by Heather

Birmingham’s healthy choices

September 15, 2014 in Healthy Living by Heather

Meet Me at the Barre TIt has been really fun for me since graduating from Samford to immerse myself in the Birmingham fitness community. I’ve loved watching it grow from minimal to expansive. As someone who has always been active by playing volleyball and cheering from 7th grade through high school, fitness is a way of life for me. I thrive on working out and those endorphins that come from the healthy choices of working out!

Athleta Capris When I graduated from Samford and got married, I started out going to the YMCA and fell in love with spin classes. If you haven’t had the pleasure of taking a spin class from Hannah Pate in Birmingham, you are missing out! About a year after I got married, I started teaching at Pure Barre when the first studio in Alabama opened about 5 years ago. Through Pure Barre I’ve learned a lot about the vibrant fitness community in Birmingham. It’s been so fun to watch trendy workout staples like Lululemon and Athleta come to town. Below are some of my favorite spots around town to get my sweat on:

  • Railroad Park: FREE workout classes M-F. Get the schedule.
  • Pure Barre: Obviously I’m biased since I teach there but these 55 minute classes have changed my body and mindset about fitness for the better. Your first class is free, so come visit me to try it out.
  • Baseline Birmingham: Tennis lessons that I personally take once a week and love!
  • YMCA: Get a range of weights and ellipticals or fitness group classes.
  • Sweat & Gears Studio: A specialty spin studio where the infamous Hannah Pate teaches. Ramps indoor cycling to the next level.
  • Shelly’s Kinesis Studio: While there’s no name on the building, one of the best cardio workouts I’ve had in a while was at this cute little workout space by Steel City Pops in Homewood. Shelly personally texts you each week to set up a class time. She’s super motivating, cute, and works you hard!
  • Homewood Fit:  This bootcamp style workout is no joke! Women-centered and a great sweat…well worth checking out.
  • The Trak Shak: If running is your thing, a fun community to check out is the Trak Shak running club. It’s free to go and all paces are welcome. Simply head to their location on 18th Street at 5:30 pm on Wednesdays.
  • Spartan Fitness: Even though this isn’t my cup of tea, the hubs is obsessed. I went and took an introductory class and thought I might pass out. This gym includes muay thai, kickboxing, boxing, women’s self defense classes, kid’s classes, Brazilian Jiujitsu, and strength and conditioning classes.
  • Aero Joe Pilates: Even though I haven’t gotten to try this yet, I’m dying to! They offer yoga, pilates and AERIAL FITNESS. Way cool.

No matter where you workout in Birmingham, there are so many fabulous options and that is what is so great about this city! Whether you run or do Pure Barre, I think we can all agree it’s important to set goals for yourself. Luckily, I’ve found that the Walgreens app lets me set goals and rewards me for making healthy choices through their Balance Rewards Program.

Walgreens Balance Rewards

Walgreens Balance Rewards | My Life Well LovedBalance Rewards allows you to earn points for purchases. You can even scan your Balance Rewards card directly from your phone when making purchases. Join Balance Rewards within the Walgreens app and start earning points today to get rewards that equal future savings for you! Once you’re into this program, you can even start earning MORE points for setting healthy goals, and making healthy choices. How cool is that? So, just by doing your everyday healthy activities like getting plenty of sleep and working out, you can now save more money at Walgreens on all kinds of goodies. 

Pure Barre PretzelWhere is your favorite place to workout in Birmingham?

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BalanceRewards #CollectiveBias

by Heather

Aloha: Juicing in a Packet

September 14, 2014 in Clean Eating, Healthy Living by Heather

Healthy Cacao Raspberry Greens Smoothie | My Life Well Loved

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Aloha, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #MyAloha #AlohaMoment http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

As evidenced in my many juicing posts and Instagram posts, I LOVE getting in my healthy green & red juices. Put some fruits and veggies in juice form and I’m all about it. There’s something tantalizing about getting that much goodness in your body so quickly. However, I’ve recently heard from a few good friends that are just as into juicing as I am that they have suddenly started getting multiple cavities. Due to this, I’m a little leery. I still enjoy my juices but try to be vigilant to brush my teeth fairly quickly afterwards due to the natural sweetness in fruits. So, now I want to introduce you to my new friend- Aloha blend box of Daily Good Greens-that solves my problem!

