Saturday, February 28, 2015

I'm Going! BlogFest & IDEA World Fitness Convention

I'm going to Fitness BlogFest & the IDEA World fitness convention in Los Angeles. Like, for real this year. Last year I paid for a pass, even reserved a hotel room, but didn't really think through the timing.

Turns out the event was only a couple weeks before my wedding anniversary and Hubby and I had plans to go to San Diego for a vacation celebration. The dates were just too close together to request additional vacation time off from work, and then the expense of basically two vacations in the same month. I ended up not going. Sad face.

Well, this year I was excited to see that it is in July instead of August.

I am pretty excited. There are BlogFest-specific sessions on Thursday and Friday and IDEA World Fitness Convention sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Gabrielle Reece will be the keynote speaker for BlogFest, and IDEA World Fitness Convention sessions include Jeanette Jenkins, Bodyshred with Jillian Michaels, and Zumba, taught by its creator Beto Perez.

Also Zumba is giving the opportunity to become a Zumba instructor for free. One day before BlogFest officially starts I'm going to get a free Zumba® Basic 1 License which is normally $290! p.s. I don't dance. Comfort zone? What comfort zone?


I think the most exciting part is meeting a lot of my blogger friends in real life. There are so many amazing fitness bloggers that I have come to know over the years through this blog, and the opportunity to meet them in person is really exciting. I also signed up to get paired with a BlogFest buddy. They are pairing first-timers with people who have been before. (Who am I? What happened to Lea the introvert? I kid. I kid.)

So who else is going? I am going to need to figure out a hotel situation. While I think I may need some alone time after several full days of socializing, I am not excited about paying $200 a night for a room either. I either need to find a less expensive hotel nearby, or find some people that I trust enough to become roommates. I also need to book a flight. Virgin America used to have super cheap flights from Dallas to LA, but I just checked and they were still kind of pricey.

I am only telling you this because I am hoping you will tell me you are going too and will have some amazing suggestions for cheap (clean, safe, close) hotel rooms and flights (or offer to stuff me in your suitcase).

Who else is going? Who's excited?

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Keep Running,

Lea

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Running Partner Has Four Legs Tank Giveaway Winners! Was it You?

I am excited to announce the three winners of the My Running Partner Has Four Legs tank top giveaway!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations to Erin, Christie, and Ken. I'll be sending you a direct email soon for your shipping address, color and size preferences.

If you didn't win, but would love to have a tank, they are for sale here! Have you checked out my poem about running with your dog?

A special thanks to Shine Athletica for producing my blog tanks!


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Lea

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday at the Barre with The Barre Code and ClassPass

You know that place that is so warm and comfortable? The one we live in most of the time but know we should step outside of it once in awhile? I am talking about our comfort zones, of course.

Last Tuesday night, I was invited by ClassPass to attend a blogger event at The Barre Code in Highland Park, Dallas. It was a cold, rainy evening and I was tired after a long day at work. My mind tried to convince me that I would be much more comfortable at home hanging out on my couch on a gloomy evening. Thankfully, I rebelled against those thoughts and headed over to Highland Park.

I've been wanting to try a Barre class for a while now. I have always wanted to take dance classes as a little girl and I love the concept of ballet inspired fitness! While I had visions of pointing toes and classical music, I experienced something quite different.

When I walked in the door into the small reception area of the studio, I could hear the loud music coming from behind the studio doors as they were finishing up the last class. I knew right away my preconceived notions were going to be shattered.

This was a ClassPass Fitness Night Out event with invitations extended to local Dallas area fitness bloggers and their guests to promote ClassPass and their participating studios. ClassPass is a company that offers a multi-club membership to various local studios. Instead of signing up for a membership at a Yoga studio, a Barre Studio, a Spin studio, then a gym, (who could afford all of that?!?) you can buy the ClassPass for one monthly fee and have a limited membership to all the studios. There are some restrictions, of course. You can't visit the same studio more than three times in one month, but really, with all the studios that are included in ClassPass you don't really need to! If you are interested in learning more about ClassPass check out my link here, you can skip the waiting list to sign up if you use my referral link.

