Livin’ in Athleisure (with Old Navy!)

Hi Friends! Happy Hump Day 🙂 How are your weeks going? We are heading to our tasting for our wedding tonight and I’m pretty excited to finally focus on some planning…and to eat some yummy food (…as I write about athleisure…)
I wasn’t originally going to write a whole post on this but after some good response and questions from my last IG post, I had to write about one of my latest obsessions – activewear from Old Navy! I have been off work for a few weeks and have been LIVING in these items. Now…if only I can find a way to continue wearing when returning to the office. We do have a gym here so I will be bringing with me for workouts when I can!
My brother in law, who by the way has amazing style, asked me where I got this outfit because it “looked expensive.” SCORE! Jokingly I said, it’s from like Lululemon or something like that…
But really, the pants, bra and shirt are all from Old Navy and I am so impressed by the affordability and quality of these items. Although I do believe that expensive activewear is always worth it, I love that I can get that quality from Old Navy and have even more of a variety.

I love putting on “athleisure” type items on weekends or days when I’m off – they are comfortable/easy to move in and honestly, I’m more likely to workout (either run or do a home workout) when I am already dressed. Sometimes getting ready is the hardest part for me!
Hyun Ah Perez Photography
Hyun Ah Perez Photography
Here are the outfit deets–
Go-Dry Ultra-Light Surplice-Back Top : now on sale and available in 5 colors. I am wearing a size Medium in “Prom Queen Neon.”
Go-Dry Strappy Light Support Sports Bra (similar) : now on sale and available in black & floral. I am wearing a size Large. If I were to run or do something more high imptant, I would have to wear a full coverage bra or add another bra. #bigboobprobs this lighter support bra is perfect for true athleisure wear or yoga/barre/pilates type exercises.
High-Rise Go-Dry Compression Capris: now on sale – wearing a Medium in “Black Mini Dot.”

Where do you shop for activewear/athleisure? What am I missing out on? You babes always have the best recos!! Have a fantastic rest of your week, mamas!
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All images captured by Hannah from Hyun Ah Perez Photography.
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Healthy, Easy & Delicious Snacking with VitaTops MuffinTops

If you’ve been following me for a while you probably know a few things about me – I try to buy & write about & buy organic products when possible, I am ALL about convenient (& yummy foods), and I am always concerned with my families’ physical & mental health!
When I was pregnant I developed a sweet tooth that I didn’t necessarily have before and haven’t really been able to kick it (yes I know this was over a year ago!) At night I like to have just one small piece of “dessert” while relaxing. I am really trying to eat healthier and get back into serious shape (hello, wedding in 9 months!) so bowls of ice cream and oreos are no longer acceptable.
When I found VitaTops, I HAD TO TRY: A delicious MuffinTop made with clean & simple ingredients that actually carry nutritional benefits. The highest caloric count in any of the flavors is 150 calories.  Whenever Craig eats something bad I always tell him he needs some nutrition in his life — now I can’t judge him when he is snacking on VitaTops!

Six different flavors (deep chocolate, wild blueberry, protein banana chocolate chip, protein chocolate peanut butter, superfood cranbran, and chocolate chip) can be found at Publix, Kroger, Stop & Shop, ShopRite, or Target.

Use this store locator to see which flavors are at your closest retailer and get a discount for your first purchase!

Calvin can’t keep his cute paws off!
I purchased these VitaTops flavors at Stop & Shop in the frozen organic section of the store (thanks to the help of my cute little assistant.) To serve, you can put in the microwave for 20 seconds, throw in the toaster, or thaw at room temp if you can wait that long!
I prefer to do the microwave and then eat a melty MuffinTop with a fork. Yum!
If a VitaTop isn’t your kind of dessert, they are also awesome to grab & go for breakfast, which is super convenient when trying to get out the door quickly with full arms! My favorite to eat in the morning is the Protein Banana Chocolate Chip.
I got some awesome responses on my instagram from friends who swear by VitaTops – who else has tried? Let me know if you use this coupon to purchase your own!
Happy Snacking, friends!kaylasignature-06

