Running My First 5K and Conquering My Fear of Grilling…

I have been so busy recently that I have been neglecting blogging and it makes me sad. But I wanted to do a quick catch-up of my life lately! I’ve been settling into my new apartment quite well; I love having my own space and a nice big kitchen of my own! I had a friend over on Sunday and we fired up my grill for the first time. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous to use this grill for the first time. It was left by the previous tenant, and while it looks pretty new, I had this fear that I would turn the gas on and light it and it would explode. I have lots of irrational fears like this. But I decided that I just needed to try it and it would all be fine. I told my friend I wanted to grill us some lunch, so we made some chicken and veggie skewers…so yummy. I brushed the chicken with pesto and it was delicious. Oh and the grill didn’t explode (of course it didn’t). Now I can’t wait to start grilling all sorts of things!

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I also ran my first 5K race on Saturday! It was the Narragansett Summer Running Festival, which was held at Stonehill. I signed up for it awhile ago because I wanted to challenge myself – I’ve never run a full 5K before, just a mud run (which is basically half running, half climbing and getting dirty). I generally despise running, but I wanted to push myself and I figured running around my alma mater would be a nice distraction from the actual running! Going into the race, I had only run about 2.5 miles outside, so I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to run the whole 3.2 miles. However, I found it to be a lot easier than I thought, and the pretty campus and a great playlist of tunes certainly helped. I ran it in about 36 minutes, so my timing was pretty good! I won’t say I love running now, but perhaps I could be swayed into running another 5K. I enjoyed the rest of the weekend staying on campus and pretending to be a college kid again!

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One of my best friends is getting married this weekend, so I have a busy week ahead of me, but I know it will be a blast! 🙂

New Workout Plan: AA Bikini Body!

At the beginning of December, I decided to buy the Amanda Adams AA Bikini Body program because I needed a new workout plan. I like having a schedule to follow at the gym, otherwise I tend to go and just do the same things or a random assortment of things. It’s a 12 week program, with totally doable workouts and a meal plan, which basically just outlines the calories you should be consuming per day (mine is 1900, so not depriving myself!) and the breakdown of nutrients (protein/carb/fat) to strive for. I’ve been using the MyFitnessPal app to help with this, and I like it because I can put in my own recipes to see the calorie and nutrient breakdown! I am now in Phase 2 of the workouts and love it so far. I can feel and see my muscles getting stronger, and I am sore as I am typing this!

The program was designed by Amanda Adams, a fitness model, and Ander Wilson, a nutritionist. How cute are they??

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Check out Amanda’s website here; I promise you will become obsessed with her. Because besides having an awesome FIT body, she is also extremely down to earth and advocates for a normal approach to eating and working out. Not some insane program where you drink powders for meals and workout 7 days a week, but one that is actually realistic! That’s what I like about the program; the workouts are very do-able with a busy schedule, the calories per day are totally reasonable, and she encourages girls not to deprive themselves of dessert/alcohol/the foods you love! She also does blog posts on her site as well as posts regularly on Facebook and Instagram. If you can’t tell, I love the program, her philosophy on life, and the fact that she is so real about everything. I am in no way affiliated with her or the program (I wish…) but I like to share things that work for me in regards to fitness and nutrition, just in case others are interested as well. 🙂

I am also happy to report that 2015 has been awesome so far! I’ve been hanging out with friends and our new dog, I booked a vacation to South and North Carolina for March, and am really taking time to appreciate all that I have in life. Looking forward to seeing what else 2015 has to offer!

2014: My Blog In Review!

Check out the annual report for my blog…this was the year I started Sequins and Sushi and it was fun to look back on all that I have posted. Enjoy!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 43 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

30 Days of Paleo: Complete!

So I haven’t posted in about two weeks, which feels like forever, due to a crazy whirlwind of school and work and friend/family events. I finished my 30 days of paleo on Oct. 6 and wanted to share my opinions about it. I also finished the Diet Bet challenge…I lost out on winning a share of the “pot” by 1 pound! On the final day of the challenge I weighed 136.4 and needed to be down to 135.4. And of course the next day I weighed 135.2…but it was a fun challenge and I lost 4.6 pounds total; not too shabby! I encourage you to try one out, it was a fun way to kick-start and motivate weight loss.

Now for my reflections on paleo…

Pros: I felt great and had a lot of energy. Obviously I felt this most in the first week or so, since my body was all excited that I wasn’t eating dairy or sugar. I also thought it was a relatively easy thing to follow even when eating out; as long as you can get steak/chicken/fish with veggies, you’re good! It’s not a diet that leaves you forced to get a salad. There were also so many great resources for recipes, so I was able to make a lot of paleo-friendly dinners, desserts, and breakfasts. I also looked much more closely at food labels, and feel like I became more aware of sources of hidden sugars!

Cons: Not sustainable, for me at least. Being a nutrition fanatic, I know that there are a lot of benefits to eating healthy dairy and grains, like yogurt, brown rice, etc. Obviously cutting these out helps you lose weight fast, but I felt like I was missing out on a lot of nutrients. It also was expensive; since it’s mostly meat and veggies, you have to buy a lot of those, as well as nuts, paleo flours (almond and coconut flours), etc. I missed being able to make healthy pasta and rice dishes that made a lot more food for a lot less money! Family/friend gatherings were also hard, since they usually had a lot of un-paleo (but delicious) snacks.

