Tag Archives: abs

Thinking Out Loud: Twice as Nice

I’m back, twice in one week, wahoo! I’m writing this post on Wednesday night because I had enough time to cook, but decided to instead make dinner leftovers and use the extra time to a) write this and b) have a glass of NY Cabernet Sauvignon. I didn’t have anything to drink the last couple of days because the event I worked on Sunday was pretty nuts (in a very fun way). But now I’m ready to relax with my glass and think out loud.

Link up with Amanda if you too are thinking out loud today!

1. My half marathon training has officially begun! Tuesday’s aforementioned personal training session didn’t happen because the trainer had to cancel – but never called me to let me know? So I was at the gym, without a plan, and decided to kick off training this week instead of next, which is what I had planned! And I decided to get this week’s longest run done – 4 miles. I’m no fool, I know that I should savor the fact that this week’s longest run is 4 miles, and believe me I am! I did at a 9:13 pace on the treadmill, with a 1% incline. With a side of Kardashians…enough to get me through. I’ve also been following a June ab challenge I found on Facebook, and though these earlier days are pretty easy, I know by the end it will feel very hard. Just like my runs – ha! But seriously, having plans to follow has been really helpful for me. I felt like I had no direction at the gym and now I have a couple of things to follow!


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Planking with Puma’s Formlite and Compression

The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC, on behalf of PUMA.

I had the chance to participate in my first PUMA campaign, and was spoiled with workout gear and new sneakers. Because that’s just what I need, right?!

They know my signature workout gear color - pink!

They know my signature workout gear color – pink!

I received the Formlite XT Ultra Fluo Women’s Training ShoesPerformance Bodywear Tech ACTV Long Tights, and Ribbed Performance Tank Top. Let’s start with the shoes, which are an awesome “highlighter” coral color. They are extremely lightweight (as their name suggests) thanks to the inclusion of cutouts on much of the surface area. While I’m not sure I’d pay the $70 they retail for, I definitely am highly satisfied with their performance and would recommend the shoes. I tried them out during both Group Power and Group Step. The minimalist design (the outsole was feather-inspired) is not ideal for side-to-side plyometric movements, but I really liked wearing them for weight lifting because of how easily the shoe bent when I was lunging or in a push-up/plank position.

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Resting Up For A Plank Challenge!

Oh what a weekend! Summer 2013 continued to deliver with fun activities like…

  • …taking my parents out for an epic night of cocktails and pizza at Krust in Middletown on Friday night (we’re already planning our next trip back)
  • …visiting the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of liquor stores in MA (Yankee Spirits) on the day they happened to be having a wine tasting gala
  • …attending the Glastonbury Rotary Club Lobster Fest yet again (blog post to come!)
  • …destroying a Saturday morning Group Power class
  • …my first beach trip of the summer!

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Random Workout and Duffy’s Sports Grill

Hi all! I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s post on the Taste of New Haven: Canal Quarter tour that I did recently. If you  haven’t read it, check it out. You’ll be drooling by the end!

She might have my male readers drooling too #cheesy

Yesterday I was finally back to my sweatier workout routine after work. The day I got my wisdom teeth out (Friday), I did a relaxing YogaWorks Core Flow video in the evening, because I was so stiff from sitting around all day. It felt great, especially all the twisting poses. My back REALLY needed that. On Saturday and Sunday, I stuck to high-resistance elliptical sessions with some good magazines, and mat work. But yesterday I got to the gym, and I had HIIT on the brain. I got on the Step Mill for 30 minutes with the above latest issue of “Self” (and some “Entertainment Tonight” Golden Globes coverage) and did speed intervals, levels 15-17. It ended up coming out to just a little over 4 miles and I finished it off with…

Random Total-Body Moves:

Done and done, I was so ready to go home after that. It was 8pm by that time and I was starved. Luckily I came home to roasted Brussels sprouts and chili. Oh, the joys of living at home.

Let’s get back to my Florida vacation recapping, yes? 

I think it’s so cool when two “separate worlds” combine in unexpected places. An example of this occurred our second night in Florida, when my dad arranged for my godfather AKA his best friend, Joe, and his son AKA one of my best friends, Greg, to join us for dinner at another old favorite spot, Duffy’s Sports Grill!

