Fresh Tastes at California Pizza Kitchen (Review)

I attended a tasting of California Pizza Kitchen’s new menu items on behalf of Tampa Bay Bloggers. California Pizza Kitchen gave me a complimentary meal in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

I have to preface this review by saying that I am not a big fan of chain restaurants. One of the reasons why is that there seems to be a lack of healthier options. And if there is something on the healthier side it is typically an uninspired chicken, rice and vegetable dish. California Pizza Kitchen has recognized this and in turn they are turning over a new leaf this Fall. They have added new dishes to their menu that are not only healthy, but also seasonally inspired. No bland food here! California Pizza Kitchen California Pizza Kitchen in Tampa invited myself and other bloggers to a tasting so we could check out the NEW California Pizza Kitchen. Unfortunately, I had some kind of weird stomach bug the day of the tasting so I had to back out. But luckily I was able to come back a few days later and still enjoy a tasting! First things first…drinks! California Pizza Kitchen California Pizza Kitchen I love me a good cocktail. I was able to try the new Blood Orange Sangria, the Blueberry Ginger Smash and a third that unfortunately I forget the name of. It was my least favorite though, so that may be why! My favorite was the sangria. It was light, sweet and refreshing. Now to the food glorious food… Harvest Kale Salad California Pizza Kitchen I loved seeing this salad. I usually don’t order salads out because they’re borrr-ing. Not this one! With my favorite green as the star, faro, roasted butternut squash, pear, cranberries, pecans, goat cheese and citrus vinaigrette this salad was packed full of flavor. Roasted Garlic Chicken Crispy-skin chicken breast in lemon-garlic sauce with hearth-roasted fingerling potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and Mediterranean herbs. California Pizza Kitchen Overall this was a great dish. The chicken was a bit too salty for my taste and I wish there were more Brussels sprouts because I love them so! Hearth Roasted Halibut Wild caught halibut from the Aleutian Islands, roasted on a cedar plank with butternut squash faro, baby kale and grilled asparagus. California Pizza Kitchen This was my favorite main dish. Halibut is meatier fish, so paired with the butternut squash faro this was a nice, hearty dish. It was light, tasty and satisfying. I also loved how California Pizza Kitchen has incorporated faro into some of their new dishes. It’s not a grain you see on a lot of menus and it’s not to have something outside of the norm. Fire-Grilled Ribeye 12oz USDA choice ribeye grilled with housemade Pinot Noir sea salt and topped with creamy bleu cheese butter. Served with roasted fingerling potatoes and lemon arugula salad. California Pizza Kitchen Mmm, mama loves a good steak. I’m totally a meat and potatoes kinda gal so I was into this dish as well. The steak was cooked perfectly and had great flavor. The butter on top was tasty, but I could have lived without it. Pumpkin Cheesecake California Pizza Kitchen Self explanatory! One of my favorite desserts is cheesecake and I love pumpkin everything so this dessert was perfection to me. The menu isn’t the only thing that has gotten a face lift at California Pizza Kitchen. Check out their new digs! California Pizza Kitchen California Pizza Kitchen The new décor definitely gives California Pizza Kitchen a less “chain” look and more of an authentic vibe. California Pizza Kitchen The Tampa location is one of a small handful of restaurants that is trying out California Pizza Kitchen’s new concept. From what I saw and tasted I hope it moves to all of the other locations! Do you dine at California Pizza Kitchen? Have you tried the new menu items?

My Beauty Routine (Review of Valentia Even Glow Serum)

Disclaimer: I was offered a complimentary bottle of Valentia Even Glow Serum in exchange for a blog post review. All opinions are my own.

In part of following a healthy lifestyle, I don’t just watch what I put into my body, but I also pay careful attention to what I put on my body. I prefer to use makeup, lotions and potions where the majority of the ingredients are all natural. Of course, there are some exceptions (what girl doesn’t drool over MAC eye shadow?), but for the most part the makeup and beauty products I use have limited ingredients.

