Tuesday, April 28, 2015

You've Probably Heard....


Come visit and subscribe to my new blog lifestyle/fitness blog! Can we still be friends? I hope, I hope! :D

Cheers and see you on the other side!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

I'm Having A Baby!....Kind of...

Okay not THAT kind of baby but.... still the kind of baby that still makes you cry and wake up in the middle of the it okay? Is it developing properly? I hope I don't mess it least this one won't vomit in my mouth?

I hereby announce my new baby....GYM & TONIC! My new bloggy blog!! I recently bought my own domain, snagged some hosting and all that jazz to start fresh. As a new parent to this blog that will be more so centered on fitness (but still a lifestyle blog), I'm so excited for its official launch as its still in its infant design stages. As some of you have already done this transition from Blogger to Wordpress, I hope I don't lose you guys! To make sure that doesn't happen, here's a link to start following it via Bloglovin'!

Gym & tonic

For the official launch, I'll be hosting a giveaway to celebrate (and of course not to bribe you guys to switch over to my snazzy new blog at all because that would be wrong). That being said, I can't wait until everything is how I want it, logo and all. There will be many more nights with this in front of me...

WordPress is amazeballs when it comes to customizing so of course I'm drowning in coding and various plug-ins so everything is perfect and my eyes are glazed over. Last night, I also thought I was in the Matrix...#codingproblems.

It's bittersweet to leave The Rant behind, but it's time to move onward and upward and expand my audience with this new project! I hope to see you there in about a week! Cheers to new beginnings!!

If anyone else has made this transition before, feel free to shout out some tips! Aside from keeping a full stock of liquor in the cabinet.... :)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fitness Friday: Beast Mode

So you guys, I promised I would keep you updated with my Advocare 24-Day Challenge results and it's about time I do it! I have about a week left of the Max Phase! Mind you I've had a couple slip-ups here and there but hey, who doesn't? I indulged in a glass of wine or maybe some Reese's eggs from Easter (because obviously) but the key is to not overdo it and to keep everything else in check (i.e. workouts, hydrating and keeping up with those damn supplements). I'm definitely not used to taking so many pills. I feel like Lindsey Lohan in her rehab days. Although once the afternoon is over, it's pretty much smooth sailing. I gained one pound in this phase and ya know what? I'll take it. The results I've been seeing measurements wise is what I've definitely been noticing and I'm amping up my weights game at the gym.

The before photo on the left was before starting the challenge (and before my birthday tattoo ha) and the after is my bod as of today.

 Measurements aside, I feel AWESOME. I constantly feel energized and even after a treacherous day at work, I still have enough oomph in my step to work it out each day. I've been mixing cardio with weights every other day and giving myself one rest day. I'm also digging the slight color I'm seeing thanks to seeing some flippin' sun lately around Chicagoland!

While meal replacement shakes were an option for breakfast during the cleanse phase, it's mandatory during the max phase. Had I known this, I would have rationed my favorite mint chocolate brownie replacement shakes...the chocolate isn't nearly as good but still tastes alright.

And any hubby who massages my feet after a long run is a keeper amiright??? He's been so supportive. You can't ask for anything more! Okay maybe a few more minutes longer on that foot massage.... ;)

The best thing about this challenge is that it really doesn't make you schedule your day according to what you need to do in order to stay on task with it. For a busy person such as myself, this was a huge factor.

Here are some tips I've found to be useful for me!
  • Keep a huge water bottle by you throughout the day so you just mindless reach for it.
  • Don't be a cardio hog, lift as well.
  • Hire a motivator (friend, hubs, etc...) they've kept tabs on me which has motivated me to keep up with my training.
  • Create a rewards system for yourself that doesn't involve food! (i.e. new workout gear or a new dress that you're DYING to get.)
  • Take progress pics. This has made me be more self-aware of where I'm at and where I want to be.
  • Read fitness-related material and follow other fitness-focused people on social media to keep your fitness goals in check and on the brain! 
  • Allow yourself to still eat what you're craving, but think about how much you want it first and don't overindulge. Eat until you're satisfied, not until your skinny jeans need to be unbuttoned.