Healthy Cacao Raspberry Greens Smoothie | My Life Well LovedSo, what is Aloha? It is a whole-food powder version of juicing basically! It is non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, organic and has nothing artificial in it! I love that this product can be easily combined in my smoothie, water, in salad dressing or milk to make juicing on the go a reality. I use this product to fuel my Pure Barre workouts, tennis lessons, teaching classes and as a way to incorporate healthy choices into my day easily.

Healthy Cacao Raspberry Greens Smoothie | My Life Well Loved
I tried the Chocolate Cacao one first mixed with some Silk almond milk and ice. I drank it as part of my breakfast with an avocado and coffee. It kind of tasted like chocolate raspberries…what a treat! The Chocolate Cacao has Organic Spirulina, Organic Spinach, Organic Peas, Organic Wheatgrass Juice, Organic Wild Blueberries, Organic Raspberries, Wild-Harvested Young Coconut Water, Organic White Button Mushrooms, Hawaiian Red Alaea Salt, Organic Cacao, Organic Maple Sugar, Organic Coconut Sugar, and Organic Beets in it. Just look at all those nutrients, yes please! This product is meant to help you detoxify, boost your energy, and strengthen your immune system.

Hot Pink Nikes | My Life Well LovedBetween this new heathy drink and my new hot pink tennis shoes, I’m feeling super motivated to kick it up a notch in my tennis games! Make sure to get your FREE sample of Aloha and let me know what you think! It comes with 6 daily green powders in all three flavors to try. The trial is 14 days with the benefits of becoming auto enrolled into the monthly subscription. So, make sure if you don’t want it to auto-renew that you cancel.

Aloha Daily Good Greens: Juicing in a PouchWhat is your favorite on the go healthy product?

**All photos via Magen Davis Photography.

by Heather

September 11

September 11, 2014 in Uncategorized by Heather

September 11th Memorial

Don’t let 9/11 pass without feeling the weight of what today is. I almost went through the day without seeing the horrifying pictures, feeling the weight of what our country suffered and “getting it” all over again. Going from work to my workout and then getting caught up in cooking left me with little time to check in on the news today. However, I’m so glad I did. I spent some time tonight going through 9/11: The Photographs that Moved them Most.

I felt moved. I teared up. And I am sad.

It’s worth remembering the fragility of life. It’s worth thinking about the countless men and women who lost their lives. It’s worth praying for their families. It’s worth praying against evil in this world. It’s worth understanding that we are not promised tomorrow. It’s worth begging our God to save us.

What a country we have! What a God we serve! I feel blessed beyond words to be an American, but more than that I feel honored to have my true citizenship be in Heaven. I hope that on a day like today you know how loved you are, friends. I hope you strive to make this country stronger. I hope you educate yourself on important issues. I hope more than anything that you know our one true Savior, Jesus Christ. Because at the end of the day, none of the “stuff” we value as Americans matters. I hope that on that day you and I are in Heaven enjoying a life sweeter than we’ve ever known.

“I will remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3: 20-23

My prayer today is that God does indeed bless the USA and that he blesses you. If there’s any way I can specifically pray for you, please feel free to email me (mylifewellloved@gmail.com) or leave a comment. I love each and everyone of you and SO appreciate your support.

 

by Heather

Whole 30: Week 2

September 9, 2014 in Clean Eating, Healthy Living by Heather

Whole 30 Week 2 | My Life Well Loved

It’s Whole 30, week 2! So far, so good…but maybe that’s because after Week 1 I had (planned) cheat days for our lake weekend. I found that my stomach wasn’t too happy with me when I cheated and that shockingly enough Nestle Toll House cookie dough didn’t taste as good as I remembered. Could this mean real change is happening?! Man, I hope so!!

