Sunday, February 22, 2015

Review: Six Pack Fitness Renee Tote Meal Management Bag

 2015 is shaping up to be the year of travel for me. From blog-related travel like events and conferences to family-related travel like road trips and even an out-of-state move I'm going to be on the road a lot.

I'm completely committed to ditching the baby weight by year's end and so I was a bit concerned with how I'd stay on track with all of that travel. I don't know about you, but I really struggle with my food when travelling. I struggle with finding quality Paleo-friendly food. I struggle with portions and I struggle with the expense of good food on the road.

The nice folks at Six Pack Fitness sent me one of their Renee Totes in red to try out and I do believe my problems are solved!

The Renee Tote

I immediately fell in love with the look of this bag. It's super cute. I love that it's incognito and just looks like a really cute bag.

The Renee Tote is the perfect size for my needs. There is plenty of room for an entire day's worth of meals and snacks. I think I could even stretch it into 2 days, but I haven't tested how long the ice packs last.

 It comes with four food containers, a supplement container, and three ice packs.

There are oodles of pockets to stash anything I need.

I take quite a few supplements, but I find the container to have ample room.
(You can read about my supplement routine here.)

The top compartment has a padded spot for my chromebook as well as tons of room for anything else I need. I pack a Blender Bottle, lip balm, my wallet, my keys, my planner, and my phone and still have room to spare.

Other Uses

This bag works amazingly well for more than just me. I find myself using it for tons of mom-related things. It's perfect for our homeschool field trips. I pack wipes, a few diapers, and some toys for Baby O. in the top compartment. Along with my wallet, keys, etc. Then, I pack our lunch in the food containers and snacks and miscellaneous other necessities in the pockets. I used to have to take a purse, diaper bag, and a backpack. Now I just take this ONE bag! Plus, I feel like I look like put-together mom instead of pack-mule mom! It's a beautiful thing. I also find this bag perfect for family road trips. I pack it up with all our food and snacks for the road.

I'm also using the supplement container and food containers on a daily basis, not just when I travel. I am forever forgetting to take my supplements and I find filling the container up at night with all of the next days' supplements to be the perfect solution. The food containers are perfect for my weekly food prep. I usually use them for my lunches. They are the perfect size for my usual lunches: a salad or some chicken, sweet potato, and a green veggie.

Final Thoughts

I'm sure you can tell I love this bag. It's very comfortable to carry and everything from quality, to functionality, to style is on point. I absolutely recommend it. In fact, I'm so in love with Six Pack Bags I'm already drooling over another one of their bags. I love that they have come up with such a great solution to a common problem. Also, they have an amazing selection (for men and women) and I love their color options (The Renee comes in Black, Red, Sienna, and Stone).

How do you stay on track when you travel??

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Banana Cinnamon Chia Paleo Pancakes

My kids think pancakes are a food group. I think they’d eat them at every meal if I was willing. When we went Paleo as a family they pined for their beloved pancakes. OK, maybe I did too…

The thing with trying to make a Paleo pancake is that almond flour and coconut flour just don’t behave the same as wheat flour. This isn’t as noticeable in some things, but really can be problematic in pancakes.

I’ve tried and tried again at a great Paleo pancake. Some of the failures were soooo terrible! Some were super dry, some wouldn’t even come together as a pancake, and some quite honestly tasted like warm cardboard. Yum, right?

Finally, I’ve had success. These Banana Cinnamon Chia Paleo Pancakes may not taste anything like Grandma’s pancakes, but they are pretty tasty. They remind me of a whole-grain banana pancake I had at a restaurant once (though they’re grain-free!).

My kids whole-heartedly approve! They could eat them daily right now. I’m not sure if they realize they have chia seeds in them… Our little secret?

2 eggs
2 bananas, sliced
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
2 Tablespoons Almond Flour
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Beat the eggs with a hand mixer. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth and there are no big chunks of banana remaining.
Heat a skillet to medium and add a bit of Coconut Oil.

Add a small amount of batter. (These do much better as smaller pancakes. They can be hard to flip if you make them too big.) Let the first side cook well before flipping. Once it seems well set, flip the pancake and cook until done.

Serve plain (they’re so good they really need nothing else) or top with sliced bananas, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and/or a sprinkle of chia seeds or chopped nuts. 


