Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Vegas Style



Guess who is going to Vegas? This girl! Guess who is actually going to Vegas today? You guessed it. This girl! After work, I'm hopping on a jet plane Las Vegas bound with my momma to meet up with my dad and youngest brother Matt! Matt has a basketball tournament, so my parents asked if I wanted to come. I couldn't turn down a free place to stay in Vegas.

In honor of throwback Thursday and my impending Vegas trip, I thought I'd take a walk down memory lane and relive my last two Las Vegas vacations!.

2011: Kate's 21st Birthday



In August 2011, my wonderful sister-in-law turned 21. What better way to celebrate your 21st then a trip to Vegas. My mother and father-in-law went along with us five girls.




We had an absolute blast and did everything we could from Thursday night drink specials to Friday morning facials. Exploring Freemont Street to testing out as many penny slots as possible. We went out for Kate's birthday at Tao night club and saw the Circ de Solis show at Treasure Island where we were staying. Phil also took us to Bill's and taught us the basics of craps :)




We even met the owner of the Golden Gate Casino on Freemont Street and he gave Kate $100 for roulette. I can't remember if she put it on red or black, but she one. #FTW
It was a great first trip to Vegas with not only my friends, but my family as well.




2012: Courtney's Bachelorette Party



Now this trip was quite different, but equally as awesome. There were clearly more girls and we stayed in a fancy suite at the Cosmopolitan. We partied hard at the night clubs, spent plenty of time at a few different pools and took advantage of a pretty sexy show...aka Chippendales!






I successfully fell down the stairs on our first night there. I had the most delicious creps during brunch at The Sugar Factory. We out at Tryst, Hyde and The Palms. Took a limo to dinner at VooDoo followed by the famous Chippendales men. It was all sorts of awesome and busy,




Vegas hasn't let me down yet and I don't see it letting me down in the near future. This trip will be a little different. A bit more low key, but equally as awesome. I can't wait to explore with my fam!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Friendship + Medicine Balls = Partner Play

This past weekend, JP and I were able to spend so much time together with friends. Tons of friends. It seemed as though this was the most perfect weekend for everyone to be in town! JP and I called this past weekend our "Tour de Houston" because we were all over the place. We cooked dinner with Chandra and Michael on Friday in Jersey Village. Saturday we met up with Julie, Chris and Evan at Top Golf in Spring. Then we went to Chris' parents' house in the Woodlands for good food, margaritas and pool time. And of course that wasn't enough for us, so we headed back into town for dinner at Blackfinn with all of our college friends. Russo was in town from D.C. and Brian and Lori came down from Dallas so we could all be together. If Saturday's craziness wasn't enough, Sunday bright and early, we drove down to Galveston to help my cousin Amanda and her friend Alex move into their new house! {They drove down here from North Carolina for a fresh start and new adventure post college which means I have my favorite cousin only an hour away.} To finish the day off, we ended up in Sugar Land post unloading the moving truck into an un-airconditioned house for much needed pool time! Whew.


Left to Right, Top to Bottom
one. JP finishing his swing at Top Golf North Houston
two. Houston skyline from I-45
three. Me and my Julie. So glad she came to visit from Orlando!
four. Alison - me- Ashley out in Midtown to celebrate Russo being in Houston
five. Galveston road trip with my two little side kicks
six. Me - Amanda - Alex I love jumping pics
seven. Celebrating their move to H-town!


Being around so many friends this weekend had me thinking about friendship a lot and how lucky I am to have this many people in my life that I feel so close to. Each friendship was formed in its own special way and developed over time to blossom into what we have today. Each friendship also shaped me into who I am today. We choose our friends and our friends choose us. I thought hard about how each friendship has changed my life and made me select my path.

How did I get to where I am? 
What influenced me to make my choices? 
Why am I confident in who I am? In what I'm doing?

Love and support. 

Love and support from my friends and family. I'm a lucky girl to have such wonderful people in my life. The people pictured above, that I saw this weekend are only a few of the people who touched my life and gave me the confidence to be who I am. Thank you to all my friends. Friendship means the world to me and I am strong because of it!