I’ve heard that during the Whole 30 you shouldn’t weigh yourself, so I’ve avoided that. The scale tempted me after coming back from the lake but I know it is better for my morale and dedication if I don’t hop on. I’ve heard that you can actually gain a bit of weight when you first start the Whole 30 as your body starts to re-learn how to digest and eat only whole foods.

Here’s what I’ve had that’s been Whole 30 compliant recently:

Breakfasts have stayed pretty much the same: Banana with Almond Butter and Coffee whipped with coconut milk (in a can) & cinnamon or sausage and eggs

Snacks: Almonds, Baked Sweet Potato with Ghee & Cinnamon, Apple with Almond Butter, Hard Boiled Egg with Cracked Pepper, Sea Salt & mashed with Avocado

Whole 30 Week 2 | My Life Well Loved

Lunch: Usually salads topped with chicken, steak, or seafood (and my trusty Zoe’s dressing), compliant deli meat wrapped around spring mix topped with olive oil and seasonings, leftovers from dinner, Marinated Steak with Onions & Peppers with Side Salad & Roasted Veggies from Urban Cookhouse

Whole 30 Week 2 | My Life Well Loved

Dinner: Chicken Pad Thai (pictured at the top), Pork Chops with Mixed Salad & Watermelon, Roast Beef with Green Beans in Coconut Oil & Seasonings, Marinated Plank Salmon with Oven Roasted Potatoes & Asparagus, Chicken Sausage with Grapes & Broccoli, Spaghetti Squash with Salt, Pepper, Parsley & Garlic.

Thanks so much to all of you who are cheering me on via Instagram! It’s so helpful and encouraging! What’s your favorite Paleo or Whole 30 Breakfast?

by Heather

Simple Ways to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

September 8, 2014 in Healthy Living by Heather

Simple ways to live a healthier lifestyle | Healthy MojoWhat do you think of when you hear the term healthy? Healthy is defined according to the dictionary as, “possessing or enjoying good health or a sound and vigorous mentality.” Health encompasses much more than just a fit physique. Being healthy is about your mind and your body.

Many times, our busy schedules overtake healthy habits we know we should form or prolong though. So, I came up with 5 simple ways to live a healthy lifestyle that are doable and actionable. These are things that I have challenged myself to do in this fall season and I hope it inspires you to live a healthier lifestyle as well.

1. Take some deep breaths. I’ve read over and over again that stress levels continue to rise in the U.S. When you start to feel stressed, try to stop and take a few 5 second inhales and exhales to calm your nerves.

2. Wash your hands. Unfortunately, colder weather usually means more colds, running noses and sore throats. Give yourself a fighting chance and wash your hands and load up on Vitamin C.

3. Reflect. I mean it. Set an alarm on your phone daily or weekly to stop and ask yourself how you’re doing. How are you feeling? How are your relationships? What do you need to address?

4. Ditch the sodas. Even if you’re drinking diet sodas, it’s still so bad for you. Diet sodas have been show to make people gain weight! It’s not worth it friends…and if you can’t totally cut them out, reduce your intake as much as you can.

5. Lighten up. Laughter is the best medicine! Let yourself go and laugh with a girlfriend or watch a comedy, whatever you need to do to unwind. Play a game with your pet or watch your favorite funny tv show but let yourself release somehow.

Don’t you owe it to yourself? To your family? To your spouse? To be happy and healthy. Take the time to take care of yourself and maybe when you start to implement these simple steps the bigger picture will all come together. Try out my 10 Day Get Healthy Challenge when you feel ready for the next step.

