Just Do It {Playlist}

I read somewhere sometime way back when, that running tests both your physical and mental strength.  I couldn’t agree more.  With my runs getting longer and longer each weekend, it’s getting harder and harder to get myself out the door.  I love running, it’s the one time my mind gets a chance to completely check-out and wander, but sometimes it’s a battle to get to that point…  Thankfully, a good playlist can ease the nerves.

I haven’t downloaded many tunes lately and have been relying on Pandora, so Sunday morning I was in a time pinch.  I quickly scanned through the top tunes and came up with the following playlist…

Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding

“Back in Time” by Pitbull

“Beauty and a Beat” by Justin Beiber featuring Nicki Minaj

“Blow Me [One Last Kiss]” by P!nk

“Brokenhearted” by Karmin

“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen

Catch My Breath” by Kelly Clarkson

“Die Young” by Ke$ha

“Don’t Stop the Party” by Pitbull featuring TJR

“Hall of Fame” by The Script featuring will.i.am

“Ho Hey” by The Lumineers

“I Cry” by Flo Rida

I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift 

“It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons

“[Kissed You] Good Night” by Gloriana

“Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men 

“Oath” by Cher Lloyd featuring Becky G

“Scream & Shout” by will.i.am featuring Britney Spears

“Starships” by Nicki Minaj 

“Stronger [What Doesn’t Kill You]” by Kelly Clarkson

Try” by P!nk

“Va Va Voom” by Nicki Minaj

“Want U Back” by Cher Lloyd

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift

“Whistle” by Flo Rida

“Wild Ones” by Flo Rida featuring Sia

I can’t say that I was a big fan of all the tunes, but they all had a pretty catchy beat and provided rhythm to my feet for the whole 9 miles 😛

Question:  Do you make playlists for your runs/ workouts?

Question:  What’s your favorite workout song?

— Allison


ABC’s of Me {Survey}

It’sss theee weekenddd!  This week wasn’t very busy but I’m still happy it’s the weekend!  Sleeping in, grocery shopping [prepping for power outages], no work, my birthday celebration tonight, and making new plans for Sunday because our trip to Kings Dominion has been postponed until the spring [silly Sandy]…


This survey has been bouncing around the blog world recently [thanks for sharing Alex and Jess] and I thought I’d partake in the fun!

A is for age:  The ripe old age of 23.

B is for breakfast today:  Whole wheat flax and oat ‘cakes topped with coconut Cho + almond slivers + raisins + maple syrup served with a side of cantaloupe and lots of coffee.  Note: they’re not burnt, I just have an obsession with cinnamon [haha]!

C is for currently craving:  Fresh food.  Thinking that we may lose power for a couple of days due to Hurricane Sandy, I want to eat all the food in our fridge [waste not]!

D is for dinner tonight:  Legal Sea Foods!  We postponed the original plans because I was feeling under the weather and exactly one month later we’re celebrating.  I’m psyched for a night with my friends and good food!  What should I order: shrimp, swordfish, or lobstahhh?

throwback picture, 2010?!

E is for favorite type of exercise:  Cardio.  Running [outside > inside], the elliptical, or the spin bike.  Although, if you ask me this question again in 13 weeks I may say strength training 😉

F is for an irrational fear:  Getting into a car accident.  I got into my first fender bender a few months ago  [no one was hurt, just my bumper and my ego] and ever since, I’m scared that someone in front of me is going to slam on their breaks and I won’t stop quick enough.

G is for gross food:  Sardines.  Truthfully, I’ve never tried them but they look slimy, smelly, and make me go ick.  Maybe if they were disguised in a tasty dish and I don’t know they’re there I’d try them…  Maybe.

H is for hometown:  Great Falls, VA.  If you’re ever in the DC area, make an effort to visit Great Falls Park and go for a hike- the trails along the Potomac River are b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l!


I is for something important:  Last week I felt great, this week has been tough.  I NEED to remember to take my medicines.

J is for current favorite jam:  “We’re Never Ever Getting Back Together” by TSwift


K is for kids:  Absolutely!  I’d like 3 but we’re planning to wait and enjoy married life for a while- our furry son is enough to handle.

L is for current location:  Fairfax County, Virginia.  I love where we live because it’s 15 minutes outside our Nation’s Capital [assuming traffic isn’t a nightmare] and about 15 minutes east of the rolling mountains.

M is for the most recent way you spent money:  At the grocery store.

N is for something you need:  My family [Charlie included] and my friends.  They’ve provided me with so much strength and support, especially over the past few years, and I don’t think I could have got through it all without them.

O is for occupation:  Exhibits assistant.  No, I don’t work for a museum [common question]- I work for an association in the exhibits department and help to coordinate their annual trade shows.

P is for pet peeve:  1) People chewing with their mouth open.  2) People not following through with what they say they are going to do.  I blame pet peeve #1 on my BFF because when we were younger, she always would tell me to chew with my mouth closed.

Q is for a quote:  I loveee quotes and think they’re a great dose of inspiration and motivation.  A few of my favorites…

“Use it up, wear it out, make with do, or do without.”

