Recipe: Side Dish – One-pan Roasted Veggies

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It is officially fall in Texas (U.S.A) and Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. When I think of fall and winter I think of roasted root veggies.

This dish is one of that I have been making the last four or five years for Thanksgiving Day. My family loved it so much the first year I made it they started requesting these veggies for Thanksgiving Day dinner every year. The best part is that it can be made the day before, cooled, and reheated the next day, which is the way I like to do it.

The recipe(ish) below can be customized to your tastes, I’ve provided optional additions and two different vinaigrette recipes to choose from.

Tools:

  • Chopping Board
  • Sharp Knife
  • Large Ziploc Bags
  • Large Sheet Pan
  • Foil and or Silpat
  • Large Portable Container

Ingredients:

 Seasonings, Herbs, and Oil (to taste)

  • Avocado Oil
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Dried Thyme
  • Dried Sage
  • Dried Rosemary
  • Optional: Red Pepper Flakes

 Root Veggies:

  • Brussels Spouts
  • Butter Nut Squash (pre-cut) or Sweet Potatoes or Yams
  • Parsnips

Optional Root Veggies:

  • Turnips
  • Radishes
  • Carrots

The thought process behind the add-ins below: bacon = saltiness, cranberries = sweetness/tartness, pecans = bitter/sweetness, roasted garlic = umami/richness. These flavor profiles combine with the vinaigrette of your choice, which includes a tart/tangy component of the vinegar and sweetness of the maple syrup, hits all the taste buds, it balances out so well.

Add-Ins After Roast, Before Serving (use some or all of these):

  • Pre-roasted Garlic Cloves (from olive bar)
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Pecans Halves (halved)
  • Pre-cook Crispy Bacon

Bacon Tip: Use ½ to 1 whole pkg of bacon. When still raw, pull a stack of 4 or 5 slices at a time, cut the bacon in ½ to 1 inch pieces with a very sharp knife. Once cut, put in the pan to fry to crispy-goodness. I like to add garlic powder to it when cooking.

At this point in the recipe(ish), I bet you are wondering where the recipe is…..?? Well, here is the thing….I do not know how many people you are cooking for. The more people you have the more veggies you’ll need, the less people you have the less veggies you’ll need. So, the amount of veggies you cook is up to you and how many guest you are serving.

Vinaigrette Option 1:

  • ¼ Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ Cup of Maple Syrup (Grade B or Grade A)

Vinaigrette Option 2:

  • ¼ Cup of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbs of Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbs of Maple Syrup or Honey
  • 1 or 2 tsp of Dijon Mustard
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper

With the vinaigrette amounts, if you are making a whole bunch of veggies, you may have to double these recipes to get an adequate amount to have a good coverage and moistness.

Recipe Tips:

  1. The key to the recipe is to cut your veggies all the same size. I prefer to cut them between ½” and 1” cubes-ish shapes. This will allow them to all cook at the same rate and evenly.
  2. Use Ziploc bags to oil and season your veggies in. This allows for even distribution of oil and seasoning. Also, you can throw them away instead of cleaning a bowl (wasteful, yes; environmentally friendly, no; easy and fast, yes).

Directions:

I like an easy clean-up situation, so I suggest using heavy duty foil to cover the sheet pan, then I place a Silpat

on top to avoid aluminum from leaching into the food. But, if you just use foil, no biggie, use one layer of heavy duty first then a layer of non-stick foil on the top, for obvious reasons.

Pre-heat the oven to 375° or 400° depending on how hot your oven runs.

Cut your veggies. Place them in the Ziploc bag(s). Add your oil (enough to coat but not too much to look super oily), close the bags and mush around for even distribution. Yes, mush is a technical cooking term, right?! Open the bags and add the spices and herbs, re-close the bags, and shake and mush again to make sure the seasonings are evenly distributed.

Dump the Ziploc bags’ contents onto the pre-foiled and pre-lined sheet pan. Make sure the veggies are laying in one single layer.

Cook time will vary based on how many veggies you are using. Stir the veggies every 20 minutes. As you reach about 40 minutes of cook time, use a fork to check the softness of each veggie. When they become tender, if you have convection functionality, I suggest using that function to get a nice caramelization and crisp edges on the veggies. If you do not, which I do not, you can either continue to cook until they reach the desired caramelization or kick-up the temperature by 25 additional degrees to speed up the process. Continue to stir them every 15 minutes after they are soft.

If you find during the cooking and stirring process the veggies are getting dry, add pads of butter and stir in before putting it back in the oven.

butter_makes_everything_better

Once the veggies are soft yet caramelized and crisp around the edges, now is the time to pull them out of the oven. If you are making and eating the same day, then mix in the vinaigrette and your “add-ins” and serve.

Done. Eat. Enjoy.

If you are going to warm them up the next day, pull them out of the oven and place somewhere to cool down (I use a small fan to speed up the cooling process). Once cool dump the veggies in an air-tight container and place in the refrigerator. Then put your prepped add-ins and vinaigrette in the fridge to assemble the next day.

Done. Eat. Enjoy.

Roasted Root Veggies

I am….

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Rene Descartes, a French philosopher said (roughly translated) “I think therefore I am”. This concept is profound. It is even more profound when put in to action and practice.