I hope everyone else has a happy Friday and gets to see their favorite people this weekend! I know I am!! Cheers!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Weekending

I need to start off this post saying that it was my daddio's 70th birthday on Thursday! I love him so much. He's taught me everything I know and has always been my greatest mentor. He's the best. #1 Dad right here.

NOW, this Easter weekend kicked off with my Chicago Quarter Marathon race! I was quite nervous since I woke up with a big stomach issue, but I SOMEHOW made it through without stopping, puking all over the course AND getting a PR post having bronchitis!! Can I get an amen?!

My race bud and I met up (not at the crack of dawn this time) at Soldier Field where the race kicked off. Although the wind was definitely chilly, the sun was out and we were ready to rock!

This was one of the smaller races I've done, but it was very well-organized and the medals were awesome! Sometimes I favor smaller races over the ones where thousands participate just because you tend to run into less issues and people not following runner etiquette... (i.e. stopping right in the middle of the trail!) The Easter Bunny was even there at the finish line. I mean seriously, how awesome is that?

My race bud set a record herself and so we celebrated with a million post-race selfies. Because obviously.

We stuck around for quite awhile just hanging around and got to see the last of the participants cross the finish line. I love cheering people on as they cross. Sometimes you can just tell it's their first longer distance run by the look on their face and how big of a goal it was to finish. Love, love. By the time I got home, I couldn't wait to shower and chill. By the look of it, you would think Luigi just ran 6.5 miles....

I'm also currently in Advocare's "Max Phase" and it's definitely rough getting used to taking all of these supplements. Thanks to the plethora of mimosas and ham I consumed over definitely threw off my normal weigh-in. So ya know what? I didn't do it bahaha. Prior to the Easter madness, my results were one belt notch down and -5.5lbs. I've noticed though that if I DO eat something "bad" (i.e. chips or something high in fat) my stomach definitely turns on me. I'm not sure if that's just because I've avoided such foods for quite some time or because of the supplements.

Did everyone else have a great Easter weekend?!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Challenge Accepted

So I decided that I needed to ramp up my fitness game so I chose to first do the Cleanse phase of Advocare's overall 24-Day Challenge. The whole challenge is split into two phases the first being the cleanse phase and the second being the max phase.

Here's the essential loot!

The meal replacement shake is optional, but if you're constantly looking for a quick breakfast solution, this takes the guess work out of it. Oh and did I mention that this limited edition flavor pretty much tastes like ground up thin mints? I almost cried when they sold out and was notified that they usually don't restock for a year!!! Advocare...please help a girl out and restock more asap.

While it's called the "cleanse phase" what I like about is that you're not drinking breakfast, lunch and dinner and spending the majority of your day on a toilet seat. This whole program teaches you how to eat with its pamphlet it comes with to make sure you're getting protein, a complex carb and fruits/veggies everyday in addition to having the supplements and drinks when needed.

In the herbal cleanse box you'll find a bunch of supplements to be taken before meals and before bed in addition to a fiber drink that is to be taken each morning on certain days (not fun). If you have issues swallowing large pills then you might run for cover with this, but it's definitely worth braving it out. The supplements overall help increase your metabolism, absorb nutrients and assist in weight control.

The Advocare Spark drink mix comes in many flavors, although the pink lemonade flavor is UH-mazing. I'm a coffee person in the morning and with this, I've been able to kick it out of my morning routine since it gives me so much energy. The program requires you to take it 30 minutes before breakfast.

I've been following the program diligently and with working out every day since starting the program, I've lost nearly 5lbs. Not so shabby since it's only been a few full days! My workouts consist of switching between running and strength training with free weights or kettlebells.

 Getting to the gym has been SO much easier these days thanks to my new Nike Frees too! (See above). They're electric pink wonderfulness and I feel like an unstoppable unicorn in beast mode whenever I wear them. I really needed to get separate shoes for when I strength train and for when I run and I definitely made the right choice with these! The support in the heel is great and if you have ridiculously narrow feet like I do, these are PERFECT.