Greg and his family were also in Florida for the holidays, and I didn’t want the trip to come and go without at least one meet-up. Greg lives in Boston right now (he goes to law school at BU), but his parents live very close to us in CT and he and I both went to UConn, so it felt funny for our two CT-based families to be meeting for dinner in Florida, of all places! We actually have met up in a similar manner on a trip a couple of years ago, and it’s always a good time.

Dad, Joe, and Greg after a Duffy's meet-up in Florida '09.

Duffy’s started out as a little place that only served burgers, hot dogs, and chips – not even fries! It’s certainly expanded since then, with locations all over the east coast of Florida. My parents have adored the place for years and years, since before I was even born.

We arrived to find that the restaurant was, as usual, absolutely packed. My grandma is a Duffy’s MVP, so we did get a little bit of priority on seating, but still had to wait awhile. When you go to Duffy’s, you have to expect a wait if you don’t want to end up disappointed. Eat a snack beforehand – ha!

Sis and I.

Duffy’s also has two-for-one happy hour all day, every day. When you order a drink, they just bring you two of it. That’s Florida for you…never in CT would I see that. Lame.

Go Mom! 2-for-1, 2-for-1!

We were finally seated, though had to switch tables because we were mysteriously split up when there were tables available next to each other that we could have pushed together. There was also a slight incident in which our waiter forgot to take Greg’s dad’s order – but we hunted him down!

Posing with the siblings.

Despite the fact that Duffy’s is a “sports grill”, the menu really has options for everyone thanks to Florida’s abundance of fresh seafood. I always get fish whenever I can when I visit Florida. I consider it a waste not too – it’s so fresh!

I ordered my go-to white fish, the mahi-mahi with a baked potato and black beans. My mom got the exact same thing. We LOVE all three of those components.

I arrived at Duffy’s STARVED, and then ended up getting too full that I could not finish all that. Not like me!

Greg had never had kobe beef before, and Duffy’s is continuously voted Best Burger in FL, so he got a kobe burger. We were all disappointed to see that Duffy’s had gotten rid of their fantastic french fries and replaced them with shoestring fries! These are SO much less satisfying than regular fries, and our waiter agreed. He said it had been only a week, and they’d already had so many complaints that a plan was already being implemented to change them back. Don’t mess with a good thing!

Greg still enjoyed his burger, but he wasn’t blown away.

Duffy’s is a great place with reasonable prices, and I recommend giving their seafood or burgers a try if you’re in eastern FL – after they get their old fries back, of course.

How do you feel about shoestring fries?

Let me know if you try my workout moves!

Group Core and Catsup and Mustard

Have you entered the giveaway to win a copy of “Working Out Sucks!”, the new book from Anytime Fitness’s CEO? You have until Friday night!

I got to try a new group fitness class yesterday! After Casey and I finished up a sweaty hour-long spin class with one of my favorite spin instructors, Jocelyn, we were feeling pretty wiped. Jocelyn announced to the class that she had just been certified in Group Core, a Body Training Systems class that would be coming to our gym soon. She planned to practice in a conference room and needed some guinea pigs. I was intrigued – I’m ALWAYS down to try a new group fitness class, so Casey and I volunteered!

The equipment required was very simple: a towel, a mat, and a 10-lb plate. The 25-minute class was extremely efficient and consisted of 5 songs. They were pretty good, not the best I’ve heard, but I did like that Britney’s “Circus” was on there!

This class really did work the entire lower body, even legs. Lots of dynamic movements while holding the towel (never tried that before) like lunges with an oblique twist, and squats with arm raises. We also did squats followed by simultaneously raising the 10-lb plate to one side and our leg on the other, which challenged my balance, something I can always improve on.

The ab work was very tough. I sometimes find myself unchallenged by abs, but this class actually had me having to take breaks during the last song. The entire thing was planks and oblique crunches, without much rest at all. I totally felt the burn!

