Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Top Photo Apps for iPhone/iPad...best part: FREE!


For a very long time I've been in search of the perfect apps for editing photos. I love to take pictures and love to try and turn them in to works of art whenever possible. For this you must have awesome apps...below are my favourites! I rarely go a week without using each of these apps.

This is one of my faves because of all the filters...they are truly amazing! I love the sketch, toon, and emboss filters are my favorite! There are also some really cool light fx, like bokeh, that can enhance some pictures as well. The last thing I love about this app are the frames. The only bummer is the frames don't translate well onto Instagram so I rarely use them. Hopefully they can fix this in the future!

When I was running my Beachbody business this app was essential. I would need to take photos during my workout and this was the best free one I found. It allows you to take multiple photos (up to 10) and allows you to take them anywhere from 3 seconds apart to 3 minutes apart! Seriously, I think the best photo timer app out there. 

I often will take a series of pictures then make a collage with one of the two following apps....

Lots of different frames: they have different shaped frames for single photos, even some different shapes for multiple photos, and of course lots for creating collages. Once you create your collage you can add filters and text. I use this one constantly. All collages I have shared from here to Instagram transfer over perfectly with no issues.

This is a super fun app because you can make photo and/or video collages! When putting together a video collage it will allow you to play the videos together or at different times and speed them up or slow them down! Super cool, I think. They also have several cute frames available, background colors, and of course you can add text. This one translates really well with all features to Instagram.


Here are some pictures I have edited with the apps:






Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday # I need to figure that out ;)

Happy Hump Day Y'all! So, today is bound to be a BUSY one! We have so many appointments and things to get done. So this will be a quick one!




I had a very healthy week last week and this coupled with my workouts I am really starting to see some abs coming back ;) Can't wait to take some 30 day pictures!
Shakeology has been had each and everyday post workout. Apples, cinnamon, pb my favorite tastes like an apple pie snack. A treat from this organic place down the road. Bananas, pb, and dark chocolate because sometimes you just need that. Banana, string cheese, two dates, and pistachios. 

In the top left, frozen watermelon is amazeballs try it if you haven't, egg scramble, and raisin toast, blueberry coffee cake, and vegan coffee, sweet potato leftover breakfast bowl. Tuna salad, eggs and salad. Chicken and cheese crescents with fruit and veggies, steak bites with twice baked potatoes and zucchini, and some lo-mein after a movie on Sunday ;)

Workouts
I've been really good about following my workout schedule this month. I've really stuck to it and added in some things and I am sore in the most amazing way!


Last Tuesday I did a 30 minute run and saw this project called Cartas al Cielo read my post to learn more about it...it is awesome.

Last Wednesday: Plyometric Cardio Circuit

Thursday: 50 minute run and Insanity Cardio Abs

Friday: Insanity Cardio Recovery

Saturday: Cardio Power & Resistance...it was awesome:


Sunday: X-Stretch & a 20km bike ride...some in the rain ;)

Monday: 10km bike ride and Cardio Power and Resistance plus this:


Tuesday: 200 burpee's and a 20 minute run to calibrate my heart rate monitor (not easy) and stretching

Today: Will be a half hour run and Insanity cardio recovery and 200 burpees....on top of tons of walking due to meetings we have today and doing the last of the cleaning of our old apartment. It looks to be a very strenuous day so we shall see how all that goes.

I hope everyone has a healthy and fabulous Wednesday!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Recipe Round Up!

This is a round up sorts...

Last week in my weekly menu I tried a TON  of new recipes. Each of them were very good, so I wanted to highlight them, show you my finished product, and let you know of any changes I made.

Recipes I tried this past week:

Angela's Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate over at Oh She Glows:

I did the coffee concentrate exactly as described in the recipe, I made no changes. The coffee I used was Kati Kati from Starbucks. It is their summer blend (at least here in The Netherlands) and it is amazing! It has great citrus notes to it which you think would not be good, but oh my word is it ever the best! Cold brewing it like this takes away any acidity it may have, which is usually my biggest problem with Starbucks coffee's is the acidity. 

