Berry and Goat Cheese Summer Salad

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As summer is coming to a close I thought I would share one of my favorite fresh salads before the weather starts to cool down. This salad is loaded with sweet and salty ingredients that create the perfect flavor balance for a light and refreshing meal on a warm day. IMG_2194

BERRY AND GOAT CHEESE SUMMER SALAD

Time: 5-6 minutes; Serving size: 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped lettuce
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped strawberries
  • ½ cup grilled chicken breast
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • 2-3 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • Poppy seed salad dressing

Directions:

1.) Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl or plate then drizzle on the salad dressing. Mix well until everything is covered, and enjoy!

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Full Body Strength Workout

Here is an easy, full body strength workout that you can do almost anywhere! All you need is at least one set of dumbbells and a little bit of space to get this circuit done. I used 5 pound weights because that is what I had at home, but I would recommend doing most of these exercises with 10s or 15s. Pair this set with cardio intervals for an even better allover workout.

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  • Squat: Hold dumbbells at shoulders (but not touching them) standing with feet shoulder width apart. Bend at the knees and hips lowering your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure to keep your weight in your heels so your knees do not come farther forward than your toes.
  • Raised Dead lift (RDL): Stand with feet shoulder width apart, weights resting at hips. Bend forward at the waist keeping knees mostly straight and sticking your butt back. Reach down with the weights as you bend forward, keeping arms straight. Make sure the weights stay close to your legs the whole time. You should feel this exercise in your hamstrings; if you start to feel it in your back, move the weights closer to your body or straighten your legs slightly more.
  • Standing Row to Tricep Kickback: Stand slightly bent forward, holding weights in outstretched arms. Pull weights up into your chest keeping the elbows tight to your body, then extend arms straight out behind you. Return to starting position by doing the exact opposite: bringing arms back to bent position then lowering to straight out.
  • Alternating Lunge Curls: Start standing with feet together and weights at sides. Take a large step forward bending your front knee and lowering the back knee to a few inches above the ground (both legs should be close to 90 degree angles). Make sure to keep your front knee behind your toes. At the same time you step forward, bring both weights up towards your chest, bending at the elbows for a bicep curl. Step back to the starting position and lower weights back to your sides. Repeat alternating legs.
  • Front Shoulder Press: Start with arms out to the side at 90 degree angles. Then bring elbows together in front of your face while maintaining that angle.
  • 3-way calf raises: Start with regular calf raises- feet pointing forward, rising up to stand on toes. Do a full set this way then switch to toes pointing out like a ballerina for a full set, then toes pointing in for the last set.
  • Seated Leg lifts: Sit on the ground with one knee bent, foot on the floor, the other leg straight, hands behind you. Raise the straight leg as high as you can and then lower it to about 2 inches above the ground. Do a full set on one leg then switch to the other leg.
  • Russian twists: Balancing on your rear end with knees bent and feet in the air, rotate the weights back and forth reaching to each side with the dumbbells. Side to side is 1 rep. (This is even easier to do with a medicine ball or kettlebell.)
  • Russian Twist Reaches: Starting in the same position as a Russian twist, reach the weights straight out to one side, then come back to the middle and reach straight out to the other side. Side to side is 1 rep.
  • Forearm Leg Extensions: Lying back on your forearms, start with both knees bent in towards your just then extend both legs out straight in front of you. Pull one leg back towards your just keeping the other leg straight, then switch legs. Finish by bringing both legs back towards your chest to end. This is one rep.
  • Toes Touches: Lying on your back, lift both legs straight in the air and reach your hands up to touch your toes (or if you have tight hamstrings like me, as high up as you can go!).
  • Pledge Plank: Start in a straight-arm plank position with torso and legs in a straight line, core engaged. Bring one hand off the ground and touch it to your opposite shoulder, trying to keep the rest of your body as stationary as possible. Put that hand back on the ground and do the same thing with the other hand. Both hand taps count as one rep.

 

 

Pineapple Greeting Card

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For years I have been making my own homemade cards for all sorts of occasions. It started when I was young with birthday cards I’d make for my family (usually because I forgot to buy one), but then I realized I liked making cards so it sort of became my thing. I have made cards for birthdays, graduations, Father’s/Mother’s Day, Bridal showers, Christmas, and any other event you can think of where a card might be given.

Today I made this cute pineapple card to send to my sister who is working at camp for the summer. I thought it was the perfect summer greeting card with the bright colors and fun pattern that is sure to brighten up anyone’s day! Here are step by step instructions to make this cute card.