What you think (aka: tell yourself) your brain believes to be true, even if it isn’t true. This is why the topic of negative self-talk is so big right now. The thing is, your brain doesn’t understand negatives. When you tell yourself “I don’t want to…..” that isn’t what your brain hears…..it hears “I want to….”. You need to Change the Conversation.

I Think Therefore I Am

The power behind a statement that starts with the words “I am…..” will change your life, either for the better or the worse. “I think therefore I am”….your brain believes what you tell it. So, tell it what you want it to believe.

Let’s Compare Statements

I am….fat.                        or          I am….lean and strong. I am….a fat burning machine.

I am….not enough.            or          I am….more than enough. I am….excelling and thriving.

I am….not worth it.            or          I am….a child of the one and only God and creator. I am worth it.

Words to Remove from your Thoughts and Vocabulary: Should, Can’t, Must and Mustn’t

Put it into Practice

Every single time you hear a negative thought in your head, counteract it with an affirming “I am….” statement. Repeat it as many times as you need to as often as you need to, to stop the negative thought process.

If there are specific things you want, even if you don’t believe it yet, tell yourself what you are (aka what you want to be). Do not use “I want” statements, use “I am” statements.

“I think therefore I am”. You are, you will be, what you think.

Get Comfortable with Uncomfortable

Do not let your thoughts and your limiting beliefs (not truths) hold you back from what you want to achieve. Growth doesn’t occur in your comfort zones; it occurs during times of being uncomfortable. If you are comfortable, you can be certain no growth is occurring and you are stagnate.

Comfort Zones

I struggle with limiting beliefs, I am doing the work required to remove those limitations from my thoughts. It is hard work. It is worth it work. What I’ve realized through this so far, is that my limiting beliefs are not true. They are excuses. They are rooted in fear.

From the above, in practice: “I am….the only person who can do what I can do the way I can do it. I am….clear and confident in my vision for my future. I am….a master of time management. I am….a voracious reader. I am….whole and can create whatever I desire.”

“I think therefore I am”

The Law of Action

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I’m pretty sure most people have heard of the Law of Attraction, in which one believes that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts that one can bring positive or negative things into their life.

That is not this…..

I’m talking about the law of ACTION. I don’t think it is actually a “law”, but it should be. The Law of Attraction relies on fate and a factor of intangibility. The law of Action relies on one choosing to take action and thus responsibility for the things in their life.

While I do recognize that there are many things that occur in life that we do not have control over, we still have control over how we take action when those things happen. And we have control over all the rest of the things.

In my opinion, there are too many people out there that truly believe that life just happens to them. Ignoring the fact that most of the time in most days their life is where it is and what it is because of the choices they make every day. With every choice there is a consequence, whether good or bad. One’s life is a compiling of all these choices and consequences.

The law of Action

If you do not like where your life is…..take Action. If you do not like what your life is…..take Action.

get-what-you-always-got

If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you will keep getting what you’ve always gotten.

The law of Action is this…..DO something different. DO SOMETHING different to yield a different result. How can you keep doing the same things you’ve always done and expect your life (or body or whatever) to be different? That’s insanity folks. [Insanity meaning: extreme foolishness or irrationality (thank you Google Dictionary)]

The Hard Part & The Best Part

Don’t go through your whole life not recognizing and realizing the power that is held with taking full responsibility for your life, choices, and actions. The difficult part of this statement is that means that the state of your life is your choice.

If you feel stagnate, it is because you are choosing not to do something. If you feel out of control, it is because you are choosing not to be disciplined. If you feel unhappy, it is because you are choosing to look at your life (day) with the wrong perspective. Do you see the trend here?

The best part of this, the freedom from “fate” lies with this recognition as well…..this means you can take Action and do something different to change your life into what you want it to be. This is not an easy thing….but it is a worth it thing. Please read my Do You Have GRIT? post.

I beg of you, do not sit back and passively wait for life to happen to you and live a reactive life. The actualization of your goals will not materialize by fate, because “you deserve it”. You deserve what you work for or not work for.

Live your life by the law of Action.

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The Muscle Stick

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I want to introduce to you my favorite recovery tool. I found it on Amazon about 3 months ago for $19.99 and it has been the best twenty-bucks I’ve spent in a long time!

If you have issues with sore muscles, stiffness, or knots in your muscles, I highly recommend this tool to you.

The Muscle Stick

FYI: I do not have any affiliation with this product or Amazon.

About the Product

I’ve been using it every day, if only for a few minutes and sometimes longer. I roll out my feet, legs, glutes, and arms without help. I occasionally will talk my husband into rolling out my back and glutes for me. It has done wonders for my forearms, shoulder caps, calves, quads, and hamstrings.

I think that my cellulite has decreased since using it regularly. Considering the roller helps with fascia manipulation and increased blood-flow, it makes since. So that’s a nice bonus.

If you decide to get one, please feel free to leave me a comment on this post and let me know how you like it.

Cheers to recovery and feeling good!

On-Going Lifting Commitment to Myself

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Now What?

I was thinking about posting all my workouts for a full year, but….I think it is time to move on….

After 8 months of this workout series I am feeling strong and capable. Soooooo now what? I’ve not decided yet if I am going to go back through all 6 programs again with heavier weight and different set and rep schemes or if I am going to design all new workout programs…..but either way….rest assured I’m keeping at it!

keep_keepin

What I’ve Learned

Life Happens

Life Happens frequently.