There were some awesome vendors hanging out for Fitness Night Out. The ladies from the Dry Bar North Park were there. My dream is to pay someone to blow out my hair once a week. When the millions start flowing in, that is the first thing I'm going to do. Why wait for a special occasion? I want to look fabulous all the time.


SIX:02 was there with a fitness fashion trunk show, as well as Riviera Spa Dallas and a juice bar from Juice Supply.

I was thrilled to meet local Dallas blogger Mai Lyn from Deep Fried Fit. She is such a little ball of positive energy and has a fantastic blog. You should check her out!

The Barre Code Studio:
There was plenty convenient of underground parking available despite being located at the busy intersection of Lovers and the Tollway. I was happy to not have to worry about parking.

They have a small section of lockers with keys in the lobby to store your personal stuff while you work out and there is a bathroom down the hall if you need to change or well....you know.

The Class:
We took the foundational barre class, Barre Code. It was not what I was expecting...at all. But it was a fun, challenging, whole-body cardio and strength class. We utilized 5 lb. kettle bells, resistance bands, and of course, the barre. The instructor was the owner, Kiersten Bond. She was fun, friendly, engaging and motivating. It was fast-paced and energizing, and I was sore the next day. This is a class that I would definitely want to take again.

Blogger Moment. Photo credit: Mai Lyn from Deep Fried Fit
After the 50 minute class we were dripping with sweat, so clearly it was the best time to take some pictures! My phone screen shattered, so I borrowed a few pics from my blogger friends.

Group shot. photo credit: Mai Lyn from Deep Fried Fit
I recommend Kierston's class at the Barre Code Highland Park (Dallas) and of course, ClassPass if you are a fitness scatterbrain like me, and like to try all different types of studios and classes.

Have you ever taken a Barre Class? Have you heard of ClassPass?

I'm so glad I stepped outside my comfort zone last Tuesday night and got to experience a fun new class and meet some amazing people! Thanks to ClassPass and Barre Code Highland Park for the fun!

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Keep Running,

Lea

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

That Time I Met Lorna Jane Clarkson #LJFitChallenge

I am in the midst of the Lorna Jane 12 week Fit Challenge, but honestly, I've been struggling a bit. The fit challenge workouts are awesome body weight exercises that can be done any where in about 30 minutes! For some reason I've been struggling to stay consistent. If only I had Lorna Jane Clarkson herself as my personal cheerleader of active living motivation and inspiration!

Well, what do you know? Three weeks into the Lorna Jane Fit Challenge I got an invite to an event at the Lorna Jane active living store at North Park Center in Dallas to do Yoga with Lorna Jane. And I don't mean Yoga with Lorna Jane's employees. I mean I had the opportunity to take a Yoga class with Lorna Jane Clarkson herself! Lorna Jane, the founder and chief creative officer of Lorna Jane activewear, came all the way from Australia to do Yoga with me. Pretty nice of her, right?

I invited my BFF along for the fun and we head off to that far away land called Dallas (not really, it's just a 30 minute drive from my home in Fort Worth). We head straight to the Lorna Jane active living store to check it out before the Yoga class.

I love the fashion-forward style of the Lorna Jane fitness gear. The colors are fun and trend-right, the cuts are great, and I wanted to buy one of just about everything in the store.


We headed down to the courtyard to claim our spots on the Yoga mats and wait for Lorna Jane's arrival. I secured the highly coveted spot next to the escalators (or we lost track of time browsing the store and arrived last and these were the only spots still open).




The picture below was taken by the lovely local Dallas blogger Stephanie Suire from Food & Fitness 4 Real. We chatted with Stephanie while waiting in line to meet Lorna Jane and she told us she is training for her first full marathon...in Paris!


This was a photo posted on Instagram by North Park Center of the Yoga in action. Can you spot me? I was going to make the joke that I was the one doing it all wrong, then I spotted myself and well...not really a joke. Let's change the subject, shall we? Can you spot Lorna Jane Clarkson?


Our Yoga flow was led by the fabulous Georgette representing We Yogis in Dallas. It was a great class, she made it really fun.


