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Latest and Greatest Fitness DVDs: My Reviews and Favorites

03 March 2015

Staying consistently active has been really good for me as a mom. It's reminded me of the good that comes from a little discipline, it gives me time to myself and it's kept me relatively healthy and sane. Consistent exercise was a lot easier when I worked for a fitness brand, but I've really tried to carry over exercising five days a week to my new routine. It's been fun to have a bunch of new things to try and a little daunting to stay motivated when there are not hundreds of people coming to your workplace to sweat with you every day!

I have a gym membership that has been helpful for group fitness classes a few times a week. I've also gotten back in the habit of appreciating the variance and flexibility of a good DVD workout. Thankfully, it's a pretty booming market and there are lots of new options to try! Here's a few new ones that I had to try recently. 

Physique 57 Cardio Sculpt

The awesomeness of Physique 57 DVDs and I go way back. Their traditional Physique 57 format DVDs are still my all-time favorites and are recommended to friends all the time. In fact, I just did the 2nd edition today and still feel the quiver! I've been eyeing the new Physique Cardio Blast workout but something from the trailer made me wonder if it would be intense enough. I finally rented it off the online workout site (genius), and it was super condense, intense and effective. I highly recommend it for days that you need to get in a shorter, 30 minute workout or for times that you are nursing an injury as it is very low impact and done without weights. It's being sold as a DVD now and bundled with Physique 57 Cardio Sculpt, which you can also try before you buy with the online streaming feature. 

AKT in Motion

This new AKT in Motion DVD by Anna Kaiser (Kelly Ripa and Sarah Jessica Parker's trainer) combines dance cardio with toning segments. The dance cardio is fun and easy to follow and the DVD moves through segments with timed water breaks and motivation from Anna. It's a really fun DVD and I am always feeling toned and completely wiped the next day! I thought Anna's instruction could be too intense but it when you're doing the DVD it is actually just really motivating and fun. The workout itself is 60 minutes, so be prepared for a full run time of 84 with warm up and cool down, which is a little much to hold my attention in my living room and get in before a work day, but I think the workout is great so I am more committed to make it happen. 

Buti Yoga and Shakti Sweat 

I first heard of Buti Yoga on a TV show a few years ago and thought it was my kind of yoga. It mixes power yoga, Kundalini yoga and tribal dance for a really fun and lengthening workout. The spiraling of the core during the rotations in the movements is supposed to work inner and outer core muscles for a lean and strong middle. I have a ton of fun doing the Buti DVDs and the movements seem to feel challenging and natural. Shatki is more of a piyo version of the program and, in my opinion, is a little more choppy in style. The production quality on these is a little more homespun, but it's part of the fun, especially in the Buti workouts where there is some banter in the group. Buti Yoga is also a certification and can be taught at fitness centers, so you could find a class in your area to supplement the DVDs. 

Pound Rockout Workout 

I've been really anticipating this DVD release (I think I purchased it one of the first days it was on pre-sale!) as Pound is by far my favorite group fitness class. I signed up to do a Pound Pro certification on a late night feeding with Heidi when she was just a few weeks old and loved getting to know the format. When I took a master class with the founders I definitely got choked up when the first riffs were playing. The founders are so real, so fun and all about expression and endorphins and letting the results naturally follow. 

I am a super Pound nerd but have a hard time finding the right class for me in Dallas. The Pound DVDs' production quality is amazing. The personalities are so fun and it's really beautifully done. There are five DVDs total, but I keep going back to the jam session, which is closest to the traditional class format. My only wish was that the run times were a bit longer and they had a few more jam session formats to mix things up more while staying in the traditional class format. The music really takes you through the workout, so this is one you can try when you feel like you really need to change it up to get motivated. 

Switching things up on the regular and creating flexible and accessible opportunities to exercise has been a big part of me staying consistent with a job change and the ever changing demands of motherhood/life. What helps you get the motivation to stay the course? Any DVDs you're loving that I need to order?

Kids at Costco! Latest Gluten Free Favorites for Big and Little People

05 February 2015

Now that we have a one year old, everyone in our house is eating "real" food, including Little Child who has become very close pals with Heidi to take care of anything falling from the high chair before I can stop her. 

Can I just say, life is so much easier now? Food is how I bond with and relate to other humans. It makes a lot of sense to me that Heidi and I enjoy each other much more now that we can share some treats together. Heidi not only eats adult foods now, she somehow also has an adult appetite. She is always hungry! It honestly takes some prep work to keep her fed as much as she prefers. 

Costco has some new products on the shelf that are not only delish, but easy for the whole family o enjoy. We're adding them to the list along with the other, newish favorites I've found here. (Sidenote: the brown bread from the previous post is now missing from the bakery. We are SO upset!)