5 Habits To Develop in 2017 for a Healthier, Happier YOU

Hi Friends! How are you doing? Are we surviving the beginning of the year?
It’s ironic I’m sharing this post today on health as Calvin has been sick all weekend. Luckily this is only the 2nd time he’s been sick…ever, but this means we aren’t used to seeing him like this and we want our lil’ Calvin back. We went to the doctor and he just has the really bad cold that’s going around…so guess who else has it now? Yours truly. Isn’t this true to life though – you’re feelin’ good, feelin’ good, and then a detour comes along, which can throw a wrench in the entire week. January…you’re winning, but not for long…
I shared this instagram post last week about my new year goal. It’s not something I WANT to do – it’s something I NEED to do in order to keep my sanity. Or did I lose it along time ago? My goal this year is to put my physical and mental health first. I seem to have put myself on the back burner for too long at the end of 2016 and honestly it’s really taken a toll on every aspect of my life. I know I will write more about this in the future because I’m realizing just how important making time to take of yourself truly is – and how easy it is to not. Having kid(s) means having to deliberately set aside time for yourself – one of the biggest things I’ve had to overcome as a new mom. So, in 2017, I’m making this a priority.
There are 5 things I started committing to consistently and I already am starting to feel a bit more grounded & on track for the year. They all seem like common sense but are super easy to slack on or forget in the midst of such busy, busy weeks!
|Keep Fresh Groceries in the House|
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Anyone who knows me well knows that I really dislike grocery shopping – one my least favorite activities, but so important! It’s kind of like going to the gym…once I’m there, I don’t mind doing it! Shopping on the outside parameter of the store and having fresh, natural ingredients in stock at home guarantees you’ll have something healthy to grab or make at any time. It’s the best decision for your health and your wallet. Now that Calvin is starting to eat “real” foods it’s really stretching us to make sure we have a surplus of good food ready. It’s one thing if we slack on our healthy eating momentarily, but we cannot for Calvin. Honestly, in the busyness of 2016, we ate worse than we should have, and slacked in this area big time. Craig usually goes to the grocery but I am going to try and take on this responsibility more often and make it a weekly (quick) trip.
What are some common items on my grocery list?
Organic, lean meets (chicken, ground turkey, turkey burgers) – we probably only eat red meat once a month
Carrots, raspberries, bananas, peppers, lettuce, avocado
Bagged salads – easy to grab for lunch (choose ones with oil based dressings)
Natural lunch meets and cheese from the deli section
Brown rice, oatmeal
Steam fresh vegetables – so easy for dinner sides!
Red Onion (one of my favorite ingredients for cooking), Cilantro
Cheese sticks/Eggs/Yogurt – vanilla greek or the 100 cal greek chobani mix-ins (so good)
Salsa, hummus, guacamole
Organic Beech-nut baby foods and pouches – I try to buy organic or natural while I can still control what he’s eating!
Whole wheat tortillas & english muffins (with PB is one of my favorites)
Calvin’s current favorites? bananas, cheese, raspberries

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What am I missing? Any recommendations?
|Keep a (visual) Calendar|
img_1864^not the fanciest, but it works!
Get a monthly dry erase calendar and put it somewhere you look every day. Mine is on the countertop in the kitchen and I use it to write down appointments, events and most importantly, plan workouts. This is much like writing your goals – if you jot them down, you are more likely to commit and see  it through. It’s not the end of the world if I miss a workout as I will just adjust the schedule, but this is helping to keep me accountable.
It also helps on the days that you just DON’T want to get moving. You can look back and see how far you’ve come that month and use it as motivation to keep going. Check off the days as you go. Put up pictures of what inspires you, or write out a new favorite quote for that month. Get creative, and keep it in front of you! The quote that is helping me this month: “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” I have to do these things for myself and keep up with them in order to provide for and be the best me for the others in my life.
Get mine here.
|Make Coffee at Home|
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I think we are all guilty of going through phases where we buy coffee every day, aka me on maternity leave and then for a few months after…. this is another habit that is bad for the waist line and your bank account. If you drink coffee every day, make it at home! I have a 30+ minute commute so I like to take that time to enjoy my coffee. Since I only need one cup, I have the single serving Keurig. Get a to-go mug that you love, take 2 minutes to pop in a k-cup (hello Starbucks from home) and buy natural ingredients for fixing. My personal favorites are natural creamer & either Organic Honey or Organic Blue Agave as a sweetener (in very small doses because these are still added sugars) Say this with me: I WILL STOP USING ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. There are already enough hidden sweeteners in the foods we eat, don’t add them into your daily coffee where you can actually control the ingredients.
|Drink More Water|
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GUYS. I also don’t like drinking water. What’s wrong with me? Sometimes I feel like my thirst button doesn’t work. This year I am MAKING myself drink more water. For my energy levels, my skin, my hydration and overall well-being. I noticed I was starting to get headaches every day around 3 pm and often felt nauseous. And no, I’m not pregnant again – it was because I wasn’t drinking enough water. I have also been trying to get in the habit of drinking a large glass in the morning before I eat or drink anything else and then at least 50 ounces throughout the day. I have noticed a huge difference in sustained energy.
Using a cup that holds 20+ ounces and has a straw makes me drink the most. I’m loving these type of cups: Plastic Mason Jar Tumbler.
|Be Present|