If I miss a workout for whatever reason it is, I know that it is my choice. I don’t beat myself up, I don’t “make up for it”, I don’t think twice about it…..because the Lord willing…..there is another day for a workout. And if the Lord isn’t willing…..well I’m in heaven and no longer need to lift weights anyway.

Consistancy

Consistency is the key to progression.

You are what you do over and over again.

Make Changes

Changing-up the routine/programming is important.

I change programs every 5 weeks, sometimes 4 weeks. The change keeps interest and engagement high as well as elicits new stimulus to the body to promote body changes and growth.

You can_t out-exercise a bad diet

What you put in your face matters more.

While weight training is important for health (bone density and hormonal response) and capability (muscle mass to get through life with ease), what you put in your face matters more. You can’t out exercise a poor diet. I could talk for a long time on this subject, so I’m going to leave it at that….for now.

Links to All the Programs in One Place

In the past 8 months I’ve completed the following workouts, linked to below. In each post I link to YouTube videos that will show you or teach you proper form for each movement.

Part 1 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • Why lifting weights is important to me
  • Misconceptions women make about lifting weights
  • Things to-do
  • Lifting program weeks 1 – 5

Part 2 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • My workouts for weeks 6 – 10
  • Articles that discuss general guidelines about training and the menstrual cycle

Part 3 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • My workouts for weeks 11 – 15
  • Circuit Style
  • Rest Week & Life

Part 4 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • Life Happens
  • Lifting program weeks 16 – 21
  • Full Body Workouts – Mostly Large Compound Lifts

Part 5 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • Pyramid Sets/Reps
  • Back from Vacation

Part 6 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • Still Super Sets
  • Drop Sets

Here are some of my other blog posts that discuss exercise.

If you have any questions please feel free to comment on this post and I’ll get back with you as soon as I can.

Part 6 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

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I completed the following five workout programs with modifications each week on number of sets, reps, and or weight so that each workout continued to challenge my body to adapt (aka: change).

In each post I link to YouTube videos that will show you or teach you proper form for each movement.

Part 1 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • Why lifting weights is important to me
  • Misconceptions women make about lifting weights
  • Things to-do
  • Lifting program weeks 1 – 5

Part 2 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • My workouts for weeks 6 – 10
  • Articles that discuss general guidelines about training and the menstrual cycle

Part 3 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • My workouts for weeks 11 – 15
  • Circuit Style
  • Rest Week & Life

Part 4 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • Life Happens
  • Lifting program weeks 16 – 21
  • Full Body Workouts – Mostly Large Compound Lifts

Part 5 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • Pyramid Sets/Reps
  • Back from Vacation

Drop Sets

Throughout the workouts for this past five week, I included drop sets. The drop set rep scheme I used was (6/12/20). What you do is pick a weight that you can lift for only 6 reps, then drop the weight to a weight that you can only lift for 12 reps, and lastly drop the weight again to a weight that you can only achieve 20 reps with.

If you can do any more reps than the designated rep range for each set, then your weight isn’t heavy enough. Most women underestimate how much weight they can actually lift. Don’t do that. This won’t work if you go to light on weight….out of fear! Error on the side of too heavy vs. too light. You can always drop down and start again.

The past 5 weeks of workouts (weeks 28 – 32) are listed below.

Week 28

Tuesday – Full Body Workout (4 Sets)

Life Happens

Don’t beat yourself up for not making it to the gym when life happens. I got sick on Thursday this week and spent about 20 hours sleeping on Friday. All that rest really helped me get on the mend. It is Monday today and I still have symptoms, but I’m feeling better and have energy to get through the day. Hopefully, I feel well enough tomorrow to start Week 29.

Week 29

Tuesday – Full Body Workout (4 Sets)

  • 10 minute warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • 3-Way Lunge (Front, Reverse, Curtsy) – Bodyweight
  • Arnold Press (6/12/20)
  • Smith Machine Squat – 2 Set @ 50 lbs +bar / 2 Set @ 70 lbs +bar
  • Inverted Row – Smith Machine
  • Hamstring Curl – 45 lbs
  • Triceps Press-ups – 10 lbs (8/6/4)
  • Front Raises – 10 lbs

Thursday – Full Body Workout (4 Sets)

  • 10 minute warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Assisted Pistol Squats – bodyweight
  • Straight Arm Lat Pull-Down
  • Single Leg Reverse Step-ups – Assisted Pull-up Machine
  • Assisted Pull-up
  • Wide Stance Squats – 55 lbs
  • Triceps Pushdowns (6/12/20) 
  • Overhead Palloff Press w/ Oblique Twist – 10 lb Cable

Week 30

Life Happens Frequently 

Wednesday – Full Body Workout (4 Sets)

  • 10 minute warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Assisted Pistol Squats – bodyweight
  • Straight Arm Lat Pull-Down
  • Single Leg Reverse Step-ups – Assisted Pull-up Machine
  • Assisted Pull-up
  • Wide Stance Squats – 55 lbs
  • Triceps Pushdowns (6/12/20)
  • Overhead Palloff Press w/ Oblique Twist – 10 lb Cable
  • Stretch

