Take Me To London

Like right now. Please. My excitement for the 2012 London Olympics began when the Today Show started their countdown to The Games. Swimming, Gymnastics, Diving, Track & Field…they’re all awesome. And their talent, strength and ability just simply astounds me. My body hurts after a week straight of working out. Four years, day in and day out, of training? Ow.

So when the long and stressful work week came to a close, I bet you know what I was doing. No, I was not at happy hour. No, I was not out celebrating the weekend with friends. I came straight home. Put on pajamas. Popped some popcorn. Poured a large glass of red wine. And tuned in to the Opening Ceremonies. Happy and content.

Then I got bored. Uhhh? I was a bit confused as to what was going on with the performance. But, let’s be honest. All I really cared about was what Kate Middleton was wearing, and was impatiently waiting for the camera to scan back to her and Wills.

Photo Courtesy of NOW Daily: http://www.nowmagazine.co.uk

Perfect. Ever since the Royal Wedding, my sister and I have had a slight obsession with Kate & Pippa. Kelly is Kate, and I am Pippa. I had a friend ask why she’s Kate when I’m the older sister. Well..Kelly is taller and has a more slender build. I am shorter with a more athletic build. Not to mention the fact that I am perpetually single. (We may or not may not call my Kelly’s boyfriend Wills.)

Photo Courtesy of: Celebuzz
http://cdn03.cdnwp.celebuzz.com/

Identical. London is probably #1 on my “Places I NEED to Visit” list. I’m absolutely dying to go. I think that’s part of the reason I’m so excited for these Olympic games. The accents, the pubs, the Royals, the shopping. What more could a girl want? One day the American Kate & Pippa will meet the real Kate & Pippa.

But for now…Cheers to Team USA! I’ll be cheering for them stateside xx

Workout Wednesdays: Spin

I love fitness. I mean I know it seems like I would rather drink daiquiris and eat cake by the pool BUT working out is a huge passion of mine. (Though that wouldn’t be a bad life…) I spend a lot of my time reading up on nutrition and the latest fitness craze. Many of the blogs I read focus on health and fitness and this is where I find my inspiration.

Growing up, I always played sports. Once I got to college, I still played sports through intramurals, but also began working out in the gym on a daily basis. I enjoyed the different classes, and the eye candy wasn’t too bad either ;). I went to a Turbokick class every other day and even became a certified instructor (and have yet to teach a class..oops). I feel like I know so much more about health and fitness now than I did when I was just a freshman in college. It’s something that I actually ENJOY learning about.

Recently, I decided to switch up my workouts. I get up in the morning around 6 and am in the gym by 6:30 Monday-Friday. I used to be a cardio queen. I’d run miles on end. Nowadays, I try to fit in strength training 3x a week; Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday are dedicated to cardio.

I wanted to find something else besides running and the elliptical for my cardio sweat sesh. Luckily, my apartment gym has a studio with spinning bikes. Score!! I went on a mission to find a good spinning workout to use every once in a while and, thanks to Women’s Health Magazine, I found a good one. I left the gym exactly how I wanted to….sweaty with jello legs. They also provided a list of songs to put with this, but I made my own playlist:

  1. Young Wild and Free- Wiz Khalifa ft Snoop Dogg
  2. Million Dollar Bill- Whitney Houston
  3. Peaches n Cream- 112
  4. Moves Like Jagger- Maroon 5
  5. Call Me Maybe- Timeflies Tuesday
  6. Perfect Day- Lady Antebellum
  7. Cry- Bingo Players
  8. Cruise- Florida Georgia Line
  9. Green Light- John Legend
  10. Echa Pa’lla- Pitbull
  11. Fine By Me- Andy Grammer

Random I know. I did my best to coordinate the rhythm of the song with the RPM of my pedaling and it turned out pretty good. I did have to repeat #10 because it was too short! Find a bike and try this butt-kicking workout. You’ll be sore and your muscles will thank you:)

Cheers xx

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Cure

There are some days when I just feel like I’m in a sort of weird funk. Those days where no matter what I do, I just can’t be in a good mood. No amount of coffee, upbeat music, or exercise can turn my frown upside down. Sometimes these days can last for a week. And I hate it! I hate feeling so bleh. That’s how I felt all last week. Everything and everyone annoyed me. (My mom used to joke that “annoyed” is my favorite word…and I think she’s right). My boss even called me a grump. Oops. I pretty much just wanted to be alone, but at the same time I thought maybe some company could lift my spirits a bit. So first, I bought these to greet me when I woke up every morning…

They did help to brighten my mood. Until I had to actually get OUT of bed. And go to work. I don’t think the incessant rainy days helped either. Luckily, by Friday, the rain ceased and the sun came out. Just in time for happy hour the weekend. A few of these gems….

and I was ready to pppaaaaarrttyyyyyy (I really hope you’ve seen Bridesmaids). Yea, I was a combination of rockstar/dancing queen/20 years old. Until Saturday rolled around and the couch wouldn’t let me get up. All I could hear was a little man living inside my head, beating it with a hammer, saying “HEY! You’re 26 years old! 5am bedtimes aren’t acceptable!”

Whatever. Four hours later, I peeled myself off the couch in an effort to be somewhat productive (at 7pm). I decided that the one and only thing that could make my life worth living, was cookies. Chocolate Chip cookies. Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Oy vey. These hit the spot. All 10 2 of them. I’m still in the process of adopting a wheat free diet and these make that transition much easier! They taste just like your bakery chocolate chip cookie. With a few of these puppies, I was on the up and up.