Sometimes I get anxious that I haven’t been present enough mentally during this time in my life. As an extreme multi-tasker, it doesn’t always allow me to focus on ONE thing and take it all in. Having a baby, a full time job, a blog, a fiance…the list goes on and on of different areas that need my attention each day. I want to try to minimize the things I’m trying to do at once and BE PRESENT. I want to make a conscious effort to focus on one thing at a time – and remember that right after work, it’s strictly Calvin time where we can play and enjoy each other’s company uninterrupted. When I’m exercising, I’m taking those 20 minutes to give it 100%. When I’m writing, I’m not trying to answer work emails and vice versa. When I’m talking to Craig, I’m not browsing instagram. I definitely need to dive into this one a bit more – let me know if you have any tips for growing in this habit.

Okay friends, what am I missing? What are your goals for 2017? Any of these overlap with yours? I need to know 🙂 Catch up with you all soon!!

kaylasignature-06

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Mom/Life Hack #1: Easy (Minimal Ingredient) Crock Pot Meals

You all – I will be the first to admit that cooking is NOT my thing. It’s not something I really find fun, relaxing, or a hobby at all. I love food as much as anyone – but I definitely am a person that eats to live, not necessarily lives to eat. You get my drift? We do make homemade dinners about 4-5 times a week but I very much consider myself a lazy cook. I love finding new recipes but if it has more than like 5 ingredients and I don’t know where to find one of them in the grocery store – I pretty much completely shut down and give up on the recipe altogether. Enter: Easy peezy (and minimal ingredient) CROCKPOT meals.
I have been wanting to write this post since I started blogging because it is my FAVORITE life hack – and I feel like these recipes are coming just in time for October, Fall, Football, chilly weather, etc!
I can throw the ingredients in the crock pot in the morning when I am packing my lunch or making Calvin’s bottles (aka being a mixologist) and turn it on all before work. After a long day, there is (almost) nothing more satisfying than coming home to a great meal that’s ready & waiting for you.
These are the 4 meals I find myself making over and over in the crockpot – you know it’s easy if I have all of the ingredients and instructions memorized. You’ll prob notice I call for mostly organic ingredients – I’m not a psycho on this type of stuff but I try to buy organic when I can and always buy organic meat. Creepy meat =  😖
Fiesta Chicken (‘aka Taco Mush’)
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1 can organic corn
1 can organic black beans
1 large can hunts tomato sauce
1 package chicken breasts or tenders
1 taco seasoning packet or fiesta chicken seasoning packet
1 can hunts diced tomatoes (chose one with some seasonings for extra taste)
1 cups rice
Combine all ingredients except rice in the pot and mix together. Cook on low 4-6 hours. Take out chicken and shred with two forks. Put chicken and 1 cup rice back in the pot and cook on high 15-20 min. Enjoy!
Chicken Noodle Soup
chicken-noodle-soup1 package organic chicken breasts or tenders
2 cups chopped carrots
1 white onion chopped
2 cups chopped celery
1 box low sodium organic chicken broth
A few dashes of Rosemary seasoning
A few dashes Salt & Pepper
1 package egg noodles
Combine all ingredients except noodles in the pot and mix together. Cook on low 4-6 hours. Take out chicken and shred with two forks. Put chicken and 2 cups egg noodles back in the pot and cook on low another 15-20 min. Enjoy!
Rotini”Casserole”
1 package organic ground turkey
1 jar pasta sauce of choice
1 box whole wheat rotini noodles
Seasonings of choice (salt, pepper, oregano)
Combine ground turkey & pasta sauce in crockpot. Cook on low 4-6 hours. Chop up cooked turkey. Put in 2 cups of rotini noodles and cook on low another 15-20 min. Sprinkle on cheese, duh! Serve with a side of steamed veggies and a piece of buttered bread.  Enjoy!
Brown Sugar/Barbecue Pork Chops

crockpot-pork

1 package organic pork chops (thin)
1 bottle barbecue sauce of choice
A few sprinkles of brown sugar
Put a layer of barbecue sauce on the bottom of the crock pot. Place pork chips in pot. Cover with another layer of sauce and sprinkle with brown sugar. Pork chops cook quick so 3-4 on low (if they are thin and defrosted) is all you need. Serve with a side of steamed veggies and a potato side. Enjoy!
Seriously can’t stress enough how much you need to get on the crockpot train if you aren’t already! Did I also mention we always have leftovers from these? Perfect for lunch the next day!
I recommend one with a timer if you work all day so that you don’t burn your meal.

