Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts

Staying Fit in Vacation Mode

Hey guys!  It’s Michelle from It’s the New Twenty, guest posting for my girl Emily while she’s off in the Dominican sippin’ martinis in her bikinis! ;)  (See what I did there?)  I know we’re all super jealous but hopefully you too have some summer vacation time penciled in these next few months.  And we’ve all been working so hard for our summer bods, I thought it’d be the perfect time to talk about staying fit while in paradise….

You did it!  You worked so hard for that bikini body and are looking great as you embark on that long anticipated vacation, only to have those abs fall to flab as you lounge by the pool all day slurping milkshakes and Miller Lites.  Oh vacation, where all good workout regimens come to die.  I know some of you are probably lucky enough to stay somewhere with a gym or don’t mind paying the ridiculous gym fees for tourists, but I am not one of those.  I’ve had to find alternative, budget-friendly ways to keep my progress from diminishing while still enjoying my vacations to the fullest.

I run every day.  I am by no means a runner and probably can count on one hand the number of days I will run outside during the year, but vacation is a different story.  I love running on vacation because it requires no extra equipment and it’s a great way to get out and see the sights.  I usually stick to the streets or boardwalk, but if you’re really brave you can try it in the sand.  And because I’m constantly looking around at everything and everyone, the time passes much more quickly and before I know it, I’ve gone a couple of miles!  Just be sure to do it early in the morning or in the evening so you don’t pass out from heat!

I go back to the old school Jane Fonda style floor exercises.  No, I’m probably not going to build a lot of muscle this way, but activating all of the muscle groups should keep me from losing much for a week or so until I get back to normal routines.  Plus, it’s fun and beneficial to switch up your exercises, so between this and running, I’m certainly doing that! 

I pack bags of veggies and fruits because absolutely refuse to pass up on any vacation goodies, meals, or cocktails.  I consider it part of the experience.  Vacation without ice cream, crab cakes, and orange crushes are just plain stupid in my opinion.  Therefore, if I pack my bag of cucumbers or broccoli florets to whip out for afternoon snacks, I don’t feel half as bad about the delicious trash I will surely consume later.  Keep me nutritionally balanced, or as much as I can be in vaca mode!

I drink water!  This should go without saying, but between sitting in the sun all day and the alcoholic beverages, it’s easy to get dehydrated.  Keeping a water bottle handy and forcing myself to sip from it keeps my body going through the duration of the trip.  Somebody please remind me of this piece of advice as I embark on my bachelorette party this weekend….

I get plenty of rest.  Understandably, every vacation is different and if you’re headed for Vegas, well, good luck.  But for the typical beach goer, you should be able to use this time sleep when you are tired.  Don’t try to stay up late if your eyelids are falling and don’t pressure yourself to get out of bed until you absolutely feel like it.  For me, this may or may not be more like 7 a.m. (yes, I’m a weirdo), but it feels like sleeping in to me!

I hope these tips can help you stay happy and healthy all summer long!  Come stop by my blog and say hello; I’ve got lots of exciting stuff going on!

Health Challenge Complete & Nutrition Tips

Back in May, my company opened up a 6-month health challenge that we could opt to participate in along with your spouse. When I heard that the prize for successfully completing the challenge and meeting your target weight was a night at the Gaylord Palms resort in Orlando, I definitely wanted to be in.

Now, I'm naturally a "smaller boned" person so I didn't have a huge amount of weight to lose but you can set your own goal so mine was to tone up by replacing some extra fat with muscle and K's goal was to lose 15-20 pounds.

To complete the challenge you had to attend the gym at least 10 times/month for 6 mths and do weekly check-ins with a Nutritionist, which they paid for both the gym membership and the nutrition counseling so what did I have to lose?