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Here’s a look into what goes on my face every day. I’m a very simple girl when it comes to maintenance…I’ve always said “If I can’t do it in 5 minutes I don’t want to do it”. So yes, my whole makeup routine takes about 5 minutes :)

First, I start with Valentia Even Glow Serum, which is a Vitamin C serum that I just started using a few weeks ago. Truthfully, I was a little skeptical about this product making any difference in my skin. I don’t consider myself to have any skin issues, but wanted to give it a try since now that I’m in my late 20s I want to keep me skin nice and healthy!

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Well, this product proved me wrong, thankfully! I’ve been putting a pea sized amount on my face and neck for about 2 weeks now and I definitely see a difference in my skin’s texture, brightness and clarity. My skin feels smoother, softer and seems to have more of an even skin tone. In addition it has a great citrus smell to it and has 98% natural ingredients including Vitamin C, Green Tea Extract and Organic Rosehip Oil. I’m definitely keeping this serum in my beauty routine and am so glad to have been offered the chance to try it!

So after the serum I use Apivita Aqua Vita 24 Hour Moisturizer and Apivita Aqua Vita 24 Hour Moisturizing Eye Cream. I love how airy light this moisturizer and eye cream is and have been using them for a few years. Apivita’s products have 98% natural ingredients and are free of parabens, silicons and fragrance.

After moisturizer I use a small pump of bareMinerals Prime Time to even out any lines and to give a smooth surface for my foundation.

For foundation I use bareMinerals Original SPF 15 Foundation. I have tried other foundations in the past, but always come back to this one. In the Florida humidity it is impossible for me to use liquid foundation. It feels too heavy and cakey. So this powder is perfect and has great coverage.

Then on goes the eye shadow, which currently is Stila’s Kitten. I like having a natural everyday look so will usually go with nude eye shadow colors. I like this one because it has a bit of a shimmer. (Right before I took this photo I dropped my beloved eye shadow and it went EVERYWHERE. *sigh*)

For mascara I use bareMinerals Flawless Definition Mascara and top it with bareMinerals Locked and Coated Waterproof Lash Top Coat. When I bought this I was told this was better than using regular waterproof mascara.

To finish it off I brush on bareMinerals Stroke of Light. I cannot tell you how many different under eye concealers I tried before this. I was never happy with anything…they never had enough coverage, were too heavy and they’d constantly crease so I’d be fixing it all day. I love this eye brightener and will use it forever. It covers my horrible dark circles and is water based so it’s very light and feels like nothing.

What are your favorite beauty products?

 

 

A Step Into Italia

My two favorite cuisines are Mexican and Italian…very different I know.

I really fell in love with Italian culture when I was in college and took a 3 week trip to Sicily. Most of the day was spent in a small conference room with our professor teaching us Italian. The rest of the day was spent exploring churches, monuments, etc. I wish I could remember the names of all of the beautiful places we saw…what did I remember? The food of course! The pasta, the pizza, the pastries, the gelato, the espresso…my favorite pizza while I was there was eggplant and prosciutto…kind of hard to come by here in FL. The same goes for fresh breads, pastries and really good espresso.

La Casa del Pane

Until now…there’s a small Italian café and bakery on St. Pete Beach that I have only been to once in the past 6 years. But I’ll be going a lot more often now! La Casa del Pane used to be located next to a not so delicious Italian restaurant in a building that was easy to miss. They recently moved up Gulf Blvd to a bigger, brighter space. Jon and I had breakfast there earlier this week before I had to go into work.

La Casa del Pane

Have you ever seen a more beautiful sight in the morning?

We both had a macchiato (mine a single and his a double). And each had the ham, egg and cheese sandwich on a roll. And we shared an almond croissant.

La Casa del Pane

Everything was fresh and delicious. The bread was soft with a crunchy crust and the croissant was sweet and flakey.

La Casa del Pane

La Casa del Pane has a variety of pastries, cookies, breads and pizzas. They make fresh sandwiches and salads as well. There are plenty of Italian grocery items as well if you’re looking for a good olive oil or some hard to find Italian brands (Kinder anyone?) If you’re dining in there’s an espresso bar or a long community table where you can read the morning paper or people watch. There’s also outside seating for whenever we get some cooler days here.