If your gym has Body Training Systems classes, I highly recommend finding out if Group Core is on the schedule or if the gym is considering getting it. If they aren’t, why not try to change their minds? It really is great to get in a good lower body workout in just 25 minutes!

I have some exciting plans tonight – a friend I met through Twitter, Olivia, is meeting me for dinner tonight at one of my favorite local spots!

Chef Corey Wry is a local celeb in my area. He first opened up a delicious, low-key breakfast and sandwich place in Manchester, CT called Pastrami on Wry in 2005 (the Elvis pancakes are the stuff of dreams). His most recent (third) restaurant, Chops ‘n Catch, serves fancier steak and seafood fare, with an emphasis on local ingredients. The fish is excellent and the baked potatoes are giants, just the way I like ’em.

The man himself, courtesy of chopsncatch.com.

His second restaurant is like the filling of a PB sandwich (no, I don’t like jelly) or an Oreo – you know, the best. And it’s where Olivia and I are going tonight!

Catsup & Mustard lives true to its motto of “eat, drink, laugh”. As you can imagine from the title, an emphasis is placed on burgers and fries, though there are plenty of other options for all kinds of diners, from the picky child to the healthy living blogger to the unique-burger-obsessed foodie (and I am very aware that those last two can be found in the same person). Catsup & Mustard was even featured on an episode of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives! You can find a recipe submitted by Corey himself for Catsup’s Buried-Under Cheeseburger Salad on FoodNetwork.com.

Image courtesy of catsupandmustard.com.

But if you’re going to go to Catsup & Mustard, please don’t order that. Go home and make it yourself! Instead, I’d recommend the quesadillas from their Appetizers section. Or one of their amazing turkey burgers (yes, a restaurant that makes a good turkey burger exists). Or a burger with pastrami layered on top. Perhaps a spinach salad with salmon strikes your fancy? How about grilled cheese and tomato soup? Those are just some of my favorites, and all can be paired with their many varieties of fabulous fries.

One order is more than enough for two or three people. Make sure you ask for the dipping sauces – the Kicked-Up Catsup is delicious and unique.

The first time I met my new “blend” (blog friend), Bethany of More Fruit Please, we met at Catsup & Mustard for dinner. Guess it’s my go-to spot for meeting new friends! She hadn’t been since moving to the area, and I wanted to show her a nearby go-to spot.  I chose the Garlic-Parmesan fries, my favorite flavor (obviously, I’m Miss Garlic), for us to share.

Bethany was torn between the Pretzel Grilled Chicken and the Turkey California. I immediately advised her to go with the turkey burger – I’d had the grilled chicken sandwich before, and it wasn’t anything special, even with a pretzel bun, which was actually too overpowering for the meat. The Turkey California is a turkey burger on a golden roll topped with chardonnay onions, turkey bacon, avocado, and a spinach-tomato-bleu cheese salad. It’s one of my dad’s favorite things he’s ever ordered there (and mine too).

All sandwiches come with a side of coleslaw and a famous Corey half-sour pickle.

I wanted to try something I hadn’t ordered before, and I was craving greens since I’d been wining earlier that day, so I got the Teriyaki Salmon salad on baby spinach, with cucumber, carrot, roasted red pepper, and a tasty sesame vinaigrette. The salmon was cooked to perfection and the combination of the dressing and teriyaki gave it an Asian flare.

All salads come garnished with crunchy and satisfying potato "whistle stix".

I cleaned my plate, and had a hard time not finishing more than half of the fries!

Of course, I asked for, received, and consumed three half-sour pickles on the side. I also brought three more home – jackpot!

I had a great time meeting Bethany and am already excited to go back tonight with Olivia. Thanks to Corey for providing local, fresh, unique food to Connecticut!

Have you had any good (or bad) experiences with restaurant turkey burgers? I’m wondering because I rarely have good experiences, except for at Catsup or another local favorite, Max Burger. I eat my dad’s at home all the time though!

Have you ever tried Group Core or something similar?

At-Home Workout + My First Thai Experience

I’m back from Tennessee and so far have had a bit of an iffy experience being here in New England post-Alfred. Yes, the winter storm was named Alfred.