If you want quick, easy, minimal ingredient recipes check out these books for some ideas!


I know my meals are so #basic – any suggestions on simple additions or improvements to these meals? What are your all time crockpot or quick dinner faves?
Happy First Weekend of October – let me know if you try any of these meals ❤

KaylaSignature-02

HIIT: The Most Efficient Workout For Your Busy Schedule

OKAY OKAY – we’re already deep into another week! How does that happen?  Anyways, this means a full new week of work, meetings, calls, taking care of baby, prepping him for daycare each day, picking up from daycare each day, making dinner, keeping up on laundry, cleaning up after ourselves, packing lunch, blogging, and last but not least – trying to fit in exercise.
BUT, Thank God (seriously, thank you God *insert praying hands emoji*) for my all time favorite type of workouts: HIIT 

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. Basically you can kill cardio & strength at the same time. 
My favorite benefits to this type of training:
  • Efficient – short, intense interval workouts can produce results similar to longer, slower cardio workouts in a much quicker time period.
  • No gym or equipment necessary – Clear a room in your home, grab a glass of water, and go. The best for when you have the busiest day and cannot clear time to make it to the gym (which is now most days!) I do recommend a workout mat and some free weights for the times you want to add some intensity with weight.
  • Continual fat burn – not only does the intensity of the workout allow you to burn more fat in a shorter period of time, you will also continue to burn fat for up to 24 hours following the workout
  • The Challenge – I actually feel like I got a REALLY hard ass workout after a HIIT session. I’m one of those people who isn’t satisfied unless you can feel it the next day. Trust me when I say your muscles will feel and respond to your workout for multiple days.
  • Different exercises each time – much less repetitive than running, elliptical, or cycling. It’s almost impossible to run out of HIIT routines. I like to make up my own, but when I don’t feel like thinking, I head to Bodyrock.tv. So many free videos that can be sent straight to your inbox. They also have a new subscription service called SweatFlix – all of the videos they’ve ever created are in one spot for 9.99/month.
I’ve been doing HIIT workouts for years and have made my sisters, cousins, friends, and co-workers participate with me… Haha, love me a good workout partner! When I lived in Cincinnati, I started and taught a corporate bootcamp called Sweat Suits at my workplace and we focused on body weight HIIT exercises. This means almost everything we did, required little to no equipment outside of your own body weight (just like it sounds.) I taught HIIT workouts 2x/week for 2 years with a group of awesome individuals and can honestly say I was the strongest, and in the best shape of my life during those 2 years. Ah, the good old days.

My favorite time intervals are 50/10 – this means you are going all out for 50 seconds, and ‘resting’ for 10. Long enough to get in the zone – short enough that you can tell yourself, “I can do anything for less than a hot minute.” Chose your # of exercises and repeat those in as many sets as you’d like. I usually pick a set of 4 exercises and repeat 3-4 times, depending on how I’m feeling.
In those 4 exercises I choose, I love to create what I call “combos”, or exercises that target multiple muscle groups at once. For example, instead of just doing squats as one of the 4, I’ll add a squat + shoulder press and now I’m engaging the upper and lower body in just “one” exercise.
Here’s an example:
5-10 minute warm-up (jog, jumping jacks, quick stretch)
Standard burpee with pushup (hold 5-8lb free weights)*
Squat jacks – bending down to touch opposite hand to foot*
(On hands) 4 Plank jacks + 4 side crunches bringing knee to elbow*
Back lunge with simultaneous bicep curl + step up & lift knee to chest. Split half time on right, half on left*
5 minute ab burnout (bicycles)
5 min stretch
(repeat the set of exercises in bold 3 times through)

Get the look:

Incredible by Victorias Secret Sport Bra
I legit could barely do exercises with my feet coming off the ground before I found this sports bra. It is made for high-impact and comes in actual bra sizes. I highly recommend for post-partum OR anyone who needs some extra support! Need. every. color. stat.
Knockout by Victorias Secret Capri
The best black workout capris. Period. They are the good ones that come up justttt high enough to suck everything in! Again, need. every. color. stat.
product photo
Old Navy Go-Dry V-Back Long Sleeve
Nike Women’s Flex Trainer

 I’m somehow just now discovering how amazing the VSX line is at Victoria’s Secret is…who else swears by their sport clothing?  Any other pieces I need?
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Talk so soon!