How I made my coffee: 
Lots of ice
1/4 cup-1/2 cup or so of coffee concentrate
1oz maple syrup
1/2-3/4 cup Oat milk
Dallop of coconut cream (I put mine in a pastry bag & dispense that way)

How teenager makes hers:
Lots of ice
1/4 cup-1/2 cup of coffee concentrate
1oz vanilla, hazelnut, or caramel syrup from starbuck (can use Monin or whatever your preferred brand but we don't have access to that here)
1/2-3/4 cup whole milk (Yes, we use whole milk *gasp*)
Spritz of real whipped cream

...and Megan's Blueberry and Coconut Coffee Cake Breakfast Bars


I didn't change a single thing about this recipe I followed it almost exactly. The only thing I cannot find here in Amsterdam is liquid egg whites in a separate bottle so I used two whole eggs and two egg whites.

Combine these two and you have the most amazing homemade breakfast treat you could ever imagine and they are healthy to boot!
People often think when you live a healthy lifestyle and eat food that is good for your body you never get any treats...well, there is balance and there are ways to make your favorite foods healthier so you can eat them more often. Coffee cake is something I haven't had in year so this was a fantastic treat without spending a ton on going out...because, as I've mentioned before, eating out can be very expensive in the Netherlands.

So, I pretty much didn't follow this recipe at all, except for the seasoning. I chopped the potatoes real small...I did regular and sweet potatoes. When the potatoes were done, I then cracked the eggs over the top & let them cook for a while until they were *almost* done and then I sprinkled with cheese & let it sit until it was melted and the eggs were totally set. It was really good and very filling.





This was quite delicious. The only problem I had was deciphering the cuts of meat at the grocery store since, well, they aren't in English and the butcher didn't really understand what I was asking and my phone wasn't charged so, ya know,just a good ol' case of a calamity of errors! But, even said they were delicious. I also couldn't find the bottled marinade she had so I used some teriyaki marinade and I crush garlic in to the teriyaki sauce. It was delicious and made a great glaze on the steak. 

For the potatoes, since I wasn't doing an appetizer like the author of the recipe,  I just made the regular twice baked potatoes my family enjoys which pretty much follows her recipe only I included bacon.



Sausage and Potatoes Au Gratin

I'm not including a picture because my pictures do not do it justice. Just visit the page and look at Christine's photos because her photo's are way more awesome than the ones I took...in fact, mine made it just look gross...probably because it is dark! lol

I found this recipe when Christine, over at Foody Schmoody posted on Facebook asking if we would like to see more of different types of recipes or something (it was a while ago) and I mentioned that my husband is totally a meat and potatoes kind of guy. She linked me to this recipe for the Sausage and Potatoes Au Gratin and suggested I give it a try. So, I pinned it...and like all things on pinterest it got lost in the shuffle and I forgot about it! Well, I was needing some inspiration and since smoked sausage is HUGE here in my area of Europe I figured why not give it a try!

Changes I made:
  • I left out the onions because my husband HATES them with a thriving passion lol I did throw in onion powder because he loves that...go figure :-/
  • I used organic unbleached flour
  • I used half unsweetened almond milk and half full fat cow's milk to cut the cals a bit ;)
  • I can't find bricks of cheddar or shredded cheddar in my local grocery (have to go to a specialty store for it) so I use gouda.
Did you try any new recipes last week? Any worth putting on a menu this upcoming week?

Weekend Update, Goals, & Menu

Wow! Working my way to a full year's worth of meal plans on here, hard to believe!

Also hard to believe we are so far through July!

This past weekend looked like this (what few pictures I took)