La Casa del Pane

Later that same day Jon tagged along with me to a networking event at Wonderland Floral Art and Gift Loft. I didn’t even know this place existed, but I’m so glad I know now! It’s located in a building across the street from the famous Mazzaro’s Italian Market. Wonderland is a florist and gift shop combined. They have a lot of cute gifts…keeping this in mind for Christmas gifts!

Wonderland Floral Art and Gift Loft

Wonderland Floral Art and Gift Loft

Wonderland does flowers for any kind of special event or you can pick up an arrangement if you just like having fresh flowers in the house. But their specialty? Arrangement classes! Yes, they do monthly classes where one of their florists walks you through how to make your own beautiful floral arrangement and then you get to take it home. How fun!

After a yummy dinner catered by Mazzaro’s (chicken, mashed potatoes, Cesar salad and cannoli’s) we were taken through the steps on how to make our very own Fall floral arrangement.

Wonderland Floral Art and Gift Loft

Wonderland Floral Art and Gift Loft

Wonderland Floral Art and Gift Loft

As we went through each step we were told about each flower and greenery that we were using, it’s characteristics and how to best handle it. Very informative!

Wonderland Floral Art and Gift Loft

Our finished product!

Wonderland Floral Art and Gift Loft

Jon and I are definitely not pros, but we had a lot of fun making our arrangement. I definitely want to come back and do another one!

Do you have a favorite Italian café you like to go to?

Have you ever made your own floral arrangement?

iPhone 6 & 6+ (Review)

Disclaimer: I was asked by AT&T if I would like a sneak peak at the new iPhone 6 and 6+ in exchange for writing a review. I was not compensated for this blog post. All opinions are strictly my own.

Are you an Apple nerd like I am?? I don’t know what it is about Apple products, but I am an Apple girl through and through. The sleek, shiny look of their products, the ease of use, the new wave technology…I just love them. Jon and I have a Mac notebook, we both have iPads and we both have iPhones.

I am almost embarrassed that I still have an iPhone 4…the dinosaur of iPhones. But (knock on wood) it is still working pretty great…a little slow at times…but still working! As soon as I heard the iPhone 6 was coming out I vowed to upgrade once it was available.

Luckily I had the opportunity to get an exclusive look at the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ and see the new upgraded phone in all it’s glory.

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My first reaction? The iPhone 6+ is HUGE compared to previous phones. I’m personally not a fan of this as I like a smaller sized phone rather than a tablet sized phone. The iPhone 6 is thankfully a bit smaller, although still a bit bigger than the 5 and 4.

There are lots of new features…this is definitely a better upgrade than the iPhone 5 and 5s. Better camera quality, cool new video features, more space, lighter, bigger screen and more. For a full rundown on the new features check out Apple’s website.

One of my favorite new features? The Health app.

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It’s like a fitness tracker, but no need for a wristband! It tracks your steps, sleep pattern, heart rate, calories, etc. Love!

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Now I’m even more excited to upgrade. I was thinking of just getting the iPhone 5 (at hopefully a lower price since it’s now an older model), but the iPhone 6 is so bright and shiny and new I’m not sure now. Will have to see what my cell provider can offer!

Thank you AT&T for letting me check out the iPhone 6 and 6+!

Do you have an iPhone 6 or 6+? What do you think?

Take Care of YOU – One Step Closer to the Cure Recap

It’s not something you ever expect or want to hear…that your friend has cancer.

Last month one of my close friends found out she had a tumor on her ovary. She had surgery to remove it and I thought that was that. She was told there was a chance it could be cancerous, but I was positive it was going to be benign and that my friend could go about her life.

A few days later I had a message from my friend’s mom saying to call back because they got the results back and my friend was very upset. My heart began to race. What does this mean? I thought she’d be ok? As soon as I got on the phone with them the dreaded words were spoken. “The tumor was cancerous.”

I tried to hold back tears as I took a breathe and started rattling off questions…what happens next? What stage is it? Will she need chemo?

Luckily, the cancer was caught early. She was stage 1. And the type of ovarian cancer she had was a rare form that responded well to chemo (if she needed it).

It has been a tough month to say the least, but I believe in my friend and know she will come out of this stronger than ever.