kaylasignature-06

Bomb Breakfast Burritos

Let me preface this post by saying I do not consider myself a food blogger, a food photographer, or a domestic goddess in the kitchen. In fact, I am quite the opposite & kind of lazy when it comes to cooking. It has to be SIMPLE with a minimal amount of ingredients or it gets overwhelming and I shut down all together. I know it sounds dramatic. When I left for college my parents were actually concerned with how I would survive…much to their surprise, I made it (cue: “look at me now”) 🎧
If this sound like you, then you are in the right place! I will only post meals from time to time that I truly find delicious, healthy-ish, and that are quick & easy to make! I made this burrito in about 5 min, rushing around with a baby staring at me…probably thinking, “what is she even doing?”
I have officially graduated from breakfast sandwiches to breakfast BURRITOS. When I find a clean, easy recipe I tend to wear it out – so right now I’m in a scrambled egg/salsa/avocado burrito phase. So yummy and filling! It’s an entire meal in one tortilla.
I don’t really count macros or calories, esp since I’m breastfeeding & exercising right now, and need to make sure I’m eating enough. My goal is to simply be choosing clean ingredients in what I am making, when I can.  I do know that this burrito has around 30g of protein! If you are looking to cut out some calories or fats, you can remove the cheese, avocado, and/or tortilla for a simple egg scramble. I’m not a fan of giving up food groups – all in moderation. 

Ingredients:
olive oil or non-stick spray
whole wheat tortilla
1/2 avocado
2 eggs
1 cup spinach 
1/4 cup chopped red onion 
1/4 cup skim sharp cheddar 
2 tbsp.tomato salsa 
protein of your choice – I used honey ham, but bacon is awesome too
pepper to taste
*Although more expensive, I try to choose organic ingredients when available and I ALWAYS choose organic, all-natural, antibiotic free, etc, etc, meats. Nature’s Promise is my grocery chain’s organic brand.

Step 1: Scramble two eggs in a bowl with a dash of skim milk

Step 2: Chop red onion & honey ham, separate out spinach and begin to saute in pan with non-stick spray or olive oil

Step 3: Pour eggs on top & scramble into veggies – sprinkle on sharp cheddar & pepper

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Step 4: Warm tortilla in microwave for 20 seconds

Step 5: slice avocado and spread 1/2 onto tortilla

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Step 6: transfer eggs onto tortilla

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Step 7: top with 2 tbsp. organic salsa

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* ENJOY! *
I hope you all had an amazing Mother’s Day & that your weeks are off to a great start!
❤ Kayla

 

 

Achieving Body after Baby: 4 Ways to Mentally Prepare

I think I have referenced the #4thtrimester in more than one post – and let me tell you, it’s no joke. What an awesome, yet strange time for Moms everywhere, both physically and mentally! Not only are you trying to learn how to take care of a tiny baby, but you are trying to feel good in your own skin and stay sane at the same time. I think that this is SO FREAKING IMPORTANT – feeling good about yourself. I can’t do anything when I feel bad about myself. I feel sluggish, lazy, and unmotivated. I am a better Mom when I re-charge with physical fitness.
I’m just starting to get into that #fitmom life post baby. To be completely transparent – I lost ~70% of the weight I gained right away (within 2 weeks) of having Calvin. And from 2 weeks until now (9 weeks) post-partum have literally not lost one more lb. I’m not really concentrating on the scale or cutting calories as I can’t risk affecting milk supply, but I did think those numbers were interesting. I thought it would be more gradual and continual over the course of several months. It reminds me how everyone’s bodies are so different. I can already tell it’s going to take a lot of hard work, and even more patience to get back to where I started.
Outside of the physical challenges, I’m trying to mentally prepare, in order to set myself up for success. Although I’m no expert, I want to publicly talk through my thought process in hopes it helps out even one other mom to know she’s not alone, and to know “you’ve got this.” You can go through the motions all day, but the ongoing mental prep is the hardest part.

I’ve been physically active my whole life – I danced for 2o years, have run 4 half marathons, tried every fitness class in the book, started a corporate fitness bootcamp called @sweat_suits, kept up with my high intensity workouts until 20 weeks pregnant, and just generally enjoy working out. Actually, I just enjoy the benefits of working out and being active. The 2nd half of my pregnancy (20 weeks) plus the recovery time after (6 weeks) is the longest I have probably ever gone with so little activity – so you can see why I’m longing to get back into my old habits…the good ones of course 🙂 Here is what I’m trying to do to get back into the routine. These tips are great for anyone wanting to start a physical fitness routine, definitely not limited to someone who has just had a baby:

Start Slow

I’m more of a 0–>100 (real quick) type of person. Kind of like Calvin when he’s hungry. If I get something in my head I have to do it right then, all the way, no excuses. I once ran a half marathon, rested for weeks, and then decided I need to get back into it, so I ran 5 miles of hills at once. I paid for that one later. I’ve done multiple stupid things like that. So this time I’m starting slow. For example, I’ve had to start with slow walking lunges before I can get back into jumping lunges, and I am walking before I begin to run. If I am too sore or tired to take care of my babe, it defeats the purpose of exercising in the first place. If you’re too sore to work out the rest of the week, it also defeats the purpose.

