Five on Friday: Cycling, Photography, Reads and More

Hey-hey! Happy Friday!

I think that rhymes 🙂 Nope, I didn’t do it on purpose this time!

Anyway, are you guys happy it’s Friday? I am! It’s been a long-long week. Even though hubby has been traveling and kids are gone, too I feel like every day I was hopping from one thing to another with the last thing being hopping into bed. So glad the weekend is coming!

But it is still Friday morning and on Friday I share my 5 recent favorites with you. Here we go 🙂

{ONE} Reads

I’ve ordered a couple more books from Amazon in the past week and just got them in the mail yesterday.

Every Woman’s Guide to Cycling: Everything You Need to Know, From Buying Your First Bike to Winning Your First Race

I’m especially interested in the “buying your first bike” of this one as you know from this post.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cycling – I have no idea why I bought this one… Probably because you’re supposed to own an idiot’s guide to everything you like 🙂 You know, just in case.

And also to get ready for this:


I can’t wait to start reading all this goodness 🙂 I’ve recently realized that I don’t read enough. Not nearly as much as I used to. Read as in books, where you actually turn the pages 🙂 We’re so overwhelmed by the internet, social media and the constant flow of information that we forgot how to sit down, tune out and just read a book. So, my goal from now on is to read at least one book a month! And you guys get to hold be accountable 🙂

Here’s what my promise to myself looks like for the next 10 months (at most):

books reading

{TWO} Indoor Cycling Association Summit

I found this event through…oh gosh, let me restore the chain of events in my memory here 🙂 I was first introduced to the Indoor Cycling Association by my Spinning® MI Meg McNeely who shared this article by Jennifer Sage  (the Association founder) on her FB page.

After I read the article, which I think is great and a must-read for all the cycling instructors out there, I subscribed to the ICA newsletter and that was how I learnt about the summit.

Karma works wonders 🙂

Anyway, this is an online summit and it runs April 3 through 16 with 2 sessions a day, and it is FREE!

24 sessions led by the top professional instructors, cyclists and scientists. FREE. OF. CHARGE.

Even if I don’t get ECE’s for that – uuuhm, yes, please!

I am just loving the sessions so much! Despite the lack of time and the fact that the sessions are only available for 12 hours each day, I work hard to find time to listen to them, because staying current with your education is key for being an awesome instructor. And I really want to be one!

If you are interested, you can still join this wonderful event for FREE right here.

You can also get an all access pass and have all the sessions + bonuses + handouts available for you anytime for 6 months after the summit.

{THREE} Shutter Starz Tabletop Complete Photo Studio Kit w/2 Light Tents & 8 Backgrounds


Well, I am just about to take my food photography to the next level, friends 🙂 I think this is a good investment, which just so happens to be a lot of fun to play with, too 🙂

Here’s what’s in the kit:

  • 2 professional photo tents 32″ and 13″
  • (8) Colored Internal Sheets for background modeling (White, Red, Blue, and Black)
  • (2) High output 30 Watt 5500K lights
  • Includes a tripod adjustable from 13.5″ with extension up to 40″
  • 100% pure white nylon velour fabric and stainless steel spring frame.

It is a food blogger’s dream – hands down!

{FOUR} Magnetic Purse Hooks

I don’t know if you ever heard of such a thing or not, but I got one as a Christmas present from one of my friends in Russia and I am loving it! I have pretty much no room for my purse at work. I tried gluing a purse hook onto the side of my desk but it doesn’t take long for those to break (yep, I am a crazy heavy bag lady alright). Getting the glued part off takes quite a while though.

So. Anyway. I gave up on those hooks and shortly after that I got my magnetic hook for Christmas. Here’s what mine looks like:

Check out these other awesome creations! So neat!

This one is my favorite :):

I think they should have had the text facing the other direction though – for the bar tender to see 🙂

{FIVE} #FFAprilAbs Challenge by FitFluential

I am loving this challenge! Even though it is not easy to remember and find time to plank (I know, I know), I am doing it and haven’t missed a day so far.

I’m up to 1:45 as of today 🙂 Working my way back to my previous record of over 5 minute plank 🙂

plank yoga plankaday

Your turn: what are the things you’re loving lately?

Have a great weekend, guys, and stay fit!


Five on Friday: MNB Challenge, Week 1 Recap – Move

Hey guys!

Happy Friday!

As you probably noticed from the social media, I am participating in the Move, Nourish, Believe Challenge hosted by Fit Approach and Lorna Jane Activewear.

In this post I am going to tell you what the 5 days of the challenge were all about this past week in the format of Five on Friday! (hey, I’ve been on fire with this lately, haven’t I?) 🙂

{MONDAY} Sweat-it-Out!

On Monday the challenge participants had to show their favorite way to sweat. Well, that was a no brainer for me – Spinning of course!

My fav way to sweat-1

and, of course, I had to sweat in my favorite way that night:

Monday night spinning class with MJ

Monday night spinning class with MJ

{TUESDAY} Change it up!