ANYWAY back to Advocare's also recommends that you take your weight and divide it by two in order to figure out how many fluid ounces of water you should be drinking each day. This is ALWAYS a challenge for me, but just filling up a giant water bottle and having it on my desk throughout the day helps.

As I'm about halfway through the cleanse phase, I'm feeling soooo good. I have energy throughout the whole day and I'm not starving! The program does frown upon alcohol consumption (yes I've managed to control myself thus far), sugars, fried foods, simple carbs etc...ya know pretty much all of the obvious things that aren't bikini body-friendly.

I wasn't planning on doing the full 24-Day Challenge, but after seeing such great results already and my body's response to to this phase of the program, I've decided to opt in for the max phase! And really, the only items you REALLY need to keep down the cost is the MNS 3 pack that's filled with more supplements you take for the remaining days and make sure you have enough of the Spark energy mix. There's other products you can take to assist in your weight loss too such as Carb-ease, that wards off carbs if you're a carbovore like myself.

The cleanse phase overall costs around $85 or so not including the meal replacement shake which in my personal opinion is SO worth it if you compare it to the cost of other programs for weight loss. I'll be writing up another post at the end of the cleanse phase as well!

So because I feel the need to amp up my "hey this shiz works"'s a before and after photo....the before photo was in February...I know it's dark...but really it was a blessing...I was packing on some pounds since the wedding and NOT happy....despite the drink in my hand. I can claim that it was a bad angle all I want, but damn....

The photo on the right was this morning. Now of course I must stress that I absolutely don't slack when it comes to exercise and these results weren't purely from the Advocare cleanse phase. Good old hard work in progress.

Has anyone else done the Advocare program or anything else that's similar? Shout it out!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Calling All Reading Addicts! Book Giveaway!

So I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum to review thanks to 20SB and Penguin Publishing House. Disclaimer, I was compensated for this review, but I always need to keep it real when reviewing the books I read. ANYWHO, below is a quick synopsis of the book you can find on the author's website here.

Anna Benz, an American in her late thirties, lives with her Swiss husband, Bruno—a banker—and their three young children in a postcard-perfect suburb of Z├╝rich. Though she leads a comfortable, well-appointed life, Anna is falling apart inside. Adrift and increasingly unable to connect with the emotionally unavailable Bruno or even with her own thoughts and feelings, Anna tries to rouse herself with new experiences: German language classes, Jungian analysis, and a series of sexual affairs she enters with an ease that surprises even her.

But Anna can’t easily extract herself from these affairs. When she wants to end them, she finds it’s difficult. Tensions escalate, and her lies start to spin out of control. Having crossed a moral threshold, Anna will discover where a woman goes when there is no going back.

Intimate, intense, and written with the precision of a Swiss Army knife, Jill Alexander Essbaum’s debut novel is an unforgettable story of marriage, fidelity, sex, morality, and most especially self. Navigating the lines between lust and love, guilt and shame, excuses and reasons, Anna Benz is an electrifying heroine whose passions and choices readers will debate with recognition and fury. Her story reveals, with honesty and great beauty, how we create ourselves and how we lose ourselves and the sometimes disastrous choices we make to find ourselves.

It took me a little while to get through this book, although it was interesting how the author wrote the book by skipping throughout periods of time when she was with her psychologist, her past lover and the present. At times it got a little confusing since this would happen abruptly and right in the middle of the page, but I feel like it also spoke to Anna's character. Her mind was all over the place and unfocused...she really didn't know what she wanted and she was ambivalent toward seemingly everything aside from her children. The whole book revolved around Anna and her struggle with herself and lack of feeling, in not only her relationship with Bruno but her life as a whole. I must say I've never been so frustrated with a character, but I related to her in the effect that she dug herself into such a deep hole instead of just being honest with herself and everyone around her to solve the problem. The book was ultimately about Anna's journey coming into consciousness, yet I felt her character remained so stagnant throughout the whole book until she finally had no choice but to finally wake up. Although I didn't care for the plot of the story too much, the overall message and moral of it is one to take to heart.

Enter the giveaway for a free copy of Hausfrau courtesy of Penguin Publishing House! The book's release was officially yesterday, March 17th. Good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway