Friday Ramblings and Zumba® Master Class Recap!

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Happy Weekend, My Loves!

Where do I even begin on the past few days…I have some good pictures of my food, ha, and an incredible Zumba class to share with/update all of you. Ok Zumba first 😉

Last night’s Zumba® Master Class rocked my world. It was such an amazing time and I can’t thank you enough to Shaira & Costa for letting me be apart of their event. {And Elite Night Club in Stamford, CT} They were the two Instructors running the class, and asked me to teach 3 routines at their event. I was honored and flattered! Shaira teaches at LA Fitness in Stamford on Sunday’s, and I do the Saturday class, so we got to see more of each others’ students (although, we do have a lot of overlap and a lot of people take my class Saturday and her’s on Sunday). It was also nice that a lot my Norwalk students from LA as well as Step N Out Dance Studios came to support all of us. One of my bestest friends from growing up, Stacey, and my cousin Dawn, also came to support me. I can’t thank all of you enough!

The pictures don’t even do it justice!

My girls, Suzanne and Katie

Elite Night Club Master Zumba Class. Crazy good energy!

Costa, Me, Stacey, and Shaira

My beautiful cousin, Dawn

Shaira and Costa breakin’ it down

Look at this crowd! So-much-fun..zumba in a night club? say whaaat?!

Obviously, words can’t even describe how fun and energetic this event was. Three routines I decided to do were:

1. Los Campeones De La Salsa

2. Bumpy Ride

3. La Gota Fria

My three songs to fame… ha ha.

NOW… on to some yummy eats 🙂 

Yesterday I made sure to make a good protein shake to try to keep myself fueled all day long.

Almond milk, vanilla whey protein, almond extract, cocoa powder, PB flour, and cinnamon.. perfect start to my Friday!

I recently bought Trader Joe’s Oat Bran again and had that breakfast when I got to work. Forgot how much I love it TJ’s..watch out Bob’s Red Mill….

Oat Bran, Plain Chobani, TJ’s unsalted crunchy PB, chia seeds, and blueberries

Never sick of this. True story. It’s so thick and filling and I totally look forward to this on a daily basis. I have to say, breakfast is by far my most favorite meal of the day. I can eat breakfast foods all-day-long.

Rest of the day was carb loading for the intense Master Class. Might have had a few drinks after, too 😉

Now it’s Saturday and I actually taught my own Zumba class again this morning. I am one tired chica! I recently purchased a box of chocolate vitatops, and thought they would be perfect to pair with greek yogurt as a pre-Zumba meal.

This morning I did just that – Chocolate Vitatop, plain greek yogurt, cocoa & peanut flour mixed with SF maple syrup to make a “frosting”, cinnamon and Truvia, and some wheat puffs all mixed in. This picture definitely looks weird but it was really good. I felt like I was eating a decadent dessert from a restaurant.

Totally half-eaten by the time I remembered to take a picture

So that pretty much wraps up an entirely related Zumba post, regarding classes and some eats. Friday night and this morning was so Zumba consumed I can’t think of anything else to blow up this blog with. Take away’s from this post: I love breakfast foods. I can eat them all day long. It’s also the only foods/meals of the day I remember to photograph.

After Zumba this morning I stopped at Starbucks to get a WHOLE MILK iced-coffee. Plans with some great friends today, which will include lots of snacks, good food, and some drinks.. Guinness has just been purchased 🙂

Absolutely exhausted after a 90 min class last night and 60 minutes this AM. Proof is in the pudding, baby..trying to keep my game face on for rest of weekend

What is everyone up to this weekend?

Questions of the day:

– Anyone else love breakfast foods as much as I do? Can you eat them all day long? 

– Anyone ever taken a Master Zumba Class before? How was it?!!!

Favorite Foods Thursday

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Hey all.. happy-almost-weekend. Are they weeks just flying by or what? Zumba® Master Class Tomorrow Evening…..You obviously can’t tell how excited I am 🙂

Today I wanted to share my favorite foods this week. I get asked a lot by co-workers and Zumba students what I am eating. So what better day than to show some of them on the good ole’ blog. Maybe this should be a weekly thing.. hmmm.. but that may bore you all to tears since I often eat the same things from week to week, ha. So let’s list ’em, shall we?

1. Blueberries. Since they are in season, I am loving fresh blueberries on top of my oat bran concoction for breakfast. It adds the perfect touch of sweetness to balance out the tartness of the greek yogurt. I don’t mind frozen at all, but there is something better about a fresh blueberry, IMO. They are obviously also really good for you, too. A few health benefits are:

  • Highest antioxidant of all fresh fruit
  • Neutralizes free radical objects in the body
  • Aid in reducing belly fat
  • High in Fiber which helps to dissolve the “bad cholesterol”, which also aids in reducing heart disease Source

Ohhh yeahhhh.. the big guy container

2. Chia Seeds. I love how big and plentiful these little seeds make my breakfast (see #1). Health benefits here. To name a few: high in omega 3’s, full of fiber, and good for digestion, PLUS they absorb 10x their weight in water, so you feel like you are eating more than you are. Of course I love that! Volumetric’s is a great way to eat (you can do this with vegetables, too. “Adding in more veggies crowds out the junk”) I add one tablespoon every morning to my oat bran. Notice the measuring spoon in the container 🙂 With teaching so much Zumba, I try to keep my in-take of Omega 3’s high. I am definitely not as sore increasing them – I don’t think, at least.

3. Almond Milk. I drink probably 2-3 servings of this on any given day. Hence why I need to buy 2-3 half gallons weekly. I am obsessed, and only buy the regular unsweetened. I used to get the Vanilla unsweetened, but I like how the regular really has more of that almond taste I am after. I love how it blends in my morning shake before I head to work (I mix 1 cup almond milk with who-knows-how much cocoa powder, Truvia, and some vanilla whey protein), and I love how it tastes with my cereal concoctions (found here). At 30 calories per cup, you won’t get off track with calorie goals {The only calories I really like to drink come in the form of alcohol..oops}. This “milk” is loaded with calcium, too. Can’t beat that fo’ sho’.

4. Cocoa Powder. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Who doesn’t love chocolate? It makes my smoothie’s and greek yogurt mixes taste amaaazing and full of flavor. Not to mention there also some health benefits:

  • 2 tablespoons have only approximately 20 to 25 calories
  • Contains antioxidants
  • May lower LDL cholesterol, reduce the risk of blood clots, increase blood flow to the arteries, lower high blood pressure, boost cognitive performance and provide essential minerals such as calcium and potassium. Source

I also made chocolate “frosting” the other day using this. I combined approximately 2 tablespoons of cocoa, and then enough SF Maply Syrup to swirl it all around and make it thick like actual frosting. OH MY GOD, this was so good!

5. Vanilla Extract. Just a tiny drop of this adds tremendous flavor to anything, especially baked goods and smoothies, and a little bit goes a long way. I usually add it to my morning shake for a hint of sweetness. What have I been doing for so long without this?!

6. Sriracha. I am obsessed with anything and everything spicy. I add this spicy-goodness to all my salads and whatever meat I am eating. I can’t get enough. And it is said that anything spicy raises your metabolism since your body has to work harder to cool its temperature, or something like that.. sounds good to me!

7. My usual Arugula and Basil. I have brought a small container of this to eat with my salads everyday at work. I just can’t get enough of the flavors. It makes me really enjoy my salad-with-chicken-lunches day after day.

So that is my Thursday, friends! I do truly enjoy everything I eat, or else I wouldn’t eat it. Some who are new to my blog may find some of this “weird”, but I promise it is all so good. The possibilities with these health foods are truly endless. 

Question of the evening: What are all of your favorite foods this week? I love new food finds, so tell me 🙂

Here is to a happy and healthy up-coming weekend. Slow down, take it all in, and most importantly, enjoy life. Until next time!

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Double Zumba® Tuesday & what’s going on, life?

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Before I start tonight’s post, I have to say: I suck at drinking water. Plain and simple. I just HATE IT. I don’t really know why. I love to drink hot things all day, and yes, even in the summer, since my office is so dang cold! I do need to make this a goal for myself; to slowly add in more oz. of water on a daily basis. I DO drink liquid.. it just may be in the form of hot green tea or black decaf coffee all-day-long. Sue me. No really, I need to make this more of a priority. HALP!

So we are almost half way through the week, and we all know what that means! Closer and closer to my Zumba® Master Class Friday!

Tonight I am finally home after two very intense Zumba® classes. I am so sore, too, already. Usually it doesn’t hit me till the next morning, but boy am I feeling it already! I can only imagine what tomorrow is going to feel like. My mama was super cute tonight and came to class again. Everyone loves her there, it makes me smile. I snapped some pics of my class at LA Fitness tonight. Great crowd! They actually posed 🙂

Zumba Class 7.24.12

I am exhausted tonight. There was a slight part of me that wasn’t sooooo excited to teach like I usually am. Shocking, huh? I’m just drained & exhausted, and my head has a lot going on in there. However, Zumba is my commitment and I keep myself disciplined. Just like me and my nutrition 🙂 So off to class it was, and two great ones at that! It’s like when other people post on their blogs they really didn’t want to work out, but once they were there, and pushing it hard, they felt great after and were so happy they did it. That’s me tonight. GREAT CLASSES, LADIES & GENTS!!

I just finished my recovery cereal, too: Corn Flakes, Kashi Honey Blossoms, lots of slivered almonds, cacao nibs, a few craisins, and unsweetened Silk almond milk, all mixed together. I couldn’t wait to dig into this when I got home! (This is half-eaten by the time I remembered to snap a pic) #lovecerealfordinner #lovecerealpostrecoveryzumba

Moving on. I have a bone to pick with something we call LIFE. This isn’t pertaining to my life, just in general. I have seen people go through things and it’s like, what? why them? Why did they deserve that lay off? Why did their health get so bad? Why did they have to get hurt so badly? And why are all of those things happening at the SAME TIME? Why is it when it rains, it really does pour? Why are these the paths we have to go through, sometimes? My heart breaks, because I don’t like seeing those close to me hurt so much.

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So this made me think back to some of the rough times I have endured in my life. It is late so this post may be cut short and I’ll continue it for Wednesday, but I have had some really tough things happen in my life. Some incredibly tough break-ups, especially the ones in Boston, that I never thought I could ever recover from. There was a time, after I just moved to Boston, that my boyfriend whom I moved for, broke up with me three days…THREE DAYS…after I moved to be with him (don’t even get me started on the one that I dated after that ex, too.. sheesh!). Let’s not even mention that it was the day before I was starting my new job. To call myself a wreck is an understatement. I had a complete break-down; didn’t show up to work for a WEEK, and made my parents bring me back to CT to “re-group”. I didn’t think I could handle Boston by myself. Somehow my job at the time was willing to take me back and so I went back. I sucked it up for two years, met some great people and reconnected with others that I had known, and everything was OK. I am obviously now back in CT, but that was an experience I grew tremendously from. But when I think back to September 2009, and the place I was in, I never thought, EVER, that I could be happy again. What a lie – I am happier now that I’ve ever been in my whole existence, with myself most importantly, and with Nicholas. 

So what was that for? Was this all a part of God’s plan for me? (Bare with me, I am projecting some Faith here) I really think we are only given what God knows we can handle. I had some growing up to do, some maturing to do, and learning how to love ME before loving anyone else. Oh yeah, and gain some much needed self-confidence. Hindsight of course is always 20/20, but looking back to 2009, I can easily now see why that situation didn’t work out for me. I just wasn’t ready for it. I actually think I was too selfish of a person, despite not loving who I was, if that even makes sense. I wasn’t ready to open myself up, even though at the time, I thought I was. I lacked self-esteem. To achieve success at all of these things, I had to be alone. 

I want to continue digging into this tomorrow and hear your thoughts.

Question of the night – do you all think “God” (whatever faith ya’ll are) has a plan for us? Do you think we not given something we couldn’t handle? Do you think we have to go through things to get to the better thing that is waiting for us in the end? I’d love to hear your experiences. 

More to come on this tomorrow (Wednesday). 

Marvelous Monday! And….Salmon Recipe

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Good Day, Friends! Happy Marvelous Monday. Thank you to Katie at Healthy Diva Eats blog for hosting this!

How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was jam packed with friends and BBQ’s, but was a great one at that. Today has also been an exceptionally good Monday, so my week is already off to a fantastic start. I have a lot of Zumba this week and my Master Class on Friday! So excited, I can hardly stand it 🙂

First things first, I had to share the awesome Iced Coffee I got at Dunkin Donuts yesterday. I am definitely a Starbucks girl, but their Toasted Almond Iced Coffee with Whole Milk (and I added 2 packets of Truvia for extra sweet-ness) was so delicious and totally hit the spot! This may be my new iced coffee go-to. Yeah right, who am I kidding, I’ll be back at Starbucks tonight with my nutrition client 🙂

Dunkin’s Toasted Almond Iced Coffee with whole milk and truvia

I always have a Marvelous Monday and kick off my week with a great start when I have a productive and well-fed Sunday. Anyone else? Sundays sometimes in the past have been rough for me – bored, lazy, over-eat, unmotivated, and just all-around-bad-days. Because I know this about myself, I have worked pretty hard to make sure those situations don’t happen. I am also in a very, very good place in life so that for sure makes all the difference in the world, too. I think those unmotivating Sundays were just reflective of where I was in my life – not happy with myself, over-thinking things, creating too many “what-if” scenario’s, and now times are marvelous, so hopefully bad Sunday’s are just a thing of the past. Myself, and all of you, just have to take it one day at a time, and focus on today. What comes tomorrow, comes, and you just gotta roll with the punches. This is really how I try to live my life right now. I can only focus on what I can control. Whatever curve balls come my way, are going to come. I can only control how I respond to them, deal with them, learn from them, and move on from them. Today truly is a gift so enjoy each day as best as you can. So yesterday’s productive day always starts my week off just dandy (marvelous), thankyouverymuch.

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Anyway.

Last night I made the dinner I am probably best at making: Grilled Salmon with Mustard & Balsamic marinade. I got this idea to make it this way because I ate at a restaurant once in Fairfield, CT and they had a balsamic & mustard salmon, and I thought, OK, I can definitely make this myself! I have to say it comes out really good! (Even Nick approves… he is the pickest person ever)

Ingredients:

  • About 3/4 (.75) of a lb of Salmon
  • I find this amount works for Nick and I.. he definitely gets a larger portion 😉
  • Olive Oil cooking spray
  • Horseradish Mustard (remember I like things really spicy)
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Black Better
  • Garlic

Directions:

  • Place the salmon on a plate, and spray with cooking spray
  • Squeeze several dollops of the mustard on the salmon. Spread with a fork or knife to cover the whole piece
  • Next, poor balsamic vinegar over the whole thing
  • Sprinkle on black pepper and garlic
  • Cook on the grill until desired level of cookness/rareness (Are these even words?). We like it pretty well done, so it stayed on for probably a good 15 minutes.
  • I made Nick grill it, FYI. I am not too good at the grilling thing

While the salmon was grilling, I was so hungry, so I cut up some cucumbers and snacked on them. Just a little hold-me-over ya know.

We served it with veggies, and lots of them, and I put more horseradish mustard on my veggies 🙂

chillen’ and grillen’

TIME TO DIG IN!

Full, happy, ate well, and watched the Bachelorette on what a nice Sunday to start a marvelous Monday. The night might or might have not ended with chocolate ice cream  and chocolate almonds (not pictured) 🙂

Happy things that all happened today:

1. Chobani contacted me. Apparently they found my blog and are giving me a free box of Cho’. UM YES PLEASE!! We all know know how much I love my breakfast of my oat bran concoction.

2. Zesty Blog Consulting is starting the re-design of this blog. I got an email today saying, “We are just about finished the technical installation and will be starting the design portion shortly”. I also cannot wait for this!

3. I am seeing my college roommates Saturday for my roomie’s birthday. Love it when we are all in one place!

An oldie, but a goodie. Meg’s wedding June 2010. Love these ladies!

4. Repeat of something marvelous, I just can’t help it, ZUMBA MASTER CLASS FRIDAY! My good friend Stacey who also just get licensed to teach Zumba will also be there. She now lives in North Carolina and I don’t get to see her often. I am so happy to have her attend and share this experience with me!

That pretty much wraps up my Marvelous Monday. I can’t wait for tomorrow as it is the typical Double Zumba Tuesday and Shaira (the instructor running Friday’s Master Class) is going to be attending my class tomorrow night.  Energy will be pumpin’, that’s for sure 🙂

Question of the day:

– Does anyone have a day in the week that is particularly harder for them over the other days?  If so, how do you cope? What has been successful and not-so-successful? 

Saturday – “don’t-matter-day”

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Hey all!

Before I dig into the posting, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who had such nice comments, FB messages, emails, and texts regarding Friday’s post. It meant a lot. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I feel much more inspired to give more glimpses into my life via this blog. My adoption story is really neat and gearing up the courage to write about it.

The best compliment I received yesterday:

Loved your rambling Eva! When I met you, you had just moved and you were just starting all these new things in your life and you had such a bubbly attitude about it all. I actually had thought ‘why does this gorgeous girl not have a boyfriend’ and ‘who do I know that would be perfect for her’ since I thought you were such an amazing person. Fortunately for you, I didn’t know anyone since you seem to have struck gold all on your own. You are truly an inspiration and all the good things in your life have been deserved and earned by you. One hour a week at zumba with you has even rubbed on me so keep it up!

Thank you, Hil. This truly means more than I can begin to express in words. This is why I am feeling more at ease with opening up here on the internets. Anyone struggle with how much they want or don’t want to put out there? How do you find that balance?

Has Saturday really passed us by already? I got the Saturday “don’t-matter-day” from a great friend Jana yesterday and thought HOW PERFECT this would be for a blog post. This is just going to be mish-mash of things, if you will. Hey, it’s the weekend, and I go completely off my routine, so why not have a blog post non-routine? Ha.

Let’s recap Friday, yeah? Nick and I had sushi for dinner… it’s been a while! I find sushi to be relatively healthy, if you don’t get the rolls with all those (delicious) sauces & mayo’s. I stuck to plain rolls and some sashimi, and loaded it up with wasabi and ginger. I definitely love me some spicy tuna, but Friday night I wanted to eat kind of plain since I knew Saturday was going to be an all day food-fest.  Naturally, when we are out to dinner, we always accompany it with a drink. I had a delicious espresso martini and Nick had some “guy drink” on the rocks. And seriously, why does the server look at me like I have 10 heads when I ask for more wasabi and ginger on the side? Oh, it’s not normal to eat sushi and have your eyes watering & sinuses clearing at the same time? Gotcha. 

There may or may not have been another glass of red wine consumed. Just sayin’.

Just a small glass. Riiiiight.

Now let’s talk Saturday. Before Zumba, I always eat some kind of greek yogurt goodness. A lot of people ask me what I eat and fuel up on before class, so I wanted to share this. Yesterday I had some plain Chobani left over in the big container from when I made Protein Pancakes, so I added some blueberries, crunchy PB, and wheat puffs to it. It was a perfect pick-me-up and pre-breakfast to get me through my sweat-sesh. I can’t eat too, too much since my class is so intense that I will want to throw up in the middle of the studio floor if my belly is too full. So it has to be the right amount and I find this works for me. Totes can’t forget my coffee. I tried a new creamer – Silk French Vanilla. Was okay. I still prefer to drink my hot coffee black.

I started off Saturday with an unbelievable Zumba class. The energy still gets me every time. People probably think I am used to great classes, but absolutely not. I STILL can’t believe these people show up to take MY class. It is surreal. I work so hard at this that to see the hard work pay off is a feeling I can’t even describe. Ok, I am so freakin’ cheesy.

Great Class..Thanks, Everyone! #Ihavethebeststudentsever

“Call Me Maybe” is still a hit for a warm-up song. Everyone is liking that it is slower so that they can push it harder in the other routines. Fun times.

After Zumba I was craving an iced coffee from Starbucks. I am slightly obsessed with Starbucks. I got a venti-SF vanilla-iced coffee. I really don’t like skim milk so I load it up with whole milk. Whole milk makes it lighter and it just tastes better IMO. Plus, I like that whole milk is not as processed as skim. I sprinkle on nutmeg and cinnamon, too & I sucked it down in .2 seconds.

To continue on with “Saturday-don’t-matter-day”, I met up with some fantastic ladies who are the girlfriends & wives of my boyfriend Nick’s co-workers.  If you can follow that sentence, good job! Nick and I work in the same industry (Shipping), but we work at different companies. We went to an all day company party at a beautiful house in CT. This is really where the “don’t-matter-day” kicks in. A food truck, a midget walking around carrying beer, sub sandwiches, pizza delivery at 7 pm, a huge bar by the pool, any drink you could want, and fun people from the shipping industry I work in.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures, but this Eva Diva behaved herself. I also got thrown into the pool. I was completely thrown off guard as I was in a white skirt, and NOT in a bathing suit. My lovely ex-coworker Brian thought it would be so funny to push me in. Well, he was right. It WAS funny. And actually, quite refreshing. Is it bad the biggest concern was if there was black make-up running down my face? I didn’t even care my clothes were soaked and I didn’t have a spare set; I just wanted to make sure my make-up wasn’t all over the place! But, SOMEHOW and SOMEWAY, make-up stayed in tact! I thought for sure when I walked out of the water, I was going to look like a zombie with black mascara & eyeliner down my cheeks. I was one happy chica that I actually looked ok. I mean this is in front of my boyfriend’s whole company, I didn’t want to be a train wreck! LOL. It was all in good fun. I ended up borrowing clothes – Thank you Jess and Nina if you are reading this! I also won’t lie, shit got weird. But that’s to be expected at an all day food and booze fest. With that said, we all had a great time.

My eats were pretty good – another thing I am happy to report. I had some sandwiches, some pizza, and a granola bar when I got home at the end of the night. Granola bar is so clutch for me at the end of the night. I need want it. Totally absorbs the alcohol and I feel fine in the AM. Anyway, so I totally carb-loaded and ate no veggies, but I call this a successful BBQ when I don’t eat my weight in chips. Not one chip touched my lips, and not that I didn’t let myself, I honestly had no desire. No-more-labeling-good-foods-and-bad-foods = NO FOOD HANGOVER. I owe this to setting goals for myself and having this blog to hold me accountable. It worked. However, I didn’t successfully drink water. But I paced myself with the alchy drinks so I am fine today. I dabbled in a tequila shot, too. I love me some tequila. Then I chased it with a diet coke – how is that for class?