Week 31

Tuesday – Full Body Workout

  • 10 minute warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Traditional Leg Press (110 lbs, 130 lbs, 140 lbs, 150 lbs) (4×10)
  • Inverted Row – Smith Machine – Bodyweight (4×10)
  • 3-Way Lunge (Front, Reverse, Curtsy) – Bodyweight (4×18)
  • Incline Push-ups – Bodyweight (4×10)

Thursday – Full Body Workout (4 Sets)

  • 10 minute warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Single Leg Reverse Step-ups – Assisted Pull-up Machine – 130 lbs
  • Assisted Pull-up
  • Wide Stance Squats – 60 lbs
  • Triceps Pushdowns
  • Seated Leg Extensions (varying toe positions) – 45 lbs

Week 32

Tuesday – Full Body Workout (4 Sets)

Friday – Full Body Workout (4 Sets)

  • 10 minute warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Upright Row
  • 3-Way Lunge (Front, Reverse, Curtsy)
  • Front Raises – 10 lbs
  • Incline Push-ups – Bodyweight (4×10
  • Smith Machine Squat
  • Inverted Row – Smith Machine  
  • Hamstring Curl
  • Triceps Press-ups – (6/12/20)
  • Stretch

Here are some of my other blog posts that discuss exercise.

If you have any questions please feel free to comment on this post and I’ll get back with you as soon as I can.

 

 

Part 5 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

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I completed the following four workout programs with modifications each week on number of sets, reps, and or weight so that each workout continued to challenge my body to adapt (aka: change).

In each post I link to YouTube videos that will show you or teach you proper form for each movement.

Part 1 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • Why lifting weights is important to me
  • Misconceptions women make about lifting weights
  • Things to-do
  • Lifting program weeks 1 – 5

Part 2 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • My workouts for weeks 6 – 10
  • Articles that discuss general guidelines about training and the menstrual cycle

Part 3 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • My workouts for weeks 11 – 15
  • Circuit Style
  • Rest Week & Life

Part 4 of Lifting Weights / Resistance Training

  • Life Happens
  • Lifting program weeks 16 – 21
  • Full Body Workouts – Mostly Large Compound Lifts

The past 5 weeks of workouts (weeks 23 – 27), I threw in a day of Descending Pyramid Sets/Reps.

The benefit of descending pyramid training is that it builds strength and muscle, which is the name of the game for fat-loss, looking good, and feeling and being capable of making it through life (carrying groceries, not falling down, and if you do…being able to get back up again not injured).

Throwing in different styles of training also prevents plateaus, it switches-up the stimulus on your muscles and bones to allow for continued growth and positive change on the body.

Depending on where you are with your strength will determine how much weight you can handle through this pyramid style training. Some people use the same weight throughout the rep scheme, some folks start with heavy weight getting lighter as needed throughout the rep scheme, and some people start off with lighter weight with the most reps working their way heavier and heavier as the rep scheme progresses down to 1. I suggest you try all three weight schemes to see how your body responds.

This style is also combine with a super-set style to keep the heart-rate up the whole time; you can see via the color groupings below.

Week 23

This was my first lifting session back after vacation; I took my time and rested when I needed to. This was a nice change from my usual set/rep scheme. It was fun and I really enjoyed this workout. I felt really good afterwards. It was difficult and effective. I was quite sore the couple of days following this workout. I took some amino acids, foam rolled, and stretched to help with my soreness.

Saturday – Descending Pyramid Sets/Reps

  • 10 minute warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Forward Lunges (6 sets) – starting at 6 reps (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
  • Hammer Curl (7 sets) – starting at 7 reps (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
  • Goblet Squat (7 sets) – starting at 7 reps (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
  • Overhead Press (7 sets) – starting at 7 reps (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
  • Bulgarian Split Squat (4 sets) – starting at 4 reps (3, 2, 1)
  • Front Raise (4 sets) – starting at 4 reps (3, 2, 1)
  • Plank (5 sets) – starting at 30 seconds (reduce by 5 seconds each rep)
  • Push-ups (5 sets) – starting at 15 reps (10, 8, 5, 5)
  • Stretch

Week 24

Tuesday – Full Body Workout (4 Sets)

Thursday – Full Body Workout (4 Sets)

Week 25

Saturday – Descending Pyramid Sets/Reps

  • 50 minute walk – Treadmill (getting in my steps)
  • Forward Lunges (6 sets) – starting at 6 reps (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
  • Hammer Curl (7 sets) – starting at 7 reps (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
  • Goblet Squat (7 sets) – starting at 7 reps (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
  • Overhead Press (7 sets) – starting at 7 reps (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
  • Bulgarian Split Squat (6 sets) – starting at 6 reps (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
  • Front Raise (6 sets) – starting at 6 reps (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
  • Plank (5 sets) – starting at 30 seconds (reduce by 5 seconds each rep)
  • Push-ups (5 sets) – starting at 5 reps (4, 3, 2, 1)
  • Stretch

Week 26

Friday – Full Body Workout (4 Sets)

