Monday Workout

There is no better way to kick off your week than kicking your butt at the gym. I love to mix up my workouts with different types of cardio and strength training, but the following workout is definitely one of my favorites. I try to do this three times a week, and I can definitely tell the difference when I do. Created by a friend of a friend who played football at UMaine, you know it at least has a little bit of cred for being a kickass workout. Prepare to sweat! 

Conditioning Workout (3x Week) — be sure to modify weights to your ability.

Circuit overview:

Run, Arms Circuit, Run, Arms Circuit, Run, Legs Circuit, Run, Legs Circuit, Stretch.

START:

TREADMILL RUN #1 at 5.0 incline, 6.0 speed, Run for 3 minutes. (Will do this 3 more times throughout circuit)

ARM CIRCUIT:

20 Highsteps: 8 pound dumbbells (Step up onto stool, stacked cardio steps, or high surface- 10 starting with left leg, 10 starting with right), holding 8 pound weights in each hand. Try to go as fast as you can.

20 Pushups (Check out correct Pushup form here)

20 Back Flys & Row Combo: 10 pound dumbbells (How-to video here– sorry for the ridiculous music)

20 Chest-press: 10 pound dumbbells (on bench or stability ball)

20 Bicep curls: 10 pound dumbbells

20 Tricep dips off of bench ( I modify here b/c I have horrible wrists, and do overhead triceps extensions w/ 10 pound dumbbells)

20 Russian Twists with 10 pound weighted ball

TREADMILL RUN #2 at 5.0 incline, 6.0 speed, Run for 3 minutes. 

REPEAT ARM CIRCUIT (Highsteps, Pushups, Back Fly/Row Combo, Chest-press, Biceps, Triceps, Russian Twists)

TREADMILL RUN #3 at 5.0 incline, 6.0 speed, Run for 3 minutes. 

LEG CIRCUIT

20 Highsteps (like in arm circuit- only do this during the first leg circuit)

30 Walking Lunges with 8 pound dumbbells 

20 Seated Leg Press (Adjust weight to your ability)- suggested is 45lbs on each side.

10 Burpees

20 Deadlifts with 10 Pound dumbbells

1 Minute Plank

TREADMILL RUN #4 at 5.0 incline, 6.0 speed, Run for 3 minutes. (No more running after this- YAY!)

REPEAT LEG CIRCUIT (NO high steps this time, Walking lunges, Leg Press, Burpees, Deadlift, Abs Plank)

Collapse on the floor and stretch!!

 

 

 

 

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Mother’s Day Gifts

I am going to stray away from my 11List model today for something a bit different! Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, and I have been running around trying to create some thoughtful gifts for my lovely mom. That being said, my mom is the hardest woman in the world to shop for because she LOVES to shop and usually buys herself the things she wants before I even get a chance to ask what it was she wanted.

For example, when we moved to our new house, she had to leave behind one of her favorite plants, a yellow peony. We were joking the other week about going back to the old house in the middle of the night and digging up the plant to bring to our new house. That sparked an idea for Mother’s Day– I could get her a new yellow peony plant for our new garden, without stealing from the poor, unsuspecting family! But of course, I get home the other day, and what is sitting out in the driveway to be planted? A new yellow peony plant. Classic.

So, this brings me to what I decided to do for the woman who has it all: bake, arrange flowers and create a homemade card! These things she can all do, but it’s (hopefully) more special coming from me.

Homemade Card

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I had a lot of fun creating this watercolor card for my mom, complete with a photo from the early 90’s– check out that floral print! My parents are huge fans of homemade cards, so every occasion I can, I’ll spend a little time making something special for them. Today I headed to Target and picked up a set of watercolor paints and paper (inspired by Taylor Swift’s recent Instagram-I should be embarrassed, but I just love arts & crafts!!)  Next up, I put together a flower arrangement and made my mom’s favorite cupcakes.

Below are a few tips for arranging a bouquet and my super-secret (just kidding- its from Pinterest) DELICIOUS Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cupcakes recipe– you can thank me later. So good.

Tips for flower arrangement:

-Consider the season & occasion you are arranging for. Since it’s Spring and Mother’s Day, I tried to incorporate bright, happy colors. I also know that my mom is a huge fan of the color orange, so I tried to base my arrangement around a bunch of orange Rununculus.

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-Try to vary color, type of flower, and/or texture. You want your arrangement to have different visual interest points- even if you choose all flowers of the same color, try to pick some taller flowers or fillers (leaves, grasses, etc.) to create height and drama. You don’t have to go crazy with a million different types of flowers either, you can cut the flowers at different lengths to create texture and height that way, too.

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-Use lukewarm water & add in plant food if you got it! I usually buy my flowers from Whole Foods, and they generally come with a packet of plant food. Add that in with lukewarm water and your plants should last a bit longer. Also, be sure to cut the stems a bit (if you don’t plan on cutting them for height).