Speaking of friends, you know a really fantastic way to hang out and feel good about yourself? Yup, you guessed it. A workout! I mean, Chandra and I became friends because of a running club. Julie and I trained for and ran our first half together. Ashley and Alison decided to join us and jump on the bandwagon shortly after. Partner workouts are super fun and it's a great way to push yourself and see the people you care about. Plus you'll be glad you did it instead of sitting on your bum at a bar with a drink in hand. You can do that after and feel better about it! Here's a great partner workout to try!





Instead of explaining each of these exercises in depth, I thought I'd just fix the names to match these awesome websites below that give full descriptions of each move! Of course, If you have any questions at all, leave a comment or send me and e-mail and I'll explain it right away!

http://greatist.com/fitness/35-kick-ass-partner-exercises
http://archive.wcsh6.com/news/health/fit_at_five/article/216030/223/Fit-at-Five-Partners-Medicine-Ball-Workout

Now grab a friend and go get it done! Take a moment to remember why your friends while you're at it. And remember how lucky you are to have a friend to do work with!

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Blaze New Trails: My Mizuno Wave Hayate


This post is sponsored by Mizuno through Fitfluential. All opinions are my own and pertain to the focus and heart of A Balancing Act.

A little over 5 years ago, I woke up one morning and decided that I wanted to run a half marathon. I wanted to be a runner. I did it. And many more to follow. 2 1/2 years ago I decided I wanted to run a full marathon. I did it. And then I did it again. And then something came over me and I signed up for another one. {Yikes!} Early this year, I decided I wanted to get into running trails. I wanted to change things up a bit and still be a runner. I did it once again.

There is a certain joy about running trails. You don't have to focus on pace and cadence. You're not worried about your finish time. Instead, you worry about your foot and what's in front of you. You're proud of your finish whether it be a race or just another run. It's a different sort of challenge that I've found a lot of joy and peace while pushing my limits.


video


When I had the opportunity to review the Mizuno Wave Hayates, I was excited to try my very first trail shoes! Now let me tell y'all, there is a huge difference in your every day distance running shoes and trail running shoes. The Wave Hayate's design is low, light and adaptable for fast off-road training or racing. There is an X-lug outsole that grips in all directions, and the lightweight midsole plants securely on any terrain.  Trail runners often want to be one with the trail, and these trail-specific details work in harmony so you feel the trail and not the shoe.

Mizuno is making a commitment to trail running and is pushing the design principles found in the Ascend 8 to their new trail shoe line-up. Runners will find versatility and ease along the trail, making these shoes must-haves for trail running. The men's shoes weigh in at a minimal 8.8oz and the women's at an even lighter 7.2oz.




The first thing I love about the Wave Hayate is that Hayate translates to "swift, like a whirlwind" which is how runners should feel when connecting with the trails. The Wave Hayate's have a comfort about them that helps me to maneuver the trails with ease. The fit is a bit snugger than your every day running shoe. Mizuno recommends sizing up a half size for the Hayate's. I am generally between an 8.5 and 9, so I size up to a 9 for my distance shoes. Since they are a bit bigger, I was able to get a 9 in the Hayate and they fit comfortably. The fit of the shoe is very in tune with my foot. The design is sleeker and narrower than my usual Wave Riders which works great for the trail. When comparing my two Mizuno shoes, I noticed a huge difference in the bottom shoe grips. The Hayates have a more defined grip that allows the runner to maneuver more fluidly over rough terrain by catching on the surface. My first run I noticed the difference in having actual trail shoes over running in my distance shoes on trails. I highly recommend the Wave Hayate to anyone looking for a great trail/off-road running shoe. I may be new in my trail journey, but I'm learning more every day!


Moose likes it when we take my trail shoes on adventure walks and hikes too!


Take a look at the current line up of Mizuno trail running shoes for both men and women!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Day in the Life...{Workout Included!}

...of Amy the personal trainer! I've never done a day in the life post and so many people ask about how my job is going. Since I quit working in the corporate world almost 1 year ago {gasp!}, I thought I'd give y'all a run down on the daily grind. Since today is Wednesday, I'll give you my Wednesday schedule since every day is different!


