Sunday, November 23, 2014

Big Slice Apples Review & Giveaway

I absolutely love apples!  I try to eat one a day but plain old apples can get boring.  When I saw this opportunity for the Big Slice Apples on Tomoson I jumped on the opportunity!  Who could pass up such a variety of flavors for apples?

Grandma Hoerner's originally released only a few flavors of Big Slice Apples pouches in a handful of Target stores in January 2014.  Within a few months they expanded to nearly all Target stores in the country!  That tells you how much people are liking Big Slice Apples.

Big Slice Apples are sliced, kettle cooked apples mixed with a variety of sauces to make up the flavors.
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • Made with domestic apples
  • Non-GMO (for most flavors)
  • Naturally gluten free
  • Mostly under 100 calories
  • Naturally fat free
The flavors are broken up into three categories - pure, fit, and luxe.  The pure line is blended with fruits and spices.  The fit line promotes energy, power, balance, and beauty.  The luxe line are rich, indulgent flavors.  You can add any flavor to yogurt, oatmeal, or just eat them plain.  I ate most in oatmeal for my breakfast since it's been so cold.

Five of the eight flavors received I liked - Natural; Cinnamon French Toast (which is weird because I don't like French toast); Raspberry, Hibiscus, & Green Coffee Extract (no mocha flavor to turn me off); Banana, Mango, & Hemp Seed (I was afraid might cause an allergic reaction since I'm allergic to the hemp plant); and Pineapple, Passion Fruit, & Fiber.  I figure it's pretty good to like 62.5% of the flavors!

The flavors I didn't really like were Cherry Vanilla, Boysenberry Chocolate (for one the seeds kept getting stuck in my teeth), and Blueberry Pomegranate.

The remaining eight flavors are
  • Orange Ginger
  • Apricot
  • Lemon Berry
  • Chai (would like to try)
  • Peach Green Tea & Aloe
  • Peach Bellini
  • Cinnamon Candy (would like to try)
  • Caramel (would like to try)
Big Slice Apples are available exclusively at your local Target store.  Check out the product locator to find the closest location that carries these delicious treats.

For every Big Slice Apples pouch purchased a portion of the proceeds are used towards their charity Sparkle.  Funds are used to help women and girls in need around the world.  Sparkle is partnered with several nonprofit ministries to achieve their mission.  Visit Sparkle's website to learn more.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Entering Beast Mode

Background Image Courtesy of mapichai |

I found this background removing tool at .... While it's not perfect it does a heck of a lot better than me trying to hold my hand steady and trace around a picture of me with the mouse!

I weighed in last night up .4 lbs.  Not really surprised with this little gain because of the soreness from being in Beast Mode.

Week of Workouts

Thursday I couldn't decide what to do so I ended up with Rockin' Body Party Express.

Friday I designed my own workout from Kathy Smith's Lift Weights to Lose Weight 2.  I did the squats then upper body standing and floor routines.

The original Body Beast Lean Schedule (with my color coding for times) from the auto scheduler in WOWY.

Saturday I rested up to prepare to begin Body Beast on Sunday.  First up was Build: Chest/Tris.  The decline pushups seemed easier than regular ones...I guess because I didn't have to worry about my legs.  I sure could feel this workout in my shoulders!

The modifications I made to fit my availability

Monday I was still feeling tenderness in my shoulders so I was glad that it was Build: Legs day.  One of the exercises is seated calf raises.  Umm...I felt nothing with them.  Do I have to have super heavy weights sitting on my legs to feel like I did anything?  What's up with that Sagi?

Yesterday I still felt tenderness in my shoulders but could feel it going away.  I felt kinda pooped doing Beast: Cardio & Abs.  I was more into it this workout than I was last Sunday.

This morning was Build: Shoulders.  Dumbbell shrugs are another one where I felt nothing...even with 11 lbs.  I struggle so much with lifting focusing on the shoulder muscles that I pretty much stuck with the 3 lb dumbbells for most of the workout.

So for the first three weeks Thursdays will be my rest day.  The following five weeks I switched it to Sunday but it could also be Saturday, depending on how I feel.  You can take a look here to view the schedules in Google Docs.

Linking up with
Weigh In Wednesday

Femme Fitale Fit Club

The Hump Day Blog Hop

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lifting Queen?

I weighed in last night down 1.4 lbs, making up all but .8 lbs of the gain from the past two weeks!

Week of Workouts

Wednesday's Olympic lifting resulted in Olympic pain and stiffness in my upper thigh/hip joints so I took a rest day Thursday instead of Sunday.

