Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fitbit Charge HR

I have a confession to make. I haven't really worked out since my post in May about working out. I did really well for about a week and then with all of the craziness of packing up my room and summer vacations I got out of the habit (not really sure I can call it a habit since it was only a week of working out, but you know what I mean).

Michael decided that he wanted a fitness type watch for running, etc, so after doing some research he decided on an Apple Watch Sport. I thought I wanted something too, but didn't necessarily want to replace my watch, so I considered getting a Fitbit then, but in the end I decided that I didn't need to spend the money on it. And then June and July came and went and I never got back on the elliptical. Our trip to Travaasa in early July was probably the closest I've gotten to physical activity, and as soon as we got home the walks/hikes stopped. 

A friend of mine, who also happens to be a Figure competitor, posted on Facebook that she was in a Fitbit challenge with her brother and some friends, and that got me interested. I like to win (who doesn't?), and if getting a Fitbit meant that I could participate in challenges with my friends, maybe that would also mean that I'd start exercising to increase my steps!

I decided to get the Fitbit Charge HR since Michael is a little concerned about my heart rate (still need to make an appointment to see a cardiologist). It's been interesting to see how even the littlest movement can increase my heart rate.

I've only had it three days, but in those three days I've worked out on the elliptical each day, and yesterday when I got a phone notification that one of my friends had just pulled ahead of me I got off the couch and started moving again so I could WIN! I pulled ahead of her and earned two more "badges" - 10,000 steps in a day and 10 floors! 

There are other feature like sleep tracking (I don't sleep well...must mean I need a new bed), a food log (haven't used this yet), and a water log. Incidentally, it's also a watch (for some reason I though the Surge was the only one that's a watch), but I still stack it with my Fossil watch when going out. The water log is really easy to use, and I've hit my water goal every day, so that's good.

So far I'm really happy with my purchase. It has some great features, but honestly the biggest thing for me is the accountability to both myself and my friends that are participating, or will be participating, in the challenge. I'm hoping that the novelty doesn't wear off and I will soon fit back into all of my favorite jeans comfortably! ;)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles, Asparagus and Burst Tomatoes

I decided to try out my new spiralizer again tonight to try to recreate the meal I had at Travaasa.

*asparagus not pictured

I started with two zucchini and used the medium blade to create spaghetti like noodles. After I finished, I rinsed the noodles with salt water and let them drain in a colander for about 10 minutes before drying with some paper towels.

Once I finished with the zucchini, I minced four cloves of garlic and chopped my asparagus while I heated some olive oil over medium heat. I added the garlic to the pan and sautéed it for about a minute before adding the asparagus. After a few minutes I added the tomatoes. I seasoned everything with some salt and pepper, added the juice of one lemon, covered it, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. 

To cook the shrimp, I added it to boiling water along with some salt, pepper, and a little Old Bay Seasoning. I cooked it for three minutes and then drained it and added it to the zucchini mixture. Right before it was finished I added about 1/4 cup of pitted Kalamata olives.

To serve, I topped it with some Parmesan cheese. Delicious!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort

Michael has a conference this week in Austin, so we decided to head down to the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country a few days early for a family vacation. 

We arrived late-afternoon on Thursday and checked in. We had a great room with a walk out patio that opened up to a large "yard." There was a smell in our room that just wouldn't go away, so the next morning we were upgraded to a large suite with an even bigger patio.

Sophia and Carter were thrilled to have their own beds, and Michael and I were happy to be back in a king (the rooms with two beds have doubles, so it was a little cozier). Our new room also had a large table, so we had room to play games when we weren't at the pool. Who doesn't love a little Skip Bo, Uno, and Slap Jack? 

While it was great to have a bigger room, most of our time was spent at the pool. I preferred  the activity pool because I could go from the pool to a lounge chair and still keep an eye on both kids, but there is also a lazy river (I couldn't ever get comfortable in the tube!), slides, and a kiddie pool. We all went down the slides a few times the first day, but then Carter decided he wasn't a fan so I was off the hook for the rest of the trip.

We've done the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, and we've now done the JW Marriott twice, and I have to say hands down the JW Marriott is the better hotel for a summer vacation at the pool. We LOVE the Gaylord over the holidays, but the water park is much bigger and better at the JW Marriott. There also seems to be more organized activities that are included with your stay, but maybe we somehow just missed that at the Gaylord. There are scavenger hunts, games (Michael and I both won at BINGO), s'mores, dive-in movies on the weekend, crafts (this does cost extra), a Zoomagination animal show on Saturdays, and a duck race on Sundays.

Make Your Own Ice Cream
The Zoomagination show started out with some creepy crawlies (a tarantula and a scorpion), but there was also a hedgehog, a macaw, a sloth, a porcupine, and a python (Sophia got called up to help hold the python). At the end of the show everyone got to go up and touch the snake. Both kids informed me that the snake feels rubbery (I took their word for it and chose not to join the line to feel for myself ;).

Sophia and Carter were so excited to participate in the duck race again this year! When we came in 2012 Carter's duck placed so he won a prize. No such luck this time, but they got to bring home their ducks so they were still happy! 