After Yoga, while waiting in line to meet Lorna Jane at the store, I ran into my ClassPass friends from New York. Are these girls livin' the fitness dream, or what? They are visiting Dallas on (fitness) business, hosting various fitness events around town and being awesome for ClassPass. They really are living the sweaty life!


Finally after a relatively short wait in line, I had the opportunity to meet Lorna Jane Clarkson. She is such an inspiration. I wanted to ask her to yell at me, Jillian Michaels' style, about the Fit Challenge, but she was so sweet, I don't think she would have done it. :)

I want that shirt she is wearing, I love the large hole mesh at the top. I am wearing my Lorna Jane cropped tights and sports bra and representing Fit Approach in my Sweat Pink tank.


Since Lorna's Jane's philosophy is Move, Nourish, Believe, it made sense that we enjoyed some healthful treats for nourishment at the store catered by the True Food Kitchen. The cucumber juice was just amazing...and that hummus! I wanted to dump this whole table in my bag and run away. 


The healthful snacks were great, but after the Yoga session we were hungry for something more substantial and it was time for lunch. We headed around the corner to Green House Market for lunch. I loved all their healthy options so much, I had a hard time deciding on what to order.


I thought they were a little pricey for the casual dining atmosphere, but the food quality was great. You get what you pay for, I suppose. Green House Market is a farm to table restaurant featuring locally-sourced produce and proteins. I had the black bean and quinoa burger with hummus. My friend had the mushroom poblano soup and the tarragon chicken salad. Everything was freakin' delicious!


It was a really fun day of living Lorna Jane's philosophy of Move, Nourish, Believe. Now I can scratch "Practice Yoga with Lorna Jane Clarkson" off my fitness bucket list.

So the LJ 12 week challenge? I am recommitting to getting back on track this week. I feel motivated and ready to jump back on board. The great thing about fitness is that you can fall down, so to speak, but as long as you keep getting back up, and keep moving forward, then you are always on the right track.

More information on the Lorna Jane Fit Challenge here.
Sign up for the Lorna Jane Fit Challenge here.
Join the Facebook challenge group here.

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Keep Running,

Lea

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"My Running Partner Has Four Legs" Burnout Tank Top Giveaway

My Running Partner Has Four Legs

My running partner is the best,
He knows when to run and when to rest.

He never hits snooze on early runs,
He's ready to go at a mere mention.

He never cancels, there's never a doubt,
He leads me along our running route.

He always listens when I talk,
and never needs to stop and walk.

He never complains, he always just goes,
He loves to run and it really shows.

The only downside that I can think,
Is scooping his poop really stinks!

If you run with your dog, then you won't argue,
Partners with four legs are better than two.

-Lea Genders
Running with Ollie Blog

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I get a small percentage of the sale. I am working with Shine Athletica and all opinions are my own. 

Does your running partner have four legs? Then you're going to love this giveaway of a "Running Partner Has Four Legs" burnout tank top. As I mentioned before, I have partnered with Shine Athletica and they are making my blog tanks now! I wear my tank all the time (if only I could wear it to the office) and it is light weight and comfortable. I am a big supporter of Shine and everything they stand for as a small woman-owned business and as a fitness company. I am proud to support them and work with them. 

If you love to run with your dog you can enter to win by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. It is easy to enter and there are plenty of ways to earn extra entries with social media sharing. 

There will be three winners so I would love if you would enter and share with your friends who run with their dogs!

You can always purchase a tank (here if you live in the US) and (here if you live outside of the US). 


GIVEAWAY RULES:
Contest runs from 2/17/2015-2/24/2015
No purchase necessary.
Three winners will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter.
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older.
Must have a shipping address in the US.
Winners will notified via email (if available from entry) and blog post, and will have 48 business hours to claim prize.
If original winner does not claim prize within 48 business hours an alternate winner will be selected.
Contestants must enter on the Rafflecopter form in order to win.
All winning entries will be verified. If a winning entry cannot be verified as completed, it will be disqualified and a new winner will be drawn.
Prizes will ship directly from Shine Athletica.
Please allow 30 days for prize delivery.
Good Luck!