Let me know if you try them!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Day In The Life: My Fitness, Food, and Supplement Routine

A group of my fitness blogger friends decided to do Day in the Life posts today. I get a lot of questions about my routine. My Paleo eats, how much I work out, what supplements I take, how I fit in my blogging/freelance/work...stuff like that. I thought joining and doing a day in my life post would be fun and a great way to answer all of those questions at once!

This was yesterday (Tuesday 1/20). It was a pretty average day for me.

4:30 AM My alarm on my phone goes off. I get up, get dressed in my workout clothes, and take my pre-workout (it says to take it 30-60 minutes before your workout, I shoot for 30). This is a new supp for me and I'm still just taking 1 to see how it goes. I also take my Acetyl L-Carnitine because the bottle says to take it on an empty stomach. 
Sometimes I hit snooze until 5, but I'm trying hard not to do that. A lot of people say to sleep in your workout clothes to save time, but that doesn't work for me. What does work for me is to have my workout clothes, water, supps, and workout set out the night before. No thinking required!

4:30ish to 5 AM I read. I pray. I meditate. I ponder what I'm grateful for. I journal. I get centered. and get myself right for the day ahead. I call this my morning quiet time. It's a must for me.
Also, had coffee with 2 Tablespoons of half & half. I go back and forth with dairy. Right now I'm doing a little.

5 AM Workout. Most days my workouts are 20 to 30 minutes. Occassionally 45. I have one yoga DVD that is an hour. I save that for weekends. Generally, I either run or do a workout DVD. In the dark, cold Colorado winter it's been a whole lot of workout DVDs lately. Today was Jillian Michaels Beginner Shred Workout 2. I'm working on a review of that.

5:30 Post-workout. If my workout gets shuffled to later in the day I make a frozen smoothie post-workout. However, if everything goes as planned like today I just have some almond milk with a scoop of whey protein or some BCAA Powder.

5:35ish Work. I used to try to slip work in all throughout the day. What I found was 1. I was working constantly and 2. I wasn't able to focus. Also, I didn't like how my attention was split from my kids, homeschool time, etc. Now, I plan focused chunks of times for work. 
I take advantage of the time before everyone wakes up and have a marathon work session. I use this hour to check in on social media, read emails, respond to emails, and work on whatever posts or freelance content I need to. Sometimes I listen to podcasts or audiobooks while I'm working.

6:30 Hubby time. We like to have coffee together every morning if we can. It's just time to chat, talk about what needs done for the day, and just be us sans kids.

7 AM Kids get up. I shower while hubby makes breakfast. People often ask me how I do all that I do. My answer: my amazing husband.

7:30 Breakfast and supplements. Today it was an omelet sprinkled with chili powder and topped with salsa. Normally I would have berries or something with this, but I need to get to the store and fresh stuff goes first around here! Salsa was a vegetable today. With breakfast I take CLA, Plant-Based Omega-3, CoQ-10, and Vitamin D.

8 AM Outside Chores. Unless the weather is bad or just too cold we do our outside chores and take the goats for a walk as a family. Today there were a few extra shenanigans because we weren't sure how the weather would hold up the rest of the day.

The cats go too. They can never be left out.
9 AM Inside chores. (Normally these start at 8:30, but you know, extra shenanigans) The boys do things like unload the dishwasher and vaccum the living room. I clean up the kitchen, swap laundry, etc. Baby O likes to help too. She loves to unload things. The dryer, the dishwasher silverware tray, our entire DVD collection onto the living room floor. Things like that...

9:30 Homeschool. We usually shoot for 9 or 9:30 to get our homeschool day started. Some days it's 10. As long as we get at least 4 hours (not counting PE time) in I'm pretty relaxed about the schedule.

10 AM Coffee. I'm trying to cut back on the calories I put in my coffee, so this cup was black. Two things: 1. I'm loving Peet's Major Dickason's and Donut Shop Dark lately and 2. yellow cups make me happy.

11:30 (or noonish) Lunch. The kids take a lunch break and we go outside for about 30 minutes. Then they play video games for the first time of the day. Depending what I have that's pressing, sometimes I do about 30 minutes of work. Today got cold/snowy and it was video games only. 
I had a big salad with chicken, apples, and baby tomatoes topped with some EVOO and apple cider vinegar. 

