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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

That's what I love about Texas.

Good news: YOU don’t have to be bigger in Texas.

Last week, I spent the first part of the week in Tampa and the second part of the week in Houston.   

I have to say that Texas is one of my favorite states in our good old US of A.  Everyone around you is so proud of where they are from, they love America, they wear REAL cowboy boots, they have a thing for mixology, and they have a way of being southern without being redneck.  They say y’all, the world ends if a man does not hold the door for you, and let’s be honest, you can never go hungry in Texas.   


I stayed near the baseball stadium in downtown Houston and stumbled upon Irma’s Southwest Grill with my colleague.  We were trying to grab salads at a steakhouse nearby to finish up some slides before a presentation but it ended up being closed and Irma’s won by default.



This fabulous high-end yet casual Tex-Mex restaurant was buzzing at lunch time.  It was tough to get a seat, but we managed, and we waited for menus.  When the waitress came around, she explained that it was a “verbal” menu.  I had never heard of that in a Tex Mex restaurant before, but we asked what she recommended.

She then immediately proceeded to speak words that I’m surprised didn’t make me just gain ten pounds on the spot and explode out of my pencil skirt from all the fat talk. 



“We have deep fried chile rellenos covered in a homemade sour cream based sauce, a kobe beef burger, a combo with a cheese enchilada, a beef enchilada, and a chicken enchilada with ancho chile sauce, homemade pork tamales, and maybe sopapillas for dessert?”



If I could have said what I wanted to say to this woman, I would have said, “Actually, why don’t you just bring me one of those combo meals, but triple it, a tranquilizer, and a bucket of cheese? Oh, and you can just throw my laptop in the trash because I’ll be in a food coma for the next ten hours.”



This is a prime example of the restaurant industry trying to make you look like the nutty professor (the before version). 


I had to ask specifically for something light, and she said that the options were slim but that they had a blackened salmon salad.  I asked if it came with cheese or croutons and she said no. 

The result was an amazing salmon salad.  I can’t believe she didn’t mention it to begin with. 


I am a sucker for avocados, so I was thrilled that the only fats in the salad were healthy ones.  Tons of yummy veggies, and slices of fresh, beautiful avocados with a healthy vinaigrette. I ended up using the salsa as my dressing because it was legitimately the best salsa I’ve ever had in my life.



Texas salsa – 1, Florida salsa—0. 

I’m one of those people that judges restaurants by their salsa, so Irma’s gets an A+ in my book, even if they were trying to make me a viable candidate for that 900 pound man show on TLC. This salad was awesome, it filled me up, and I didn’t feel like I had acquired an additional chin.



The moral of the story is that there is always a healthy choice, and you have to make it happen, even if it’s not “on the menu.”  My lunch landed around 300 calories, when that chile rellenos mess would have been over 1000.  There’s a time and a place for that if you’re into it, but definitely not before a meeting that you’ve been preparing for all week. 

Enjoy going out to eat, but make sure you know what’s in your food (which is sometimes made difficult – especially if it’s a verbal menu!).  Opt for a salad when possible, but say no to creamy dressing, say no to cheese, and say no to croutons.  Living by those three rules in general will save at least 300 calories on your meal.  It’s the simple changes that make the big difference. 

I hope if you find yourself in Houston, you hit up Irma’s and you turn down that train wreck of a suggestion list.  The salmon salad is to die for.  Live by rules like these whether you’re in Texas, or anywhere else, y’all. 



THIS is what I love most about Texas :) My oldest friend that now resides in Austin - LUCKY DUCK.

Texas is a state of mind.
Texas is an obsession.

Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word. ”
- John Steinbeck

Sunday, July 28, 2013

See you at the Barre... A Healthy Obsession

If you follow me on any other form of social media, you probably are already annoyed at how much I mention Pure Barre and how wonderful it is.  Well, for anyone that would like a more elaborate explanation, I’d love to gush a little bit more about what exactly barre workouts are and how much they can change your body in such a short amount of time.  I hope that by the end of this, you’re inclined to Google the closest location to your house to start chiseling your abs, thinning out those thighs and firming up that booty, girl.

I looked into barre workouts because I had heard that Kelly Ripa did them, and who doesn’t want Kelly Ripa’s bod/clothes/hair/awesome stainless steel fridge/life in general?  There is a location less than a mile from my house in Jax Beach ( and when I saw a Groupon, I signed up and thought I’d see what all the fuss is about. 