Somewhere between 3:45 and 4:00AM
Time to wake up and get ready! Time varies based on thoughts below:
1. Do I need to shower?
2. If answer is yes, do I need to wash my hair?
3. No shower - 3:54
4. Shower - 3:50
5. Hair wash - 3:45
Awesome I know. Please note: I avoid washing my hair for as long as possible. Don't judge me.














4:40AM
Better get to work! Luckily, it only takes me 10 minutes from door to door. If I leave at 4:40, I'm clocked in at the gym by 4:50am. Dark and early!

4:50AM
Get the gym ready for opening. Turn on lights, tvs and music, check the locker rooms, restock towels, tidy up the floor and make sure all weights are reracked!




5:00AM
Sit back and enjoy my coffee! Most mornings I don't have a client or class until 6:00, but occasionally I'll have a 5:30 client. Just means I have to put on my happy face a bit earlier. Good thing I'm a morning person! During this time I'll also sit and chat with Lauren or Rick (depending on who is opening with me) or scroll through the interwebz catching up on the news and what not.




6:00AM
Train my regular Wednesday morning client. She's once a week and fun to work with. In fact, I really enjoy all of my AM clients which is super important since it's so early!

6:30AM
Time to teach! Every Wednesday I have my morning Cross Training class. We do something a little different each week. I like to keep everyone on their toes and change it up! I have about 6 regulars that love it because they never know what's coming, so there is nothing to dread going into it! We do everything from cycle intervals, strength training, running, HIIT, track workouts, so on and so forth. This week I set up a 7 station circuit with some cardio and strength drill!




7:15AM
Towel run. Unload and restock towels after morning crew.

8:00AM
Weekly coffee date with CJ! Today was unsweetened iced green tea.




8:30AM
Clean the restrooms. Not the highlight of my day, but we have to get the towels, fill the stock room and the restrooms. Then we have to tidy up the restrooms, cleaning counters, restocking supplies and refill soaps, body wash and shampoo. Glamorous I know.

9:00-10:30AM
Varies from day to day. This is our down time. Nothing too exciting is going on at the gym and since I teach my class Wednesday mornings, I don't have any more clients until lunch time! Chill out, relax, eat breakfast, blog, so on and so forth.




10:30AM
Time to train my awesome clients.

12:00PM
Teach my Strength Zone class! This is my favorite class and I teach it Mondays and Wednesdays at the same time. I usually have about 15-20 students which nearly fills up the class! It's all about challenging my students. Go big or go home. Here's what we're doing this week!




Our track is 5 laps to a mile, so for the running portion, you can run 0.2 or 0.25 miles. You can also sub it out for 2 minutes of cardio!

12:45PM
Sometimes I train, but mostly I chill and start to wrap things up for the day.

1:30PM-3:00PM
Get home, get the dogs out and eat lunch while vegging on the couch catching up on the previous nights' shows!

3:00-5:30PM
It depends on the day, but I have several options as to what I can do during this time:
  1. Run errands. Grocery strore, post office, shopping, whatever I may need to do usually gets done around this time.
  2. Take the dogs to the park or out for a walk. Walks are quick 10-15 minute intervals this time of year, so it hasn't been happening lately and probably won't until October. Stupid Texas summers!
  3. Continue to sit on my couch watching the DVR, playing on my computer or reading.
  4. Take a nap. The 3 o'clock hour comes very early.
  5. Shower or bath time. Depends on how sweaty I got that day or how sore my muscles are!



5:45PM
Prep and cook dinner! Or argue with JP over what to get for dinner. And by argue I mean, he just gets frustrated because I can't make up my mind. Tonight I'm trying to make spicy thai turkey lettuce wraps.

6:30PM
Dinner time!

7:00PM
Veg out on the couch and snuggle time with my main squeeze. This is my time to unwind and chill out. I can't be too busy in the evenings or I won't be able to go to bed when necessary.