My girlfriends and I got together for dinner, grapes, and a Bachelorette finale viewing Sunday night. I was Team Jef since their trip to London, and of course that heartfelt letter on the hometown date, so I was on cloud nine when she made the BEST decision of her life. We were all teary-eyed and giddy by the time the 3 hour showing was over.

What started out as a bleh, grumpy, gray week, ended up being a pretty awesome summer weekend. Cheers to cookies, grapes, and sappy love stories!

Baking with Blueberries

Fruit is something I can eat all day every day. Every morning, I bring a tupperware of mixed fruit to eat at work. It’s usually a mix of cantaloupe (my favorite!), watermelon, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. You know how I know I’m getting older? Because I actually pay attention to what fruits and vegetables are in season now. Summer is for watermelon, berries, peaches, cherries, etc. I stock up on the same fruits every week at the store and I know exactly how much I need to make it last until my next grocery trip. Normally, I pick up a pint of blueberries and put them in my mixed fruit, as well as my Green Monster protein shakes. This week, I decided to do something a little different.

I used these beauties to make Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins. Since I’ve been reading a new book about going wheat-free (book review to come), I’ve been wanting to bake with almond flour. I had never thought about it, but almond flour has many more health benefits than all-purpose. It’s made from almonds, so it’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates.

I was a little nervous for the outcome seeing as I’d never experimented with this type of baking. But, I had no reason to be. They were absolutely delicious! This will not be the last time I bake with almond flour (though it’s a bit pricey :/).

Baking these might have been the highlight of my week, if it weren’t for…

Channing Tatum and Magic Mike. I mean…wow. Not the most compelling plot, but let’s be serious, who doesn’t love watching men like that dance around with shirts off for 2 hours? It makes me a bit awkward to know that my mom and her friends saw it before I did. Seriously though, look at the price on that ticket….$10.50!!! I absolutely love a trip to the movies, but with a price like that (and no student discount on Saturdays, still got that student ID) my trips are few and far between. It also forces me to pop my own popcorn beforehand and sneak it into the theatre. I like to live life on the wild side.

I hope everyone had a great week! Cheers!

Just a First-Timer Here…

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to reading blogs. My morning usually starts with me reading several different blogs, all of which have varying subjects and topics. I tend to stick to blogs dealing with fitness, nutrition, fashion and recipes. It might be kind of creepy, but I think it’s interesting to have insight into other people’s lives. Most of the time I find myself wanting to emulate their lifestyle and finding inspiration from their daily posts. When I first considered the thought of starting my own blog, I dismissed the thought pretty quickly. I just found it hard to believe that someone would be the least bit interested in what I do on a daily basis. I mean I’m hardly what I’d consider to be inspirational. Besides, what would my blog even be about? I brainstormed several different options, but realized I wasn’t exactly a professional in any subject area. Who was I to write a blog about baking when I only do it for fun? Or write a blog about fitness and nutrition when I’m not a personal trainer or dietician? Or a fashion blogger, when my style comes from pinterest?

The more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that I wouldn’t be starting a blog for OTHER people, but for myself. I first decided on the name “Cupcakes & Grapes” when I was pretty gung-ho on baking cupcakes every day of my life. This was at a time when I was unemployed and desperate to find hobbies to fill the countless free hours I had. The “Grapes” part came from the simple fact that I love wine. (Yes, I do love fitness, despite my incessant sweet tooth and seemingly lush behavior.) My plan was to blog about all the delicious sweet treats that I baked and ate, sometimes with a fabulous bottle of wine. While this seemed like a great idea, it turns out I don’t have much time for baking, at least not like I used to. I wasn’t baking things on a day-to-day, or even weekly, basis and found myself writing only THREE blog posts in about 4 months time. Wow, dedication.

So for the past couple weeks, this blog has been weighing on my mind. I WANT a blog, I really do. I love to write (when it’s not a research paper). So after a week long internal struggle, I’ve decided to get back in the game! And what will the blog be about this time? I’m glad you asked, I’m sure you’re dying to know. Cupcakes & Grapes will focus on indulging in life as a twenty-something. Huh? I don’t get it. Basically, living an indulgent life. Seizing the day. Carpe diem. Cliche? Maybe. I’m almost 27. Single. Living in a young, vibrant city. This blog is a way for me to document all the awesome things I’m doing in my life. From baking, sipping cheap wine and reading books, to fun-filled trips with friends, my family, and the fashion styles I’m obsessing over. A lifestyle blog, if you will. Without having a specific focus, I can blog about WHATEVER I want and I’m hoping eventually a clearer focus will reveal itself. But, for now, anything is fair game. Since I do have a 9-5, I’m going to aim to check in once a week, at the end of the week. You see, my life is relatively boring and redundant from Monday-Thursday. But when Friday rolls around, that’s when I come to life baby.

I’m excited to be able to document this part of my life. I think it’ll be pretty cool to look back in 6 months or a year and see all the fun (or not so fun) things I’ve done and how far I’ve actually come. I’m a little anxious about starting this blog, and I’m sure it’ll take me a while to get the hang of it, but it’s time to live a little. So, here’s to the beginning of another adventure. I’m glad you’ll be following along.

Cheers!