I like to think that I have been in decent shape since about 2010 when I did my first half marathon.  I’m always into trying new workouts, and I love new forms of conditioning classes (especially Les Mills ones – BodyAttack and BodyPump are a must if you’ve never tried them out!).  Cardio is great, but strength training is so important to really get your body looking the way you want it. 

I rolled into this “ballet barre class” where the heaviest weight is 5 lbs (you start out with 2 lb weights) and you get a sweet little ball and fun stretchy band as accessories for your workout.  I wasn’t intimidated.  I will say that as soon as I rolled in, I looked around and immediately noticed the hot bodies of the ladies that were in attendance.  It’s always a good sign when you show up to a class and you know you want to look like the people who frequent the workout.


What’s a class like? GO: Warm up (mostly abs/arms), push-ups, 90 second plank followed by side planks, tricep session with weights, biceps with slightly heavier weights, upper back (“tank top line”), stretch, 3 thigh workouts (OUCH), stretch, 3 seat workouts (OUCHHHH), stretch, core and upper body workout round two, stretch, ABS ABS ABS (OUCCHHH),  lower back, final full body work out, STRETCH! All to fantastic music.


By the end, I was sore in places I didn’t know I could work out…and I was in love.  You really do work to fatigue every part of your body, and then you stretch out to build long, lean muscles instead of bulking up.  You spend the 55 minutes in a “tuck” position—pushing your hips forward and sucking them back in during certain movements. 

Awkward at first, but I got used to it, and PB instructors are like personal trainers.  They will walk around and correct your form to ensure you’re getting the most out of your workout, and they’ll give you positive feedback when you’re working hard.  After the first class, I was proven wrong - this “little ballet barre” workout was no joke!


Long story short, this workout targets problem areas for women that aren’t always fixed with hours of cardio.  (Abs, thighs, butt, and arms.) I will mention that I eat pretty healthy during the week, and if you have a lot of weight to lose, you should combine PB with some sort of cardio, and you will see amazing results.

Pure Barre is a combination of yoga, Pilates, strength training and isometric movements that shape the body in a way like you’ve never seen.  Not only are you burning crazy calories, but because the moves are so precise, you have to really concentrate about what you’re doing to effectively and correctly position yourself.  The 55 minute workout is an escape from the world, and a wonderful outlet for your mind. 


Most people see results in about 10 classes, which I definitely did.  I have always struggled with upper body strength, and now, I have no problem powering through the full body pushup sequence or the 90 second plank in the warm up.  I have better shape to my arms, my abs exists again, I’ve never been more proud of my backside, and my thighs are too small for my jeans. WIN.

This is me before and after 15 classes.  I can’t wait to see the results after 30!

I have been in the San Francisco area all week and haven’t been able to go in 5 days. I’m craving it.  I can’t wait to go tomorrow—it’s that serious! True life: I’m addicted to Pure Barre & I don’t think I’ll ever go back.


*If you don’t have Pure Barre in your area, just google barre workouts in your city.  PB is expanding but I’m a big fan of Barre 54 and The Bar Method in Winter Park too (I have been to both while traveling in the area). Barre classes are all over. Check them out- it does the body good!*

Stay healthy!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

I Heart Hummus! : Red Pepper Hummus Crusted Chicken

Here’s the thing, I could eat a hummus with a spoon, call it a meal, and be okay with it.  I love it on pita, carrots, chips, sandwiches, through a straw, whatever you can come up with.

(I'm pretty sure that's porridge or something, but the beast definitely could have been eating hummus.)
In my second life I definitely plan on coming back as an overweight lady from the Mediterranean (just kidding, healthy loves…but I could absolutely win at a grape leaf eating contest, in this life or my next one). 

Five Reasons Why Hummus is Awesome….GO.

1.       Chickpeas are a great source of fiber, which keeps cholesterol levels low - promoting better heart health and a healthier digestive system.

2.       It’s full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay healthy – including iron, protein, and folic acid.  And it’s gluten – free!

3.       It’s chalk full of the GOOD kind of fats that keep you full and it doesn’t have any saturated fat. (SIDE NOTE: still watch your portions on this god sent stuff. It’s a great snack but 2 TBS is usually enough to keep you in your healthy calorie snack range for the day. And ALWAYS opt for carrot or cucumber chips instead of that white bread – I promise, you’ll barely miss it.)

4.       Garlic and lemon juice – hummus ingredients- are filled with antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress in the body, as well is improving immune systems fighting bacteria and viruses.