8:30PM 
BED TIME!
I need my sleep to function.

Sleep the night away, wake up and do it again! The best part is that each day is a little different. I have different classes, different clients and things happen at different times. I'm definitely loving my life as a fitness professional!

Don't forget, you still have time to enter my giveaway for a Pure Via Summer Fit Kit until Friday!

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Life Lately Photo Dump!



Do you ever end up with all these pictures on your phone that you obviously took for a reason, but apparently never got around to using? I have over 1,000 pics on my iPhone {yes, I'm trying to delete some...it's an ongoing process} and so many of them end up just sitting on my phone and computer. I've decided to rectify the situation and create a post now and again with those lonely pics. So here you have life lately...as in from Norway until now :)






one. Ashley and I ready for the 2nd USA match!
two. My man is in his prime during theWorld Cup.
three. Homemade sweet potato chicken nachos. So good!
four. World Cup game 3 party at the gym.
five. Beautiful
six. Margs with Molly
seven. This guy
eight. Love America. Love Texas more :)
nine. My Alex and me at the river house





ten. Mag & Moo taking care of me while I was sick, sick, sick.
eleven. Smoothies for my sore throat
twelve. Moose loves his walks!
thirteen. Trail walk/jogs in Sugar Land testing out my Mizuno Wave Hayate shoes
fourteen. Summer swims with Moose. He's my water baby.
fifteen. I think Maggie is comfy at her home.
sixteen. My babes.
seventeen. Happy Anniversary to my momma and daddy! 28 years strong,
eighteen. Wine time. Love $2 Tuesdays

So that's about it. After Norway, things were quiet for a week, then river weekend, then I got sick. Starting next week, travel picks up again and we're pretty busy through most of August! Yikes!

Side note, my little seester turned 24 on Saturday! I posted this picture on Instagram this weekend, but I kind of wanted to put it on here too because I love my sister and she's adorable.






That's all for today. Happy Tuesday y'all!
Oh and don't forget to enter to win a Pure Via Summer Fit Kit!




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Monday, July 14, 2014

Whole Wheat Pancake Recipe & a Pure Via GIVEAWAY!


This post is sponsored by Pure Via through FitFluential. I was compensated with product only and all opinions are my own! {Keep reading for a chance to win your own Pure Via kit!}


Pure Via® is an all natural sweetener using the stevia plant. It's a great alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners. (Remember all the nasty side effects of artificial sweeteners!) Over the past year, I've been gradually decreasing the amount of artificial sweeteners I put in my body. Don't get me wrong, I'm still known to have a Diet Coke every once in a while and I know that some foods I put in my body contain artificial sweeteners. It's a slow process and finding Pure Via is just another way I'm able to find yet another alternative to sweeteners and real sugar. Check out some of the cold hard facts:

  • Pure Via’s stevia extract is 97% pure Reb A made from the sweetest extract of the stevia leaf
  • It is sweetened using all natural stevia
  • Pure Via packets contain only non-GMO* ingredients
  • Each Pure Via packet sweetens like two teaspoons of sugar
  • Pure Via is suitable for people with diabetes
  • It’s certified Kosher Parve

{See the Pure Via Summer Fit Kit pictured above}

Pure Via sent me a few different types of their product:
  1. Pure Via stevia packets
  2. Pure Via liquid
  3. Pure Via vanilla flavored liquid
Thus far, I've used the packets in a few different recipes {I'm sharing a pancake recipe below!} and I've found the liquids perfect for drinks! The regular liquid is great for making some sweet iced tea and the vanilla is delicious in my morning coffee with just a bit of almond milk. The best part about the liquids is that you can choose just how much you want to put in. Squeeze in a bit and if it's not quite right, you can always add in a little more.





The liquid sweeteners are also great for on the go… these bottles will fit in your purse, backpack, pocket or gym bag. They come with a no drip lid which means there are mess free plus they dissolve instantly in your hot or cold beverage.





