about but that makes it so much worse. Not only does it make it hard to enjoy yourself, it makes you feel guilty every time you have something “you shouldn’t”. And then you just say “F* IT” and dig into the treats making you feel more guilty, bloated and discouraged. Try to avoid this cycle. Enjoy yourself, let go of all the pressure you put on yourself and spend time with family and friends (preferably on the water, and not around the snack table!!)

I hope this helps! Remember to have a fun 4th of July and enjoy yourself.

What are some tips you are going to try to practice this 4th of July?

Thanksgiving 2016 and the Killington FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup

As with most years, we spent Thanksgiving in Vermont with lots of family. I honestly didn’t take many pictures as I was trying to be present and enjoy the time with each other. Although we did eat multiple Thanksgiving meals…

Thanksgiving 2016

On Tuesday before Thanksgiving Vinnie and I hosted my family and our apartment because it was the only day all of us would be together. Julia flew out on Wednesday to go ski in Europe.

Ford Family Photo Thanksgiving 2016

On Wednesday we drove to Vermont.

On Thursday we ate Thanksgiving with Vinnie’s family and then walk down the hill to my aunts house and had another Thanksgiving with my side of the family.

On Friday we vegged and ate leftovers.

On Saturday and Sunday we went to Killington and watch the F I S World Cup for alpine women’s ski racing. This was a huge moment in Vermont and New England ski racing. So many people showed up to cheer on the best in the world and it was incredibly exciting to be there and a part of the historic event.  Over the two days of the event, there were over 30,000 spectators in attendance.  That’s incredible!

There were mobs of people walking up the access rode to watch the race.

Killington World Cup 2016

The spectators piled in. No one cared about the cold, rain, fog or snow. They were all there to cheer on the ski racers and take in the moment.Killington World Cup 2016

We brought Emerson along for all the fun. She was such a trooper. She brave the crowds, the noise, and the weather like a champ.

My brother hooked us up with VIP tickets so I was able to bring Emerson out of the crowds and into the warmth much easier. I still had to nurse her in public because there was no privacy to be found. Emerson was very distracted by all the commotion!

Img 5225

Killington World Cup 2016

It was a great weekend with so much family time. It made it really hard to go back to work but it’s also nice to get back into a routine. This holiday season is going to be busy with lots of holiday parties and celebrations. This weekend definitely a great kick off!

How was your Thanksgiving weekend?

Mother’s Day weekend

I hope you all had a fun Mother’s Day with your momma. We had a great weekend with both our families. On Friday night Vinnie and I zipped up to Vermont to his parents house and spent Saturday sitting outside on the deck, grilling delicious food and enjoying the warm weather. It was Vinnies parents 34th wedding anniversary so we celebrated both Mothers Day and cheers to 34 more glorious years of marriage!

On Sunday we drove over to NH to spend Mother’s Day with my mom! We laughed a lot, hit a buckle of balls,  drank margaritas and watched sports on TV (my dads favorite thing to follow, always). It was a super fun weekend celebrating our Moms!
Mothers Day Weekend

Mothers Day Weekend

Mothers Day Weekend

Mothers Day Weekend

Mothers Day Weekend

Mothers Day Weekend

Mothers Day Weekend - Margs

Mothers Day Weekend

Mothers Day Weekend

Mothers Day Weekend

Mothers Day Weekend

 

It may look like I know what I am doing… but notice… the ball did not move!!!

Did you do anything special for your Mom on Mother’s Day?

Jury Duty & YES Kids

The past 2 days have flown by! On Sunday, I went over to my sister-in-law, Nicki’s, house and really got into the Holiday spirit. We made gingerbread cookies, watched Love Actually and listened to Christmas music. It was so fun to smell fresh cookies baking, sit around the Christmas tree and drink festive cocktails.

Making Gingerbread Cookies
Yesterday, I had jury duty. Honestly, I don’t feel old enough to serve on a jury, but I guess you can get summoned at 18, so that means I am a decade old enough!
Jury Duty was an experience. I have to admit, I was dreading it. I had no idea what to expect and I am so busy with work, life and everything in between that I didn’t feel like I could possibly fit in another commitment. I had to get to the Suffolk Superior Court by 8 am. After leaving my house late, taking a few wrong turns, and freezing the entire walk, I finally arrived a little after 8:15 [fashionably late!].

Bundled up for jury duty

I rushed out of the house so fast, I forgot my water and snacks I had packed to get me through the day. Once I arrived at the courthouse I stood in line to sign in and get my juror number assigned. Then, I went into the “jury pool” to wait for instructions.

