Thermos Connected Hydration Water Bottle Review

Hey guys! It’s Tasty Tuesday!

For my Tasty Tuesday post I’m talking about hydration here today.

Why you might ask? Because water is vitally important for our bodies just as food and to me – there’s no better and tastier drink than water. I’m not into sweet beverages or basically anything else other than water (maybe with a little bit of lemon or lime). With very few exceptions water is what I drink before/during/after my workouts also.

Now, gather round, my gadget heads and technology geeks. πŸ™‚

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Polar A300 Giveaway

Hey guys! I’m back!!! With a Polar A300 Giveaway, but let’s start from the beginning. We’ll get to the fun part shortly here.

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Random Friday Thoughts and Likes

Hey guys! Happy Friday πŸ™‚

It’s been a while since I just posted about 5 random Friday thoughts and things so that’s what I’m doing today – totally random post with totally random things that I like, dislike, hate, love, etc..

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Giveaway: 3 (THREE) Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitors

Hey guys! Happy Friday!

I have a surprise for you today.

It’s giveaway time πŸ™‚

If you remember, I’m an Ambassador for Polar. Seriously, that is theΒ most pleasant job I’ve ever doneΒ in my life. Promote the company and products I truly love and believe in?Β Yes, please! I love every minute of it.

I’ve been using Polar products for almost 2 years now. My Polar FT40 HRM was the very first Polar product I ever got and it came from my mom (like most great things in my life):

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Polar Ambassador and 4 Random Things – Five on Friday

Hey-hey, guys! It’s Friday finally!

So it’s been a while since I shared anything about the things I like, what’s going on with my life these days, and all that – you know, fun stuff πŸ™‚

Looking at my blog’s front page lately I realized that all I’ve been posting about was Tasty Tuesdays and Cycling Class Profiles.

Time to share something else with you, like good ol’ days πŸ™‚ What do you say?

So, here are 5 absolutely random things I’ve been loving lately (random = not related to each other at all).

{ONE} Polar

You probably noticed by now that I have a new badge in the right sidebar. I announced it on Facebook, but I didn’t share it here.

I am extremely excited, proud and honored to be selected as a brand Ambassador for Polar.

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POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review – September

Hey guys! Just popping in quickly today to tell you about the September POPSUGAR Must Have Box.

popsugar must have box

If you remember, I reviewed this subscription before and I absolutely LOVE it.

So here are some of my favorite items from the September box:Continue Reading

30 Days Active Challenge: Week 4 Recap

Hey-hey my fit friends! It’s Hump Day and that means what?

Correct! Time for another 30 Days Active Challenge recap.

The past week was hectic and busy-busy-busy with both mine and my husband’s birthdays – I feel like all I ate was cake all week πŸ™‚

But yes, I did have this challenge I put myself through on my mind all the time and even on the days when I didn’t have an “official” workout, I tried to stay active or eat extra healthy.

So here’s what happened last week:

{WEDNESDAY}Β  was my birthday, so official workout didn’t really happen. I had a wonderful birthday celebration both at work and at home.

My awesome husband took me out to Rock Bass Grill for dinner where I had the 2nd best crab cakes in my life!

crab cakes

Guess what I got for my birthday? πŸ™‚

garmin forerunner

Yep, I’m married to the BEST guy in the world, you know? πŸ™‚

Exercise on Wednesday: walk-walk-walk!


We had a yoga class at work over lunch time. I love those classes! It’s like somebody pushes your reset button in the middle of the day and you come back to your desk all balanced and calm.

Then somebody pisses you off again, but that has nothing to do with yoga πŸ™‚

Anyway. After work on Thursday I needed to go to CVS. So instead of driving a few blocks like I usually do, I walked there.

30 days active


There was so much cake on Wednesday at work, and then dinner at the restaurant….so we didn’t get to my birthday cake at home until Friday πŸ™‚


No official workout, but lots of activities and walking that day.


On Saturday I finally got a chance to try an indoor cycling class with a recently hired instructor at our Y. She teaches in the mornings on weekdays, which of course I can’t make because I work.

So I was pretty excited to see her name on the Saturday rotation class schedule this past week. I signed up and bam! I was there at 8:00 AM on Saturday.

Here’s my blurry “Pilot” at the end of the class πŸ™‚ It’s blurry because taking a picture while still pedaling is not the best idea in the world πŸ™‚

30 days active

The class was good, just a couple “funky” moves and that’s it πŸ™‚ I still got an awesome workout, which was nice – just being able to concentrate on your own effort without having to guide anybody else. πŸ™‚

After the class, hubby and I took a long walk to Cole’s bicycle shop where I almost agreed to buy a $1200 road bike… Crazy woman πŸ™‚

That didn’t happen, though. $1200 is waaaaaaay over the budget I was planning for my first road bike. So…we’ll keep looking πŸ™‚ I got fitted though and tried several bikes which was A LOT of fun!