So again, a very serious Saturday Don’t Matter Day. Everything and anything goes. And I wouldn’t have it any other way! A lot of bloggers I read sometimes struggle with going off of their routine when they go out with friends and nights out on the town. I hope I can be some sort of example of how you can still do all of that, but it doesn’t mean you go off your routine. These are the experiences and bonding that make our life fulfilling. Who doesn’t love to socialize? Maybe I should speak for myself because I love going out. I know it can be scary to not be home at a certain time to make that perfect meal you want for yourself because you are out with friends, but it is so worth it. I don’t think anyone walks away from a night out thinking, “I really wish I stayed home alone tonight and ate oatmeal”. Sure, there are times when you definitely think it would have been better to stay home, but I bet more often than not, once you push yourself to go out and let loose a little, you end up having a really great time. Was yesterday my ideal choice of food? No way, but I enjoyed it, ate what I felt like eating, and today is a new day and I’m back at it. I have another family BBQ today but I am not worried 🙂 So I hope all of you had a fantastic weekend and did something fun and spent time with people who fulfill your life.

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I have so much more I want to write but I gotta do some thangs. Grocery store time if I can rally up the energy, yup yup.

Question of the day: 

I want to hear from all of you, what is your best night out ever? When did you not think twice about your routine, food choices, etc. and just let loose and had fun? I wanna know! 

Friday Ramblings – Where are you in life?

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Get after it!

Happy Friday, Friends!

I have decided that Friday is going to be my random ramblings post. This is also a good time to reflect on the busy week and share whatever-is-on-my-mind if you care to read 🙂 Call this my Friday Diary, whatever.

This has been one busy week… how about for anyone else? My big girl job as an Accountant has been super busy this week, but I much rather be busy, so no complaints there. The days have flown by. Maybe one day I’ll explain my day job….it’s in shipping, and NO, not FedEx or UPS. In other words, nerd by day, Zumba & blog obsessed by night.

Some reflective thoughts:

I am at a really good place in my life. At the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN), you learn that how you feel and what you eat stems from so many other parts of your life, called Primary Food, which is compromised of four things: Relationships, Spirituality, Career, and Physical Activity. IIN explains that when all these things are in sync, we are our best self and take the best care of ourselves, and with that comes eating well, too. How many of us totally eat junk or over-eat to the point of feeling sick when something else is completely off in our lives? I plead the 5th. No, just kidding, I have fallen into that more times than I care to admit.

Before studying at IIN, I never realized how greatly other things in my life impacted something that seemed so simple – my food choices and my self-esteem.  From 2009 to 2011, I was doing Accounting at a job that I really didn’t like in Boston. I never realized how much it affected every other aspect of my life. I was just bored and completely unfulfilled, on top of that moving to Massachusetts for all the wrong reasons, which was just the icing on the cake. I completely lacked self-confidence and self-esteem. When I finally asked myself, “Eva, what is it that you want to do?” I had an ah-ha moment. Number 1, I did not want to be in Boston. Number 2, I want to pursue Fitness and Nutrition. Number 3, I wanted #2 to be part-time, and find an Accounting job that I was better suited for. Seriously, when I put my mind to something, I make it happen.

Decide what to be and go be it. 

Maybe it’s the stubborn Taurus in me, but I do not take no for an answer. I lined up a job back in CT within 2 weeks, I moved, I aggressively started teaching Zumba®, and my world went from what felt dark and un-motivating,  to the best I have ever felt in my 28 years. This was all a result of getting my primary foods in line. With this came better fueling my body and taking care of myself; I put myself first….SHOCKING! I never knew how to do that before. People used to tell me, “Eva, you can’t love someone else unless you love yourself”. I thought I was going to punch someone in the face if I heard that one more time. But now, 100%, it is the absolute truth. Because I am finally happy with ME, I am not only more fun to be around, but I have a lot more to give my friends, family, and significant other. I also just respect people more, if that even makes sense.

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Everyday I wake up and honestly want someone to pinch me. Do I really get paid to have a day job I love, and a night-time job I am head over heels in love with?  Do I have a great family and friends? I totally want to write a book on my life; I was adopted and it’s just a cool story. Do I really deserve my boyfriend? I couldn’t be happier and in an extremely healthy relationship. This took me a long time to get to this place and several down and dark periods and many break-ups, but who doesn’t have that? I wanted to share this because if I can get here, so can everyone else struggling with anything in their life. Change IS possible, and change IS a good thing. You just have to make it happen. 

That wraps up Friday Diary, friends. Who struggles with Primary Food? How have you overcome it? What things in your life are you grateful for?

Some favorite things this week: 

  • Trader Joe’s popcorn! I love their individual bags. Only 130 calories and much less sodium than any other brand of popcorn I’ve seen.  I added some olive oil spray and nutritional yeast to it.. YUM!
  • I have also been loving morning “shakes” before I go to work made with almond milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, and some whey protein. This morning I added some of that powdered PB… YUM.. perfect “hold-me-over” until I get to work and I can make my big oat bran breakfast.

Made via the Magic Bullet. I think this thing sucks, to be honest. Totally need a new blender.

  • Blackened Chicken Salad – can’t leave out my salad 🙂 This was at work Thursday. We all know I love my spicy food!

Last but not least… tomorrow I basically have an all day party that revolves around food and alcohol. Like I said yesterday, sometimes I am good with this and sometimes I’m not. I am setting a goal for myself: to drink water throughout the day and in between drinks. I know if I do that, the alcohol inhibitions will not get to me and Eva will not feel like an oompa loompa come night’s end. The worst thing ever to me is a food hangover; almost worse than an alcohol hangover. Anyone agree?

What is everyone up to this weekend? How do you survive all day parties?  

Have a great weekend!

Protein Pancakes: Breakfast for Dinner!

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We are getting closer to the weekend, folks! I made something new last night and wanted to share it… I am trying to get more creative here.