Jury Duty Lines

An hour later, a court officer addressed all of us, and had us watch a 18 minute long video that explained the reason we were there and how the whole process works.Shortly after, a superior court judge addressed all of us to further explain how the day will work. Whenever a judge enters the room, everyone has to stand and all the men have to talk their hats off… I kind of felt like I was back in High School!

We had a short break so I snuck out to grab some breakfast. I wen to Starbucks and got the Spinach & Feta wrap. I never buy fast food. NEVER. It was desperate times! The sandwich was surprisingly really good; the spinach tasted fresh and the egg whites seemed normal.

Starbucks Spinach & Feta Wrap

Around 10am, back in the jury pool, my number was called and I was brought into a court room along with what seemed like 100 other people. This is where things got real!
We sat in the court room with the defendant, the lawyers and the judge. The case they were selecting a jury for was for a 1st degree murder… yea, that $hit’s real! It felt like Serial in real life. The judge asked all of us a series of questions about if we had any prior knowledge of this case, she listed the potential witnesses to see if we knew any, and asked if we had any other prejudices or reasons that would make us unfit to sit on the jury. Ultimately, I was “excused” because the trial was going to go until at least the week of December 21st and I have personal commitments that interfere. I was relieved to not have to sit on the juror because I am not sure I could handle the pressure of having a persons fate in my hands but on the other hand I am kind of bummed because it would of been an incredibly interesting experience.

After being excused from Jury Duty I headed home and got ready for a Holiday Gathering for the YES Foundation at the EMC Club at Fenway which is a private club that overlooks the baseball field. They served Fenway Franks and had an amazing view!

EMC Club at Fenway Park
But the real reason we were there was to support the Foundation and the Kids. I am a huge fan of YES and what they do for the community of Boston. Their mission is to inspire and challenge youth with physical and mental activities that foster life-long respect for self, others, and the environment. I plan on volunteering this winter and going on a few ski trips with the kids!

EMC Club at Fenway Park

It was a busy Monday, but I had a lot of fun. It was empowering seeing, first hand, how our judicial system works. I was thankful to be a part of such a great country – for the people, by the people! Ending such a powerful day with giving back to the Boston community was the cherry on top!

Have you ever served jury duty? What was your experience like?

Cyber Monday Deals

I hope everyone had a great Holiday weekend. Mine was full of good food and lots of family time. I went skiing and rode the Timber Ripper at Okemo, ate lots of food, and spent time with all my little cousins.

Skiing at Okemo Mountain Resort

Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster at Jackson Gore at Okemo Mountain Resort

What I did not do much of is work out and eat well but that is totally ok with me because I think it is important to enjoy your time with family and not get bogged down by trying to be perfect all the time. However, I will be drinking lots of water, focusing on fitting in my workouts and eating lean, clean and green for the rest of the week.

It was nice to be in Vermont, recharge my battery and catch up on sleep but now I am right back into my busy work schedule. I am heading to NYC for two days of meetings and you better believe I am going to be doing some Cyber Monday shopping while on the train. I thought I would share some of the deals I am hoping to check out below. Happy Shopping!

Cyber Monday Deals

  • Tone it Up: Lots of Cyber Monday Bundles with big savings!
  • TEAM Beachbody is having lots of sales
  • 40% off at GAP, Old Navy and Banana Republic: Use Code CYBER
  • Soma: Soma is giving away $30,000 worth of free sporting goods, like surfboards, bicycles, ski helmets, and more. Plus, each Soma Black is on sale for $99.99 and comes with a free gift.
  • 20% off at Mark and Graham [this is a great site for gifts]: Use code NOVSAVE20
  • 15LOVE is women’s fitness apparel and today you can receive 60% off site-wide using code 15CYBER
  • Restoration Hardware: Save $100 on every $500 you spend
  • West Elm: Take 25% off Everything: Use Code SUPERSALE
  • 15% Off with code SAVE 15 at Crate N Barrel
  • One last deal: Check out Amazon, they are having a Cyber Monday Deals Week and having thousands of deals throughout the week. Some Cyber Monday 2014 deals are in limited supply, and all will go quickly–but don’t worry if you miss one, because we’ll keep adding new ones, as often as every ten minutes, all week long.

Do you have any sweet Cyber Monday deals you are shopping? Let me know, I want to check them out too!

IBS

Happy Friday!

Vinnie and I are having a few friends over for a Friendsgiving on Saturday so after work yesterday I went to the grocery store to pick up the turkey and other necessary groceries including cranberries, stuffing mix, lemons, onions and butter. I wanted to go to TraderJoes but it’s a little out of the way, traffic was terrible, and I wanted to get home more than go to Trader Joe’s.Thanksgiving Shopping Supplies

I went pretty simple on the recipe and grocery list because this is our first time hosting a Friendsgiving and roasting a turkey. I want to make sure I get everything done in time and it tastes great. In the future I will experiment with fun side dishes but for now I am sticking to the basics.

So, the other day I went to see my primary care physician about my stomach pain and digestion issues. I explained to her that I have frequent stomach pain, gas, bloating, cramping and weird gurgling noises and she almost immediately said “oh yea, that’s Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” Ugh!  I had done my research prior to the appointment and knew this could be the diagnosis but I was hoping she would ask more questions and really try to figure out what was going on. My doctor did do some blood work to make sure there wasn’t any inflammation or low iron levels which could be signs of ulcerative colitis, celiac or Crohn’s disease and they came up negative which is really good!

As of now, there is no cure for IBS, they don’t really know how to treat it and symptoms vary depending on the person. Sweet. I honestly would rather have a food allergy and just eliminate that from my diet. Instead, she said it is all about managing the symptoms for a better quality of life.

My doctored referred me to Mayo Clinic and CDC to learn more. She said DO NOT GOOGLE! Some things I found out about IBS from talking to my doctor and reading through these websites  are:

  • IBS affects the large intestine and is a chronic condition you need to manage long term.
  • Food, Stress, Hormones (many women find that signs and symptoms are worse during or around their menstrual periods) are major causes
  • It tends to occur in women under the age of 45. Women are twice as likely to have it than men. Family history of IBS and mental health problems like anxiety, depression and personality disorder are all contributing factors.
  • The biggest complication with IBS is how it effects your quality of life. Even though IBS symptoms are uncomfortable, IBS — unlike ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which are forms of inflammatory bowel disease — doesn’t cause changes in bowel tissue or increase your risk of colorectal cancer*

My doctor gave me a few suggestions to try to manage it:

  • Exercise: Moving around and being active helps your body move the food through you system and out. I already work out a lot but if my stomach is really bothering me it is good to know going for a walk is better than laying on the couch.
  • Acupuncture: She swears by this and gave me the name of a great person so I may check it out although I never thought of myself as someone to do acupuncture, but I will try anything once if it will help!
  • Medication: She prescribed me something to take before I eat to reduce the cramping. I really don’t want to be on medication forever, so I plan to take it sparingly.
  • Diet: Depending on the person, certain foods can trigger IBS symptoms more than others so its important to be aware of how foods make you feel, and eliminate if necessary.

As of now, my plan is to take it one day at a time. See how it goes and manage the pain when necessary. I will continue to focus on my food intake and monitor how it makes me feel. I am happy I went to the doctor, it’s just discouraging knowing there is no way to make the discomfort go away, away. I will be sure to keep you posted!

Questions for you:
Do you experience stomach pain and digestion issues regularly? Do you have any experience with IBS, specifically?

 

Quick Interval Treadmill Run + Bruins

I hope you had a nice weekend. Vinnie and I had no plans and enjoyed a very lazy and relaxing few days. Most weekends, we seem to always have friends visiting, family gatherings or trips to VT/NH planned.

On Friday I got home just in time to catch the Halloween festivities in Charlestown. We met up with our friends and walked up to the Bunker Hill Monument to join in on the celebrations. There was a Halloween parade, live music and tons of people!  It was so cute seeing all the kids dressed up and celebrating Halloween. We walked around for a bit and then headed home to hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters. It was a mellow Halloween with no dressing up but that is exactly how I like it!

Bunker Hill Charlestown Halloween 2014

The forecast for Saturday was very dark and dreary so I set my alarm to wake up in time to beat the weather. I did get up early, but I ended up sipping coffee, sitting on the couch and doing some work. By the time I got dressed to run the weather was starting to turn so I bundled up and prepared for a cold, rainy, windy run. I got about 20 minutes in and decided to head to the gym because it was so crappy out.  I got to the YMCA and scanned the class schedule, there was a Power Yoga class starting in 25 minutes! I am a new member to the Y and I am having a lot of fun exploring all the classes they offer. I have not taken this yoga class yet, so I was excited to try it out but I wanted to run a little longer so I jumped on the treadmill and did a quick interval workout to get the most out of the 20 minutes I had.

Quick Treadmill Workout

I worked up a good sweat and felt accomplished and ready to take on yoga. The yoga class was good, but I had a hard time focusing and calming my mind. The class is in a big open room with a wall of windows and I kept getting distracted by all the people walking by.

After the gym, I decided to get a jumpstart on prepping for the work week and started to make a grocery list. Vinnie and I are big into making a big meal that we can make ahead and eat leftovers for lunch. It was so cold and rainy, we were both craving warm, hearty meals. I looked around Pinterest and found some awesome healthy recipes. On the menu this week is Creamy (no cream) Corn Chowder, Paleo Butternut Squash Soup, and Baked Acorn Squash Bowls.

Cooking Soup

I started making the Cream Corn Chowder made with a cauliflower as the base when Vinnie came into the kitchen with a big smirk on his face. A friend of ours had extra tickets to the Bruins game and invited us to go. Obviously, we said yes! So, I quickly finished making the soup, bundled up for the cold walk to The Garden. The game was really fun and we had great seats. Sports games are always more fun when your team is winning!

Box Seats

Sunday we slept in, had a great breakfast and watched the Patriots game. Again, sports games are always way more fun when your team is winning.

Oh PS – The Cauliflower Corn Chowder is super good – and Vinnie approves! I made some small tweaks to the recipe and I will share later this week. That’s the only food prep I got done; the couch was just too comfy to get off it today.

Halloween Candy Calories

To be honest, I am not a huge fan of dressing up for Halloween. I have a hard time thinking of a costume and instead of just picking one and being done, I stress over all the options and can never make a decision. It’s a challenge and I always end up deciding to be nothing. This will be the 5th Halloween Vinnie and I have had together as a couple and we have never [I repeat… never] dressed up or celebrated together. Ridic, right!?
I believe we will do something this year; although, it is the day of, and we still don’t have any ideas or real plans. For being a planner, I tend to fly by the seat of my pants in situations like this! Regardless of how I feel about finding a costume, I always love to carve pumpkins, roast pumpkin seeds and eat Halloween candy. Carving Halloween Pumpkins

Anyway, another fun fact about me is I have a serious addiction to keeping up with celebrity news. I check People.com daily, which brings me to the purpose of this post.

Harley Pasternak frequents people as a contributor and provides great fitness and nutrition tips. His recent post was all about Halloween candy. He listed the sugar and calories for the 10 most popular treats. I had a general idea of the nutrition info on these candies, but I was still surprised by some, and it was a good reminder to enjoy Halloween treats, but be mindful at the same time.

Halloween Candy Calories

I chose my top 5 from his list and I added a few more of my favorites:

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
1 cup: 105 calories, 6.5g fat, 10.5g (=5 cubes) sugar

M&M’s
1 Fun-Size pack of peanut: 90 calories, 5g fat, 9g (=4 cubes) sugar
1 Fun-Size pack of milk chocolate: 75 calories, 2.5g fat, 10g (=4.5 cubes) sugar

Snickers
1 Fun-Size bar: 80 calories, 4g fat, 9g (=4 cubes) sugar
2 Miniatures: 85 calories, 4g fat, 9g (=4 cubes) sugar

Hershey’s
1 Milk Chocolate Snack Size bar: 65 calories, 3.5g fat, 7g (=3 cubes) sugar
2 Miniatures: 85 calories, 5g fat, 9 g (=4 cubes

Twix
1 Fun-Size bar: 125 calories, 7 grams of fat, 8.5 grams (=3.5 cubes) of sugar

While I LOVE chocolate, I am more of a gummy, sugary candy kind of girl so I added 3 more in that category:

Candy Corn my all-time favorite
19 pieces: 140 calories, 0g of fat, 3g of sugar

Dots:
1 mini box: 70 calories, 0g fat, 11g sugar

Skittles:
Fun Size: 61 calories, >1g fat, 11.4g sugar

The biggest thing I noticed was the snack size vs. miniatures. When given an option, I always grab for a miniature candy because I think it’s better and healthier. But that always leads to at least 2-3 miniatures whereas if you just had one snack size you would be way better off. Also worth noting is the gummy/sugary candy has less calories and almost no fat, but equal amounts of sugar – so pretty much you are eating straight sugar, no real nutritional value there! 🙂

Since it is Halloween, I hope this information helps you be a little more mindful when reaching into the candy jar. It is perfectly ok to indulge and enjoy candy on this fun holiday, but don’t let the mini versions of your favorite treats fool you, they still pack a major calorie and sugar punch!

Whats your favorite Halloween Candy?