Friday I did the second workout from Kelly Coffey-Meyer's 30 Minutes to Fitness Lift in Full Throttle - Powersculpting.  My legs still hurt so I did this one slower than I normally would've.

Saturday's yoga DVD was super long - over an hour and a half.  The intro to Mark Blanchard's Progressive Power Yoga said something about 3 sections so I expected it to be broken up.  I don't know where the other sections were...

Sunday I tried out the Body Beast Cardio workout.  Apparently I was still in slo mo because I had low burn for a cardio workout.

Sunday was also our 6th anniversary.  I had gone to Dollar General with Austin after the library Saturday but they had a sucky anniversary card selection so I had to buy stuff to make my own card.  Benny didn't snooze long enough Saturday so I had to wait until Sunday morning to make the card.  This is what I came up with.

And my 6 roses with card from Benny...the other half of the dozen are in the front room where I workout.

Monday I did Kelly Coffey-Meyer's 30 Minutes to Fitness Split Sessions Workout One - Upper Body.  I managed to use the 8 lb weights almost the whole workout but I did get lightheaded for some reason towards the end.

Tuesday I did three of Zuzka Light's videos on YouTube.  They're all short so you have to combine them to make a worthwhile workout.  I didn't like the combinations the YouTube app offered me on our Blu-ray.  Too disorganized of a workout for me to do this regularly.

This morning I did Kelly Coffey-Meyer's 30 Minutes to Fitness Split Sessions Workout Two - Lower Body.  My HRM crapped out on me halfway through and stopped reading my heartbeat.  So I don't know how accurate the total from the two readings is accurate for this workout.

What's Next?

I am starting Body Beast next week.  I copied the schedule and re-arranged it to something that should work for me.  You can see the original and my schedules here following the Lean plan.  For any ladies who have done Body Beast, do you have any tips?

Linking up with
Weigh In Wednesday

Femme Fitale Fit Club

The Hump Day Blog Hop

Monday, November 10, 2014

LG OLED Curved TVs Now at Best Buy

Before spotting this I never knew curved TVs existed!  The screens at the theater are curved so why hasn't this concept flowed down to consumer TVs?

The LG OLED TV is not only curved but it's super thin - under 1/4" thick at it's thinnest point (.21").   That's about the same thickness as two of my sweaters put together!  The picture quality is spectacular with a wide range of color thanks to Infinite Contrast.  This makes the viewing more natural and lifelike.  LG's exclusive 4 Color Pixel technology brings bright, vibrant, deep, and rich colors.

Some things in life defy all explanation and must be experienced to be believed such as your first kiss,  your child's first steps, finding money you didn't know you had, or the feeling you get when your idea actually works.  Such is the case with LG's latest display technology that makes the OLED TV a dream holiday wishlist item.

Because curved TVs aren't mainstream yet the price is a little steep for the consumers like me.  Best Buy’s everyday price is $3499.99. Learn more or purchase here: LG  55EC9300 SKU# 7846019 – OLED TV.

Do you love twitter parties? Best Buy is hosting an LG OLED Twitter Party on Thursday December 4th at 7PM CST. Feel free to join this party for a chance to receive Best Buy gift cards and other great prizes. Tweet #HintingSeason with your top gifts that you want this Holiday from Best Buy.

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mastering My Goals and Dreams

I weighed in last night up another pound.  Last week was more because of TOM but I believe this week's gain is because I'm not burning as many calories doing NROLFW as I've done with previous workouts.  So, even though I had another 5 lifting workouts on the schedule I've opted to discontinue NROLFW, at least until I can get heavier dumbbells.

Boy, did we freeze on Halloween!  It kept alternating between rain, freezing rain, and snow.  We walked about 1.5 hours in that mess and my feet were frozen long before we got home.  Austin got a pretty good haul of candy despite the weather.

Posing after Yoga Saturday Morning
Week of Workouts

Friday and Monday were NROLFW Stage 1 Workout A.  Both days I did 75 squats, pushups, & rows, 60 reverse crunches, and 48 lunges

Saturday I did BeFit's Yoga Transformation Strength and Energy workout.

Tuesday I completed David Carradine's Shaolin Cardio Kickboxing workout.  It wasn't as intense as I'm used to with kickboxing but it was still therapeutic!