~A little background [as seen on Wikipedia]: “This homily was brought to the USA by immigrants from Great Britain in the early 1900s or before…  The saying is used frequently by those who lived through the Great Depression and their children.”

“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

~Henry Ford

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.”

~The Serenity Prayer by Rienhold NeiBuhr

R is for random fact about you:  I prefer athletic clothes > casual [jeans + t-shirt] clothes.  Although, I do enjoy dressing up for special occasions and donning a sparkly dress + a pair of pumps!

S is for favorite healthy snack:  Popcorn, a cereal + yogurt bowl, or a power bar [Luna and Cliff Mojo’s specifically].

T is for favorite treat:  Dark chocolate and frozen yogurt :)  I love ending the day on a sweet note- no matter how full I am after dinner, I always have room for a sweet treat!

U is for something that makes you unique: It’s not necessary unique, but I think it’s something special…  I was adopted at birth.  I was a newborn so I have no memory of any of it, but I could not be more thankful for being raised in the family I was.   My parents provided me with love and support, put up with my stubborn tendencies, and continue to encourage me to pursue my dreams.

V is for favorite vegetable:  Too many to name.  Seriously, I have always loved fruits and veggies [I was that weird child]…  It’s easier to name my least favorite vegetable: seaweed.  I don’t mind it in sushi, can hardly taste it, but I do not care for eating raw sheets of it.


W is for today’s workout:  I’m thinking of repeating Wednesday’s 2-minute elliptical ladder

X is for X-rays you’ve had:  Best answer: too many!  Between playing basketball and lacrosse and my klutziness, too many!  I’ve had numerous x-rays [and MRI’s/ CT scans] on my ankles, knees, shoulders, and wrists.

Y is for yesterday’s highlight:  Taking a day off from the gym and going to a local park for a family walk.

Z is for your time zone:  Eastern Standard Time [EST].



Question:  What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Question:  Do you prefer ice cream, fro-yo, or sorbet?

— Allison


Felt the Burn

My problem isn’t getting to the gym, my problem is that I favor cardio > strength training.  Why?  Because no matter how many fitness articles I read, I still don’t know what the heck I’m doing when it comes to weights.  The bike, elliptical, and treadmill are easy: you set the incline and/or resistance and move your legs.  Weight machines are pretty easy too: you set the weight, complete 10-15 reps, and repeat 3 times.  Done and done.

My struggles are that when I’m on a weight machine [or are using free weights], I have no clue what weight I should use or if my form is correct.  Do I pull all the way down or just halfway?  Do I inhale or exhale?  How fast or slow should I be going?  There are so many factors!


With this in mind, Ryan and I signed up to try a strength training program at our gym two days this week.   Holy heck, Tuesday night we got our butts kicked for 45 minutes!  Our instructor started with a few ab exercises and then proceeded to take us through a circuit of strength training exercises, focusing on our shoulders and thighs [with 2 sets of lunges in between each set]…  We. felt. the. burn.

pardon my facial expression, this picture must be mid-adrenaline rush, ha!

Our instructor mentioned that we may feel sore later but that would be normal.  Wednesday morning I woke up feeling okay, a little sore in my shoulders but still had enough strength to make a stack of waffles 😉  Ryan woke up and didn’t want to move!

On Wednesday we were instructed to choose a routine from a cardio script; I chose to hop on the elliptical.  I typically do intervals on the elliptical, but only alternate between 2 levels and each interval lasts 4-8 minutes, just enough time to get lost in a magazine and lose track of what I’m at the gym to do, to sweat.  This routine doesn’t allow you to do that, it keeps you attentive because the intervals change every 2 minutes.  With a good playlist, the workout goes by super fast!

Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s a workout so try it maybe?


2-Minute Elliptical Ladder

0:00- 2:00  level 2 resistance

2:00- 4:00  level 4 resistance

4:00- 6:00 level 6 resistance

6:00- 8:00 level 8 resistance

8:00- 10:00 level 10 resistance

decrease resistance to 2 and repeat


*Repeat as many times as you’d like.  The ladder takes 10 minutes to complete.*

I did 4 ladders for a total of 40 minutes followed by a 5-minute cooldown.  With the little energy I had left, I did some medicine ball twists and Tina’s 8-Minute Plank ChallengeI. felt. the. burn.

When I got home I refueled with a gigantic [unpictured] kitchen sink salad, eggs topped with avocado, and crumpets with peanut butter.  Eggs and avocado is a winning combination- it’s packed with protein and healthy fats, it’s super simple, and it’s super satisfying!

Tonight we have training session #2 and assuming we can still sign our names at the end of the class, I have a feeling we’ll be signing up for the 13-week program that starts next week…  Bring. on. the. burn!

“It’s that first step—getting out the door—that’s the toughest. If you can do that, you’ve already won.”

~Mary J. Blige


Question:  What do you prefer, cardio or strength training?

Question:  Do you have a personal trainer or attend any group training classes?  Have you seen any improvements with your form or overall strength?

— Life's a Bowl