  • 10 minute warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Wide-stance Squat – 50 lb dumbbell
  • Lat Pull-Downs – 50 lbs
  • Barbell Hip Thrusts – 50 lb barbell
  • Dips – 50 lbs
  • Traditional Leg Press – 100 lbs
  • Assisted Pull-Ups
  • Overhead Palloff Press w/ Oblique Twist – 10 lb Cable
  • Garhammer Raise – bodyweight

Sunday – Full Body Workout (4 Sets)

  • 10 minute warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Under-Hand Grip Bent Over Row – 40 lb barbell
  • Straight Leg Deadlift – 40 lb barbell
  • Bicep Curl – 30 lb barbell
  • Step-Ups
  • Overhead Press – 20 lb dumbells
  • Goblet Squat – 30 lb dumbbell
  • Overhead Triceps Press
  • Hand Walkouts

Week 27

Tuesday – Full Body Workout (4 Sets)

  • 10 minute warm-up – Revolving Stairs
  • Seated Leg Press – 120 lbs, 130 lbs, 140 lbs, 150 lbs
  • Seated Row w/ Short Bar – 40 lbs, 50 lbs
  • Single-Leg Foot Elevated Glute Bridge – Bodyweight
  • Bicep Curl – 30 lb, 40 lb barbells
  • Straight Leg Deadlift – 60 lb barbell
  • Triceps Pushdowns w/ Short Bar – 20 lbs
  • Single Leg Box Squats – bodyweight
  • Overhead Triceps Press – 10 lbs
  • Stretch

Thursday – Full Body Workout (4 Sets)

Here are some of my other blog posts that discuss exercise.

If you have any questions please feel free to comment on this post and I’ll get back with you as soon as I can.

 

 

Sugar Struggle

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This topic is so big, it is difficult to know where to start and what to cover and not cover, as not to fall down the giant rabbit hole…..

The sugar struggle is real folks! We are living in the time in history in which we are surrounded by sugar. There is sugar in things that we don’t even realize there is sugar in. Having said that, if you are eating something out of a package, you are pretty safe to assume there is sugar in it….and probably added sugar in it.

Let me get one thing out of the way here….all food can be turned into glucose in the body. Yes, even fat. Yes, even protein. Yes, even salad. Given the correct circumstances….

But let’s get real….I’m not talking about real whole foods in this post. I’m talking about processed, man-made food-like products. The hyper palatable eatable food-ish products that keep us coming back for more. That make us “can’t eat just one”.

Video: Hyperpalatable Foods in Action

Sugar is the Devil

If you ask my closest friends what I say about sugar, they will tell you that I have been saying for many years “Sugar is the Devil”.

Because I know what sugar does to the body, I have an internal desire to not eat sugar or to not eat it very often or very much. I still go through times of eating way too much sugar; I get on that cycle of habit and training my body to want sugar at certain times. But guess what…I’m aware of it. My awareness allows me to identify why I’m eating sugar and then make the necessary life-style changes to reduce my sugar intake. Do I still eat some sugar? Yes.

The reason this works for me is because I tamed my sugar beast years ago. I balanced my blood sugar regulation. Got rid of my sugar cravings. I am able to moderate my sugar intake. Having said that….I am more of a salty kind of girl. I’ll take potato chips over cookies any day!

But guess what happens to those processed potato chips in my body? They turn to sugar (glucose) too.

Excess glucose in the body (sugar, carbohydrates) over a period of time (each person’s body is different) will create a metabolic state of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the first step towards the development of diabetes 2 and 3 (insulin resistance of the brain leading to Alzheimer’s). This is not a metabolic state you want your body to be in.

My Top Five Ways to Improve Your Body’s Ability to Process Sugar

(processed and natural sugars from all sources including carbohydrates)

  1. Sleep 7-9 hours per night (not getting enough sleep can cause temporary insulin resistance)
  2. Resistance Train/Lift Weights
  3. 4 to 6 100-yard or 30-second Sprints 1x to 2x per week
  4. Keep your Liver Healthy (cruciferous veggies, bitter greans, garlic, citrus, avocado, Beef Liver Capsules
  5. Throne Research – Berberine or Dr. Mercola Berberine

How-to Alter your Relationship with Sugar

Keeping it real: You have to want to make change. You have to want to be healthy more than you want to eat sugar laden food-like products. You are the only person responsible for what goes in your mouth. You have to take action.

Stop the Struggle

Below are a few programs I recommend to help you gain control of your sugar intake. You do not have to be perfect, but you have to be relentless.

Other Resources

Beauty Products Review: URSA Major

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In my Safe Skincare Brands post, I listed a brand called URSA Major.

Side Note: I’m not an affiliate nor gain any money or products from this brand.

On their webpage there is a link called Try The Line; I purchased the Clear, Healthy Skin Trial Kit which has a two-week supply of their “award-winning face care favorites” for $20.

URSA Major

The kit includes:

  • Fantastic Face Wash
  • 4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic Spray
  • Fortifying Face Balm
  • Essential Face Wipes (3 singles)

Kit

I recommend everyone buy this kit and try these products for yourself. I really like them! I was super surprised at the high-performance of these products. They did what they said they would do.

The best part for me is the affordability of this brand and products. You get a lot of bang for your bucks!

Should you choose to purchase products from URSA Major you will be supporting a U.S.A. company out of Vermont. The quality is of the highest! With 98.6 – 100% naturally-derived, no chemicals (“no petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, color, glycols, silicones, or PEGs”), gluten-free, and not tested on animals. You can feel good about putting these products on your skin (ultimately in your body).