Last night I was feeling inspired to FINALLY make some sort of protein pancake. Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? I am really trying to make a better habit of cooking more and venturing out to new things. All too often I fall in the same ruts of eating veggies and some kind of protein for lunch/dinner. Now don’t get me wrong, that is obviously a good way to eat, but I keep reading all these blogs out there with some amazing recipes. Time to step it up! So breakfast for dinner it was last night…and it turned out pretty good!

I found the recipe from Tina @ Carrots N Cake, and also Athena @ Fitness & Feta made this also. The recipe and it’s simplicity appealed to me most. It wasn’t too many ingredients and were all things I could easily access at Stop N Shop on my way home from work. Sometimes pankcake recipes overwhelm me, but since I love oatmeal and greek yogurt so much, I knew this would be “Eva Friendly”, ha.  I quadrupled Tina’s pancake recipe because Nick told me he was super hungry, but only double the apple/topping part, and I figured I would be able to eat more than the individual serving anyways.

Pancake ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup liquid egg whites
  • 1cup plain Greek yogurt
  • A dash of vanilla extract (I had just a tiny bit left so threw that in.. definitely could have used more)
  • Several shakes of cinnamon; didn’t measure
  • 2 packets of Stevia – I added this because I like things a bit sweeter especially when using plain greek yogurt.

Topping ingredients:

  • 2 medium apple
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup water
  • lots of shakes of cinnamon

Directions:

1. Cut up the apple into small squares and put into a saucepan. Add lemon juice, water, and cinnamon. Cook in medium heat until all water runs off. This was probably a good 10-12 minutes.

2. While the apples are cooking, mix together the pancake ingredients in a medium sized bowl since I did 4x the recipe.

3. Pre-heat a skillet or big frying pan with cooking spray, and leave on medium heat (watch for heat, I definitely had it up too high and burned them a bit). Poor in pancake batter, let sit a minute or two (honestly I didn’t time it, so don’t quote me on time) and then flip.

  • I ended up breaking out a 2nd frying pan since we had so much batter to cook & we were HUNGRY 🙂

4. Once done, take however many pancakes you want and top with apples. I also put crunchY PB & SF Maple Syrup on mine

  • Nick and I each had 2.5 medium sized ones, and there was still one left over we did not eat.. so we done did good 🙂

These were pretty good & it made several pancakes! I was definitely happy with how they came out for my first time making them, and I am pretty confident the second time would be even better.

The ingredients “before”.. I also bought apple sauce thinking I could add it, but I didn’t end up using it

Batter looked kind of funny at first, but you quickly get over it. It actually smelled so good!

Then finally….

Delicioso! Even though they were a tiny bit burned, they were still good! I like my food well done…ha ha. I added crunchy PB that is not pictured, much better with it.

Take-away’s:

  • Add more Vanilla Extract
  • Add a bit more stevia if making another large batch like I made this one
  • Lower the heat… pan was too hot and they were burning quickly
  • Get creative with toppings! I want to do a banana-ish/blueberry type one next time

So that is it for Thursday. I am beat! Work has been so busy and I had a great Zumba class tonight, too. We worked hard…everyone seems to be loving my new playlist I did for Tuesday’s class. I absolutely cannot wait to teach at the Master Class July 27th!  Call Me Maybe is a HIT! Who knew? It’s not as intense as Starships, the warm-up I have been doing for a while, but I think it has been good to start with a slower song so then we can push it more with the songs following it. Either way, I love a good-high-energy-class. Thank you to all my students who are reading this! 

Anyway, tomorrow will be another random “Friday Ramblings” post; I had such a good blackened chicken salad at lunch today, I want to share it. I also like to set goals for myself before the weekend comes. I, for the most part, have it all together when I go to an all day BBQ, and I stick to my usual eats, etc, and feel good. But there are just SOMETIMES when I completely have the all or nothing approach, and totally over-do it. I have an all day event Saturday that I need to get my A-game on. So expect some thoughts on that, as well. 

Stay tuned 🙂

What is everyone’s favorite protein pancake recipe? Please share! 

Zumba® Playlist and Office Eats & Tips

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Hi-yo!!

We all know what last night was…. Tuesday. Which MEANS! Double Zumba® Tuesday. My favorite day of the week. I switched up last night’s playlist, because let’s be honest, if I hear Starships one more time I may lose it (haha). I have been getting requests to do a routine to “Call Me Maybe” as everyone is freakin’ obsessed with this song, so yesterday morning I nailed a routine down all before work.. I know, I know, I don’t know how I do it either 😉 I also brought back a routine I did when I first began teaching “Shake it Up” by Mara; it was another class favorite. I mixed up the order of the songs a bit just to keep everyone on their toes – my regulars know my playlist by heart now and wanted to have them feel a change. Lastly, I brought back Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything Tonight” and added in a super-intense ab move. This was a great song to end the class before we got into the cool down’s (Alejandro and We Are Young).

Step N Out Dance Studios was a good turn out! The owner, my friend, Susan, also took my class last night and she is one AWESOME DANCER. I found myself wanting to dance more like her as I was teaching!

Then LA Fitness was a blast, per usual. Costa, another Zumba Instructor whose Master Class I am teaching at July 27th, taught 3 totally-heart-pumping-high-intensity-super-fun-routines! This makes me EVEN MORE excited for the Master Class if that is even possible. No pics from class last night. I totally forget when class is over. I am in such a rush to get home and EAT after teaching two back-to-back classes, yaknowwhatimsayin’.

Last night’s playlist:

Playlist 7.17.12

Playlist 7.17.12

OFFICE EATS:

So as most of you may know (or don’t know) my day job, or “big girl job” as I like to say, consists of me working in an office. I sit at a desk all day long. But let me be straight, I love my day job, so I do feel extremely fortunate to feel like I have the best of both worlds – an Accountant by day and Zumba Instructor at night. With that said, my company buys us lunch everyday. That means we are given a menu from some deli in the area, and we write down what we want. You can almost guarantee that I will always get a salad with chicken, about 90% of the time.