Before she went to the doctor my friend had been complaining of stomach pain, had a lack of energy and had digestion issues she couldn’t explain. She thought maybe it was something she ate or that it was stress related. But when nothing would let up she went to the doctor, where they gave her an ultrasound and found the tumor.

We all live such busy lives that it’s easy to write off any symptoms we may have. And more than likely our symptoms are nothing…but there is always a chance that they could be something. I like to joke that I’m a hypochondriac and I go to the doctor whenever I feel that something is off with my body. Because you’re better safe than sorry, right? So here’s my PSA to you: Don’t ignore any symptoms you have. If you don’t feel right, go to the doctor and get checked out.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer:

  • Persistent abdominal bloating, indigestion or nausea
  • Changes in appetite, often a loss of appetite or feeling full sooner
  • Feelings of pressure in the pelvis or lower back
  • Needing to urinate more frequently
  • Changes in bowel movements
  • Increased abdominal girth
  • Feeling tired or low energy

On a similar note, about 5 years ago my gynecologist discovered an ovarian cyst during my annual exam. It was as big as a grapefruit and I had to have surgery to remove it. It had destroyed my right ovary and they had to remove that as well. Cysts are pretty common in women and usually there are symptoms that go along with having a cyst, but I had none (which is surprising since it was so big). Luckily, my journey ended after it was removed. But all the same this is a good reminder to get your annual exam even if you think you are healthy.

This past Saturday was the Celma Mastry Foundation One Step Closer to the Cure Walk/Run in St. Pete. This is a race I’ve wanted to do in the past, but this year it meant even more to me to be there. Not only to support my friend, but the many other women who have been through ovarian cancer.

My friend Ashley and I did the 1 mile walk. We started at Albert Whitted Park, walked past the Dali and turned around near the St. Pete Yacht Club.

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I ran into a handful of other friends who had run the 5k and the 10k in support of the cause or in support of someone they knew.

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I loved the shirts and medals they gave out…so colorful!

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After the walk we went to brunch at Cassis.

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Mimosas!

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And my favorite brunch dish at Cassis…Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Ragout.

It was a great morning and I was so glad to have been able to support a wonderful cause.

For more information about ovarian cancer and the Celma Mastry Foundation visit http://ovariancancerfoundation.org/

Turning 28

Welp, this post is a few weeks late, but I had such a great birthday that I still felt the need to share!

My birthday is on August 27, but I celebrated the Saturday before with some close friends. Last year I went all out with a ’90s themed bar crawl. This year I wanted to just do something low key and enjoy time with friends.

Jon’s sister Tori and our friend Nick came up from Cape Coral to join in the festivities. So the day started off with us getting lunch on St. Pete Beach at Rick’s Reef. $3 Bloody Marys and house made smoked salmon made for an amazing meal! Before we headed back home we stopped at Toasted Monkey for a birthday shot.

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Cheers!

I wanted to get fancy for our night out so my friend Ashley and I made appointments at a new blow bar that just opened near downtown St. Pete, called Nouvelle. What a great experience!

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We both got blow outs from the head stylist, Olivia, who was great. I wasn’t sure what she could do with my short hair, but I ended up leaving feeling like a bombshell!

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Oh yes, and when you get a blow out you also get a complimentary drink. Cheers again!

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I’ll definitely be back to Nouvelle. I love the idea of a blow bar, where you can get a quick hair style for a special night out. They also do manicures and pedicures. The staff was very friendly and I loved the welcoming feeling of the salon.

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After we were done at Nouvelle, Ashley and I made our way to Boca in Tampa for my birthday dinner.

I have been to Boca a few times and it’s one of my favorite restaurants in Tampa Bay. Their food is fresh and local and delicious. We had a party of 14 and our waitress was amazing. She had great energy and kept up with our food and drink orders so everything moved along smoothly.

Jon and I shared the marrow bone appetizer, which is ah-mazing.

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For an entrée I went with the short ribs, which was glorious.