**Thanks to Silk Soymilk for sponsoring this post. Learn more about soymilk!

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

by Heather

Fall Style

September 7, 2014 in Fashion by Heather

Fall green and over the knee brown boots

Fall Style

DSC_0093

Fall Fashion 2014

Fall Fashion 2014

Calypso St. Barth Green Dress

Calypso St Barth Dress

Fall Fashion 2014

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, InStyle, Vogue and Elle, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #inspirefallfashion  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Even though it’s still hot and muggy here in the south, the fall style magazines and pumpkin spice lattes are making me start to yearn for cooler temperatures. It’s always fun to have more excuses to make pumpkin goodies, sip on piping hot coffees, and to bundle up in the cutest new boots, layers, and scarves. I indulged my inner fall fashionista last weekend by purchasing the September issue of Elle & In Style to get inspired.

In Style Fall Issue at TargetSince you know how I love a good deal, you won’t be surprised to find out I have a frugal find for you as well. If you purchase  2 of these 3 magazines: Elle, In Style, or Vogue at Target you’ll get a $5 Target gift card back. (Just hurry and purchase before 9/13 to take advantage of this deal.) That is a total win in my book! Target + Fall Fashion + Gift Card=Happy Heather! Talk about a fun weekend indulgence for yourself.

As I read through In Style, I wanted to embrace a few of the trends I saw that will be coming back or new for this season. There were so many good options to choose from like leather, fringe, rock and roll meets lace, booties and more. I finally came upon a look that let me showcase my beautiful new find from Calypso St. Barth though.

In this outfit, I’m showcasing GREEN, over the knee boots, and a more “naked” makeup look. These are all trends you’ll see over the next few months. Any way you can get green into your wardrobe is a win. Find a hue that is flattering for your skin tone and rock it, beauties! This silky dress is slinky and hand-embroidered with tiny, enchanting gold sequins. Not only can this look go uptown for a date night, but you can dress it down with more casual flats and tiny stud earrings.

Over the knee boots are a trend that can come off a little too bold if you don’t pair them the right way. This green dress is long enough and flowy enough that the over the knee boots don’t overwhelm it or cheapen the look. You could also wear over the knee boots with leggings but in Alabama, it won’t get that cool until much later in the year.

I really like the more natural makeup look, especially since I’m still working with a little bit of a tan. I kept my eye makeup minimal and instead of fooling with eyeshadows, simply swished some black eyeliner by “tightlining” my eye lid rims and applying a few coats of mascara. I swapped out my bold, peachy/hot pink lipstick from the summer to a more neutral berry lip that looks pretty natural.

What fall trends can YOU not wait to wear? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Shop the Look: Dress: Calypso St Barth Camaro Embroidered Silk Dress | Boots: Belk | Earrings: SOCA

 

by Heather

Shake Your Pom Pom (A Fashion Post)

September 3, 2014 in Fashion by Heather

Pom Pom Silk Shorts | My Life Well Loved

 

Esperos Bags: Carry Hope. Gives back to schools in the developing world.

 

Esperos Bag

 

Shark tooth and tassel chains

 

Pom Pom Silk Shorts | Want

 

Pom Pom Silk Shorts | My Life Well Loved

Shake your “pom pom,” shake your “pom pom!” Every time I wear these shorts that song (Shake your bon bon) runs through my head. This outfit has become a wardrobe staple for me this summer. Not only is it cool and airy, but how often do you get to wear something around that feels like pajamas?! This outfit is comfy and slouchy in all the right ways. I’ve worn it on vacation, lunch with a girlfriend, and running errands around town.

I’ve dressed it up with some wedges and cute jewels but other than that, I just really like the simplicity of these trendy shorts right now. The pattern and pom pom balls speak loud enough that the rest of the outfit can be kept basic and carefree. My jewelry is made by two local designers in Homewood, Alabama: E McGarrah Designs & Rose Golde Jewels. This summer I’ve gotten really into layering all the pretty things. Not just bracelets but now necklaces too. And this shark tooth necklace? Well, he’s just quintessential summer to me!