This morning instead of NROLFW I did Kelly Coffey-Meyer's 30 Minutes to Fitness Lift in Full Throttle Workout One - Olympic Lifting.  OMG I don't know how many squats I did but had to squat with just about every move!  This was definitely more my style than NROLFW.  In the shower I thought for sure my legs would be jello!

Staying on Track for the Holidays

This was the topic at the Weight Watchers meeting last night.  We had to come up with the What (our goal to accomplish by the end of the year), as well as the Where, When, How, and Who can help us achieve this goal.

Last year between November 5th and January 2nd I lost over 9 lbs.  The win I want to have this holiday season is to reach my goal weight (whatever actual number that ends up being) by the end of the year (January 6th weigh in).  If I can lose about the same this year as I did last year I will be in that goal window (130s)!

The places that will be the most important to me this season are the Weight Watchers meetings, this blog, online resources, my own home, and my family's homes we'll be visiting.  Since I won't know when we'll be heading to Ohio until after Thanksgiving I don't know how many days could be considered risky.  As of now we have no plans to attend any other holiday parties.

To help me achieve my holiday win I must make a decision on what program I will be doing.  This may be what I end up going with...

Building an Exceptional Life

I'm glad I held off on posting the second part of the first step of building an exceptional life since it sort of ties in to the Weight Watchers meeting topic - fine-tuning your goals.  A general direction (i.e. helping others to improve their overall health and wellness) isn't the end game.  The vision is there but I need to break it down into smaller goals with clearly defined milestones to measure my progress and keep me on track.  This is where I often struggle.

My Goals & Dreams

I had just written out my goals in September during Mindy Wender's 21 Days to Thrive.  If there were no limitations I would....
  • Travel the world.
  • Pay off all my bills, having just a little debut to maintain good credit.
  • Buy a new blue Ford Fusion.
  • Build my dream home and live there.
  • Be financially fit.
  • Finance Austin's education.
  • Have restorative sleep.
  • Be healthy fit (not buff, skinny, etc.)
  • Host a monthly get-together with friends.
  • Volunteer regularly.
  • Hold monthly fit clubs.
  • Have a social life.
  • Have something special we do as a family every month.
  • Find a church again and attend weekly.
  • Obtain group personal training and wellness coaching certifications.
  • Bring Benny's mother here and have her and my mom nearby so we can keep an eye on them.

The Devil's in the Details

What does success look like? How will things change moment to moment?  What emotions would I be feeling living my dreams?  What do I smell, see, hear, feel, & taste?  These are all the things I must think about with these goals.  I need to also make a new vision board with these detailed goals.  For those who already have vision boards do you prefer a physical or online one?

Linking up with
Weigh In Wednesday

Femme Fitale Fit Club

The Hump Day Blog Hop

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trick or Treat

The forecast for trick-or-treating is frightful with rain and possible snow flurries!  I am going to freeze in my costume :/

I weighed in Tuesday night up 1.2 lbs because of TOM.  Over this journey I've often had a gain during this week so I don't expect a loss.  I don't believe that I eat more or differently but I think I have water weight almost every time.  So in a way my body tricks me every month.

Since I don't have the heavy weights like you're supposed to be using with NROLFW I'm looking for another program once these 6 weeks of Stage 1 are up.  So I'll be ready for something new to start November 17th.  It was recommended that I check out Jen Sinkler, ZuzukaLight, & Neghar Fonooni on YouTube because of my limited equipment.  Are there any others I should be checking out?

When you file a complaint about a neighbor's dog barking (see my post from two weeks ago) this is the letter you receive.  Finding 3 witnesses will be tough.  With the layout of the neighborhood I don't know that anyone else hears the barking when they're inside.  We purchased one of those anti-barking devices on Amazon and put it in our bedroom window since the dog's often at that corner barking but so far it hasn't had any effect.

Week of Workout Treats

Friday was NROLFW Stage 1 Workout A.  I completed 60 squats, pushups, rows, & reverse crunches, along with 48 lunges.

Saturday I completed the Total Body Yoga workout with Tim Senesi.  It was the annual Halloween festival in Irvington so we had to park about a half mile away from the library and walk.  I turned on the walking apps but silly me forgot to turn them off when I got into the car.  I got my fastest speed that day! LOL

Monday was NROLFW Stage 1 Workout B.  I threw in another set, completing 75 deadlifts, pullovers, shoulder presses, & crunches, along with 48 lunges.

Tuesday I wanted to do a kickboxing DVD but woke up with an upset stomach.  So I did the 21 Day Fix Pilates workout instead.