I started Saturday out with some Insanity, then we just relaxed all day it was really hot so we worked some around the house then just rested. Sunday though it was rainy so I made that bad ass piece of blueberry coffee cake, we biked to a movie during a reprieve of the rain, after we came out it was POURING buckets so we grabbed some Chinese (I guess that was the cuisine) then biked home where my amazing husband put my purse UNDER his shirt for the ride home so it wouldn't get wet! That folks is true love! ...and that is how I will end my weekend <3 p="">
Last week's Menu Plan Monday post I listed a few goals here was my success with them:
  • Follow workout schedule-Met with success! This one is always pretty easy for me though!
  • Get stuff moved over to new apartment-DONE!  Everything is unloaded and put away...old apartment is even cleaned out! WOOHOO!
  • Follow meal plan-Met with SUCCESS! It has been a REALLY long time since I have been able to say this....and because I followed my workout schedule and my meal plan I am feeling AMAZING!
  • Get in green smoothies & one salad everyday-IMPORTANT!-Here is where I wasn't as successful as I wanted to be. I was great when it came to salads I really got one in everyday, sometimes twice and really enjoyed them. I tried several different green smoothie's everyday and this goal helped me realize one thing...I really just do NOT like green smoothies no matter how hard I try! Oh well, I love green juices and salads so not liking one thing doesn't really bother me. At least I learned something about myself ;)
  • Get back on to working on my Index Card a Day project-No success here at all lol I was so concentrated on making sure I worked out, got everything done around the house, stayed active during the day getting sun and bike riding, and looking for real life jobs that this feel by the way-side...good thing there is this week!
Goals for this week:

One of my goals this week is to be a bit more organized...especially when it comes to having snacks handy. I don't like to buy a ton of pre-made snacks and going out gets expensive like I mentioned last week...so, here is what I'm doing for this week:

P.S. After you read my meal plan make sure to visit Org Junkie for other meal plans ;)

Snacks 
(make on Monday)
Carrot Banana Granola Balls
Chocolate Chunk Muffin Tops
Banana Fudge Pops
Ham, Veggie Cheese Kabobs  and Garlic Parm Chickpeas (will put these together in tupperware/baggies as a grab and go snack)

Breakfast:
Raw Buckwheat Porridge (MWFS)
  • For the teenager: cereal with banana
Egg sandwiches with sweet potato fries (T,TH)
French toast with sausage (Sunday treat)

Lunch:
Creamy Veggie Casserole (I will be making quite a few changes to make this "real food" friendly, will post what I come up with) (MWF)
Homemade Spaghetti-o's with mini chicken meatballs and salad (T, Th) (will prep all at the beginning of the week so it is easy to dish out and reheat
Saturday we will do a late lunch/early dinner as we will take a trip over to the beach so long as it is nice and let the kiddo do some surfing and then we will head over to a place called the Safari Club and get some charcoal BBQ (this will be a HUGE treat it is so hard to find charcoal BBQ/smoked food over here)!
Sunday: See what leftovers we have...if none then will do some ham and cheese crescent rolls with salad

Dinner:
Monday: (Meatless) Soup and baked potato
Tuesday: Shredded chicken quesadillas with corn and salad
Wednesday: Chicken nuggets and honey glazed carrots and fruit (recipe from the Fresh 20 cookbook)
Thursday: Chicken wings/cauliflower "wings" with salad and corn/sugar snap peas
Friday: Homemade calzones with salad and a movie
Saturday: hopefully the weather is good so we can get BBQ at the beach!
Sunday: Chicken alfredo (I will adapt this for me somehow to make it healthier), with homemade garlic bread, and salad


Since moving to Europe my love for cooking has really come back full force and I am loving it! I went through such a lull there where I just was not motivated, but being motivated and feeling good has been amazing! Do you ever go through "funk" periods where you just can't seem to be productive? What do you do to get out of it?

I hope everyone has a great week! HAPPY MONDAY! (Yeah, you should be awake now ;))

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cartas Al Cielo

Wow, do I have a post for today! I tell ya I love being a runner because I discovery so many new and interesting things I may not see if it weren't for try to get those miles in during each session. On Tuesday I went out for an easy 30 minute run. I just wasn't feeling it so I told myself when you see something that inspires you stop and take a picture. It will be worth it, it will make the run more fun, and you never know what you will find. Sure enough...I had no idea what I would find.

I crossed the bridge over the canal that divides our neighborhood from this area of Amstel Park and found this:


A very pretty, well maintained little trail. It leads out on to a road that goes throughout the park (I have never seen any vehicles aside from park official ones) and throughout the park there are several graveled areas and little islands of trails. 