Keep Running,

Lea

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Friday, February 13, 2015

For the Love of Running: Finding my Inner Athlete

Sports have never been my thing. As a young girl, my parents signed me up to play softball in a neighborhood league. I didn't enjoy it at all. I was awkward and uncoordinated. By the time I was in middle school my parents let me quit. I have exactly two memories of softball, I probably blocked the rest of it out.


The first memory is my older sister laughing at me as we walked to a game at a neighborhood field because I forgot to put on my pants. In my defense my jersey was way too big and hung over my little body all the way down to my knees. Oh gosh, how I wish I had a picture to share with you of that one. I think I invented the diva softball dress.

My second memory is of one particular game when I was playing the catcher position. Why would they move me away from my normal, safe out-of-the-way position in left field? A bigger (than me) girl slid into home plate and she landed on top of me. I was so embarrassed. I'm sure I just had no idea what to do, where to stand, what I was supposed to be doing. Not my shining moment.

Sports sucked.

High school gym class was the worst thing ever. We played dodge ball and basketball and worst of all, took co-ed swimming lessons in embarrassing navy blue school-issued bathing suits. Some girls would claim to be on their period to get out of swim class. The male gym teacher would publicly announce it. I guess he knew he couldn't prove they were lying, so he would broadcast it to the whole class. "So and so is not swimming today because she is on her period again" with an emphasis on again to prove a point. These memories of sports were nothing short of humiliating.

I played tennis in high school because some friends were playing. The tennis coach was a weird old man (I say old, but he was probably younger back then than I am today) who would flirt with the girls on the team. Even though I faired better in tennis than most other sports that I attempted, I quit after one season to avoid the creepy tennis coach.

I didn't even know how to dress for sports.
Growing up, sports equaled agony. I eventually gave up. I didn't care. There was nothing worse than sports. I wasn't athletic. I was fine with that, especially when my school days were behind me and physical activity was not something that was forced upon me. I was thin anyway. Who needed physical activity?

Turns out, me.

I never thought that I would be the kind of person that would love a sport. Running is my sport. I am an athlete because I run.

It's not that I didn't like physical activity, it was just that it took me 30 years to find the physical activity that I enjoyed. It took some time, but I just needed to find the sport that was a good match for me.

It was never going to be a team sport. That just doesn't fit well with my introvert personality. The sport that I ended up falling in love with was the one I could do alone. Sometimes one I did with 10,000 other people at the starting line, but alone, or with one friend. Despite the usual difficulty that almost everyone has when they start running for the first time, I immediately knew that running was the sport for me.
At the San Antonio Rock n Roll half marathon
When I first starting running it was just to lose weight. I thought I would run a little, lose the weight, then go back to my "normal" life. I had no idea that running would become a lifestyle, that it would become so much of a part of who I am as a person. As I was nearing the end of my 20s, my unhealthy lifestyle and slowing metabolism started to catch up with me. Up until this point, I was always effortlessly thin. This was the first time in my life that I ever had to even think about my weight...so I started running.

What I didn't know at the time was what a blessing that the weight gain was! If it wasn't for the extra pounds, I never would have had the opportunity to discover the love of running. I never would have figured out that when I am sweating I feel most alive, most like myself.

Over the years running taught me that I was strong. Running taught me how to overcome my mind and negative thoughts. Running taught me that I could push my limits and win. The lessons I learned from running spilled over to all other areas of my life. I am a better person than I used to be because I run.

Who would have thought that the little clumsy girl who couldn't handle the catcher's mitt would find her inner athlete in the sport of running? Not me.

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Keep Running,

Lea

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for the Runner Girl

Hi, Friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Throwback Thursday. Throwback Thursday is a semi-regular post where I dig deep in the archives (you know, way back to last year) to share a post that you may have missed the first time around.

It's been a while since I've done a throwback Thursday post, but for Valentine's Day instead of trying to re-invent the V-Day wheel, I figured we would throwback to last year when I wrote a post about what you think you should get the runner lady in your life, and what you should actually get her.

In honor of Throwback Thursday I also like to share a self-indulgent throwback picture. This is one of my favorites. Who would have thought these kiddos from opposite coasts would find each other in Texas, fall in love and get married?


I'd love it if you would click over and check out my Valentine's Day Gift Idea post.