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Set Realistic Goals and Intentions

This one is huge. I’ve seen so many friends decide to start exercising and set goals like, “I’m going to go to the gym every day!” or “I’m going to give up carbs completely starting tomorrow.” No you aren’t. You are setting yourself up for failure, in the nicest way possible. Start with a few days a week, and make them days you are actually likely to go. For example, don’t say every week day if you know you aren’t replacing HH (happy hour) on Friday for the gym, or if the only thing you want to do on Fridays is get home to your family (don’t we all?) I always do a mix of strength training and cardio on days I go to the gym, but I’m setting a goal of doing this 4 out of 7 days/week, doing outdoor stroller walks or a home workout on the other days… with the intention of re-gaining strength, stamina, and increasing my energy levels throughout the day. I’m being realistic in the sense that I cannot go to the gym every day, with a baby. I’m also not being TOO specific as I want this to be a part of my life long term, not consume it and set myself up to give up. I will re-set my goals and intentions after maternity leave when my schedule changes, in order to stay realistic. img_2308-1 
Don’t Compare

Ah, the old “everyone looks better or cooler than me on social media” game. It’s really easy to compare yourself to people on Instagram who likely only post the best or professional photos of themselves. That’s what Instagram is…a place to share your favorite photos. But it’s not necessarily reality. It’s also easy to compare to people you know, who might be going through the same things as you. Instead of comparing, we should use this as inspiration, create a community, and support one another, especially as new Moms.

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Learning to Love the Process

And what a process it is. It’s going to take time, dedication, and patience to start seeing and feeling changes. Learn to mentally love this process of bettering yourself physically. If you know your family and overall quality of life will improve if you commit to your goals and feel good about yourself, what is there to lose? I’m learning to love the process by knowing I’m doing the best I can, as often as I can. A short or small amount of exercise is better than no exercise. My body will likely never be the same again and I’m honestly okay with that. My body is now responsible for another. Changes on the inside result in changes on the outside, and what a life changing 2 months it’s been.  



Here’s to committing fully, reaching your goals, comparing only to the person in the mirror, and learning to love yourself all over again. Who’s with me?

❤ Kayla


Shop this gym look:

Jacket – Lululemon (similar)

Shoes – Nike (similar)

Leggings – Old Navy

 

Music as Motivation + A playlist for YOU!

Alright my babes (& dudes) – who’s trying to get in shape for Spring & Summer? It’s never too late. I’m obviously just getting back into it this year and let me tell you it is NOT easy starting basically from scratch (more on this later.) Prior to baby, I was diligent and pretty awesome [not to toot my own horn] at making monthly workout playlists that I loved. I used them for both personal use and for teaching my boot camp classes.  I started doing this again and honestly my music has been my life saver in the gym these past few weeks when I’ve needed more than an extra push. 
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I’m here to tell you that if you take the time to make a good, motivating playlist full of jams that you love, it will kick start your workout and keep you going. It’s kind of like a pre-workout without all the chemicals, lol. When I make a REALLY awesome list, I honestly get excited to go workout so that I can listen to it! Dorky huh? If you make playlists you know you love, you’ll spend less time fiddling with your music and more time on your workout. Start here: 

Invest in a Music Service
Gone are the days of napster and limewire (damn) so it may cost to have unlimited tunes. Good news is that the music is much better quality than in 1998 as well. I personally use Spotify, where I can make unlimited playlists, follow others, and I don’t have to download the songs to my phone, which can take up a ton of space. I’ve heard Apple Music is awesome too – I just haven’t made the switch or tried because I am happy with Spotify. Am I so behind on times? LMK if I need to try Apple Music! Yes I pay a monthly fee, but it is worth it for my personal goals to invest in this service.
Identify What Type of Music Motivates YOU
When browsing for music, you’ll slowly start to learn that a certain type of music really gets you going. Whether it’s techno, rap, country, or classical – identify it and fill your que with this type of music. Everyone is different. You’ll see below when I share my playlist that all of the music I listen to is pretty similar.
Follow Others’ Playlists/Stations or Make Your Own
Once you identify the type of music you like best, you can follow playlists of this genre or begin to make your own. I like to name my playlists by either tying to a goal, a time period, or day of the week (ex: Spring Break Jams, April 2016, or Mon/Wed/Fri Mix.) My latest is a combo titled, “Back to Shape – April 2016.” I’m constantly editing throughout the month, and when I wear that playlist out, I just make another. Another perk of unlimited services. If you workout every day, it’s good to set up different lists for different days so they stay fresh.