The end of October marked the 6 months and K & I both hit our goal so last weekend was our trip to the Gaylord Palms resort.
I can't share the complete diet plan that you would pay to get from a Nutritionist but I thought I'd share some huge tips that have helped K and I change our life/diet around and really keep the weight off:

Diet Tips:
~ Limit sugar intake (check the back of labels and opt for salad dressings with less than 3g sugar)
~ Milk is liquid sugar
~ Coffee drinkers, try to use non-dairy creamer
~ Green vegetables have less sugar so opt for these when you can (broccoli, zucchini,etc.)
~ Packaged/processed foods such as instant rice and pasta meals = no bueno
~ Workout out as much as you can, even a quick 15-20 mins of cardio is better than nothing
~ Some good, low cal snacks are protein shakes, cottage cheese, string cheese, almonds, yoghurt.
~ No carbs after lunch or at least none at dinner.

Need some ideas for low carb dinners?

~ Baked parmesan-crusted pork chops with fresh veggies
~ Chicken stirfry
~ Baked tilapia topped with shrimp & asparagus
~ Chicken & mixed veggie kabobs
~ Steak & shrimp with mashed cauliflower and broccoli
~ BBQ jerk pork chops with vegetable medley (zucchini, carrots & onion)

I'd be happy to share any of these recipes with anyone interested. 

Joining Jenn for What I Ate Wednesday.

Happy hump day everyone!

Here's the link to my Beauty Bag Giveaway going on now ;-)

Healthy Snacks Under 100 Calories

Looking for snacks that are not loaded with calories or fat? 

Here's my go-to list:

~ Sabra hummus (2 tbsp = 80 calories)

~ EAS Protein Shakes (I use this as a meal replacement for breakfast or a pre-workout snack)

~ Nature Valley Thins (80 calories)

~ Laughing Cow Cheese (35 calories)

~ Blue Diamond Almonds (100 calories)

~ Babybel Gouda cheese (80 calories)

~ String Cheese (Approx 70 calories)

Anyone have any other suggestions for low calorie snacks other than fruits and veggies?

Weight Management & Muscle Toning Supplements

For anyone attempting to build muscle and/or replace fat with muscle (which is my personal fitness goal), I was recommended the following supplements by a health & fitness professional:
BCAA (Branched Chain Amino Acids) - promotes lean muscle development and maintenance.
Glutamine: reduces muscle breakdown, supports muscle growth and promotes muscle recovery.

For overall health and wellness, I also take a multivitamin daily along with the following supplements:
Omega 3/Fish Oil - promotes overall health and wellness including heart, brain, vision, and joint health support.
B12 - necessary for a healthy nervous system and the utilization of fats.

I bought these specific products from but you can also find similar supplements at GNC, the Vitamin Shoppe etc.

Joining in today for Wild Card Wednesday:

What vitamins & supplements do you take to support your health & work toward your fitness goals?

Health Challenge Update

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we are doing a health challenge at work and my company is paying for everyone to see a Nutritionist. My goal is to tone up & replace any fat with muscle. K is also doing the program and we've both come a long way in a month with learning how to eat healthier and making better choices at the grocery store and at restaurants.

We're now in Phase 2 of the program which consists of a high protein, low carb & low sugar diet along with exercising (at least 25-30 mins of cardio per day + weights, in my case, to build muscle). This is an example of how the diet/lifestyle works if anyone is interested in trying it out.

1 hard boiled egg
Protein shake (My favorite is the EAS Carb Control shake in Cafe Caramel flavor)
Morning Snack: 
2 fiber gummies   or
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese

3-5 oz cooked protein (chicken, lean turkey, tuna, etc.)
2 cups salad with light dressing (max 2 g sugar)
Afternoon Snack: 
 (Up to 100 Calories)
 Sea Salt Almonds  or
String cheese        

3-5 oz. cooked protein (chicken, salmon, tilapia, pork, etc.)
2 cups of green vegetables
More to come on recommended supplements and vitamins.

I'm half way to my goal weight and steadily working to increase the intensity of my workouts and decrease my cravings for unhealthy snacks and food.

The "Get Healthy" Challenge

My company has challenged us to get healthy. They are paying for our gym memberships and a Nutritionist for the next 6 months. If we pass the challenge, we'll win a 1 night stay at the Gaylord Palms resort along with a dinner party and a brunch. With that said, Game On!