Overall, it was fun to try a new way of eating that wasn’t all about low-calorie or low-carbs. Paleo encourages lots of healthy fats and meat, which I love! But for me, it’s just not something I can sustain in the long run. I did, however, find some new recipes that I enjoyed and will try to incorporate some paleo meals here and there!

For my last paleo meal, I made this simple but delicious meal of broccoli, chicken, garlic, and sweet potato, drizzled with olive oil and baked. Easy but yummy!

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New Obsession: Wrenn Jewelry Rings

I stumbled upon this jewelry brand while ogling over The Northeast Girl’s perfect fall style. (Seriously, go check out her blog. You’ll be obsessed.) I decided to check out the rings and I was instantly adding like 3 of them to my cart. I ended up having to narrow it down to one (#poorgirlproblems) but I wanted to buy just about every color. They are called “druzy” rings; they all have stones that are so glittery and fun! I ended up choosing this one since it’s my birthstone color:

Emerald Green Druzy Statement Ring

 

But I also had my eye on this one (next time…):

PRE-SALE Ivory Opal Druzy Statement Ring - Limited Quantities!

I guess her supply constantly changes, and you can even have one custom made. I can’t wait to see how the emerald one looks and fits, and then I am sure I’ll be back for another…and they are all $30 and under! I also got a coupon code from her site by following her Instagram and liking her Facebook page. She also has bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and more…endless options!

PS Is anyone else like me and has no idea what ring size they are? I found this handy ring sizer from Zales which I printed out to see what size my finger was before buying.

Georgia Roadtrip, Grad School, and Eating Like a Caveman

Hey everyone! So it’s hump day and I have a had a busy weekend and week so far, from my roadtrip to Georgia to adapting to Paleo (two days in and going strong). Here are a few pictures from my weekend; my friend Nykita was a beautiful bride and we had a great time seeing her and visiting Atlanta. It was short lived (and a longggg ride) but a fun roadtrip!

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Such a beautiful bride!

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Pre-wedding selfie!

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The trip would not have been complete without some Southern ribs and a Fat Tire…

…or possibly the largest peach in the world?

My sister is a manager at Dillards in SC…had to take a pic!

I also started grad school yesterday! I am only taking 2 classes since I work full-time, but I am still excited to get started. I am taking Experimental Study of Foods and Management of Food and Nutrition Services, both of which will come in handy as a dietitian (and just in the kitchen)!

Yesterday also marked day 1 of Paleo, which has been going quite well. I made frittatas for breakfast (recipe in the next post), Paleo-ized my salad for lunch, and had chicken skewers with broccoli for dinner at the bar. Tonight I am making sausage and sweet potatoes with peppers and onions!

Made my usual salad of spring mix, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, and avocado while swapping walnuts and bacon for my usual feta and croutons. Was delicious with balsamic and olive oil!

Thanks for reading 🙂

What the Heck is Paleo?

So I have decided to do 100% paleo for 30 days starting Sept. 9 (the first day of the DietBet challenge!) I debated the Whole 30 but I think it’s wayyyyyy too advanced to start with. At least with paleo I can still have some sugars (honey, coconut sugar) and some alcohol (but no beer 😦 my life will be a little sad). I have already begun printing and pinning lots of delicious recipes, and I’m getting really excited! But I have been asked:

“What the heck is paleo?”

Good question! I too had to google the basics of what it entails. The Ultimate Paleo Guide so adequately describes it in 140 characters: “Paleo is real real food that helps your body perform to it’s optimal capacity by eating veggies, meats, fruits, nuts & seeds.”

Basically, you eat like a caveman. Which doesn’t sound terrible! All the meat, veggies, fruit, and nuts you want? Sign me up. The hard part is getting rid of the grains, processed foods, dairy, and refined sugars. In today’s society, we have gotten so used to these things being an essential part of our diets that we don’t even realize how much we consume. I mean, there’s sugar in KETCHUP. Salad dressings. It’s everywhere! Luckily, I have 11 days left before I completely paleo-fy myself. This gives me time to make some of my favorite pasta, rice, and cheesy recipes while also cleaning out all the non-paleo things from my cupboard.

You may be wondering why I am trying this whole paleo thing, since I eat pretty healthy anyways. There are two reasons:

1.) I am doing the DietBet challenge in an attempt to kick-start my flat stomach mission (and perhaps unearth my abs, wherever they may be hiding), and I know that paleo is a great way to lean out. Why else would CrossFitters do it?

2.) I am looking for a way to become “even healthier,” which I know paleo can help me do. It does involve a lot of restriction, but not just to lose weight; rather, it forces you to eat clean, natural foods that you SHOULD be eating. Also, everyone who has tried it says it makes them feel amazing and full of energy. I want that!

You may also be thinking that I am nuts and can’t do this forever. The truth is, I don’t plan to! I am excited to go all in for 30 days and see how I look/feel, but after that time I may decide I want to ease some grains/dairy back into my diet. I know a lot of people do paleo 80% of the time and use the other 20% to eat some non-paleo (but still healthy) things. Because some of the foods that are non-paleo are still good for you!

So here are some of the recipes I’m excited to try!

Italian Sausage and Sweet Potato

Italian Sausage with Sweet Potato

Crock Pot Cashew Chicken

You’ve Got to Try This Paleo Taco Pie

Taco Pie

Chocolate Brownie Bites

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Proscuitto-Wrapped Mini Frittata Muffins

See, eating like a caveman doesn’t have to be boring! 🙂

And for all my friends who are panicking thinking I can’t drink…here’s a paleo drinking cheat sheet (thanks to PCOS and Paleo!)

Paleo and Alcohol...if you just cannot give it up