1.) Start with a plain piece of white card stock and fold it in half length wise (hamburger style versus hot dog style for anyone who knows that reference). Then trim a few inches off the bottom to make it the size and shape you want. If you are planning to mail it, trim it to fit the envelope size you are planning to use. IMG_2150

2.)Next take a piece of plain printer paper and sketch a pineapple on it. If you are worried about free handing it, find a picture online you can print out and trace. Once you are happy with the shape of your pineapple cut it out. IMG_2154

3.) Once you’ve cut out your pineapple, grab some various colored paper and cut out triangles that are as close to equilateral as possible. The best way to do this is cut one a little larger than you want and keep trimming it down until it is the perfect size. Use that one as a stencil for the rest of the triangles so they are all the same shape and size. IMG_2161

4.) Once you have about 2 dozen triangles cut out, start laying them out on the pineapple starting with a hexagon shape in the middle and working out from there. Glue each piece down once you figure out the color pattern you want to use. (Rubber Cement is the best glue for any sort of paper project, but if you are out of it like I was a regular glue stick will work fine as well.)IMG_2166

5.) Keep glueing the triangles to the pineapple so that they go past the edges on all sides. IMG_2169Once the pineapple is fully covered flip it over and trim off the excess paper around the edges, following the outline of the white paper.IMG_2173

6.) Finally take the pineapple and glue it onto the white card stock that was folded and cut in step 1. From here you could personalize it with a message on the front, a decorative boarder, or just leave it as is. Then write a message inside and send it to a friend to brighten up their day!IMG_2177

 

I hope this was a helpful tutorial for a simple summer greeting card. Let me know if there are other types of cards you would like to see on the blog!

All About That Bass

Normally I don’t do workouts that focus on just one main area of the body, but today I decided to share a workout that is glute and leg focused. I’ve recently had a number of people at work asking me what they should be doing to tone and shape their booty. Since it is the season of “suns out, buns out” I figured I would compile a list of exercises that focus on the glutes and muscles around them to help you feel confident rocking those bikini bottoms. This is a quick and easy workout that can be done almost anywhere and will leave your behind feeling the burn!

 

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  • Squat with leg kickback: start by bending down into a low squat. When you come up kick one leg out behind you then squat back down and repeat, alternating legs.
  • Step up: using a chair, bench, step, etc. put one foot on top and step up, bringing your other knee up to a 90 degree angle. Step back down and switch legs.
  • Resistance band walking squat: wrap a resistance band around your thighs a few inches above the knee, holding on to each loose end. Bend down with knees close together into a half squat position, then take one large step to the right side while staying low. Bring your left foot back towards your right to complete one rep. Then do the same thing going back to the left. Continue alternating side to side.
  • Glute bridges: start lying on the ground with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Lift your hips up off the ground and squeeze your glutes so your torso is in a straight line with your thighs. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds and then lower back down.
  • Single Leg glute bridges: start in the same position as a regular glute bridge, but raise one leg straight into the air. Lift your hips off the ground until your torso is flat, while keeping your other leg straight in the air, holding 3-5 seconds and then lowering back down.
  • Fire hydrant kickbacks: start on your hands and knees, then lift one leg out to the side keeping the knee bent. From this position, extend your leg straight back behind you, then bring it back to the bent position. Continue kicking out and bringing the knee back, trying to keep your foot parallel to the floor.
  • Side leg lifts: Lie down on one side, resting on your elbow or arm. Lift your top leg straight up into the air then bring it back down to touch your other leg.
  • Clam shells: Lie on your side with knees bent, resting on your elbow or arm. Keeping your feet together, open your knees by bringing your top leg up, then close them back together (like the way a clam shell opens and closes).

Avocado chicken blt salad with honey mustard

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I decided to take a spin on a classic recipe and turn a sandwich into a salad with some added ingredients for a healthy and delicious meal. This salad is easy to throw together and perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.  (And clearly my creative juices were not flowing when it came to naming this salad so I ended up just sticking all the ingredients in a row and calling it that. :p)

AVOCADO CHICKEN BLT SALAD WITH HONEY MUSTARD
Time: 15 minutes
Serving size: 1
Ingredients
2 1/2 cups salad greens
1/2 tomato, diced
3 pieces of bacon, chopped (I used turkey bacon)
1 cup chopped, cooked chicken
1/2 avocado, diced
Honey mustard dressing
Directions
Add all the ingredients to a bowl or plate and drizzle honey mustard dressing on top. Mix together well and enjoy!

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