A recap of the #21dayfix – plus a contest!

Hello all!  I’m writing this from the AMAZING new Popover Cafe in Simsbury.  What is a popover you ask?  Why it’s a sinfully delicious bundle of pastry which makes me really glad I ran three miles this morning.  Paired with a $6 mimosa – a ‘back to school’ special for Moms – isn’t that clever?  I think that’s pretty darn clever.  Plus, a beet salad for balance!

popover simsbury yaaas

So, perhaps it’s a bit odd to open a post about a fixed nutrition and exercise program with a rave review of mimosas and popovers (and, to be fair, salads), but the whole point of the fix is that it’s 21 days of discipline, followed by healthier eating habit that last – but aren’t as restrictive of course.  So here are some basic numbers: I followed the fix for 30 days instead of 21, to compensate for the vacation I took in the middle of the program.  And I lost six pounds.  But more important is what I gained – a realization of how to amp up my workouts:

after nine minute mile

Hallo, nine minute mile!

Much more strongly defined abs:

before front

Before.  Note my “meh” face

during training

During – getting stronger and a bit more definition!

And of course, the glorious after:
working out after

That’s what I’m talking about

My awesome coach, Erica, owns Silkworm Boutique in West Hartford, and she suggested we use a Lilly Pulitzer dress (of course) as inspiration to keep on track and drop inches.

Here is the before, front and back:

befor lilly

before back lilly

And after:

after lilly

after back lilly

Big difference!

I’m a generally healthy person, but the 21 day fix was enormously beneficial in tweaking my lifestyle and helping me to tone my ‘problem areas’ – arms and abs – as well as improve my nutrition.

There are three core parts to the program:

21 day fix program guide

DVD workouts, shakeology nutrition, and meal plan!

The DVDs were fantastic for a busy mom like me, as they require virtually no equipment (just light weights and a mat!) and can be done at home – ie/ after Penelope goes to bed.  And a 30 minute, intense workout, definitely beats a 90 minute (with driving time) gym workout in terms of efficiency!  Again, I’m not a weights/gym girl – I’m a hiking/tennis/running out doors girl, so it’s great to have a “down and dirty workout that produces great results.  The nutrition plan was super simple to follow as well, with portion controlled tupperwares (I still use them all the time! they are great for prep) and lots of options and trade offs – including a wine budget!  I may have gone over my wine budget every single week (oops) but I made up for it with higher intensity workouts.

Last but not least, my favorite part of the program was definitely the shakeology shakes:

shakeology packet

Pictured: vegan chocolate

shakeology chocolate

Pictured: my favorite combo of coffee, blueberries, coconut milk, and organic “black magic” kale!  Absolutely delicious and packed with nutrition.

They are an excellent breakfast.  Dense nutrition, protein, and a nice energy kick.  I will be ordering more in early September in order to get an extra ‘kick into shape’ before we go to the Bahamas for our anniversary at the end of the month!  And I’m also offering a give away to anyone who would like to try a seven day supply of shakeology to see how they like it before committing to the program in entirety.  To enter, “like” Erica’s coach page Fit Mom by Erica (click here !) and comment 21 day fix to enter.  Erica will randomly select and contact a winner in the next few days.  Best of luck to all!  And enjoy!

 

The Cooper, the Keys, and the Baby Mermaid

Before we dive into my vacation recap, let me invite all of you to visit my new blog project for Share Our Strength: Taste of the NationLeeanne and I recently attended a fundraiser dinner at Millwrights for the charity, and my write up is here.

Gah.  It’s already been a week since our trip to Florida.  Good thing we have another one coming up at Christmas – I love autumn, but the shorter, cooler days have snuck up way too fast this year.  Not to mention – every time we go back to Palm Beach Gardens, I seem to find more to love about our former home.  And now that The Cooper has joined the vibrant PBG restaurant scene – there’s even more to love!

those dates

This was my brother, Lucas’ reaction to the Cooper chorizo and manchego stuffed medjool dates.  Seems an appropriate lead in.  Also, please note the excellent math pun on his t shirt (it’s a runner thinking about pi)

My BFF and compadre in arms always, aka my sister Helen, and I managed to go to the Cooper twice in the week I was in Florida (she’s since been back by herself, because of course she has).

sisters the cooper

Photo from our first night

me menu

Cheesy, happy menu shot

cooper cheese plate glamour shot

Cheese plate the second – we ordered cheese plates both trips.  This one featured, from left to right: Manchego, Hudson Valley Camembert, and Moliterno al Tartufo.