Today I was not feeling chicken, and lately, chicken has been turning me off. So I brought from home a Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie burger (one of my fav’s!) and a side of arugula + basil with red pepper & nutritional yeast sprinkled on top to add to my lunch order. I wrote down on the order form that I wanted just a tossed salad, no chicken, and extra veggies. This deli did a good job! I got hooked up with onions and chopped black olives, something the don’t normally put in my chicken salads. I was really pleased. The addition of the Dr. Praegers to this salad was delicious. Let me just remind all of you that I am very seriously obsessed with Arugula and Basil. I love the combination of taste together. They add such a good flavor to a salad; I feel like I’m eating out at a restaurant when I add this because I just can’t believe I came up with something so good, ha!

Look at all of that arugula and basil. Veggie burger hidden somewhere amongst the vegetable craziness

Up close and personal with a half-eaten Dr. P. veggie burger

So this reminded me that I wanted to share some office lunch eating tips with ya’ll:

1. You cannot go wrong with a plain tossed salad with chicken, hard-boiled eggs, beans, or any other kind of protein.

2. Make sure NO dressing is on the salad, as most restaurants/deli’s put on way too much and you will be consuming way more calories than is needed. I am a control freak and like to do this myself.

3. If not feeling chicken like I was today, bring a veggie burger from home and order just a plain tossed salad and ask for extra veggies. Then add in your veggie burger and whatever other fixin’s you bring from home (arugula + basil, anyone?!)

4. I love to add balsamic vinegar, plain, to my salads. It gives you a lot of taste but not a lot of calories. I keep it in my drawer at work.  Look at that oatmeal trying to peak out, too. I can’t ever have enough of that, either.

Yes that is my snack drawer at work with my favorite balsamic vinegar. I find it in the grocery store by keeping my eyes peeled for the “yellow label”, ha

5. If you need more dressing than just basic balsamic, make your own at home or bring some Annie’s Natural Dressings (or Newman’s Own, or Trader Joe’s, etc. you get my point) and leave them in the fridge at work. A lot of people do that here at my office. Basically, what I am saying is, to control how much YOU put on the salad; not the person making it.

6. Obviously, having a menu in front of me daily can sometimes be tempting to get something else. That is OK. There are so many other options that can be “healthy” or as I say “Eva Friendly” from a deli/lunch place. To name a few:

  • Turkey or ham or roast beef on whole wheat with L/T and spicy mustard, and maybe a little mayo on the side if you need more flavor (I would need this)
  • A grilled chicken wrap again with dressing on the side
  • One place we order from offers grilled salmon or chicken over veggies and brown rice..excellent!
  • Veggie and hummus whole wheat wrap
  • Veggie Omelette with dry rye toast (one of my fav’s for any meal)
  • 1-2 slices of thin crust pizza with a side salad
  • If you really just want something decadent like chicken parm, because who doesn’t love that & that’s the first thing that came to my mind (thanks to my Italian mama)… Order it and eat half. Be mindful of how you feel when eating and stop when you are perfectly satisfied, not to the point of uncomfortableness. To get extra food to fill you up, order veggies or bring them from home, or ask for a side salad. This won’t derail any nutrition efforts once in a while. Sometimes I get a crazy concocted sandwich on a roll (white bread..oh no! haha) with all sorts of things like chicken with cheese, pesto, mayo, oil, etc but I eat half the sandwich and have a plate of salad or veggies on the side. It works.
  • Be creative! Possibilities really are endless. Ask for substitutions. Most places are accommodating, just get over your fear of asking 🙂

Those are just my .2 cents and what works for me. Working in an office does not need to sabotage your health and fitness goals, even when work buys you lunch daily 🙂

A goal this week has been to drink more water. Does Seltzer count? Someone please tell me yes! I enjoyed this with lunch, too:

Hope everyone is having a great week so far & thank you for reading 🙂

Please stay tuned and keep reading C2N, in just a few short weeks I will be unveiling a whole new customized blog design thanks to Zesty Blog Consulting and Danielle. I cannot wait!

– Who here works in an office and has healthy-eating tips?

What is your favorite thing to eat at work?

Weekend Events & Keepin’ it Healthy

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Monday, we meet again….boo. Hope everyone had a great weekend! I sure did and wanted to share the events with you all and show how aside from the alcohol consumption, it wasn’t hard to “stay healthy”.

Saturday, Nick, myself, and 2 of our friends Darin and Melissa, went to an awesome Vineyard in Wallingford, CT – Gouveia Vineyards. We had a great time, consumed a bit too much wine, but brought some healthy snacks with us to enjoy while there. I would definitely say it was a success.

Train heading to the Vineyard

Wine Tasting at Gouveia – Highly recommend the Sevyl Blanc and the Chardonnay (& all their red’s since at heart I am a red wine girl)

Melissa and I teamed up and she brought some cheese and triscut crackers along with some blueberries and peaches, and I brought strawberries, hummus, and 2 veggie trays from Trader Joe’s. We of course devoured this in no time, but I was glad we kept it “Eva-Friendly”.

Gone in about .2 seconds. Hummus, fruit, veggies, cheese, crackers.

The hummus I got was Trader Joe’s 3 layer hummus. It regular flavored, red pepper, and cilantro. Highly recommend! It was delicious and totally hit the spot.

The rest of the details from the day/night are totally unnecessary to blog about, but involved more drinks and some bar food at Casey’s….my favorite bar that is literally down the street from my apartment (they serve the best Guinness in my opinion). We all had just a little too-much-fun. You only live once, right?!

Sunday Darin and Melissa also had awesome tickets to the Yankees game that we just couldn’t pass up – I am a huge Yankees fan. They were 18 rows back from the guest dug-out. It was SO FREAKIN’ HOT and we were sweating like mad, but what a view!