So, as I ran and explored I came upon this:

I took one look into this sphere and immediately felt very small. It absolutely took my breath away at how big I realized the world was in that one little moment.

I backed up, looked around the sphere and just enjoyed the view for a moment thinking about why this was here. Who else had been here and felt what I was feeling...a sense of wonder and amazement! Then, I noticed the little slit in the front there and made a mental note to google this when I got home. But, as I continued to run I did not have to wait:



I came across this board that, lucky for me explained the piece of artwork in not only Dutch, but English. I hate being illiterate in Dutch (although my typing skills have gotten tons better from using translate lol), but am glad things like this come in English too so I actually know sometimes what is going on around me! This piece is done by Alicia Framis and is called Cartas Al Cielo, which means "Letters to Heaven".

The way I interpreted this is the thought behind this is it is a sphere that reflects the world around us, capturing the enormity of all we inhabit. Allowing us to reach those that have gone on to their heaven. 

The board basically says the reflection of the sky, which many believe to contain the afterlife, is a place where we can look in moments of hope, desire, or desperation. Many times we look to the sky to talk to those we have lost...so, the thought of this enormity being reflected in a mirrored sphere led the artist to create a postbox to reach those we miss that have gone to the heavens above. When you visit you can slip a letter in to someone you have lost and the thought is they will get your letter delivered in heaven.

I will admit this actually brought tears to my eyes. It is an unselfish piece to share with the world and allow others, especially people like me who love to write letters, a way to "contact" those they have lost and are looking down on us from heaven. 

Such a beautiful piece and I am so glad I live just a block away from it!

Have you ever come across a piece of artwork that just took your breath away?




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday +my week in review of workouts!

This last week I was a horrendous picture taker...I think that is because alot of my stuff was the same this week...and my workouts were off since we were moving and I was a little more tired so I had more rest days. This past weekend we ate out quite and bit and I've been making a point to not be on my phone when we are out so I sort of forgot to take photos! I will be better this week....but I do have a few photos to share:




Starting off with the awesome stuff! ;) These are Stroopwafel's . They are an AMAZING Dutch treat. Our very sweet landlords left us a whole tinful of them and we've been slowly enjoying them. The teenager & I split this one as they are VERY sweet. They are two very thing waffles sandwiched around caramel! Oh yeah, amazing. We still have to make it down to the famous street market to try the fresh ones!

This is an amazing herbal tea we got to try for the mornings. I don't drink a ton of coffee anymore but wanted something to add to my lemon water...this is FANTASTIC!

My tuna salad for lunch this week (I have had it twice so far & probably again on Friday): Two handfuls of spinach, half can of tuna, some cucumbers, tomato, and green onion, a quarter of an apple, a chopped up pickle, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

This is the breakfast I've had a couple times this last week too: one egg, two egg whites, a large handful of spinach, tomatoes, green onion, and a spelt bagel with mashed avocado! 
Side note: spelt product are really big over here almost every bakery has stuff made with spelt...anyone know why??? (I'm seriously asking because I don't know lol)

Now this past week my "workouts" seem a bit funny since they weren't formal workouts but I burned a ton of calories I think: 
Last Wednesday: 40 min run and Insanity cardio recovery. This almost didn't happen since I was tired and hot but did it anyway and it was fantastic!

Thursday: Was moving all day carrying heavy bags, no workout

Friday: Just took a day off I was tired and just didn't feel like it. I did do some walking to our new home and did some cleaning and packing and walked around downtown for a solid 5 hours in crazy heels.

Saturday: Cleaning all day, went and bought bikes and took a bike ride. Went to our old place to finish getting stuff...realized we didn't have a key for the apartment so hubby & kiddo hung out together while I ran to the tram, ran a mile to our apartment, got the key ran a half mile to the train station, missed the train, sprinted to the bus that almost left me then ran a quarter mile to where hubby & kiddo were hanging out. Then walked around all evening downtown and ate dinner while people watching before the World Cup game started. We then carried crazy heavy bags (like 50 lbs+) down the stairs together and moved them into our new place.
Sunday: Rest day. Went to a birthday party at a local museum and learned some awesome stuff, walked around for 4 hours+ in crazy heels again and came home and took a few mile bike ride.