I purchased from their webpage, but they do have retailers. You can find the nearest you using their Store Locator on their webpage.

My Review

Fantastic Face Wash – The two best things about the face wash is: 1) A little goes a long way; I know people say that about products a lot and it tends to not really be true. I am a professed “over user” when it comes to products, BUT this one it is true…..a little really does go a long way! 2) My face as never been so clean. My pours….cleaned out! Shock and Awe!! It has built-in exfoliating properties (not gritty ones, but through alpha hydroxyl acids). It has antioxidants, moisturizers, and soothers also built in for healthy looking and feeling skin. I love this product!

4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic Spray – It took me a little while to realize that this spray isn’t just a toner….it is an active tonic. It works as hard as the face wash! I was pleasantly surprised to find that this tonic made my face feel smooth, hydrated, and evened out my skin tone by calming redness. I seriously love this tonic!

Fortifying Face Balm – This product is ultimate! It goes on smooth and weightless. It actually absorbs into the skin (instead of sitting on top of the skin) and makes my face feel hydrated and firm. This is a perfect product for under make-up, because it absorbs into the skin and leaves a matte finish. In love!

Essential Face Wipes – As far as face wipes go, these worked fine. I was not a big fan of the material the wipes were made of; they weren’t very soft. I’m generally not a huge fan of face wipes. I honestly could take them or leave them.

3 out of 4 LOVES is pretty dang good!

URSA Major offers more products than these 4; check them all out here.

The two products that I’m looking forward to trying next are:

Force Field Daily Defense Lotion with SPF 18 – Boasts a 3-in-1 formula that nourishes and protects

Golden Hour Recovery Cream – Boasts intense hydration, anti-aging, soothing effects

I hope you give URSA Major’s products a try; they are affordable, high-preforming, and safe quality skincare.

 

Our Summer Vacation 2018 – South Lake Tahoe (Part 5 of 5)

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  • Check out Part 1 on picking where to go and picking lodging.
  • Check out Part 2 on Food and Activities.
  • Check out Part 3 on Packing List
  • Check out Part 4 on Last Week To-Dos & Packing
  • Check out my post on Vacation Training

Trip Recap & Experience

Lodging Review

I booked our lodging using HomeAway.com. I did also purchase travel insurance through the site, since we booked it 6 months in advance.

We stayed at Aston Lakeland Village Beath & Mountain Resort while in South Lake Tahoe, CA. This property is a mix of permanent residence, vacation condos, private owners who rent out their properties (which is what we stayed in #105), and rooms that are managed like a hotel.

Lake Land Village

Check out my first post in this series for more details and pictures of the property.

Location, location, location….this property is located in an ideal spot in South Lake Tahoe. Many places are walkable, bike-able or scooter-able (via LimeBike) from the property. The property has a shuttle service that will drop you off and pick you up within a 2 mile radius of the property until 10:00p PT at night.

The property has a private beach, pier, two pools and hot tubs (one overlooking the lake). The amenities we didn’t use was the laundry facility, kids wading pool, sauna, fitness facility, tennis court, grills, volleyball courts, nor the beachside bistro. I also think that they offer kayak and paddleboat rentals.

The privately owned unit we stayed in had a view of the parking lot, so we didn’t spend any time on the patio. It was well equipped: large closet with hangers, dresser, bathroom, full kitchen with full size appliances (including a traditional coffee pot), dining table, sitting area, king size bed, a flat screen TV with remotes and channel guide, a gas fireplace (we didn’t use), A/C unit, and an oscillating fan. Because it is privately owned, we were not able to use the “hotel” services, but it really wasn’t an issue for us; there were plenty of towels. However, we did purchase our own higher quality toilet paper.

We received a parking pass for while we were there, that is to be kept in the dash board when parked in the lot.

Parking

The Negatives:

  • They offer free Wi-Fi, but you have to enter a password every 24 hours and the Wi-Fi is not that great, but better than the cell service in the area.
  • The bathroom vanity has an electrical short in it, if you close the drawers just right the lights above the mirror would flicker or go out.
  • While the mattress was comfortable and we had no issues sleeping on each side of the bed separately, this was achieved by each individual sleeping on their side of the bed in the pre-existing divot/hole that was in the mattress on each side. I really do suggest that the owners replace it.

We were there through a major holiday, when the masses descend upon the lake. On the 4th of July our parking lot was so full that there were vehicles parked in every nook and cranny on the property. We had to park between a tree and a bush between the driveway and a walkway. It was crazy, I wish they had warned us!

The evening of 4th of July we and long with everyone staying there (plus some it looked like) went down to the private beach and dock to watch the fireworks show put on by the casinos and coordinated with music from the local radio station. They had a local radio station DJ on-site playing music before and after the show.

Fireworks

Generally speaking and overall we were pleased with our accommodations and would probably stay there again.

Restaurant Reviews

I will be posting reviews of all the restaurants that we visited at my sister site: Restaurant Reviews – ByCandace in the coming weeks, which will probably slow down my posting on this page.

Activity Reviews

Reno Arch: Overrated idea, but we got a picture.