The nautical colors of the bag and the classic leather straps a great catch all. I discovered the brand ESPEROS Bags a few months ago and like the heart behind their product. The mission at ESPEROS is simple: to provide children in the developing world with access to education through the sale of premium, good looking products. For every bag they sell, they donate around $10 to education in impoverished areas around the world.

Have you jumped onto the silky pom pom shorts trend yet? If so, how do you style yours?

Shop the Look: Shorts: South Boutique | Necklaces: Rose Golde Jewels | Bracelets: E McGarrah Designs | Bag: ESPEROS | Shirt: Madewell (Similar) | Wedges: Payless (Similar)

*All photographs by Magen Davis Photography.

 

by Heather

Whole 30: Week 1

September 1, 2014 in Clean Eating, Healthy Living by Heather

Whole 30 Approved Ghee: Can be found at The Fresh MarketSeven days down, twenty-three to go on Whole 30. Numerous friends, family members, and fabulous Instagram followers have been asking me all kinds of questions about how Whole 30 is going, so here’s the real deal folks. I’m breaking down the good, the bad and the ugly of week 1 on Whole 30.

Every person who has done Whole 30 before is going to crush me for doing Whole 30 this way, but it’s just the reality so I’m going to shoot you straight. I started Whole 30 knowing I would cheat 3 days. We had a company dinner one night & I’m going to the lake this weekend with some dear friends. Since I knew this going into Whole 30, I planned to do a Whole 33.

Yes, I’m aware that’s not how it works but as someone who usually eats clean anyway, the main purpose of me doing this is to break my body of sugar addiction and to reset my system to crave the good stuff again. I’ve been lax this summer and am ready to jump back into the oh so wonderful deep end of clean eating. (Now, that all true Whole 30′s want to crucify me at the stake, I’ll continue…) HA!

Whole 30 Week 1 Recap and Recipes
Day 1:

Breakfast: Almond Butter & Banana with Coconut Milk (from the can), Cinnamon and Coffee whipped in a Ninja to get frothy and delicious (I’ve had this everyday so far)

Pre-workout snack: Blueberries

Lunch: Shredded Rotisserie Chicken over Salad with Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Blueberries, & Zoe’s salad dressing

Dinner: Black Peppered Lemon Tilapia with Roasted Brussels

Day 1 was a struggle. I was hungry and cranky to the point where I felt lightheaded. I got some feedback via other Whole 30 people on Instagram that I shouldn’t be hungry on Whole 30 and to eat more. I promptly went home and prepped a ton of boiled eggs, veggies and fruits to take to work the next day to help satiate me.

Day 2:

Breakfast: (Same thing every day)

Lunch: Hard boiled eggs on a Cobb Salad with Zoe’s Salad Dressing

Pre-workout snack: Almonds

Post workout snack: Hard Boiled Egg

Dinner: Pan-Grilled Steak with a Baked Sweet Potato topped with Ghee, Cinnamon & Nutmeg and Salad

Whole 30 Week 1 | My Life Well LovedDay 3:

Breakfast: (Same thing every day)

Lunch: Taziki’s Mediterranean Salad (subbed salad dressing for Zoe’s, no chick peas, no cheese, add avocado, tilapia & olives)

Pre-workout snack: Blueberries

Dinner: CHEAT DAY: Company Dinner at El Barrio: Salmon with a side salad and here comes the cheat…. Watermelon Margarita & Cheese Dip with Chips!