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Keep Running,

Lea

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Oops I Did it Again....The Unsexy Journey of Weight Maintenance

I am really good at losing weight. I mean, really good. I would say I am an expert in weight loss. But I am not bragging. Quite the opposite, in fact. The reason I am so good at losing weight is because I have done it...so...many...times.

Losing weight is the easy part. It's the weight maintenance that proves to be the struggle for me. Anyone who has known me for 10 years or more has certainly seen the fluctuation several times over the years. And that is just not healthy.

I have an all-or-nothing brain. When I need to lose weight, I switch to the "all" brain. I exercise a lot. I eat whole natural foods, almost exclusively. I'm very rigid. Give me 12-14 weeks under these circumstances and the weight just falls off. Done. Except I never am.

Over time, my "all" brain relaxes a bit and my "nothing" brain takes over. Maybe it is a year later, maybe during a good time, even two. Inevitably the weight comes back. Slowly over time, whether we are talking about 10 extra pounds or 20, it always seems to creep back.

After about a year of being unhappy with my weight, I did it again. I lost it. Well, most of it. I am feeling pretty good now. I feel like old myself again. I tried to be more aware of my usual pitfalls and I lost the weight with a little less of the crazy-brain this time. I really tried to practice moderation, rather than my usual one-track-health-mind, and low and behold, I still lost the weight.

Oops, I did it again. I lost the weight. Now will you join me on the completely unsexy journey of weight maintenance?



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Lea

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday Furry Feature! Meet Joe and Neo (The K9 Police Dog!)

Happy furday Friday, friends! Welcome to the latest edition of Furry Friday Feature. Once a month on a Friday, I feature a furry four-legged runner and their favorite human.


This is an extra special Furry Feature! This is first professional dog we've ever featured! Neo is a K9 police dog.

Hi, Joe. Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partner.
Neo, my Police K9 partner at the Green Bay Police Department in Wisconsin, is a 6 year old, male, Belgian Malinois. He is a dual purpose Patrol Dog. He specializes in tracking, apprehending bad guys, and finding narcotics.
Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch?
There's a trail course, AKA the arboretum trail, at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, that's about 5 miles. It's beautiful!! We also like to take off out of our front door and run around our neighborhood. We have a 4, 5, 6.5, and 8 mile course that we use starting and ending at our house.


Have you ever raced with your dog? 
We have never been in an official race together. BUT, we have raced to some serious calls in our squad car while we were working!! Lights and sirens responses can be dangerous and sometimes, just seconds, can mean the difference between life and death.

Tell us about a running moment that made you proud.
I have a couple of runs that I like to remember. The first is when I ran the Bellin Run with my daughters. It's a 10k and was just a little more than they were ready for. Yet, we had a great time and still laugh from some of the memories. The second is finishing my first marathon. That was awesome!!!

What important running (or life) lesson can we learn from our dogs?
Don't pass up the scenery in life. Neo is always looking around and soaking up all the sites during our runs. His obedience is so good, we can run without a leash, although I don't do that very often. (From Lea: Maybe Neo could give Ollie some obedience training? Ha!)


Any parting thoughts?
Running with Neo keeps me on my toes, literally. He takes off so fast and his past pushes me to do my best to keep up with him. And we get home after our run, he has a little water and then reminds it's time to relax after a good run!!


You can follow Joe and Neo over on Instagram. Although Joe doesn't have a Facebook, he suggested we all follow his wife at Kario Fitness!

I'd love if you would leave a comment for Neo!

Have you missed any furry features? You can get caught up on past Furry Features here.

Are you a runner who would like to be featured with your favorite furry four-legged running partner?  Just fill out this form to be considered for a future furry Friday feature. (Bonus points if you can say that five times fast.)


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Keep Running,

Lea

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Join me in the 12 Week Lorna Jane Fit Challenge #LJFitChallenge

What do you have going on for the next 12 weeks? Any plans to move, nourish, believe? I do.

I am working with Lorna Jane and Fit Approach for the next 12 weeks with the Lorna Jane Fit Challenge! This is a fun challenge that will keep me moving forward with my new year's resolutions. We haven't forgotten all about those yet, have we?