Reno Arch

Hiking Eagle Falls:

The Eagle Falls trailhead is approximately 12 miles and 20-30 minute drive from the location of our lodging. It was a breathtaking drive.

Thankfully we had spoken to a family the day before at the pool about this hike and they suggested we arrive early, because the parking lot is small and it is a very popular hike.

Go EARLY!

We arrived at the trailhead parking lot at about 8:30 a.m. local time and the parking lot was already full. We went just past the trailhead parking lot (on the left side of the road) to another parking lot 100 yards or so up on the right side of the road. This lot was ideal because it is larger, they have Porta Potties, and a beautiful scenic outlook to take pictures from. This is a pay-to-park lot; put the ticket on your dashboard. There is a walking trail down the side of the road to the Eagle Falls trailhead.

Warning: if you miss the second lot, there is no place to turn around, the road is two lanes, narrow, and you are high up on the mountain.

These are pictures of the falls across the road and just below the trailhead parking lot.

Thankfully the trailhead also has bathrooms; we ladies really appreciate this. Read the maps before you start heading up! There are different directions you are hike.

The upper Eagle Falls hike is short and fairly easy. There were lots of kids on this trail.

We decided to hike up past the falls to a lake, which was another 30-40 minutes up. Someone said it was 15-20 minutes further, but it took us longer. It was worth the time and effort to get to. Do this! Kids were doing this hike as well. People had their young children in back carriers, hiking up with them.

On the way to the lake….

The reward….the lake!

Ducks….

If you are even more ambitious and more prepared than we were (food, more water, and toilet paper). There is a second lake that is another 3-5 miles up past the first lake. We did not do this.

There is also a hike path that is “the loop” that is a very long hike. We also did not do this.

I’d love to go back and hike this again and maybe even go up to the second lake.

I cannot speak highly enough about this hike. It was beautiful!

Fishing Excursion:

I researched fishing guides for my husband to do 1 or 2 ½-day fishing excursions while there. Boy was his experience different than what we had expected based on the reviews and research I did. Out of the two companies that I had narrowed it down to, we picked the first one (Mile High Fishing Charters) because it presented as though he’d receive more personal attention because it was a little smaller outfit.

  1. Mile High Fishing
  2. Tahoe Sport Fishing

My husband spoke with the ower-operator, Joby, two moths out, twice for about 20 minutes each time in May 2018 (trip was July 2018). Joby said that he didn’t want to take payment that far in advance. He said the schedule was wide open and he’d put my husband down for those two dates and to call him back when we arrived in town to confirm what time of day my husband could go. The plan disused was to do a morning trip on Tuesday, 07/03 and then maybe again on Friday, 07/06.

My husband and I drove over to the marina on Sunday, 07/01 in attempts to perhaps drop in and speak to Joby in-person. On the way into the marina area, BAM! Momma bear and two babies (one of the little bears is towards the back right side of the tree) on the side of the road. Apparently, she forages trash cans for leftover fish parts. Generally pretty dangerous for people riding their bikes and walking down that road behind us and in the nearby neighborhood.

I’ve never been this close to a bear before, it was sooooo cool, but I was very thankful to be inside my vehicle and not riding a bicycle.

We had a difficult time finding their place of operation, as there are multiple businesses out of this marina; we didn’t see any signs. We called Joby and he was out on the boat. A brief conversation was had that reviled to us that he didn’t remember my husband nor having two conversations with him two months prior. We were told that once he got back on dry land he’d call my husband back to disucss; he never called. My husband had to keep calling him. Once my husband was able to speak with him again, we were told that my husband wasn’t on his schedule for Tuesday and was on for “maybe Friday”, this after he was reminded again of the previous conversations. Needless to say, the hubby was frustrated and mad.

Talk about unprofessional! To compound the issues, the communications between the fishing guide and my husband was like pulling teeth. We’d be told he’d call him back or email him information and my husband would continually have to call him back to get information.

Also, Joby gave my husband’s phone number to another local guide without tell him. We received a phone call from the other guide saying that he got his number and wanted to touch base about a trip out on his boat, but he was booked solid and could do a trip for his 5 people. My husband is only 1 person! All the facts relayed were wrong.

Surprisingly, Joby called my husband and said that he could get him on his boat on Wednesday, 07/04 morning with 5 other people. My husband said ok and went. The boat can really only hold 4 fishermen comfortably and he was squished up in an awkward corner of the boat the whole time.

Joby was on his phone the majority of the time and not paying attention to the fish finder. The boat would be “off” the fish schools for upwards of 15 minutes at a time. Joby also kept the boat in a small area of the lake the entire time.

Only 3 of the 6 people on the boat caught fish (those on the back of the boat). For $150 per person you’d think they’d be motivated to make sure people caught at least one fish during the 4 hours on the boat.

The whole experience was underwhelming to say the least. As an avid fisherman, my husband didn’t understand how anyone with this business could charge $150 a head and provide such a poor experience and lack of production for their customers. He will never do this again and would advise the same to anyone.

Heavenly Resort – Gondola and Zip Lining:

Call ahead and make a reservation (775-586-7000) for the activities (time) and purchase your tickets ahead of time. This is a very popular spot in the area and it is quite busy and full.