The first time we visited, we had to leave early to get back to baby Penelope – so we packaged up our food to go, including this excellent salad:

peach salad

Grilled Peaches & Point Reyes Blue Cheese

This tangy gazpacho:

gazpacho glamour shot

Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho

And, of course, the aforementioned dates.  We DID have time to sip and savor a couple cocktails however:

cooper cocktail 2

“Bees Knees” martini: Citadel Gin, honey syrup, lemon juice

cooper cocktail 1

Name Dropper “Modified Sour:” Plymouth Gin, St Germain, grapefruit and lemon juices

Our second visit also marked a happy, lively meeting with head bartender and CT native (as if the beard wasn’t a dead give away! ha!) David Bouchard

chartreuse bitches

He really likes chartreuse.  Don’t question it.  The man is a master

haha! cocktails

Seen here deep in his craft and also immersed in snarkology.  It’s always nice to meet a fellow snarkologist.

The shot above pictures David mixing our agreed upon favorite cocktail:

cooper cucumber cocktail

Cucumber Southside “Classic Sour:” Hendrick’s Gin, simple syrup, citrus, muddled mint, cucumber

The cocktails at The Cooper are quite up to par with the other Max locations in CT – thanks to David’s creativity and a menu which is influenced by a Southern/Carribean vibe – much like the food menu – adding a unique, tangy Floridian twist to the Max flavors we know and love.  Quite nice!  Can’t wait to go back in December with Caitlin and Hannah.

There was more fun and delicious dining in the form of a brand new dining experience – Rosie’s Bar and Grill in Wilton Manors!  I was suitably excited upon being informed that: 1) this is a gay diner 2) valet parking only.  Seemed like an excellent start.  Plus, my good friend from college, Jana, does NOT recommend bad dining destinations.  Ever.

brunch 3

Meeting Baby P for the first time!  With a nice photobomb from Julie and her boyfriend, Rob.

Rosie’s boasted many, many strong points: sassy tags on each of the servers’ shirt (our servers read: “there’s a fine line between hotness and hot mess) cool “see and be scene” crowd (that’s their tag line by the way at Rosies’ – it’s definitely a ‘Florida thing’), and enormous, delicious portions

brunch 1

No I did not eat this (enormous banana stuffed french toast)

brunch 2

But yes! I did eat this, and it was so very good (asparagus eggs benedict on a delectable home made biscuit)

The trip to Rosie’s worked out perfectly as it was on the way to one of my Dad’s favorite vacation spots in Key Largo – Ocean Pointe Suites.  This glorious timeshare boasts a location with is much more central than Key West which – although fun – is also a good three hours further by car (possibly farther depending on traffic).  It also has a lovely pool whose only flaw is a radio which is constantly tuned to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville channel (shudders), a nice little beach grotto, onsite bar, marina, tennis courts, and apartments complete with kitchenettes.

kayaking w baby

Kayaking with baby!

p on da beach

Exploring the beach!

sisters in the kayak

Sisterly bonding!

We also visited a cool Bird Sanctuary – ok – it would have been a bit cooler if it were not for the 6 million strong mosquito population – but P enjoyed herself nevertheless:

pelican and daddy

Penelope still enjoyed it!

And there were some more, notable foodie highlights in Key Largo:

fish and grits and mimosa

Fresh fish and grits at Mrs Mac’s Kitchen with $2 mimosas.  Now we’re talking

birfday cake

And the most amazing early birthday cake ever from my Grandmother!  Streudel on top, cheesecake in the middle, coffee cake on the bottom.  Oh my.

Thankfully, with all the delicious vacation foods, I also had a nice stash of Shakeology to keep me on track:

shakeology on the beach

Seen here in a glamour shot

There were also super healthy foods because my family is good like that too:

pineapple yogurt chobani

Grilled pineapple and chobani with granola.

Penelope spent as much of her vacation as possible in the water – indiscriminate between pool and ocean – she was fearless and oh so into it.  Few things are more enjoyable, as a parent, than watching your child really enjoy herself – so swimming with baby was definitely a highlight of the trip!

with swimmies

Let’s go!

The theme of “no let’s not leave the water, ever” continued up until our last night, at my Dad’s condo on Singer Island

swimming with grandpa

Swimming with Grandpa.  It’s the best

mommy babby

Someone did NOT want to pose for this picture but I got it anyway because I’m sneaky.  Plus P is wearing her beautiful Lilly dress from Silkworm!

So there you have it.  Our home away from home/second home – Florida.  Like many CT residents, we have deep roots in the state, and wonderful family and friends who we look forward to seeing again very soon!