My new Yanks tank top – thanks, Nick 🙂

What a view

Love me some Derek Jeter!

Despite the heat, having these seats were totaly worth it! I won’t lie, a few more beers were consumed, but whatever, it’s a baseball game and we don’t do this often. Yankees Stadium is great because they definitely offer a lot of “healthy” options – salad stands, sushi, chicken sandwiches, and veggie burgers, all with calorie counts on the menu’s. As soon as I saw this I knew a picture was in order for the blog 🙂 Do you all find that when you actually see the calorie information, you make a better decision?

Notice the top item, Dr. Praegers Veggie Burger!

Part of me almost ordered the veggie burger, but I decided I really wanted something more substantial and something with more protein. So we started with a measly chicken sandwich that I added a ton of hot sauce to (surprised?) and then indulged in some chicken fingers. The little grilled chicken sandwich just wasn’t cutting it for me and Nick. I absolutely do give in to fried food every now and then. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love chicken fingers with some BBQ sauce & honey mustard? I think moderation is key and as long as you don’t over do it, one day won’t kill you. I enjoyed them! I had probably 2 big ones and Nick ate the rest 😉 If I didn’t eat stuff like this every now and then, I seriously think I’d lose my mind. I love wine and the occasional fried food (fried calamari is my weakness..OH and so are chips, ah!) too much to ever not drink/eat it. I wanted to particularly address this because being so open on a “healthy living blog”, you only see what I choose to post. I could have left this out and you all think I eat well ALL of the time, but part of this blog is to also document how eating things like fried chicken fingers at a baseball game is OKAY and won’t kill me or derail my health & fitness goals. I have come a long way with this, as this is something I probably would have restricted in the past and then it would back fire on me and I’d eat my whole kitchen. By taking the “good” or “bad” labels off of things eases everything else and I don’t feel the need to over do-it (tortilla chips on the other hand are a totally different story… no self-control there, haha). This thinking didn’t just change over night but it’s something I have worked on for the past few years. I finally feel like I have achieved a good balance. Anyone else stuck on labeling foods? How did you overcome it? Or how are you dealing with it?

yum 🙂 and almost done

What is missing from these pics are yummy beers we enjoyed. Corona Light’s with a lime and some bud lights 🙂 Sunday Funday at it’s finest! What a great weekend.

So there you have it. I hope this post gives you all some kind of perspective about moderation and balance. Was too much alcohol consumed? No doubt, yes. Was everything so much fun and we all had a great time? YES! So that’s why I don’t feel bad one bit. These are the memories to cherish, friends. I won’t look back and think about what I ate, I will look back and think about the great time spent with friends – that’s the key here. Today is Monday and it’s business on usual – back to the meals I DO LOVE eating and all that jazz. I actually woke up and couldn’t wait to make a shake and get to work and make my oat bran concoction. Now that’s what I call moderation 🙂

A goal this week is to drink more water. I suck at it.

How was everyone’s weekend?

Exciting News!! And Shrimp Chopped Veggie Salad

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WEEKEND!

I have some VERY exciting news I want to share. Another Zumba® Instructor, Shaira, called me Friday as I was leaving work. Long story short, she asked me to teach a few routines at her upcoming Zumba® Master Class on July 27th!! I am so pumped. She and side-kick, Costa, who teaches with her, are really amazing. I really enjoy their classes. This is so so sweet of Shaira, and I am so grateful! #cloud9! For my CT peeps, the Master Class is July 27th at Elite Club in Stamford, 6:30 to 8 pm. YES that is 90 full minutes, but I promise you will have a blast!

I attended their first Master Class back in April. That is actually where my cover photo is from (thanks Shaira!) It was a blast. 90 minutes of Zumba in a NIGHT CLUB. Sounds odd, but it was so cool to do it there. Music was blasting with the incredible sound system a club has, and you felt like you were Britney Spears or something; shaking it with the beats and the lights dimmed and neon’d out (is neon’d a word? haha you get my point). Shaira and Costa stood on a stage and faced the class to teach. That helped because no matter where you were on the floor, you could see them both. The room was jam packed and the energy out-of-this-world. Here are some pictures:

Shaira and Costa. Amazing Energy!!

The infamous pic on my business cards and blog 🙂

So yeah, I am pumped to teach! I have never taught from a stage before and really looking forward to this. THANK YOU SHAIRA!

Friday Night I also concocted a really great salad inspired by Danielle at Clean Food Creative Fitness’ post. I made a stop at Trader Joe’s, and of course bought more items that I needed. #obsessedwithtraderjoe’s

Trader Joe’s shopping cart – always getting more than I went in for!

I decided to make an arugula salad with sautéed zucchini and green peppers, tomato’s, cucumbers, and….SHRIMP! I saw this bag of shrimp in the freezer section of TJ’s and thought this would be perfect for dinner. I get so sick of chicken! When I got home I laid out everything and ran the shrimp under cold water in a strainer to thaw it out. Then I cooked the zucchini and peppers with a little olive oil, garlic, lemon pepper Mrs. Dash, and black pepper. When that was done I put the shrimp in the same pan and added a bit more olive oil to cook it all up. I mixed everything up when it was done cooking and made a huge bowl of veggie & shrimp goodness. My salad of course included lots of garlic, more red pepper, and Sriracha hot sauce.

See pictures below:

This was so good. The frozen shrimp were easy to thaw out and cook and this made Friday night dinner a breeze. So I don’t know if I consider this a recipe but more just a concoction I threw together. I just made it up as I went along. Nick liked it do I’d say it was a success!

Now it’s Sunday and the weekends of course go by so fast. I went to Gouveia Vineyards in Wallingford, CT yesterday and now off to a Yankees game! Stay tuned for blog posts on these!

How was everyone’s weekend?! Beautiful sunshine but hot here in good ole CT