5.       Tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine are the amino acids found in hummus that can promote good quality sleep and uplift your mood.

When I found a fantastic recipe that included hummus, minimal ingredients and next to no prep time, I threw in my own variation and whipped this baby up for dinner for Drew and I (and he gave it rave reviews).   These ingredients are more often than not in my fridge on any given day.  Gotta love that!

Red Pepper Hummus Crusted Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes. Cook Time: 25 minutes. Yields: 2 Servings

What you’ll need:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ to 3/4 cup hummus (I used Sabra’s Red Pepper – one of my faves – but you can use any flavor your little heart desires) – depends on the size of your chicken breasts
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 TBS. balsamic vinegar
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosmeary

What do I do now?

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Don’t forget to prepare your baking dish with cooking spray.

Season the chicken breasts with generous pinches of salt and pepper and place in your baking dish. Cover your chicken generously so they are completely coated with the hummus and squeeze the juice of two lemons on top. Add the rosemary in smaller pieces and add the lemon slices on top while you bake it for added flavor.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until your chicken is cooked through.  Add a little extra lemon juice and another splash of balsamic vinegar.  You’re done!

I paired this with a side of broccoli, and it was wonderfully filling and oh so yummy. 

Please let me know if you try it out!

See you next time, healthy people.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Hour long sit down lunch? Ain't nobody got time for that.

Sometimes there’s nothing better than a big plate of Mexican food.  I mean, who doesn’t LOVE Mexican food?  I would travel solo all the time at my last job, and it was up to me when I ate and what I ate, but most of the time I was driving between cities or fitting in a meal in between a few meetings.  I usually needed something quick, NOT fast food, and somewhere with wi-fi to sit down and hammer out emails over my lunch. 


Moe’s became a staple for me when I had taken an early flight and had either skipped breakfast or had a tiny one, and I was a ravenous pig (what up WP) when I got off the plane (SIDE NOTE: Don’t skip breakfast. Ever).  This fantastic, quick, and usually wi-fi equipped little Tex-Mex chain can be found all across America, whether you are driving through Philadelphia or not sure where you are and wondering why this place exists somewhere outside Jackson, MS.  
Moe's can serve as both a calorie nightmare hotspot, OR a great spot for a healthy alternative.  The choice is yours.
Here is a classic “don’t,” as well as two “do” options if you happen to stop in at Moe’s or any similar Tex-Mex competitor on your next round of sales calls.   This also applies if you’re just running errands and need a filling and satisfying lunch that won’t require you to eat kale with a side of dust for dinner.


DON’T: The Homewrecker – with Steak

Steak, Rice, Sour Cream, Guacamole, Lettuce, Cheese, Pico de Gallo, and Onions (Flour Tortilla).

Let’s be honest, anything called the Homewrecker doesn’t sound like something you want to eat within three months of wearing a bikini.  It’s the size of your head and that high school kid behind the glass gets to ladle guacamole and sour cream onto your meal at his discretion.  The Joey Bag of Donuts is just as bad (939 calories) if you have sour cream on it (in the 800 calorie range without it).  Let’s look at the facts. 

Nutritional Info

Amount Per Serving
Calories 937 Calories From Fat 316 Total Fat 35g  Saturated Fat 15g  Trans Fatty Acids 0g  Monounsaturated Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 3g   Cholesterol 100mg Sodium 1794mg  Total Carbohydrate 104g  Dietary Fiber 13g Sugars 2g Proteins 46g



This isn't even adding your chips. Turns out, the "standard" side of chips packs 375 calories on top of your meal. 
I’m not sure how you could eat that bad boy and be halfway productive for the rest of the day, but let’s just safely assume it goes into “splurge” category, and not something you want to eat at 1PM on a Wednesday. Here are two of my favorites at Moe’s that will absolutely fill you up, but not induce a coma.

 DO: Joey Junior Burrito on a Wheat Tortilla

Chicken, Black Beans, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cilantro, Onions, Pico de Gallo, Cucumbers and Tomatoes

I know this is meant for juniors, but I promise this will fill you up. It’s a 10 inch tortilla instead of a 12 inch, and you’ll be shocked at what skipping the cheese, rice and sour cream will save you. I love vegetables and hot sauce, so I don’t even notice their absence in this little Tex Mex wonder.