One more thing...Pure Via packets’ ingredients are non-GMO (not the product of bioengineering). You can use Pure Via like sugar, to add natural sweetness to your hot or cold beverages, sprinkle on your favorite fruits and use in recipes! Speaking of recipes, take a look at this great whole wheat pancake recipe using Pure Via packets:

Whole Wheat Pure Via Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Pure Via packet
  • 1 1/2 tsp backing powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup almond milk {can substitute 2% or skim milk}
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 2 TBS nearly melted butter {I used Smart Balance!}
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract





Directions

  1. Whisk all dry ingredients {first five on ingredient list} together in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a smaller microwave safe bowl, heat milk to luke warm/room temperature. Add butter and heat until nearly melted.
  3. Add in egg, applesauce and vanilla and whisk until blended.
  4. Pour wet mixture into the dry mixture slowly. Add bits at a time mixing with a fork or spatula until all wet mixture is added. Stir until mixed, but do not over mix. Clumps will be present in the batter.
  5. Batter will be thick; however, if batter is unreasonably thick, add milk one tablespoon at a time.
  6. Heat up a griddle or skillet pan on the stove. Add butter or non-stick spray to surface before adding batter. Pour batter onto skillet, about four inches in diameter will yield roughly 8 pancakes!
  7. Flip pancakes with batter starts to bubble. Remove from heat and ENJOY!




Now here's the best part...you can win your own Pure Via kit! Just use the widget below to enter.  and I'll announce the winner on Friday!



For nutritional information, please visit: http://www.purevia.com/Purevia/PureVia.aspx

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

His and Hers

So yesterday, JP and I went on a hot date. You know it must have been pretty special seeing as though I'm sick. Well luckily we didn't have to go far for this special date. In fact it was down the road and around the corner. Want to know what we did? We went to the doctor. Together. Yes, both of us had 2:45 appts with the doctor. We even left with a nice little takeaway...his and hers antibiotics!



Yes, that's right. We both went to the doctor for two different issues at the same time. Hot date, I know. Unfortunately, JP has a bad, ongoing ear infection and I have bronchitis. Who gets bronchitis during the summer? Apparently I do and my lungs and breathing have been fine! I'm used to getting it once or twice from November to February, but never in July. Oh well. I'm still at home on the couch with my DVR and puppies. At least now I have some medicine to keep this coughing at bay. My abs are sore.

Anyway, I digress. Back to our his and her antibiotics. It got me thinking about all the weird his and hers stuff out there. We'll start with this keychain...




I can't imagine my husband putting this on his car keys or even his house key. Not to mention, this may be a bit inappropriate, but shouldn't the guy and girl pieces be reversed? I'm just saying...

Now these mugs...




There are a lot of cute his and hers mugs. My favorite mug at my in-laws house is a his and hers mug! But these mugs...someone gets screwed which a much smaller cup of coffee. That's not cool. Apparently Sara didn't put up a good enough fight with Dan. That or she compromised getting to be the peanut better for the smaller cup. Who wants to be the jelly?

I know I'm from Texas, but His and Hers steak brands?




That is definitely something else. I mean, it could just be that I don't eat steaks, but I can think of some there his and hers items that would be better.

Like these watches...if you're into matching...




JP and I aren't really the match-matchy type. We've been known to wear the same color from time to time but that's about the extent of it.

I've saved the best for last. His and hers wine and fur storage closet.




I can't make this stuff up. Apparently the his side is the wine storage and the her side is the fur storage. I want the wine side! We live in southeast Texas and furs aren't exactly something I want or need. Is this a normal storage closet? Am I missing something here?

Don't get me wrong, there are some super cute and fun his and hers items out there: wine glasses, some coffee mugs, robes, anything cute and wedding related. But there are also some really weird things. Like lamps, bedding, key holders (use your imagination), pajamas, pocket knives...and so on. I really did see all this stuff. Google is awesome.

What are some other really weird his and hers items you've seen out there?

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Sources
http://www.findgift.com/categories/special-themes/his-n-hers/
http://www.squidoo.com/his-and-hers-gifts

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