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After dinner I wanted to check out the new Epicurean Hotel and their rooftop bar. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite what I expected. The rooftop bar was very dark and there wasn’t much of a grand view. And even though we got there early in the evening there was still a crowd at the bar. Oh and I forgot that it was AUGUST and it was H-O-T. Once we all had a drink in hand we headed back downstairs and found a nice sitting area to hang out in. Much better! Good news: the drinks were great!

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All in all it was an amazing birthday. I couldn’t have asked for more than spending a wonderful day and night with great friends, food and drinks!

Cupcake Tasting at Sweet Tooth Cakery *Giveaway*

*Disclaimer: Sweet Tooth Cakery invited myself and other bloggers to their shop for a cupcake tasting. Writing about our experience was not required and I was not compensated for this post.

Sweet Tooth Cakery. This place already knows me oh so well. I have always had a big sweet tooth. Cookies, cupcakes, cake…gimme gimme!

sweet tooth cakery

So when I had the opportunity to participate in a cupcake tasting at Sweet Tooth Cakery in Tampa, I was all. over. it.

sweet tooth cakery

Yes, indeed.

Our purpose of the night was to taste test three new cupcake flavors that Sweet Tooth Cakery was thinking of adding to their menu. We were given rating cards so that we could rate each cupcake for it’s taste and presentation.

sweet tooth cakery

As soon as we walked in we were greeted with a special treat to start off the night…a birthday cake milkshake! So glad this was mini…if it was any bigger I would have slurped the whole thing down and had no room for cupcakes.

sweet tooth cakery

We took our seats and the treats started to flow.

Cupcake #1: Kahlua Biscoff Crunch

sweet tooth cakery

This was my favorite right off the bat. Full of chocolate flavor and the icing was rich and creamy.

Cupcake #2: Sweet Potato Pie

sweet tooth cakery

This was the main favorite of the rest of the group. I was looking for a bit more sweet potato flavor, but overall this was still delicious. The icing had a marshmallowy texture and taste, making it reminiscent of a beloved Thanksgiving side.

Cupcake #3: Chicken and Waffles

sweet tooth cakery

By far the most creative cupcake flavor I’ve ever had. This one was a little too sweet for my taste, but with the maple flavor of the cake and frosting, plus the bacon and piece of fried chicken they definitely pulled it off.

After the cupcakes we were told that there was one surprise dessert in store for us. And as we waited we were treated with a S’mores Iced Latte…delish!

sweet tooth cakery

What was the surprise dessert?

sweet tooth cakery

A cookie cup!

sweet tooth cakery

The first cookie cup in Tampa Bay to be exact. Served with almond milk, this was mmm mmm good.

As if that wasn’t enough we were given one more dessert to take home. Bourbon Banana Pudding Cheesecake. This was amazing!

sweet tooth cakery

We were also given a parting gift of a tub full of goodies! This place was like the Oprah of bakeries.

sweet tooth cakery

I am fully in love with Sweet Tooth Cakery and this is definitely going to be one of my new favorites places to stop by for a sweet treat or for a special occasion.

sweet tooth cakery

sweet tooth cakery

They have a variety of cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, ice cream and more.

sweet tooth cakery

They are also know for their milkshakes and flavored lattes. You can basically create your own latte with any flavor they have…think red velvet, almond joy, hazelnut…anything!

sweet tooth cakery

You guys HAVE to check this place out. And to make sure you do, I’m giving away a $20 gift certificate to the Sweet Tooth Cakery in Tampa. Perfect if you have a celebration coming up, or are just in the need for a sweet treat.

To enter, leave a comment telling me what your favorite sweet treat is. I will announce a random winner on Thursday, August 21, 2014.

Good luck!

Edit: The winner is Tammy! Congrats Tammy! Please email me your address at afullplateblog@yahoo.com and I will mail your gift certificate to you.

 

 

My Orangetheory Experience

So what am I doing now that I’ve hoped off the CrossFit train? Orangetheory!

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I have heard about Orangetheory quite a bit over the past few years and have always wanted to try a class, but just have never gotten around to it. Once I knew I was serious about switching up my fitness regimen I finally walked into my local Orangetheory to get the full low down.

The staff was very nice right off the bat. They walked me through the studio and gave a full explanation of how classes and membership work.