On Tuesday, we were supposed to try a new way to sweat – select a workout from the challenge website and show the post-sweat selfie. I chose two workouts from the website: the 10 minute core challenge and Work it out with this Wednesday workout – with dumbbells.

It was fun! I normally don’t workout at home (too many distractions), but the weather was crappy so it was nice for a change. I really liked it! I should do it more often, and now I have just the resource for great quick workouts at home. A lot of them don’t require any equipment at all!

And here comes the selfie 🙂


{WEDNESDAY} Let’s get planking!

The goal was to plank for at least five minutes – either in one setting or splitting up.

On Wednesday we were snowed in and I worked from home – so I had time to get into my planking! Got it done in two sets – 2.50 minutes each. Whew!

Lets Plank

{THURSDAY} Buddy up!

Thursday was a “workout with a Friend” day! I buddied up with my husband for an awesome lifting session!


{FRIDAY} Fave Friday!

This day is about sharing our Five Fitness Favorites. So here we go!

Five Fitness Favorites

You all know of course, that mine are – spinning, yoga, lifting, planking (Oh look at that 5 min plank! It is my Personal Record so far of continuous planking on straight arms) and Polar FT40!

This challenge has been so much fun! I am meeting a lot of new and interesting people and sharing a ton of fun with them!

Next week is the “Nourish” part of the challenge – all about good food! Stay tuned, guys 🙂

Now, your turn! What are your Five on Friday or just things you’re loving lately? Link it up below or just tell me in comments to this post.

Have a great weekend!


Weekly Exercise Recap

Hi guys! How are you this fine Monday morning?

I feel like I didn’t sleep at all last night…still not awake! I blame the weather…

Anyway, I wanted to share my weekly exercise recap with you – with ups and downs of the last week. Here we go!

{{MONDAY}} Spinning

As always on Mondays, I took a spin class with Jim last week – 12.5 sweaty miles and pure joy of great music and company.


{{TUESDAY}} Weights and Strength Training

Usual weekly meeting with Jim at the gym 🙂 Awesome as always! I am starting to feel more confident in the weights room on my own. I think I can have the sessions with Jim once in 2 weeks now instead of weekly, and keep going by the usual schedule (twice a week) on my own.


{{WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY}} – Unplanned Rest Days

I don’t know what happened. I had a crazy week at work and a couple of commitments in the evenings, but generally – I was just not feeling it. I could not motivate myself to workout. I was sleepy all the time, very sluggish and lazy – all those 3 days. Felt terribly guilty for not working out, but still could not bring myself off the couch in the evenings.

{{SATURDAY}} Walk and Weights

On Saturday morning I finally started feeling guilty enough and feeling like I owe myself a workout 🙂 So I got up bright and early and headed over to the YMCA.

Normally I do my Saturday double – spinning+yoga, but this time I felt like changing things around and bringing some variety to my workouts.

So I walked a mile on a treadmill:

Saturday Walk

And then did some weights!


All that made me feel just GREAT, which immediately resulted in this happy “selfie” in the car 🙂


After the awesome workout and all the “selfies” were done, I headed home and made myself a super energizing power smoothie.

1/2 cup (firmly packed) kale, 1 frozen banana, 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 tbsp. Vega protein powder, 6-8 whole roasted almonds

1/2 cup (firmly packed) kale, 1 frozen banana, 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 tbsp. Vega protein powder, 6-8 whole roasted almonds

{{SUNDAY}} Yoga Practice and Home

A while ago I got a free gift from Yoga Journal – a DVD (first in a series) with home yoga practice. I didn’t subscribe for the rest of the series since I rarely get a chance to workout at home, but got to keep the first DVD they had sent me. Yesterday, while hubby was taking a nap, I decided to give it a try! I have to say – I regretted not subscribing to the series! It was a great flow with just enough challenges for my home practice.

Sunday Yoga

I absolutely loved practicing yoga at home – I dimmed the lights, turned on my candle warmer, fought off the kitty who was extremely interested in my yoga matt, and just spent an hour doing something for myself. Who doesn’t love that? I should definitely do it more often!

And that concludes my weekly exercise recap!

What was your favorite workout last week?


Motivation Monday – Last Week’s Exercise Recap

Hey-hey, my fitness gang! How are you this wonderful Monday? Ready to face the week?

I feel ready and excited! Why? Because it is a new start. New beginning of everything – it is your chance to start the week off right by eating healthier, exercising more and being happier 🙂

So, let’s look at my last week from the exercise standpoint. Here’s what I did:

Monday: Spin Class – 12.5 sweaty miles!


It was freezing cold outside that night and I left the sensor for my heart rate monitor in the car. I realized that after I got changed for my class and decided to ride “naked” rather than go back to the car in my capris and cycling shoes. So, “naked” ride it was! I have to say, it felt a little weird not to be able to see your heart rate, but it was definitely liberating not seeing the calories burnt. I think subconsciously as I approach my goal number of calories burnt during the class I stop working as hard as I should. So, I definitely enjoyed my “low-tech” ride on Monday!