All in all, we had a fantastic time at the resort. If you are looking for a good spot to take a family vacation, I'd definitely recommend the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Since I'm not working anymore I'm supposed to be saving money, but a good sale is so hard to pass up! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale starts on July 17 (early access for cardmembers is going on now) and there are a few things that I'm considering picking up.

The first thing is these Hunter boots. We got a ton of rain this year, and quite a bit of snow too, and a good pair of rain boots would have definitely helped keep my feet dry. I've been wanting a pair for quite awhile, and this sale makes them too good to pass up! ;)

I've been looking for a pair of aviators and like these rimless ones by Tory Burch. I find that when I spend a little more on sunglasses I am less likely to lose/break them so I can justify the purchase.

I go back and forth between my 7 for All Mankind and Hudson jeans. There is something about the patch pocket on jeans that makes my behind look better, and that's something my sevens just don't have, so these Hudson Collin skinnies may be making their way into my cart. It seems the theme of this post is more fall clothing (now that the 100 degree temps have hit I am dreaming of cooler weather), and who doesn't love a good pair of skinny jeans and boots? 

This coat is to die for! The leather sleeves make it kind of fun and edgy, but it's black so I feel like it will be timeless and classic. It's $460 on sale though, so for now I'll just admire it from afar. There is a possibility that we'll be taking a trip to Europe in mid-October, and this would be so perfect! I wonder if I can talk Michael into it...

I'm also eyeing a few things for Michael in the men's sale to spruce up his work wardrobe. 

What are you looking to pick up at the sale?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Travaasa Austin

Michael and I were supposed to go to Napa this week for our first adults only vacation in five years, but unfortunately he had something come up for work and we had to cancel the trip. At first I thought we could just do a staycation in Dallas, but then I remembered reading about an adults only resort in an issue of Texas Monthly awhile back. Travaasa!

Travaasa is almost like a summer camp for adults. There are different activities scheduled throughout the day, most of them included with the price of your room, and you can pick and choose the ones you want to try. There is hatchet throwing, archery, a climbing wall & zipline, the prickly pear challenge course, horseback riding, chicken farming, summer seeding, geocaching, swing dancing, and the list goes on. 

We wanted to be able to take advantage of the beautiful infinity pool each day, and maybe fit a nap in, so we only did one activity a day. 

The first day we did the guided Heart Starter Hike. Boy did it get my heart started! A little too much for Michael's liking - he wants me to go see a doctor because I sometimes experience shortness of breath and tightness in my chest. I think it probably just means I'm really out of shape and need to get more active, but it's worth getting it checked out just for peace of mind. There are two trails on property. The blue trail has less elevation changes, and the orange trail has more up and down. I was okay on the blue trail, but once we started climbing back up on the orange trail I had to sit and rest so I could catch my breath. We took a hike the other two mornings as well, but stuck with the blue trail (1.3 miles) those days. 

We were both in need of a massage, so the first day we were there we both had Deep Sleep Aromatherapy Massages. It was 80 minutes of bliss that flew by way too quickly! 

Our activity on Day 2 was archery. I'd done it in 6th grade at camp, so I knew that I'd be a pro. Not exactly, but it was still fun! The instructor was great, but I really wish he'd started by taking pictures of us, because he kept telling us that we had to keep our bodies square with the target, but it wasn't until I saw this picture that I realized how much I was angling my body to the target. No wonder Michael hit the bullseye and I didn't! ;)

That night we went to The Domain to and had dinner at North Italia. The pasta is homemade and is delicious. I'd definitely recommend it.

Heading to Dinner
Travaasa has a farm and they try to use as many "home grown" ingredients in their restaurant as possible. We had dinner there one night and breakfast and dinner the other days we were there - everything was fresh and delicious! My favorite meal was dinner the first night. I had grilled shrimp with roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives, and zucchini noodles. I loved it so much that I went out and bought a spiralizer today! After trying many of the fruits and vegetables that are grown at the farm, we decided to go to a seeding class on our final day so we could actually see the farm. I want to start an herb garden, and my sister-in-law, Lisa, who is a dietician, suggested I try having Sophia and Carter help plant some fruits and veggies as well because studies show that kids who are involved in growing their own are more likely to want to try them. Carter is a little more daring than Sophia, but neither of them strays far from the standard pasta, chicken nuggets, bean burrito/quesadilla, or grilled cheese diet and I'd like that to change. Anyhow, back to the class. It was very interesting, but I can't say that it was helpful in terms of my being able to take what I learned back home and immediately start a garden. I did learn where to look to get information on what to plant and when, so that was helpful. I also ate some flowers (society garlic) and leaves (can't remember) so that was fun.

Travaasa offers an all-inclusive package that includes all food, but no alcoholic drinks, and $125/day per person towards spa experiences or activities that cost an extra fee. We chose to go with the Your Travaasa plan, which wasn't all-inclusive. Even though we did eat at the restaurant several times, and our massages were more than $125, we still saved money by choosing not to go all-inclusive. I'm hoping to go back in the next year or so and will try more activities then, but we will still probably do the same package. 

If you are looking for something a little different, and are up for trying new things, definitely check out Travaasa. They also have a resort in Maui. Someday....