Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cutest Teacher Ever

I want her to be Ella's 2nd grade teacher. She is so adorable!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Pesto Panini

One of my favorite sandwiches in the world has just a few simple ingredients. You can either use pesto or olive oil and fresh basil. Also, if you don't have a panini press you should look into getting one (we have a Breville). They are fabulous! We make panini's, grill chicken, and cook all kinds of other things on ours.

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Pesto Panini

Ciabatta rolls (I get whole wheat or white Ciabatta's at Harmons)
Roma tomatoes
Sliced mozzarella cheese
Pesto (like Classico)

Put your panini on a panini press (or in the oven) until cheese is melted and grill lines appear on the outside of the bread. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Skin Care

Last, but not least, in my 20 Years Younger blog series is skin care. If you are eating healthy and exercising, your skin will show it. But to help keep it looking young and fresh, you need to take extra steps to make it look its best. Bob recommended using a product called Lancer Skin Care, created by a Dermatologist named Dr. Lancer. There are three Lancer products that you should use twice daily - a 'polish', a 'cleanse', and a 'nourish.' The ladies on the Oprah show that had been using the product for two months looked fantastic. Their skin was radiant and had that 'dewy' look most women love. However, the three products cost $200 per month. Which is a little A LOT more than I want to spend.

To get that fresh face and dewy look, I have been using Proactiv. It's cheaper and it works great for my skin. The day I turned thirty my face turned on me. I couldn't just forget to wash my face at night or I would break out horribly. That never happened in my teens or twenties, so why in my thirties? That, I may never know. I just wash my face twice daily and moisturize with my favorite SPF moisturizer. 

Dr. Lancer was on the Oprah show and talked about how you need to take care of your face, neck, and decolletage (upper chest) with the same products. He explained that most people only take care of their face (from the hair line to the chin) and neglect the neck and the exposed part of the upper chest which in time can make their neck look older than their face.

Bob also brought up facials. I love facials. Especially Microdermabrasion facials. It is almost like your dead skin cells are being sand blasted and you walk out of the spa looking fresh and 'dewy'. I also love doing my own Microdermabrasion like-facials at home with the Philosophy Micro-delivery Peel kit. Step 1 is vitamin c/peptide resurfacing crystals that you gently massage into your skin. This step helps resurface the skin, infuses it with vitamin c/peptides, and rejuvenates and revitalizes the skin. Step 2 you massage into the skin over Step 1 which creates a white foam on your face. It is a lactic/salicylic acid activating gel that provides a second exfoliation and helps to minimize appearance of pores, lines, and wrinkles. I use this product about once a week and I always love how my skin looks after using it.

So, that is all the steps to looking 20 Years Younger. Well, almost every thing they talked about on the show. I was just really inspired by the things they discussed and since following the plan I have more energy, I feel better, and my skin looks better. I am not always perfect, but I know that I am trying my best. And maybe I'll just look 5 years younger, but hey, that's better than looking 5 years older, right?

Saturday, August 13, 2011


The next step in the 20 Years Younger plan is sleep. Seven to nine hours per night to be exact. Bob explained that getting a good night's sleep is powerful preventative medicine. While you sleep, your body restores bone and muscle, repairs and processes proteins critical to every part of the body, regenerates connections in the brain and consolidates memories and emotions. The bottom line: If you want to stay healthy and youthful, you have to get some good-quality shut-eye.

This topic makes me feel a little spoiled. I do sleep really well and am rarely tired during the day because I make sure I get around 8-9 hours of sleep per night. I have a little one that likes her sleep too - she sleeps anywhere from 11-12 hours per night in her room which gives me "me time" at night and then we get up around the same time in the morning.

Besides having a baby that sleeps well, I think my top contributors for a good night sleep are:

  • Darkness - We like our room very dark. I even lay the alarm clock face down so it doesn't give off any light.
  • Temperature - Our room is always cool. We turn the air down and turn on a ceiling fan.
  • No stimulants - I read before going to bed. No TV or computers about an hour before. We don't even have a TV in our room anymore. This is probably the thing that made the biggest difference. My husband stays up late and watches TV in the family room. This way he can eat and make noise without waking me (he doesn't love sleep like I do). Also, I try not to drink anything about 1-2 hours before bed.
  • Tempur-Pedic Cloud Supreme - This should be at the top of the list because since getting this bed I have slept even better. It is so comfortable and I am so in love with this bed (if loving a bed is wrong, I don't want to be right).
  • Bedding - I think bedding is a very important factor. I believe I sleep better in a bed that has been made. Also, I think the actual bedding is a huge part as well - we have 600 thread count cotton sheets, an alternative down blanket, and down feather pillows. No comforter and no throw pillows or other puffy stuff to get in the way. It's sleeping bliss.

Bob did recommend Tempur-Pedic beds to Oprah's audience. While shopping around for a new bed, I can tell you we laid on so many to test them out to try to find the perfect one. We knew the few top choices were expensive, so we needed to make the right decision... and we did. Did I mention I love my bed? I really do. And I love having a king-size.