1 PM Back to homeschool. If everything goes as planned we're done with school by 2, but because we got a late start today (and the kids took a longer lunch break) we weren't done until 3.

I love my fitness tracker. It lets me know when we've been sitting too long! We get up and dance around the kitchen or march around the house singing "The watch says move! Everybody move, the watch says move!" Ya, silly, but that's how we roll.
3 PM More work. The kids are free to play and I try to get an hour or two of work in here. I check in on social media again. Read blogs. Write. Edit posts, work on images in Canva or PicMonkey, or respond to emails. Some days I work on recipes and food pics. Baby O seems more intent on interupting this lately. She wants me to play Duplo's with her. Read to her. Take her outside. Today was more interuption than work. I do what I can. I've shuffled a lot of my important work to Sundays when hubby is here to occupy the kidlets. 
I take my L-Carnitine again here. Oh, and, more coffee...

3:30 Snack. I generally have a snack somewhere between 2 and 4. Today it was raw mixed nuts (peanut-free mix). I have to measure nuts so I don't get carried away with portions.

5 PM Hubby comes home about now. We talk and download from our days and I start dinner.

6 PM Dinner. Today it was Paleo Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. Also, with dinner I take my CLA and Co-Q 10 again.

6:30 Family time. We play Legos, board games, or a game on our Wii U. If it's still nice we go outside. It's just chill-out family time.

8 PM I put Baby O to bed and do a few clean-up chores. Then I read (OK, and sometimes shove a little more work in, though I'm trying to not.) while hubby and the boys watch a show on Netflix.

8:45 I make my to-do list for the next day, set out my workout gear, and have a cup of tea.

9 PM Hubby puts the boys to bed (and usually reads to them). Yes, he's amazing. Sometimes I stay up another hour and do some chores or read, but lately I crash by 9! Sleep is my friend.

That is a pretty typical day for winter. We definitely have more margins this time of year. In spring/summer it's a lot different because there is much more outside work to be done with our little farm here.

I'm big on routine, but not necessarily schedule. Pretty much these things happen in about that order most days, just not a specific time every day. Also, we go with the flow. Some days we oversleep or life just happens. We adjust.

My food is pretty similar most days. 3 Paleo-friendly meals, a snack (sometimes 2), and a post-workout. My fitness and supplements have been this way for a couple of months. The pre-workout is new. I am liking it, it will probably stay in my routine. I'm getting ready to change my fitness up a bit though (stay tuned...).

Did you do a day in the life post? I'd love to read it! Link up below.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Strawberry Protein Faux-Yo Recipe

I've gotten super serious about my nutrition lately. I am laser focused on my 2015 goals. For me that means upping my protein a bit, dropping my carbs a bit, and shaving off a few calories. 

Never one for depriving myself completely, I always try to concoct healthified versions of my favorite treats. This helps me keep my mindset right (no obsessing allowed) and still reach my goals. 

Ice cream? Frozen yogurt? These are the things I miss. 
My Strawberry Protein Faux-Yo is a super easy, protein-pumped-up swap that is simply amazing. 

Plus, it's really just 3 ingredients: almond milk, whey protein, and frozen strawberries! Can't beat that.

Strawberry Protein Faux-Yo
Makes 2 servings
Approximately 100 calories each!! (depending on the type of protein powder you use)

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or unsweetened vanilla coconut milk)
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (or vegan protein powder if that's your preference, it just won't be as creamy)
1 heaping cup of frozen strawberries

Add the almond milk and protein powder to your blender. Blend briefly on low. Next, add in the frozen strawberries slowly. I add one strawberry at a time while upping the blender speed slowly from low to high. Add strawberries until it reaches a thick, frozen yogurt consistency. I pretty much just add strawberries until my blender will barely keep going! I seriously need a new blender. Anyway...

This recipe will be very thick. If your blender isn't great you may need to add less strawberries or try it in your food processor. 

To make scoops like I did you will need to transfer this to a freezer-safe dish and freeze the entire recipe for about an hour.

Yum! It's protein. It's treat. It's perfect.

Let me know if you try it!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My Piyo First Impressions and Pressing Pause

Unfortunately I am going to have to press pause on my Piyo review series

Disc one in my set skips and freezes. (Serious bummer!) I tweeted Beachbody customer service and they said I need to call about a replacement. Am I the only one that would so much rather send a quick tweet or email than call and sit on hold? Lol.