The Gondola ride was a mind-blowing view and so cool. There is a stop halfway up the mountain you get-off at and there is a platform for viewing and pictures. There are real bathroom at the stop and tables for hanging out.

These pictures are unclear, because of the nearby California fire smoke getting sucked into the Lake Tahoe Area.

Gondola Mid-Stop

At the top of the mountain there is a large lodge with wifi, real bathrooms, food and beverages, including a bar. There are tables inside and outside to sit.

There are a number of activities to do while up there, some geared towards various age children and some towards adults.

  • Gondola
  • Mountian Coaster
  • Tubing
  • Ropes Courses
  • Zip Line
  • Climbing Wall
  • Gemstone Panning

From the lodge area, we checked in at the Blue Streak tent, was provided an orientation and then took a ski lift up to the beginning of the zip line and the line ended in the area of the lodge and all the other stuff.

The Blue Streak Zip Line was fun, but is short-lived. I probably wouldn’t do this activity again.

Timber Cove Marina – 1,000 ft Parasailing:

The older lady that runs the office, I’m not sure if she owns the business or not, but she was not friendly. She was brash. I was not a fan.

Super cool experience over this huge lake surrounded by mountains. I’d totally do it again, even though it seemed like an overall short ride. The people who took us out were friendly, professional, and we had confidence in their abilities.

Bonus: On our way back to dock, my cap flew off and they were nice enough to circle back and we fished my cap out of the water. I can’t believe I spotted it in the water! And it was super nice for them to turn around for it. I am still incredibly grateful, since it was one of my most favorite caps.

The Cork & More:

My husband agreed to stop by a shop called The Cork & More, which is an artesian store, deli, wine tasting and shop. I picked up some spices and a new coffee mug! It is a cute little store.

Tahoe Coffee Mug

Markleeville & Grover Hot Springs:

On one of the days that we didn’t have dinner reservations we decided to take a trip to Markleeville, CA, which is approximately a 30 minute drive south of South Lake Tahoe. The drive was purdy.

There is NO cell service nor data signal in this area. We had to stop at the visitor center twice in the short time we were there.

Just outside of town is Grover Hot Springs.  We paid $10 per person to enter the pool area (this is a day rate). They have locker rooms to change and rise off in. There are outside cubby holes to put your stuff in by the hot spring pool. We were told to lock all your valuables in your car. While we did remember to pack swim suits and sunscreen, we didn’t remember to bring towels. I drip dried and then changed back into my real clothes, so it was really no big deal.

After about an hour in the hot spring pool, we changed and went back into town to eat at a local spot called Wolf Creek Restaurant and the Cutthroat Saloon. It was one of….I think….three places to eat in town. It is a historic building built in the 1800’s that originally was a hotel and brothel (so we were told by the locals) in Markleeville.

The official restaurant review will be posted at my sister site: Restaurant Reviews – ByCandace. Once the post is up, I’ll link to the post here.

Genoa Bar & Saloon:

We had no plans to drive to Genoa City, NV that day, but two locals from the Wolf Creek Restaurant and the Cutthroat Saloon told us that instead of going back the same way we came in we should go back through Nevada and Genoa City to hit up the first settlement in NV and the oldest thirst parlor and “gentleman’s saloon” in Nevada. Naturally we couldn’t resist checking it out.

Genoa 13

We drove approximately 26 miles and 30 minutes through a beautiful valley with cattle ranches everywhere to get from Markleeville, CA to Genoa, NV. Totally worth the drive. Genoa City is a quaint town with a historic hotel, mom-and-pop shops, and the main attraction Genoa Bar & Saloon. Pretty cool spot! If you are ever near here, I recommend you put this on the to-do list.

To get back to South Lake Tahoe from Genoa was approximately 19 miles and 35 minute drive. It was through a mountain pass which eventually winded down to the Nevada side of South Lake Tahoe.

Elements Day Spa:

I chose this spa, because originally my husband was supposed to be off fishing while I went to the spa and this one is within walking distance from our lodging location.

Don’t let the old building and make-shift spa deter you. I was originally disappointed and apprehensive. I was wondering what I had gotten myself into when I first saw the building and spa quarters.

They have private bathrooms with keyed lockers to keep your clothes and valuables. They provide comfy robes. They have a little side room called the tea room, where you can make and sip a variety of teas in between services (if you have time). They offer a variety of product in their main waiting room as well.

The people and their skills were amazing! Everyone was very courteous, friendly, accommodating, and professional.

I’ve had A LOT of massages in my life and honestly it was the best massage I can remember. My massage therapist was Sage Salonga; she was fan-dang-tastic! My husband was able to schedule a last minute massage that morning as well and said that his girl did a really good job too.

My Esthetician was Sandy O’Donnell and again, super great!

When and if I make it back to South Lake Tahoe, I’ll be seeking them both out for services.

Overall South Lake Tahoe Experience

Overall we really enjoyed our time in South Lake Tahoe. It is a beautiful place to visit! I hope one day I am fortunate enough to be able to go back again and do some of the activities we didn’t get to do this time.

Activities for Next Time

If we are able to make it back for another trip, we’d probably go in the off-season to avoid the large numbers of people, in October or late April/early May time frames. We may also consider staying at a more remote location, instead of in the middle of it all….who knows….we’ll see.

I hope you found this series helpful and enjoyable.