What is this all about, you ask? It's 12 weeks of motivation, exercises, meal plans and goal setting! The daily workouts are only about 30 minutes long and include two outdoor active living days per month. You don't need any special equipment or even a gym membership, the exercises can be done anywhere at anytime (well, maybe you shouldn't do it in halls at your work or school when you're supposed to be working).

This is exactly the kind of program that I need! Truth be told, my weakness is...well, strength. I'm a runner at heart and strength training is always second fiddle around here. I know how important it is and I try to squeeze it in, but it sometimes falls pretty low on the priority totem pole. No More. Strength training makes me a stronger, faster, less injury-prone runner. What's not to love about that?


Will you join me? 
More information on the Lorna Jane Fit Challenge here.
Sign up for the Lorna Jane Fit Challenge here.
Join the Facebook challenge group here.


Stay tuned for weekly updates on the program, my progress, and my inevitable super-speedy running times which will surely be the result of all this strength training, right?

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Keep Running,

Lea

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Meal Prep for the Lazy: Mason Jar Salads

I've never been really good at meal prep. I've also never been really good about getting out the door in a timely manner in the morning. It seems I am always rushing to throw together my lunch and snacks as I fly out the door. With hubby's help I am usually successful in packing a healthful lunch each day, but I know with a little meal prep, I could make our mornings just a little bit less hectic.


I've seen these mason jar salads floating around on Pinterest for years. They looked appealing, but I was sort of skeptical. Was I sure if I pre-made these salad jars that the lettuce wouldn't get soggy? Nothing worse than soggy lettuce. Would it really stay fresh? I became a believer when a girl at work started packing these mason jar salads. She said it was as perfect as it sounded. Make your salad jars on Sunday, grab one each day for lunch, shake it up and pour into a bowl when ready to eat.  She said that it even tasted better than making a daily salad because the veggies at the bottom of the jar would marinate in the dressing during the week. I was sold! Now I just had to sell hubby on the purchase of the mason jars.

After 17 years together, I think he sometimes knows me better than I know myself. He argued that this was something I would do once and never do again. I convinced him this would make our mornings a little easier and he reluctantly agreed. I bought some mason jars at Walmart and I was ready to make my first week of salads.

At Walmart they had one quart mason jars 12 for $8.99. A pretty good deal, but I really didn't need 12 jars, and as I discussed in my last post, we certainly don't need any unnecessary clutter around here. I opted for jars that came in a pack of four for about the same price simply because I didn't want the unneeded jars laying around. I figure I can eat the salads four days a week and change it up once a week and eat something different to keep from getting too bored.

When we got home I cooked up a couple pounds of chicken for my salads and for hubby's meals for the week. I cut up the veggies and started building my jars.


It was pretty simple putting them together. From the bottom up, I filled my jars in this order:

Dressing
Cherry tomatoes
Cucumbers
Hard veggies like cauliflower or broccoli
Mushrooms
Meat
Cheese
Hard-boiled eggs
Avocados
Lettuce

It took me about 15 minutes to cut up the veggies and fill my jars. I swear in the end this seemed like way less work than taking the time to make a salad each night before work. This is meal prep for the lazy!


Now they are just waiting in the fridge for me to grab one each day. One thing my work-friend noted was to make sure that they stay upright in the fridge and in your lunch bags. I'll let you know how it goes this week, but I already feel one step ahead of my Monday morning!


Do you meal prep? Have you ever made mason jar salads? Don't you just love this idea? Am I the only one who would pay more than twice as much per jar to avoid having extra jars laying around? 

I hope to prove hubby wrong make hubby proud and keep up this new Sunday routine.

Two week update:
I've been making the salad jars on Sunday and bringing them to work for lunch Monday through Thursday for two weeks now. The verdict? They are wonderful. As long as the lettuce is fresh when you put it in the jar (on top remember) it stays fresh all week. I think the salads actually tasted a little better by the end of the week because the veggies at the bottom of the jar marinated in the dressing for 3-4 days. The avocados did turn brown by the end, but that did not bother me at all. The mason jar salads were a success and I plan to continue this new routine. Packing my daily healthful lunch is so easy now. What do you think? Have you tried it?

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Keep Running,

Lea

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