Calories 357 Calories From Fat 81 Total Fat 9g Saturated Fat 3g 13% Trans Fatty Acids 0g Monounsaturated Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 35mg  Sodium 1122mg 

Total Carbohydrate 45g  Dietary Fiber 10g  Sugars 4g Proteins 22g

This gives me a boost to get through the day and energy to go for a run later.  You can even add guacamole on the side for an extra 50 calories, and this way, they only give you two tablespoons and that high school kid can slow his roll on fattening you up for the winter.



“DO” Option #2: “Streaker” Burrito with Chicken (not a “junior”)

No tortilla, chicken, black beans, lettuce, jalapenos, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cilantro

Sometimes, you don’t need the tortilla.  Don't worry, if you turn him down every once in awhile, you can still be friends. Here’s an option for an appetite for a little more meat, less carbs and lots of flavor.

Calories 304 Calories From Fat 71 Total Fat 8g Saturated Fat 2g  Trans Fatty Acids 0g Monounsaturated Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 0g Cholesterol 70mg Sodium 1074mg 

Total Carbohydrate 24g  Dietary Fiber 10g  Sugars 1g Proteins 33g


Additional Advice:

-          So while I wouldn’t eat these every day, they are good options for needing a good meal that will satisfy without blowing you up.  Make sure to drink water with any option to stay hydrated, as the sodium count is pretty high on all choices.

-          If you HAVE to have the chips (I try to turn them down all together because I’d rather have them over beers with my boyfriend Drew on the weekends) count out 8 and throw out the rest.  That’s about 150 calories, and that’s all you need on top of your entrée.

-          If you HAVE to have sour cream or guacamole, get it on the side and try not to use the whole thing. Moderation is key.


I hope this was helpful and that it will help you out next time you hear “Welcome to Moe’s!” 



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Say NO to the Cabbage Soup Diet

I'm Kaitlin, your typical mid-twenties gal with a traveling career and a love for food, booze and all things delicious. I also have a passion for exercising, whether it's riding my beach cruiser to and from the grocery store (I live on the beach - lucky girl I am), walking with my dogs, training for half marathons, strength and weight training, or Pure Barre (new obsession). I also love to cook, and I try to cook as much as I can when I'm home.  I don’t weigh 110 pounds and I never will, I don’t believe in depriving yourself, and I believe life is too short to not enjoy your favorite things in moderation.

I started traveling almost weekly about two years ago and quickly learned that being on the road includes entertaining clients and company functions with carbs, fat, cocktails and high end red meat galore on the company dollar. Don't get me wrong, sometimes this can be fantastic. But add endulging in a tall Sweetwater 420 at the airport bar before you board, and celebrating that first class upgrade by taking Steve AKA Stove (Bridesmaids reference...sorry) on that one (or three) complimentary glasses of red in flight... you, my frequent flyer friend, have a recipe for waistline disaster. Especially if you're like me, and all you want is to eat, drink, and be merry with your loved ones on your well-deserved weekends.

Healthier choices, realistic eating habits and a discipline to exercise has been a learning experience for me over my time in the sky. I am not a naturally tiny person, and if I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, I would probably look like a sumo wrestler. Just kidding, but I really can keep up with the big boys on drinks and food, and I have learned to take it easy to consistently fit into my skinny jeans. I also love my sleep. As in...wake me up before my alarm and expect a sudden vision of the Wicked Witch of the West rather than my usual perky and strawberry blonde self. But if I can't get up before my early meetings, I hit the gym in the evenings - or I hit it hard when I get home, and I make sure that the wine flows at a minimum with dinner so I don't wake up feeling like death warmed up. (That poor witch was SO misunderstood though...if you've ever seen Wicked.)


Rules like these adapt to those of us who don't travel for work as well. A balanced and healthy lifestyle is so important to overall happiness. Going on the cabbage soup diet, giving up alcohol all together and working out three hours a day for a month doesn't leave you with long term results if you know you’ll relapse (which… you will!)

I have decided to share my experience with you as someone who loves carbs, loves to feel the burn after an awesome workout, and who WILL have those happy hour cocktails on Friday afternoon.  Feel free to tune in for “eat this, not that” tips, yummy recipes, travel tips, randomness here and there, and my own personal documentation of where the heck I am this week.  

I’ll leave you with my own personal before and after. Hard work pays off, but it ain't easy saying no thanks to that company paid for burrito, take it from this girl.

Eating Arby's on the reg and riding the elliptical for 30 minutes every few days:

Eating egg white omelettes, working out 4-5 times a week and drinking wine because it's worth it:

Chicago - awesome work trip destination!

Until next time.
Peace, love, and staying healthy,