 

#21DayFix Beachbody challenge – halfway through and feeling great!

When Erica approached me to do this challenge (and blog about it) I had a healthy amount of skepticism.  Mainly because, well, it’s a very busy time of year for vacations, and day drinking, and other things that don’t always vibe well with a workout and diet plan.  BUT I agreed, knowing I’d go through this with some cheats, so let’s just get those out of the way right now, shall we?

orange martini yaaaas

Oh my

cheats

Confession is good for the soul

rose at trumbull kitchen

I REGRET NOTHING

So, yeah, it would be factually inaccurate to say I’ve been following the 21 Day Fix to the letter (and I’ll be in Florida for the last week, so there’s that).  However, even with all of the above, I’ve already lost four pounds!

halfway through

Woohoo!

oh sads

Ok, this is a more accurate (read, honest) workout face

This is possible because, as with most things, following something to the letter isn’t the only way to make it more effective.  Yes, I may have had a couple more cocktails than the program calls for – and the occasional truffle potato chip.  But overall, my eating habits cleaned up quite drastically from before the program:

not so green photos

Look at the food in this picture.  Ice cream, pasta, arroz con pollo.  And a three pack of wine.

green photos

Now here’s a snapshot from this week.  Lots of green, leafy, fresh, vegetable laden dishes, and a no sugar added watermelon cooler.

That’s the funny thing about working out and eating right.  It really doesn’t take much to get good results!  And much of getting good results is making healthy choices.  Our dinner at Carbone’s last week is a great example of this.  I was a bit nervous about it, as I associate Italian places with pasta and really didn’t want to go off the deep end, as far as sticking to the eating plan.  But not only was I able to find an entree that was very healthy, it was also, by far, the most satisfying and delicious menu option for me:

veal medallions

Truly a win win!

peppered sea scallops

Another meal I was worried about (and shouldn’t have been) Taste of Hartford at Trumbull KitchenI ate all the peppered sea scallops, the watercress, and a small bite of the sticky rice.  Perfectly satisfying and quite healthy.

It also helps if, like me, you happen to love working out.  I just really do (sorry).  So, although I am not physically strong enough to follow the seven workouts per week – I average five days – two of those days are heavier work outs than the program calls for- such as a half hour of running and then cardio.  Or a power yoga class.  Again, it’s a matter of fixing bad habits, not reinventing your entire fitness and eating routine.

Also very useful, along with the eating plan and exercise DVDs (which I am going to be so happy to have this winter when it gets dark outside early and it’s too nasty to drive to the gym) there are these really delicious and healthy nutrient dense shakes in the 21 day fix:

shakeology and blazer

Vanilla shake with ice and orange juice

chocolate shake

Chocolate with kale, blueberries, and coffee.  Weird combo I know but it tastes delicious.  Also, a nice photobomb from P!

I come from a family of health freaks, and unfortunately I don’t always follow the good habits I learned as a kid, such as taking in plenty of vitamins.  These shakes are laden with dense nutrition – I can tell from my energy levels and skin tone – so it’s not just a meal replacement, it’s also a very healthy helping of things your body wants and needs to function at peak proficiency!

In addition to the shakes, I’ve developed a healthy addiction to G Monkey fresh squeezed beet juice, which is available at the Billings Forge Farmers’ Market every Thursday in the summer!

beet juice

Yummo

One more big, helpful factor for me: my CSA with the Garlic Farm!  Having a guaranteed portion of delicious, fresh, organic and GMO free vegetables per week is just awesome, and P really enjoys picking up the veggies, so it’s been a great experience so far:

p getting her csa

Eat more kale.  No seriously, do it

my kale brings all the boys to the yard

Kale jokes, courtesy of Bagels to Broccoli!  Ok, I’ll stop now

One other healthy habit I’m really enjoying about the 21 day fix is the water bar:

water bar

aka, #smugwater

Infused water is delicious, healthy, and very easy to do.  My favorite combo is blueberries and basil.  I’ve found I can start an infusion at work and leave it at my desk for several days (covered), topping up as needed, and it is delightful.  It’s very important to stay hydrated when dieting, as well as in the hot summer months, and all of this is especially true for me, as I’m anemic (another reason I’m not overly focused on calorie control).  I’m finding throughout this program that I am gaining healthy habits which I will certainly keep once the fix is over – the shakes, the healthier options, the water bar, the cardio boosts – it’s all going to be part of my daily routine as well as a more intensive program for the next ten days or so.  And I think that’s the most important thing: when you learn to be healthy, it becomes a natural part of who you are, leading to confidence, energy, and a boosted self esteem.  Modifications are important based on lifestyle and also history – I used to have an eating disorder so you won’t see me weighing in more than twice during this process – but overall, each tiny win on the road to being healthy leads to a happier life – and just maybe – a hotter bod.  🙂

A Taste of the Good Life @CarbonesCT for #TasteofHartford #TGIF

Carbone’s. What can you say? They are basically the ‘godfather’ of Italian restaurants in Hartford – and they also have a bit of a personal connection to my husband’s family – as my husbands’ grandfather was friends with one of the original owners. Also, they have REALLY, really good food.