First step of a successful Costco trip is to secure your happy helper in the cart! *See also: gratuitous Heidi pic!*

Heidi's school serves breakfast and lunch, but I am one of *those* moms who is not totally down with the menu in its entirety. They are great about letting me highlight what she can have and then pack the rest. We use an adult sized Yumbox for this and it is working well so far. These guacamole packs are my miracle workers. They are the perfect size for the yumbox and I love that you get 12 singles in a purchase - two full weeks plus some weekend snacks! Really helps me only have to run to big C every other week.

These cooked beets are good for chopping into slices and giving to Heidi as finger foods! At home only since beet juice can get a little crazy. 

costco organic

We mostly do water or almond milk in sippy cups or a bedtime bottle, and we blow through cartons of these pretty fast between Heidi and my cereal addiction. I will put a scoop of probiotics in this for a wake up or bedtime bottle and she's a happy camper.

costco vegan

Chia seeds are awesome for adults in smoothies and in cereal and yogurt! I used to puree Heidi's baby food and loved adding a big scoop of chia. Now I mix it with yogurt for her and she loves it. 

costco vegan

Markus is our personal chef - especially if it is scrambled eggs. The avocado oil makes eggs so fluffy and light! We usually scramble a few for Heidi on weekend mornings as well, and sometimes for her school lunch. 

Thankfully, Heidi is a Texas baby and likes a little heat! These green chiles are awesome on eggs, and I'll pour some over chicken breasts before baking. The jar says to put them on everything, and we take that pretty seriously. 

These are the treasure side at our house. Cooks in 20 minutes and is really fluffy and flavorful! We always have plenty plus leftovers for a big scoop in Heidi's lunch the next day. 

costco gluten free

I personally felt like it took Costco five million years to bring it on the gluten free pasta options, and now they're rolling in hot. Penne makes everyone happy at our house and is nice and grabby for Heidi hands. 

costco gluten free

I always put a few of these in Heidi's lunch to sub in during universal daycare Goldfish cracker time. I am pretty sure Heidi's nickname at school is "No Goldfish." These are pretty small and orange, so I don't feel like I'm emotionally scarring her..yet. Don't hate the player, hate the game. 

costco gluten free

Last treat is for moms (and dads) only! I love these mini tarts for nights I am on the struggle bus trying to leave dessert town. They're completely raw and vegan and a Dallas based company to boot! 

costco vegan

The bulk buying keeps getting more handy with more mouths to feed at home! Are you a lunch packer, for yourself or a little one? What are some of your favorites?

The Heidi Style Files: We love Chooze!

29 January 2015

As many of you know, it's been a longstanding priority to me to be able to shop for things I love and enjoy with companies that make the world a better place with values like ethical labor practices, charitable giving and environmentally conscious principles. I really thought the opportunity to shop this way would only increase with the addition of a baby to the family. After all, don't we want to take utmost care for what we purchase for our little world changers? Unfortunately, it seems as though finding socially conscious products for our kids that are also cute and affordable is way more challenging than I expected. 

The thought of a completely fair trade, organic wardrobe for Heidi went out the door about day three. Instead of letting it get me down, I've tried to remember that even the small choices I make as a consumer can set a good example and have an impact. We love to shop for recycled clothes on Instagram consignment sales like Amy's Evolving Closets, who also happens to be using her profits to bring home her son from Burundi. Since shoes for little ones can be one of the highest clothing related expenses and something that I prefer to purchase new, I'm so happy to have Chooze shoes and products as an option for Heidi. 

Chooze is a lifestyle brand for children designed to foster confidence and creative thinking with their unique designs. Instead of a perfectly matching set, each shoe in a pair complements the other, helping the little one wearing them feel unique and embrace the beauty of differences! Every detail of the design and manufacturing process, from vegan materials to the recycled "art boxes" the shoes come in, are meaningful to me. The fact that Chooze invests their profits in anti-poverty programs and the company is based in Dallas makes me even happier to be a proud supporter of the brand. 

We've started out on the Weechooze mocs for babies and love them. The elastic on the shoes helps keep them on as Heidi's foot has grown, and there's grippers on the bottom that make them safe as she gets more comfortable running (yes! - running) on our hardwood floors. They're a warm addition to chilly days but breathable fabric as we've ventured outside when it warms up! 

Heidi took modeling her consigned jean jacket and pants and her Weechooze shoes very seriously this past weekend. :o)

I'm so glad that we're already loving our Chooze products and that it's a brand we can continue to grow with as Heidi does too! The vintage, Woodstock-ish print on their 2-sided backpacks and lunchboxes is my favorite thing I've ever seen. I love the big girl shoes like their ballet flats and printed mary-janes and the slippers are such a cute Christmas or birthday idea! Boy moms, don't feel left out, some of their cutest selection is for the young lads. 

Chooze Shoes

A big thanks to Chooze for being such a great, local company and for sending Heidi a pair of Weechooze to try! We are totally in love and proud to support such a ground breaking company for our future leaders and taste makers!
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