Can you tell I am a bit of a sleep snob? I just think it's really important. It really is good for your health and your looks - that's why they call it beauty sleep.

I will post about the last topic, skin care, coming up (and then I promise to step down from my soap box).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Healthy Eating

Continuing from my last post, another key to looking 20 years younger is nutrition. This wasn't a huge change for me because I have always been a pretty healthy eater and have included a lot of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy in my diet. My problem is sweets. I have a really hard time passing on a cupcake or chocolate bar. Also, I think when life gets a little crazy, going out to a restaurant or grabbing fast food is just an easier option. A lot of places do offer healthy choices, but in all reality they aren't that great tasting. I have met a few exceptions. But, I deserve a better tasting, flavorful meal cooked at home. I really prefer home cooked food.

Bob Greene suggested including "super foods" in your diet. A few of the "super foods" he talked about were seaweed, blueberries, sweet potatoes, eggplant, brussels sprouts, and edamame - basically, a lot of fruits and veggies. He said half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. Also, he said to add fresh herbs to your food for flavor (which are also powerful disease fighters). He also mentioned that whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and heart healthy oils are "super foods." I was thrilled because those are the foods I usually eat and I have never met a fruit or veggie I didn't like. I am always buying and trying new ones. I love to shop at farmer's markets because they always have new fun things to try, like lemon spinach (so good!). Bob also talked about counting calories. He suggested eating about 1700 calories a day if your active. I am not a calorie counter, I am a Points counter. Always have been, always will be. It makes sense to me. Last, Bob suggested taking a multi-vitamin, calcium supplement, and fish oil supplement daily. I have always taken a multi but added a fish oil which is good for your skin, nails, and hair. Olive oil (a "super food") is also good for those things and I am going to try and get a Tablespoon a day in. 

I have cut back to almost no sweets but do have an occasionally York Peppermint Pattie or cupcake. They make me happy and I am not going to beat myself up over them. I just know that for the most part I am eating very nutritiously and I am saving a ton of money eating at home. Plus, I just feel so much better and I am eating way better tasting food. Bob stated that "this is not a diet, it's a way of life" and I couldn't agree more. 

I will share a recipe we made last night because it was insanely delish. They are our version of Chipotle Veggie Tacos (one of my favorite healthy restaurants - gotta love Chipotle Mexican Grill, right?). These tacos are so good, flavorful, high-fiber, low-calorie, and don't take long to make at all. I think I may have a slight addiction to black beans (maybe more than cupcakes, but don't tell anyone I said that)... so if you like black beans, you have to try this recipe. Also, you have to like Cilantro too, because it's in the Pico, guacamole, and rice. 

Black Bean Veggie Tacos
Crisp white taco shells
Cilantro rice
Seasoned black beans (like Bush's)
Pico De Gallo
Guacamole (click for recipe)
Shredded green leaf lettuce

Heat black beans according to the directions. Layer cilantro rice, black beans, Pico De Gallo, guacamole, and shredded lettuce (don't you dare use iceberg lettuce - it has zero nutritional value) in your taco shell. Enjoy!

Cilantro Rice
White or Brown Jasmine rice (preferably brown)
Lime Juice

Cook rice according to package directions. Add cilantro, lime juice, and salt to taste. So easy and so good.

I will post about my other two changes coming up.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Taking Exercise To The Next Level

During the final season of Oprah she had her personal trainer, Bob Greene, on the show to talk about his new book, 20 Years Younger (I just caught this episode during the summer reruns). This show completely inspired me to focus on different areas of my life to live longer, look younger, and get healthier. I am not the type of person to try fad diets and that is why I think this one caught my attention. It is not a fad. It focuses on four areas that everyone should be working on - nutrition, exercise, sleep, and skin care.

I have always exercised sporadically, but on the show Bob talked about doing 200 minutes of cardio per week (about 3 1/2 hours) and working up to 300 minutes, along with strength training. Since watching the episode a couple of weeks ago I have been trying to do something active everyday and have had no problem getting 200 minutes of cardio in. I have been taking step, Spinning, and weight lifting classes at the gym,  my Mom and I have been walking 3-4 miles on the parkway (with Ella in her Jeep stroller), and on the rainy days I even dusted off the old treadmill and walked a couple of miles. I also have incentives like after I take 10 or more Spinning classes I am going to treat myself to special Spinning shoes.

I also got a backpack for Ella so we can do active things as a family, like hiking. I love hiking and we have planned a couple of really fun hikes in the next couple of months. And I have the Love Your Body 10K/6K coming up in October. (If you are wondering, I am not doing the Iron Girl Triathlon this fall - we are waiting until next spring to do it.)

Bob also suggested not to weigh for a whole month and I think that has helped so much. I have been focusing on how I feel and how my clothes fit and not the number on the scale which seems to derail progress at times because the number isn't moving in the direction I want or as fast as I want to.

I am just so motivated and have so much more energy since I have changed just a few minor things. I will post about the other three changes I have made coming up.