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Get Your Butt to the Gym
Seriously the hardest part is getting ready and going. Once you’re there, turn on your jams and just start – you will get in a groove and make it happen. Promise!
 

“Back to Shape-April 2016”
Never Forget You – Zara Larson
Sex – Cheat Codes
Drive – Glades
Where You Are (Radio Version) – Hillsong Young & Free
I Took A Pill in Ibiza (SeeB Remix) – Mike Posner
Fast Car (Radio Edit) – Jonas Blue
Light it Up (Remix [feat. Nyla & Fuse ODG]) – Major Lazer
Never Be Like You (feat. Kai) Wave Racer Remix – Flume
Ignition/Do You… (Mashup) – Phoebe Ryan
Come Back to Me – Urban Cone
Kiss Me – Rebel
Rock Bottom – Hailee Steinfeld
Stitches (Seeb Remix) – Shawn Mendes
Work from Home (Workout Mix) – DJ Recess
Wild Things (Workout Mix) – Veronica Jax
Drive (Mt. Eden Remix) – Glades
Her (Loving You) – Glades
Until You Were Gone (Boehm Remix) – The Chainsmokers
Running Out (Sumaraii Remix) – Matoma
Takes My Body Higher (feat. Lincoln Jesser) – Shoffy
Mine (Michael Keenan Remix) – Phoebe Ryan
Roses (The Him Remix) – The Chainsmokers
 
I’d love to share this mix with you! To get this playlist, you can:
  1. Follow me on spotify here 
  2. Go straight to the playlist here
  3. Leave me a comment below with your Spotify name or email and I will send directly to you
  4. Listen below straight from the embedded playlist
Happy Listening & Happy Friday!! I hope you had an amazing weekend and have an inspired week!
❤ Kayla

 

Continue reading Music as Motivation + A playlist for YOU!

Our First Fam Walk + Springtime Activity Guide 

Two weekends ago, we got out for our first family walk since having Calvin (he was 10 days, now he’s 3 weeks)- it was 65 and sunny so we had to take advantage!  We didn’t make it very far due to this recovering mama, and all our pics are super posey in only our apartment complex, but we don’t care, haha. We were just happy to get out of the house and get some fresh air – I’m so excited for more family outings as I begin to feel like myself and the baby gets older.

  ^green smoothie in tow – making some strides towards that #healthylife
  ^cuties!
^ he slept the entire time!
^the black suit strikes again & I seriously need a tan
^super Dad looking super serious

With less than 2 weeks left until the first official day of Spring and temps in the 60’s & 70’s this week, I’ve started thinking about and looking forward to all of the things I want to do this Spring. Last Spring we had just moved here, and shortly after I was entering the first trimester of pregnancy. AKA we had no idea what there was to do around us, and I wasn’t feeling so great most of the time.

Here are a few ideas I’ve put together for this year – I’d also like to hear your ideas or plans for when the weather warms up!

 Dine/Drink on a Patio 

Is there anything better than the combination of food, drinks, and fresh air? I love finding restaurants with nice patios and outdoor accommodations.  Since I’ll be going back to work where I sit in an office all day, this is at the top of my list. I really dislike wasting great weather by being inside, especially on the weekends!

Wine Tastings
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Our area has some really beautiful wineries (Central NJ – who knew?) and last year we got to go to a few. I’m really looking forward to going again and finding a few new tastings to try. It’s generally pretty inexpensive for the tastings, you get a free wine glass, and then you can decide from there if you’d like to buy a bottle (or three.) It’s a great way to try new wine as opposed to buying barefoot every time you go to the grocery. Oh, and you can usually buy specific cheese plates that pair best with each wine. There are not a lot of things I love more than cheese. These are my favorite in our area:

Hopewell Valley Vineyards

Terhune Orchards

Laurita Winery

 Picnic/Photos in the Park

Now that we have a baby, I imagine we will be finding local parks to take walks and get out of the house. I don’t particularly like doing loops around the apartment complex, although sometimes that has to suffice! You could pack a picnic, and take some photos of the scenery, your family, or with friends with use of the natural light. We first did this when coming up with “it’s a boy!” announcement photos. I know, we’re big losers sometimes! 🙂

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Make a few new healthy go-to recipes