Day 4:

Breakfast: (Same thing every day)

Lunch: Urban Cookhouse Berry Good Salad with no feta, no TO DIE FOR roll,  Zoe’s dressing, & added shrimp

Dinner: Leftover Tilapia with a sweet potato & green beans

Day 5:

Breakfast: (Same thing every day)

Lunch: Mixed Greens with pepperoncini, cucumbers, and hard boiled eggs

Pre-workout snack: Almonds

Dinner: Monkfish with Roasted Greek Potatoes & Roasted Asparagus

Day 6:

Breakfast: (Same thing every day)

Post-workout snack: Pineapple, carrots, and melon

Lunch: Salad

Dinner: Baked Chicken Wings with Mixed Spices & Blueberries, Raspberries, & Strawberries

Day 7:

Breakfast: (Same thing every day)

Lunch: Urban Cookhouse Berry Good Salad with no feta, no TO DIE FOR roll,  Olive Oil & Vinegar dressing, & added steak

Dinner: Stuffed Baked Potato with Chicken, Salsa, Scallions and Butter

I would also like to give myself credit for turning down Church Street Coffee’s Breakup Cookies (one of my favorite treats in Birmingham!) at a baby shower, beer and homemade salsa and chips at a friends house for SEC football kickoff, and Jim ‘n Nick’s cheese biscuits. Those are all some of my VERY favorite foods and being around all those yummies for a holiday weekend was incredibly difficult. If I can turn those things down and feel in control though, I know I’m on the right track!

Fill me in…what questions do you have? If you’ve done Whole 30 before, what was your favorite Whole 30 meal?

by Heather

Iced Coffee Cubes

August 28, 2014 in Recipes by Heather

I’m doing the Whole 30 right now so I’m going through flavored coffee withdrawals. Rolling out of bed half asleep is so hard until I smell the warm, rich aroma of coffee brewing in the kitchen. Suddenly, it feels like I can put one foot in front of the other and make the journey to wake my mind up enough to create that perfect cup of java. Thank goodness I tried this out before Whole 30!

Because I love my coffee creamer and iced coffee so much, I wanted to show you one of my new favorite tricks: Iced Coffee Cubes. The genius behind this little recipe is that when the Iced Coffee Cubes melt, your coffee doesn’t get watered down!

Iced Coffee Cubes | Perfect for warm weatherI used the new International Delight Iced Coffee for my experiment. Here’s what you need to try it out:

International Delight Iced Coffee

Ice Cube Tray

Coffee

Pour coffee into ice trays. Freeze until solid. Place coffee ice cubes into cup. Top with International Delight Iced Coffee.

*Variation: You can also freeze the ID Iced Coffee and put that in your coffee as a way to flavor your cup of joe.

If you want to enter to win a fun new tumbler for your iced coffee, check out the International Delight Facebook page here!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

by Heather

Whole 30

August 26, 2014 in Clean Eating, Healthy Living by Heather

Whole 30: What to EatYou know how I wrote about how good I feel on Clean Eating yesterday? Well, the reality is the summer has gotten the best of me. I am not sticking to it as much as I once was, and sugar has crept back in and is trying to take over my palate. I am falling into the trap of craving sugar day in and day out.

The sad part? I’m not even indulging in sweets each day. But the added sugar in my coffee creamers, fruits, and the occasional dessert are really adding up. That adding up leads me to crave sugar and carbs more and more. So, I decided with some prompting from the girls at work to jump into Whole 30 to help me get back into the routine of Clean Eating. I think this will be a good way to hit the reset button on saying no to sugar.

The Whole 30 Program eliminates dairy, sugar, legumes, alcohol and grains. You can read all about it here.  Here’s what I’ve got planned for this first week of Whole 30 Eating:

Breakfasts: Banana or Apple with Almond Butter or Boiled Eggs

SaladLunches: Leftovers from Dinner or Salad with fruits and Chicken

Dinners:

Lemon Pepper Tilapia with Kale Chips and Strawberries

Steak with Sweet Potato & Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Balsamic Chicken with Cauliflower Mash

Leftovers or Salad with Chicken

Want some more Whole 30 inspiration? Follow along with me (Instagram), Life in the Green House (Instagram) & Chic in Academia (Instagram) and tag your photos with #Whole30Bham to see what we’re eating and share with us in the journey! You can also check out I Love You More than Carrots who is starting Whole 30 in September.