So when hey invited me in for Taste of Hartford, I was modestly thrilled. Ok, really thrilled. Ok, absolutely delighted – and so was my husband
date night x

Cheers!  Hopefully this pic gives you a feel of the old school, classy Carbone’s vibe

But let’s back up a bit.  This was actually  my second trip to Carbone’s this week.  The first was to film a cocktail segment with the delighful Paul:

Breaking down a Black Cherry Mojito – excellent for summer

Carbone’s was kind enough to provide us with an entire comped meal, and naturally we went for their Taste of Hartford menu – three courses for a fixed price of $25!

hartford has it

Seen here hanging out with my #Hartfordhasit notebook – thanks Erin!

I am, of course, still doing my 21 day fix (currently drinking a vegan breakfast smoothie and it’s yummy) so I was happy to see very healthy menu options – Italian places can be a little nerve wracking for eating clean, but there were plenty of vegetable and protein options to choose from!

orange martini yaaaas

I did cheat a bit though.  A wee bit.  A delicious wee bit.  With a Blood Orange Martini (House made Blood Orangecello with a splash of Clementine Vodka and fresh lime)

So… yeah – there were non approved cocktail.  How can you turn down house made orangello though?  I mean, really.  It would have been wrong not to drink it….  and also, to balance it out… my salad was delighful, healthy, and crunchy:

chickpea quinoa salad

Delicious, bright citrusy accents of chickpea and quinoa on the Summer Quinoa Salad (grilled seasonal vegatables, quinoa, barley, lemon vinaigrette, toasted garbanzo beans, feta)

Michael opted for a more traditional garden salad:

garden salad

Carbone’s Garden salad (crisp greens, garnishes, red wine vinaigrette dressing)

For his main, Mike ordered the shrimp scampi:

mike w his pasta

So Italian and so handsome!  Both the pasta and the fella that is, haha (Shrimp Scampi: fresh linguini, tomatoes, capers, white wine, lemon)

Again, the #21dayfix actually worked in my favor in selecting an entree, because I chose the Veal Medallions vs. the Chicken Picatta which was calling my name.  With a veggie hash, the veal appeared to be the ‘cleanest’ entree on the menu, ingredients wise, and it was also very, very delicous

omg veal medallions

Check the brussel sprouts! (Veal Medallions: summer vegetable hash, mushroom brandy cream)

The brussels were the highlight of this dish for me (go figure).  I typically over roast my brussels to caramelize and remove the cabbagy flavor, but the Carbone’s ones were all dente AND also not overly pungent.  Well done chefs.  The rosemary added a nice punch to the veal, which was also cooked to perfection:

close up veal medallions

Hallo beauties.

I may or may have not ordered a glass of merlot (Raymond R Collection, Napa Valley).  Part of the 21 day fix?  Probably not, on top of the martini.  A full bodied, balanced pairing for the veal?  Most definitely.  It’s also wonderful to find a glass of Napa wine priced at $10 – very reasonable (the martini was also in the $10 price range, for anyone whose looking for price points).

Our server, Alex, was quite delightful, attentive, and kind enough to pose for a picture with our desserts:

smiling w desserts

Thanks Alex! Pictured left: Summer Berry Pound Cake (house made butter pound cake, mixed berries, whipped cream).  Pictured right: Cannoli Duo (traditional chocolate and vanilla filled miniature cannoli)

The cake portion of my berry pound cake was nicely soaked with fresh berry juice, and I would have loved to have eaten more then the small bite I enjoyed (again – le fix)  But Michael happily polished off his own dessert as well as the remainder of mine – so it worked out well for him I guess!  What a lovely meal.  Thanks again to the Carbone’s staff for inviting us in and comping the check – it was very much appreciated, and as any new parent knows, date nights without the little one are a precious commodity.  So it’s best to mangia buono when they do happen!

 

One more quick note – Carbones Kitchen is offering a prixe fixe also – and the special “taste” menus are available at both restaurants until August 3rd – so check them out too!