I’m a huge advocate for grocery shopping, always having food in the house, and cooking at home. I’ve mentioned in a previous post how much healthier this is both for you and your wallet! I do often find myself making the same things over and over, which long-term can lead to boredom and an increased chance of unhealthy snacking. It’s important to find new, healthy eats on a regular basis and it has become very easy thanks to Pinterest. You do have to set aside time to find them, but then you can just add them to your page and pull up the pin at the store for the ingredient/shopping list. You can follow my food board here. Below are a few recipes I have saved to try soon:

Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad 
 

Veggie Pasta Primavera

Easy Burrito BowlsEasy Burrito Bowls - Skip Chipotle and try these burrito bowls right at home. It's easier, healthier and 10000x tastier!:

Find a Local Coffee Shop

As much as I love my Starbucks, it’s nice to find new local or small business coffee shops. They always have the nicest employees, best menus, and make your drinks look IG worthy. I don’t believe there’s any better way to catch up with a friend on a Saturday or Sunday morning, then over a cup of coffee.

Attend a Baseball Gamephillies

Nothing reminds me of Spring more than a MLB baseball game, a draft Budweiser and a good ole hot dog. My sisters and I grew up going to Reds games with our Dad. Now that we live in NJ, we have a few options for teams in NY and PA, but we are planning on taking Calvin to a Phillies game this Spring. They play the reds in May so we might have to be that family rooting for the visiting team!

Try a New Workout 

As you may have noticed, a large portion of this activity guide is consisting of eating and drinking, so we better offset with something that burns calories! Now that the weather is warming up, it’s a great time to mix it up and get out of your winter treadmill running rut. Name a specialized workout, and I have tried it in an effort to not get burnt out or plateau in my fitness goals. Orange Theory, Barry’s, Pure Barre, CrossFit, Boxing, Cycle Bar, Hot Yoga, Body Pump, Les Mills, and the list goes on. I’m one of those weirdos that actually likes working out, especially if it is a new challenge. Pick something you’ve been wanting to try, and go for it. Most of these “boutique” gyms will let you do your first class free, and then have better rates for your first month. If you get hooked, you’ll have to decide whether the membership fees are worth it to you. I have found in the past that I’ve never regretted investing in workout classes I truly love and bring results. I am also a BIG fan of at-home body weight workouts. I will do a full post on this in the future (if not multiple), but my favorite FREE at-home works are Body Rock TV.  They are hard as shit but so quick and effective!

I’ve really relied heavily on Yelp since relocating, but your opinion on your experience will be most valid. Find the activity or place you want to visit, do some quick research, and then try it out!

Happy [almost] Friday – enjoy your weekends & get out and take advantage of those warmer temps! What is your favorite springtime activity?!

I’ll be writing a post-pregnancy update here soon!

Thanks for reading 💕

Kayla

 

“Get Well Soon” Smoothie Goodness 

First off, you may have noticed that I have added a new menu to the blog : Health & Fitness, which has always been a passion of mine. I didn’t add this section to the blog right away because I slightly fell off the wagon and did not want to give health advice during pregnancy, as I’m still learning myself. Prior to pregnancy and starting “Kayla Marie,” I was an avid fitness nut and bootcamp teacher – more to come on this post-baby 😊

For now, the first post in this section will be a Vitamin C “Get Well Soon” smoothie recipe. 🍹 Turns out the holidays, traveling, planning for baby, have decided to catch up to us this weekend and we’ve been a bit under the weather. This has caused me to pick up an old habit, and one that was much needed…making homemade smoothies. I’m not going to lie– we definitely overdid it over the break with unhealthy eating and holiday indulgences, which is probably another reason we got sick. Note that this smoothie was made with the intention to incorporate a large amount of Vitamin C, calcium, and overall nutrition to help cure us back to health, not for post-workout, weight loss, etc, which are likely different recipes I’ll be posting in the future.

 As long as you have your fruit (frozen or fresh), some juice, and yogurt, proportions aren’t super important, as you really can’t mess this up. The ingredients above are some options, but I didn’t put everything in at once.

“Get Well Soon” Smoothie 

  • 1 cup OJ or fresh fruit juice (you can use skim milk or almond milk as a base as well)
  • 1 container vanilla Greek yogurt (you can use any flavor you’d like)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups Frozen fruit mixture
  • Blend!

Choose your fruit blend based on the type of taste you’d like. For a citrusy taste use pineapple, mangos, oranges. To off-set some of the citrus, use a berry medley. I used both! If you use all fresh fruit, add some ice to give it the cold, icy texture. Frozen fruit will do this on its own. My concoctions usually make about 2 – 16 oz. glasses. Also, I’m weird and like to eat with a spoon…Enjoy!

💕 Kayla