Tuesday: Weight Lifting and Strength Training with Jim at the Gym


I feel like I am still burning calories from that one. It even hurts to type, leave alone steer…

I have noticed that I got a little too comfortable with my routine with the weights… Those personal trainers, they can read minds, you know? Just as I thought that I wouldn’t mind increasing the weight/number of reps, he did just that!

Oh. My. God.

That step forward is always killing me the first time I take it. I just hope that next time will be better and I will enjoy it a little more, and maybe suffer a little less afterwards… 🙂

Wednesday: Always Yoga Day, I mean ALWAYS.

After my killer workout on Tuesday it was a very much welcome practice. Looooove that stretching.


Thursday: a day of relaxation and not knowing what to do with myself

Rest Day

Is it just me or is there anyone else who feels like he/she is getting fatter by the minute on a rest day? 🙂

I do!

Anyway, it was nice to spend the evening “couch-potating” with hubby and catch up on the new Big Bang Theory.

Friday: Rest Day

Was originally supposed to be a yoga day, but I just wasn’t feeling it. So I listened to my lazy mind body and made it a rest day. 🙂

Saturday: Spinning+Yoga

Totally paid for my two rest days by making it a “Saturday Double”:

Another 12.4 sweaty miles!

Another 12.4 sweaty miles!


Followed by a relaxing yoga class

Followed by a relaxing yoga class

Sunday: Yoga

Was initially supposed to be a “pump day”, but I got caught up in the 49-ers game and only made it to yoga. Hey, it was totally worth it!


And that is what I did last week!

Tell me: what was your best workout of the past week?

What’s New or What I Did in the Past Couple Weeks

Hello, my fit friends!

I have been totally neglecting my blog in the past 2 weeks, and I am very sorry about that. I missed writing so much!

I have had a couple weeks from hell at work, and with my exercise routine and family I had absolutely no time or energy for blogging. I did try to keep you up-to-date with other social media (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook), though. I hope you didn’t miss me too much and I will try not to take such long breaks from blogging any more 🙂

So, here I am with the highlights of the past 2 weeks or so.Continue Reading

Birthday Recap and foods of the past few days

Hello, my friends.

Sorry for long silence – a lot going on here!

First of all – I got sick, have a real bad cold – sore throat, congestion, fever and all the other “pleasures”. Because of that I did not work out this week AT ALL so I am going through a bad withdrawal, too…All I could manage was keep going with my #plankaday.Continue Reading

Out of meal ideas? Check out this post with my menu in the past few days.

Hello, friends!

I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was very relaxing with just enough fun and activities 🙂

Oh where do I begin…Since I haven’t posted since last week, I have quite a lot to share with you, my fit friends 🙂

Let’s start with eats – here are the highlights of the past few days.Continue Reading

Quick update on yesterday’s eats

Hi Friends!

Quick update on yesterday’s eats here.

I was feeling like a savory breakfast yesterday morning  (I pretty much do all the time) so I had an open sandwich on the dark German whole wheat bread with hard salami, Swiss cheese and fried egg, and some fresh cucumber and grape tomatoes on the side.Continue Reading

Tabouli Salad Recipe – Quick and Healthy Summer Meal

Happy hump day, my friends!

Our family is having a pretty busy week here – I don’t know why but it feels like we’re always in a hurry and need to “make it” somewhere this week. Work-home-dinner-pool-somewhere else.

It is extremely important for me at hectic times like that to actually make an effort, stop and make good food rather than grab something on-the-go. I find it especially hard in the mornings. To begin with, I am not a morning person at all. It takes me a while to wake up and get “functional”. I like my mornings slow. I don’t like rushing and hassling. That’s why I get up earlier that I need to – so I can take a loooong “wake up shower”, get dressed, make breakfast, eat breakfast, sit outside for a bit with my coffee cup in my hands…and then go out there to face the day.Continue Reading

Weekend Highlights: Smoothie Recipe, #plankaday, Saturday Double and Fun by the Pool

Hello, friends!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Here in Carlisle we had a wonderful weekend of heat and sweat 🙂 But still it was a good one.Continue Reading

My “Food and Fitness Journal” entries for the past couple days – #plankaday challenge continues!

Hello, friends, and happy Friday!

It is almost weekend! Yey!

Here are my “Food Journal” entries for the last couple of days:Continue Reading

New Yoga Experience at Simply Well in Carlisle PA, #plankaday Day 4

Hello, my friends.

Happy hump day! From now on it is downhill with this work week – closer and closer to the fun of the weekend. So hang in there if you are not having a very good week, and keep it up if you are having a great time.

Meanwhile, I will tell you what I’ve been up to yesterday.Continue Reading

Day 3 of #plankaday, mad busy Monday and healthy foods of the day

Hello, my friends!

I hope you had an easy Monday. I had a “Monday of a lifetime” – can’t remember the last time I was THAT busy at work, after work and all the way to my bed time!Continue Reading

Weekend Highlights – #plankaday, spinning and a lot of healthy food ideas

Good morning, friends! (if a Monday morning can possibly be good 🙂 ) Mine is good! I hope your is, too.

Here are some weekend highlights for you to read/look through.Continue Reading