Monday: Insanity fit test and tried this "l-stand" and realized I did a plank thing instead of the L-stand...when I did the actual L-stand it was way easier than this: 

Which was crazy hard and really used my inner abs...I'm going to keep doing it. The L-Stand was so much like a hand stand that I didn't find it challenging at all.

Tuesday: 30 minute run and stretching where I found an awesome piece of art I will write about tomorrow.

Yesterday's post run selfie! hehe I loved the reflection happening in the water so couldn't resist taking this one!

So, how was your week? Get your workouts in? Have anything yummy to eat?






Monday, July 14, 2014

Goals, menu, and workouts-Oh My!

What a fun weekend we had! We started out Friday night with an impromptu date night where hubby & I totally dressed it up and went out for some great pasta, wine, and then walked all around downtown and even some in the red light district. It was packed, the weather was nice, it made for the perfect date night!

The sunset from our train station. There was a storm moving it but it never did anything!

Saturday we got some bikes so we could finally be proper Dutch expats! They are fantastic and I couldn't be happier about them! After that we went downtown as a family just before the Netherlands world cup game and it was totally packed but so worth it to be around all the people. We ate at this great sports bar then grabbed Sundaes at Ben & Jerrys! ;) 

(Those are like the Fort Knox of locks...hopefully our bikes will be ok!)

Sunday hubby and I had a birthday party to go to for a guy he works with. It was super fun...it was at the Rijksmuseum...they hired a tour guide and we learned so many interesting things! Tour guides are totally worth it when they know what they are talking about. Since we bought museum cards while we were there I can't wait to go back, there are a few paintings I want a closer look at! Then we had a nice dinner as a family and went on a very long bike ride and taught the teenager how to lock up her bike properly!

How was your weekend? Were you active?

Goals for this week:

  • Follow workout schedule
  • Get stuff moved over to new apartment
  • Follow meal plan
  • Get in green smoothies & one salad everyday-IMPORTANT!
  • Get back on to working on my Index Card a Day project
Last week I didn't write down my goals so I sort of lost sight when we got busy. I kept my clean eating up most of the time and enjoyed how busy we were settling into our new life and then end of school.

Now for what you really came here for....
Breakfast:
Egg white scramble with tomatoes and spinach & half a spelt bagel with avocado (MWF)
  • Teenager has two scrambled eggs with tomatoes and half a bagel with butter
Seeded spelt toast with avocado, Green smoothie (T, Th)
  • Teenager will have cereal with banana slices
Saturday: omelets (egg white for me) with ham, bacon, cheese, and veggies (everyone will have something different), with coffee and toast


Lunch: 
Spinach apple tuna salad with green tea green smoothie (M-W-F)
  • Teenager is at her friends most of the time this week they have lots of plans but if she is home she will do ham sandwich with spinach, peppers, cheese
Sweet potato with bbq chickpeas and a spinach salad (T, Th)
  • If the kiddo is home she will just eat this with me

Saturday: (this may or may not happen depending on what time we eat breakfast) Chicken sausage coins with potato/sweet potato fries

Sunday: (again may or may not happen depending on when we eat breakfast) Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

Dinner:
*We won't be eating out all this week, my goal is to cook everyday
Meal 2: Tacos/Taco salads...I think this is one of my most favorite meals when I cook it ...I love a homemade taco salad
Meal 3: Cheese chicken finger crescent rolls, fruit
Meal 4: Bacon cheese potatoes/sweet potatoes with burgers
Meal 5: Raclette: leftover chicken/burgers cut up and seasoned, potato pieces, veggies, bread to dip in the cheese from the raclette (I will have to take a picture it is similarish to fondue but you don't dip directly into a pot)
Meal 6: Grilled steak bites with spinach salad and brown rice

We are trying to eat a home more as one thing about living in The Netherlands is food at the grocery store is really cheap, but food out in restaurants is ridiculously expensive and the service is frustratingly bad. Plus, the amount of people they try to squeeze into a dining room or on a patio is a bit ridiculous. So, we will be homing it and enjoying it!

Hope you all have a great week!