For those who are unfamiliar with Orangetheory it is an hour long class that combines cardio and strength exercises. They equip you with a heart rate monitor and have a screen set up in the studio so that you can see your current heart rate and what percentage of your heart rate you are working in. There are four zones: blue, green, orange and red. Blue is low, green is moderate, orange is high performance and red is all out. For the majority of the class you are encouraged to stay in the green and orange zones. Green is your fat burning zone and orange is your performance zone, where you’ll build up stamina.

After being walked through the studio I signed up for a class. When I came back for class I was given a heart monitor strap to borrow (you’ll eventually want to buy one) and my assigned heart monitor for the class. Since it was my first class I watched a quick video, which outlined what to expect in a class. Then I met one on one with the coach, who took me around and explained how to use the equipment and the flow of the class.

The class itself was awesome. For my first class we did what they call a “26/26″, where half the class spent 26 minutes on the treadmills and the other half of the class was doing strength exercises. Then we switched. I dreaded having to use the treadmill but we did intervals the entire time so I had no time to get bored. When it came to the strength exercises we did a variety of exercises using weights and our bodyweight. There was a good variation and we also hoped on the rowers in between sets to keep our heart rates up.

I loved being able to look up at the screen and see which zone I was in. It was a great motivator if I was lagging behind and a good reminder to take it easy if I was going too hard.

At the end of the workout the coach instructs you to check out your results on the screen and reminds you that ideally you should have spent the most time in the green and orange zones.

My results after my first class:

Report

I’ve taken two classes since and have burned more calories each time. The class is definitely a calorie scorcher!

What didn’t I like?

I get heart palpitations every now and then and even though they are infrequent I still like to inform people about it before working out at a new place. I noted on my intake form that I get heart palpitations and I was surprised that no one seemed to read over my form and inquire about them. It worried me a bit in case anything should ever happen to me.

The atmosphere isn’t the same as CrossFit. CrossFit truly feels like a family as soon as you walk in. Our coaches would have us say hi to each other before each class and reminded us to introduce ourselves to new people. I always loved this because we got to know each other easily and it further enhanced the family feel. At Orangetheory I did not meet one person officially and barely said a word to anyone. It was weird.

You have to sign up for classes ahead of time. I’m so used to just walking into a class when I know I can fit it in. My schedule can be hectic and all over the place and I’m not always sure if I can make a certain class time. And if you sign up for a class and aren’t able to cancel within a certain amount of hours you forfeit that class. Kind of sucks, but I can definitely see why they do it. So I have just been signing up for classes at the last minute.

Regardless, I decided to sign up for a membership. The price was comparable to what I was paying for CrossFit and overall I really liked the class. My goal right now is to try Orangetheory out for a few months and see how I like it and if I see positive results.

Have you tried Orangetheory?

Why I’m Breaking Up With CrossFit (For Now)

Yes, it’s true…after 1 year and 10 months I am cancelling my CrossFit membership. But not forever. I still love CrossFit and this has been a hard decision for me to make. This truly feels like a break up! “CrossFit, it’s not you, it’s me…” Why the sudden change? Here a few of my reasons.

I’m not getting the results I want

When I first started CrossFit I saw results. My muscles were becoming more defined. I felt stronger. I felt faster. I felt amazing. But about a year in I started to plateau and I stopped noticing changes. Especially after I took a break from running after my half marathon in November. I know that there are other factors that are playing into this, like needing to clean up my eats more (where did you go metabolism, where??). But I’ve also realized that my body needs more cardio. I’m already starting to add more cardio to my routine on my own, but also would like a workout that incorporates cardio as well. CrossFit can be strength heavy in their workouts and I don’t feel like I’m getting enough cardio.

I’m afraid of hurting myself

Let me preface this statement by saying that the coaches at my CrossFit box are FANTASTIC. They are extremely knowledgeable and are always making sure our form is correct. However, weightlifting is weightlifting and I’ve been feeling lately like I need a break from putting this kind of strain on my body. And when you’re in the middle of a WOD that includes lifting a certain amount of weight as fast as you can you inevitably compromise your form. I try to be as careful as I can, but it’s always a thought in the back of my head that maybe one day I could lift wrong and hurt myself.