Anyway, I don't know how long it will take to get a replacement and I haven't been able to do the full calendar because of the defective disc, so I am going to have to postpone my Piyo review series.


However, I will give you my first impression of the Piyo set...

Piyo First Impressions

I like the diet plan. It is easily tweaked Paleo and I don't feel like I'm starving. I could definitely see myself able to stick to it for the 8 weeks.

I LOVE the workouts. They're right up my alley right now. They're definitely yoga-esque, but nothing like the yoga I'm used to. I would describe it more as a body weight workout with a fair amount of focus on core, balance, and strength. 

I'm sore after, but not feeling like I'm going to die. It's not crazy hardcore, but not a cinch either. It's perfect for me at this stage! Love the focus on my core, and of course love Chalene as instructor.

If you have issues with doing high impact workouts or just need a break from the same old, same old you've been doing, you will love this.

Like I said, I'm pressing pause on the Hype or Help review of this and with my editorial calendar, I'm not sure when I can fit it back in (sadface), but hopefully before summer.

Have you ever tried Piyo?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Top 10 BEST Workout DVDs of All Time

I own a lot of workout DVDs. A lot. I'm a bit of an at-home-workout aficianado. Maybe more than a bit... 

People often ask me which fitness DVDs are the best. Well, it took me a while, but I went through my entire collection and picked out the ones I love most. The ones I would recommend to a friend. 

I've compiled a list of the best of the best in exercise DVDsThese are workouts I use again and again no matter how old they are. My go-to workouts, my favorite workouts, my love-to-hate-kick-my-butt-workouts.

In no particular order, the top 10 best workout DVDs of all-time (OK, I know DVDs haven't been around that long, but you get it...)

1. Jillian Michaels Banish Fat Boost Metabolism

This is an amazing cardio DVD. It's definitely tough.
I love it and even though I've had it for years, I
never get bored with it.

2. Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss with Suzanne Deason

I have loved this so long I originally
had the VHS! Great all-around yoga DVD. 

3. Leslie Sansone Just Walk 5 Mega Miles

I love Leslie Sansone. Her DVDs are
amazing for beginners, people with
exercise limitations, or anyone wanting
to sneak in some extra cardio that's not hadcore-crazy.

This is my favorite because it's so versatile,
but all of her DVDs are great.

4. Jackie Warner Power Circuit Training

This is an amazing strength training workout.
I pull this DVD out all. The. Time. HIGHLY recommend.

This was the first Amy Dixon workout I'd
ever done. LOVE. Great HIIT workout.

6. Kelly Coffey-Meyer Plateau Buster

I just discovered Kelly Coffey-Meyer last year and can't get enough
of her workouts! LOVE this workout. It's weights, it's cardio.
It's awesome.

7. Bob Harper The Skinny Rules Workout Rule #1 Cardio

I have a confession: I was never into Bob Harper's
workouts. I don't know why, I just never really
owned any. Then I got this one and I want them ALL!
It's an amazing crossfit-esque workout that kicks. My.
Butt. Every time!

8. Chalene Johnson ChaLEAN Extreme

Honestly, you can't go wrong with anything from
Chalene Johnson, but I love this set. Madly.
Now, I've had a lot of people
grumble to me about this set. I don't really get why, but
Here's my advice with it:
When she says heavy she means lift heavy. Within your ability
of course, but don't wimp out. Also, do the diet plan (I easily
tweaked it Paleo). The workout alone will not get the results
most are looking for (just like any workout plan you must also
change your food). Last, I add extra cardio. There's a bonus
Turbo Jam workout included that I added in on top of the
workout calendar that comes with the set.
OK, all that said, it's an amazing set and I LOVE it.
Did I say that already?

9. Cathe Friedrich X-TRAIN

I love all things Cathe, but XTRAIN is by far my favorite
thing from her. Highly recommend this set for anyone
intermediate to advanced.

10. Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

I had great results with this set. Now, even though
the first workouts are more beginner-friendly than many
of Jillian's workouts, the later workouts are crazy-tough.
I think this set is best suited for intermediate to advanced

This was my absolute favorite DVD to do when I was pregnant
and immediately post-baby.

There you have it. The best workout DVDs of all time. I absolutely use, love, and recommend every DVD on this list!

What is your favorite workout DVD of all time?