Joining Erin & Alex today for Weigh-In Wednesday.
The first phase of the Nutrition program is the detox phase which is what I am doing right now. This phase eliminates carbs and red meat from your diet. You are allowed to eat white meat, seafood, fruits & veggies, which is good enough for me!  

The detoxification diet encourages you to eat 6 small meals per day (Breakfast, snack, Lunch, snack, Dinner, snack.)

One of the biggest challenges for me so far (other than craving pizza & milkshakes, of course) is that you definitely have to prepare your meals the night before. I cook dinners at home but I have to prepare breakfast, lunch and any snacks for the next day. Snacks can include hard boiled eggs or 1 cup of berries, melons, etc.

I almost forgot to mention WINE!! Wine isn't allowed in this phase. That's a pretty huge challenge for me as well!

Here's some other helpful nutrition facts that I found out in my first consultation:
- The best time to do cardio is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Milk is liquid sugar. If you are a coffee drinker, use a non-dairy powder sugar free creamer

1 gram of Protein = 4 calories
1 gram of Carbs =  4 calories
1 gram of Fat = 9 calories

One. Day. At. A. Time. 

Product Review: Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil

A couple months ago I received this small purple bottle along with some items that I ordered online from ULTA. I had no clue what Maracuja oil was so I put it to the side and kind of forgot about it. Last week I decided to do some research online.
Turns out Maracuja oil is a nighttime facial moisturizer. After reading about all the benefits mainly the 3 listed below, I decided I must try it:

Smoother: Moisture-rich formula replenishes & hydrates skin
Firmer: Nutrient-rich essential fatty acids repair & rejuvenate skin
Brighter: Vitamin C awakens skin for a healthy, radiant complexion

I have been using it every night for the past week and I LOVE it!  It makes your skin extremely smooth and is perfect for this time of year when the cold weather tends to dry out your skin. It isn't oily and absorbs very quickly also it doesn't have a bad smells okay. For the past 10 or so year, I was using an Oil of Olay facial moisturizer daily and nightly and so far I prefer how my face feels and looks with Maracuja oil, at least for the nighttime. 

Instructions: After you get out of the shower, rub 2 to 3 drops into the palms of your hands and then spread evenly on your face and neck.

Downside: The tiny bottle of Tarte Maracuja oil is $46 retail at Sephora and Ulta, which is a huge bummer!!

Happy Hump Day!

We're half way through the week and I wanted to share some motivation and positivity that helps us all focus on what's important in life.

Smile...Friday will be here in no time :-)

Whatever your personal goals are START TODAY and make it happen. I'm working on my fitness & health with the goal of toning up and building muscle mass (nothing too crazy). My goal is to slowly increase the intensity of my work out routine, while also surviving the craziness and calories that come with the holidays ;-)

Here We Go!

Hi everyone! Here goes my first blog post.... (I have actually been blogging for the past 6 years for my job but finally decided to start my own personal blog spot that I can use to share with friends and the world). For the most part, I don't plan on focusing on one specific topic but mainly just everything I love - friends, fitness, fashion, food and everything fun!

So to give you a better introduction of myself, I've decided to list my top 10 interests, passions, and all-time faves:

#1: Family & Friends

My family and friends come first, of course!! My parents and most of my childhood friends live thousands of miles away in Trinidad, but I have also built an amazing network of friends in Florida over the past 10 years. I love socializing, entertaining and just being among friends and family. I was so lucky last June when my friends and family flew in from all over the world to be here for our wedding day. Yup! I had 10 bridesmaids who arrived from Trinidad, England and the US. My husband had 7 of his best guy friends who all grew up together in Florida. It was the greatest feeling having all our loved ones in the same place at the same time and getting to introduce everyone. Our wedding was beautiful and an absolute blast (more to come about the wedding)!

Our Wedding Party
My Best Friends

#2: My Husband

This is probably a good time to introduce my other half. K was born & raised in Florida and attended UCF where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Finance. He currently works in Sales for a well-known company nationwide and enjoys his job. I also attended UCF but we never met until a few years after college through mutual friends. K is a fun-loving and caring husband who works hard and also enjoys having fun and hanging out with friends.

My other faves come in no particular order...

#3: Traveling

This is a huge passion of mine and I still have A LOT to accomplish in this category! In my 28 years, I have traveled to a few provinces in Canada, several states in the US and several islands throughout the Caribbean but I hope to see so much more. My dream destination to visit before I die is Bora Bora - a French Polynesian island in the Pacific Ocean. It looks so magnificent and peaceful.

Bora Bora - Tahiti

#4: My Home Country - Trinidad & Tobago

I was born and raised in Trinidad and obviously still have a huge attachment to my home, mainly the culture, the people, the food and the beauty of the island. I miss all of those things especially my family and friends that live there! Trinidad & Tobago are two islands but one country and are the most southern Caribbean islands that sit right above South America (Venezuela). The weather is warm all year long and the people are friendly. I try to visit for the holidays and special occasions to get a dose of everything that I love, but I also love my life in Florida. I'll be talking more about Trinidad and some fun upcoming events.

The Caribbean Chain

#5: Fitness & Health

I've recently been focusing on this aspect of my life which I neglected for a long time. I'm back going to the gym regularly and trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Of course I am not perfect and still enjoy the finer things in life. Or should I say, the funner things in life? Love a glass of wine or a dirty martini but back to the topic... My faves are Yoga and Zumba but I also do a few other fitness classes and dumbbell exercises. I have a special love for the Yoga "state of mind" & lifestyle. I still have a lot to accomplish in this category and I to share my inspirations and motivations via this blog.

#6: Beaches & Boating
Could you tell yet that I love beaches and sunny tropical places? LOL this one is a no brainer... What better place to live than Florida (or the Caribbean) to enjoy the sun, beach and water. K and I take  weekend trips to different beach towns within Florida. It allows me to get somewhat of a traveling fix but on a cheaper budget. My favorite beaches in Florida are Siesta Key and St. Pete Beach, both on the west coast. I am hoping one day to settle down and live in a cute beach town that reminds me of home.

#7: Shopping & Fashion

This girl loves to shop, however, being on a budget often gets in the way ;-) I love finding deals and special buys which I will now be able to share with you. I shop online almost weekly whether it's for clothing, cosmetics, electronics, household items or gifts for others, I much prefer to browse online to compare items and prices. I'm also signed up for just about every mailing list so special deals often find me. Some of my favorite places to shop at Victoria Secret, Macy's, Target, Express, Ulta, Forever 21, Amazon, eBay, etc.

Recently Pinterest has been an awesome resource for fashion advice, although my wallet is freaking out a bit since I became friends with Pinterest. Now that the weather has cooled down, I'm loving all the new outfits and styles.

#8: The Internet

My geeky side comes out now. I've been working in the digital media and internet technology industry for the past six years so half of my life is spent on the internet. I love working in this industry and playing in this industry (online shopping, Facebook, emails, Pinterest, and now blogging!) so for that I have to be thankful for the Internet.

#9: Cooking & Recipes

I have to admit I don't have a whole lot of time during the week to focus on cooking but on the weekends or special occasions I love trying out new recipes.  During the week I cook quick 30-minute meals that are pretty simple such as chicken stir-frys or spaghetti but when I have time I love testing my cooking skills. Pinterest has also been a great help for helping to find delicious and creative recipes for entertaining and for the holidays.

#10: Purple & Sparkly

I know this is a strange interest but ever since high school I have always been attracted to all things purple or sparkly. As a teenager I used to rave about having a purple car when I grow up and I often chose outfits or accessories that were very sparkly.  Knowing this about me, my girl friends planned the theme of my bachelorette around dressing up in purple & sparkly outfits and going out for a night on the town. Now that I'm a bit more grown up, my fascination for purple and/or sparkly has somewhat dwindled but it's still there. I still like to wear sparkly outfits or jewelry and I also used purple and champagne as my wedding colors.  I loved my wedding cake below,

Our Wedding Cake

Well I hope that helps you to get to know me a little better and I hope to start connecting with more bloggy friends soon.