I just plain need a change

Before I started CrossFit I went to a regular boot camp for about a year. I loved it and saw great results. But eventually I felt like I needed a change. And that’s how I’m feeling right now. This very well could be my MO, where I need to switch fitness classes every year or two. And I’m ok with that. I think it’s important to switch it up every now and then and keep your body guessing. There are SO many forms of fitness out in the world, it’s not a bad thing to explore them.

Like I said, this was not an easy decision. I’m going to miss my CrossFit classes a lot, but am excited for the next chapter of my fitness journey. I credit CrossFit for my new found confidence in my fitness ability and the ability to test my limits. And I will most certainly be taking that with me into my new form of fitness. Most of all I will miss my coaches and the amazing atmosphere CrossFit provides. It definitely feels like home to me, but I know that I’ll return eventually.

Have you changed up your fitness routine recently? 

Gourmet Hot Dogs and Applegate’s Weinervention

*Disclaimer: Applegate graciously offered to send me their Weinervention kit. I was not asked to blog about the items, but want to share how awesome Applegate is! I was not compensated for this post.

As much as I love to eat healthy foods, I also love my comfort foods. And when healthy meets comfort? I’m so there.

So when I got an email from Applegate asking if I wanted to join in on their Weinervention and receive their Weinervention kit I replied with a resounding YES. I have always been a fan of Applegate products. I buy their bacon regularly and love their breakfast sausage. I couldn’t wait to try their hot dogs!

Yes, Applegate products are delicious, but what do I really love about them? They’re CLEAN. No chemical nitrates or nitrates added. No artificial ingredients. No fillers. No GMO ingredients.

ag Applegate’s Weinervention is all about introducing people to a cleaner weiner. So when I received the kit I asked Jon if he wanted to have some friends over so we could cookout and have some good ol’ fashioned hot dogs. He was in and our friends, Kyle and Jesse were in. I leave for work and by the time I get home Jon has taken good ol’ fashioned hot dogs to gourmet hot dogs. Hey, I’m not complaining!

ap2 My kit included:

  • Applegate Naturals Beef Hot Dogs
  • Rudi’s Hot Dog Buns (White and Gluten-Free)
  • Annie’s Organic Ketchup and Mustard
  • Rick’s Pick’s Relish
  • Applegate Apron
  • Grilling tool set
  •  Frisbee
  • Mini Applegate Cooler
  • Susty paper straws and napkins

Unfortunately, the grill outside of our condo complex wasn’t working so we had to nix the cookout and make the hot dogs over the stove.

photo 2 Still good! photo 3 Jon made two plates with different toppings so we could top our dogs with what we wanted. The first plate had Bahn Mi toppings (shredded carrots, shredded jicama, jalopeno, cucumber, cilantro and a siracha cream sauce). The second plate had pate, bacon, garlic paste, sauerkraut and sautéed onions. We didn’t really have a name for this one so call it what you will. We just called it delicious! My favorite was the Bahn Mi though since I’m a big fan of Bahn Mi. photo 1 The hot dogs themselves tasted wonderful. They were full of flavor and went perfectly with the buns and toppings. I have never tried gluten free buns before and was pleasantly surprised at how soft and fluffy they were! They tasted just like regular buns. I was not a huge fan of the whole wheat buns though. I usually love whole wheat bread, but these were a bit too dense for my taste. photo 4 For sides I picked up some Publix homestyle potato salad and made this corn and tomato salad, which was very tasty. photo 5 We had a great time making our gourmet hot dogs and I’m happy that I still have another pack of hot dogs waiting in the freezer. I’m having visions of cut up hot dogs in mac and cheese a la elementary school. photo 6 Thank you Applegate!

Have you tried Applegate hot dogs or any other Applegate products? Comment below for a chance to win your own Applegate Weinervention Kit! I’ll announce a winner on Monday, July 28.

**UPDATE: The winner of the Applegate Weinervention Kit is Scotty S.! Congratulations Scotty, I have emailed you with how to redeem the kit. Enjoy!

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