I had some cozy snacks by the fire last night with my parents, got in bed, and went to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night though both freezing and starving! I ended up having more snacks by the fire and curling up there in a ball. My bed was not warm enough! My dad woke me up at 5:30 and had me move to my parents’ bed and that was a bit better. Still no power at my office today so I am at Whole Foods charging and have been working on blog stuff all morning. This day is flying!

Whole Foods coffee and the workout I used this morning!

This morning I created my own lower body weights and cardio interval workout. It lasted about an hour (55 minutes?) and was quite good! The key is to move from exercise-to-exercise with NO stopping. I designed it so that different body parts get rest while others are working, so you never have an excuse to not be moving. Those are my favorite kind of workouts! I thought I’d share it with you guys since you seemed to like the last one I posted. This one can be done anywhere – all you need is a set of dumbbells (I used 10 pounders).

Lower Body/Cardio Intervals Workout (always consult your doctor before trying any new workout – I am not a trainer!)

Phew! Re-writing that made me tired, ha! I re-fueled after immediately with a banana and some Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl PB.


Switching gears, I’m excited to finally share my first Thai experience today! Last Wednesday night, I continued my wild and crazy streak of going out to dinner after a day of work and the gym. Unfortunately when I arrived at Thai Angel to meet Jeff and Kim (friends, couple, and my favorite restaurant companions), SaveNowCT deal in hand, my appetite was feeling thrown and I wasn’t that hungry. Sometimes this happens to me after I work out – anyone else? It doesn’t make much sense to me!

I still wanted to sample a couple of different items and get in a full Thai experience. My first choice was the Chicken Satae. Looking back, I wish I had gone with something more adventurous – I eat chicken all the time! But the dipping sauces on the side were enough to make even the blandest of chicken (and this was actually quite delicious meat) taste beyond amazing.

The Thai food I was most excited to experience was the peanut sauce, and it didn’t disappoint. This tasted awesome! I’ve already been craving since then. I think I could honestly dip anything in this sauce. No really, anything, try me!

The second sauce was called a “cucumber sauce” on the menu, but honestly tasted nothing like cucumber. It was delicious, a sweet vinaigrette, but I felt a bit misled! I was excited to try a cucumber sauce since I love cucumbers. The dressing was still good and tasted like a typical sweet chicken marinade, but the peanut sauce overshadowed it a bit with its general awesomeness.

I have always wanted to try the Fresh Rolls since seeing them all over blog entries about Thai food. I’ve seen photo after photo of veggies and shrimp wrapped in rice paper, with peanut sauce on the side, and after seeing each photo I’ve been more and more excited to order them. They did not disappoint, but the sauce did. This promised peanut “sauce” was more like the exact same vinaigrette that came with the chicken, with chopped peanuts floating on top. I quickly abandoned it and dipped the rolls in what I consider to be the real peanut sauce.  I really liked the rice paper – such a cool concept!

Kim ordered the Chicken Mango Curry, an adventurous choice for her, since she usually gets the Chicken Pad Thai. The dish came with veggies, mango, chicken, and jasmine rice in a mango curry sauce.  She really enjoyed it and said the mango paired well with the chicken. I was curious as to how veggies and fruit would go together in the same dish, but when I thought about it, I love mango salsa in my salads, so it totally makes sense!

Jeff chose the Squid Red Curry. He had never tried squid, so it was another exciting choice and he was pleased with it. The squid did not look the way he and Kim pictured it (they were thinking of something like calamari), but he still enjoyed its taste. His dish came with squid, red curry spice (dry chili) cooked in coconut milk with bamboo shoot, carrot, pineapple, bell pepper, basil.

Overall I’d say I really enjoyed my first Thai experience, and am excited to go back and try a more adventurous dish when my appetite is behaving. I’m thinking a curry, with squid! Thanks to Thai Angel for hosting a great daily deal and preparing a very good meal for us!

I am so glad the family is moving to a hotel tonight. Can’t deal with another night without heat, and we are near the casino so it means a yummy dinner there!

Please let me know if you use and/or like the workout!

Have you ever had Thai food? What’s your favorite Thai dish?