(Ha! I just realized while writing this post I did the wrong workout yesterday LOL)  Yesterday I used the 8 lb dumbbells for the whole NROLFW Stage 1 Workout B.  Because of the weight I could only pull off 47 shoulder presses (15-12-10-10).  I still was able to complete 60 deadlifts, pullovers, & crunches, along with 46 lunges.

Yesterday afternoon I took my final trip to the farmer's market for the season.  I picked up 4 bunches of Swiss chard for $2 and thanked the ladies, telling them about my weight loss.  I don't know what I'm going to do until the market reopens in May.  Without a destination to visit along the way the walk just doesn't seem interesting to me.

This morning I did Kelly Coffey-Meyer's 30 Minutes to Fitness Kickboxing Workout 1.  The DVD kept pausing and skipping to the next section so I missed some of the workout.  Kelly was a little too fast for me with the moves, especially since some were different than what I've done with Les Mills Combat and Jillian Michaels.

Linking up with
Weigh In Wednesday

Femme Fitale Fit Club

The Hump Day Blog Hop

Monday, October 27, 2014

Discovering Cassi

I've started reading Jillian Michaels' Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life as a part of my personal development.  There are series of questions to answer and reflect upon with each chapter - "Working it Out".  You can download a PDF copy of the questions if you prefer or record your answers electronically like I do with this blog.

The first set of questions are designed to discover who you are.  You're supposed to use your heart, not your head, to answer the questions.  Be honest with yourself; don't just write what should be.  So who am I?

Professionally I prefer a more casual work environment.  The politics of a small business can be bad but it can be horrendous in a corporate environment.  As an example, when I was a contractor at HP our role as Inside Sales Associates was a joke.  We were treated like stepchildren in the attic.  Our hands were constantly being tied, preventing us from truly supporting our sales teams.

A start-up could only be adventurous as a side job for me, nothing that I would be in 100%.  I have to have the stability of something more established.  My main job must be something that can support my family from day one.

Image Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici |

In the past I have enjoyed giving back to the community in various ways - being a Child Advocate, volunteering at various events in Indianapolis, participating in various outreaches through church, etc.  My most recent was volunteering at Austin's elementary school, serving on the Parent Teacher Connection (their equivalent of PTO/PTA).  Since Austin moved on to middle school I haven't done any volunteering.  In some ways I miss it but other ways I don't.  I would like to start doing something again but I don't know what.  Benny still doesn't understand the concept of volunteering.

Over the years I've had many hobbies and interests that I'm no longer doing, mostly with arts and crafts.  I have paint that's dried up or separated sitting in a drawer.  My scrapbooking supplies are sitting in a backpack in the front room (along with a ton of other things for which we don't have a place).  I just haven't felt consistently creative or artistic in several years.

On an ideal day I'd wake up after the sunrise so the sunlight bathes me while exercising.  I'd eat a nice breakfast or brunch before taking on the day.  Everything that needed to be accomplished would be taken care of.  We'd have a family outing or something enjoyable together and come home for dinner and movie (unless that was part of the outing).  My sleep would be restorative.  Stress would be kept at a minimum.

Image Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici |

Sometimes I prefer the independence of working alone and other times I prefer working as a part of a team.  It would depend on the project as well as the people.  I've been burned too many times in the past where team members failed to do their part so I ended up having to scramble and do everything last minute alone or maybe with one other person.  Event planning is definitely something better suited for a team environment.  I never had problems with the core team we built for planning the winter carnival at Austin's elementary school.  I think that was the best team experience I ever had.

I've been wondering aimlessly for so long that I wasn't really passionate about anything specific.  I had always known I was meant to help people but nothing beyond that.  My volunteer work was widespread, never focused on any one type of event, organization, or anything.  Until I started eating healthier and exercising I really had nothing to work with.  This new-found passion to help those 40+ to improve their overall health and wellness has been a great wake up call for me. 

I have NEVER wanted to try skydiving, hang gliding, or something else crazy.  Hills in the car bother me.  I can't do the teacup ride at the fair either.  Both make me nauseous with a headache!  I must stay grounded.

All my schooling has been business or language oriented.  So, to go along with this new-found passion, I would like to get my group exercise and wellness coaching certification from NETAfit as recommended by Sheila at The Frugal Exerciser.

Now that this first chapter is done it's time to move on to chapter two and working on what it means to master the dream.

Would you like to join me in building an exceptional life?  Pick up a copy of Unlimited at your library or on Amazon (available as paperback or hardcover as well as for the Kindle).