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-Choose a fun vase! Don’t just throw the flowers in a cup of water! To me, the vase is one of the most important parts of the arrangement. I personally love square vases or mason jars, which always add a little extra something to the bouquet.

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Finished Product!

And lastly, my “Famous” Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes w/ Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting– yep, you read that right. They are really simple and ridiculously good. Probably the best cupcakes I’ve ever made…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes w/ Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

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(Pre-amazing frosting!)

Recipe From: http://olivialuse.blogspot.com/2012/04/reeses-chocolate-cupcakes-with-peanut.html

For Cupcakes (24 total):

Bake @: 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes (start at 18 and check with toothpick)

Ingredients:
-1 pkg. Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake Mix
-1 pkg. Instant Chocolate Pudding
-1 cup sour cream
-1 cup vegetable oil
-4 eggs
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-Miniature Reese’s Cups
Directions:
-Mix all ingredients together (except Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups) in a mixer until combined.
-Line 24 muffins tins (you can get creative here with the muffin tins)
-Fill each tin with about 3 tablespoons of batter.
-Press a Reese’s Cup into each tin, making sure to not push too far down. (Batter should not cover Reese’s)
-Bake at 350 degrees for about 18-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick will come out clean. (Remember when doing the toothpick trick to not poke directly into the center since the Reese cup is there. The center of the cupcake will look fallen even if completely baked due to the tiny chocolate morsel of amazing-ness hidden inside)
-Leave cupcakes on rack to cool completely before frosting.
For the Peanut Butter Buttercream Icing:
Ingredients:
-1 cup peanut butter
-1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
-2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
-2 lbs. powdered sugar (2 boxes of confectioners sugar)
-3 or 4 Tablespoons low-fat milk, depending on desired thickness
*note: I usually half this recipe as it always seems to be WAY too much frosting. It does make for good leftovers, though 🙂
Directions:
-Cream together the butter and peanut butter until smooth.
-Mix in vanilla and alternate powdered sugar and milk until you reach your desired thickness. *I generally add 4 tbsp or possibly 5 because the icing is so thick.
-Decorate your cupcakes! You can even add a mini-Reeses if you want peanut butter overload (who doesn’t?!)
There you have it, my three “homemade” gifts for my mom, that I know she will love!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! Let me know if you have any ideas that you’d like to share on fabulous gifts for mom.
-L

Playlists for May

After a month-long hiatus, I am back! Since SIB is over and I am back to job hunting, I’ve had a bit more time to focus on my other loves- running and making playlists– which actually go hand in hand.

I have created and tested (and made my friends test) 11 playlists for different moods/situations, on different platforms (Soundcloud & Spotify). They are as follows:

1. Beach – (Spotify) I created this last year before I went on my senior Spring break. There are tracks from Bob Marley, Kenny Chesney, Jason Mraz and Fleetwood Mac, to name a few.

2. Hipster Paradise– (Spotify) These are based on the songs that I listened to while working at an Indie record label in NYC (Hi, Glassnote). Featuring bands like The Black Keys, Vampire Weekend & Mumford & Sons.

3. Run (Spotify)- This monster EDM-based playlist has been a few months in the making between my friends and I- perfect for some Cardio or the weekend 🙂 Featuring artists like Calvin Harris, Avicii and Major Lazer.

4. Chill Out (Spotify)- Another big playlist full of my current genre-obsession, Chillstep? Garage-step? Even the Djs don’t know what to call it, but its electronic-ish, chill-ish and drum and bass-ish… Flume (obviously!), Disclosure, Odesza and many other cool artists featured here.

5. Sitting in Sunshine (Spotify) One of my favorite playlists for the Spring/Summer, featuring all happy and upbeat songs. Featuring John Mayer, Tori Kelly, Ed Sheeran, etc. Think happy!

6. Funky (Spotify) After binge-watching two seasons of Scandal on Netflix this winter, I was inspired by the funky soundtrack that was featured throughout the show. Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding & Michael Jackson!

7. 90s Kid (Spotify) Some nostalgia for the Millennials- DMX, Ja Rule, T-Pain, Backstreet Boys… need I say more?

8. All that Jazzzz (Spotify) After several music history classes for my degree in Music Industry, I have a lot of appreciation for Jazz. A little playlist featuring some of the greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday.

9. Jamz (Soundcloud)- A good playlist for slow jams and remixes, featuring artists like Kill Paris, Chris Brown (I know, I know), and the Weeknd.

10. 5 (Soundcloud)- I made this playlist for long (5-mile) runs, featuring trap/chillstep/edm-style songs featuring artists like What So Not, Keys N Krates and more Flume.

11. Windows Down (Soundcloud)- A little bit of overlap of some of the songs on 5, but definitely an awesome playlist to blast when its nice out. Features a lot of remixes (Beyonce, Rudimental, Bibio)

Hopefully there’s a playlist for you on here and if not, let me know and I am very happy to make another 😉 Also, I am always open to new music suggestions, so please feel free to share if you have a song that you keep pressing repeat on!