Here’s the bike I was trying out on Saturday – Trek Lexa SLX:

$1200 is a good price for this bike. Just not good for my budget πŸ™ (sigh)

Good steps that day!

30 days active


No official exercise on Sunday. Hubby and I had something planned which ended up taking up most of our day (More on that this coming Tasty Tuesday).

So…steps, steps, steps.

{MONDAY} Cycling

Monday was my husband’s birthday. As I usually teach indoor cycling on Mondays, and he wanted to come to my class this week, I designed a riding profile just for my him – with the happy birthday song in the beginning and some of his most favorite songs throughout.

My class is called “Road Trip”. So I announced this past Monday class as a “Rocky Road Trip” because most of the songs in the class were rock πŸ™‚ If you would like to see the latest class playlist, check out this page here.

30 days active

Good burn and fun class. My birthday boy was happy with the ride πŸ™‚

We then got home and celebrated his birthday with his favorite coffee chocolate chip ice cream pie, and gave him a special birthday present he requested.


Steps-steps-steps. No official workout.

Healthy choice of the day:


Watermelon, strawberry, mint and cottage cheese smoothie

And that was it, my friends.

I am not particularly happy with the past week for a few reasons: I didn’t run once (my knee was being funny pretty much all week), I had too much cake, I had too many days with no official workout. I did stay active every day, I did what I could when I could. I guess it’s the most important thing, but somehow it doesn’t feel like it’s enough…

Ok, so today is Wednesday and it is the beginning of the final week of the challenge. I’m gonna make it count!

Stay tuned for the next week’s recap and more!

Lean Lena

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Five on Friday: Random Likes and Dislikes

Hey-hey, guys! Happy Friday and the 4th of July!

What fun things are you doing today? Grilling? Family visiting?

It is Five on Friday time and I have five things to tell you about that I’m loving/disliking lately. This week these are totally random likes and dislikes without any theme.

{ONE} FitBit Flex – Wireless Activity Tracker

fitbit flex

Isn’t it a pretty blue I picked out?

I’ve been eyeing activity trackers of all sorts for a while… It is very easy to get lost in the variety offered by Nike, FitBit, Polar….Besides, I am not the kind of person who reads instruction manuals for more than 2 minutes, and that’s usually when it is trouble shooting time πŸ™‚

Anyway, I got lost – in the variety.

I am a Polar girl…but their Loop seemed a little too big to me.

Then two of my co-workers showed up at work with 2 different activity trackers! One had Nike and the other had Fitbit. That was just what I needed!

I asked both if I could try their activity trackers on and the decision was easy to make. FitbitΒ felt much lighter, much more flexible and compact. Fitbit it was!

I ordered mine on their official website and got it in the mail a few days later.

Fun Fact: you can connect it to your My Fitness Pal account – Fitbit will get the calories consumed data from My Fitness Pal and sync the activity calories back to it. FUN!

It also supports a whole bunch of other apps. Told ya – FUN! πŸ™‚

If you read The New Yorker – there was a fun article about Fitbit in one of the latest issues – “Stepping Out” by David Sedaris. Click here to read online.

{TWO} Gardening

I just realized the other day that I haven’t shared my gardening pictures with you yet this year! Here we go.


Left to right, top to bottom: peppers, tomatoes and more peppers, sage, basil and cilantro, tomatoes, purple basil, egg plants, more peppers

Never thought I’d be so excited about gardening! But hey, those tomatoes taste a whole lot different from store bought ones. They just TASTE.

five on friday

Salads with home grown tomatoes are to die for!

Besides, it is super Zen to tend to a garden πŸ™‚ Try it! Best meditation practice ever πŸ™‚

{THREE} Worst Smoothie Recipe – EVER!

So last Friday I made myself a smoothie. I did it before work and I was kind of in a rush…So I threw in everything I had that I could classify as a smoothie ingredient into my blender. That included:

  • fresh strawberries (not bad)
  • frozen banana (done that before)
  • almond milk (well, that turned out to be bad, so I dumped it and added some regular milk)
  • vanilla extract (ok, I guess)
  • watermelon (oooooops….baaaaaad idea)

So anyway, it looked beautiful! I snapped a picture and rushed to work.


Imagine my surprise when I got to work and decided to sip on my smoothie. It. Was. Disgusting! I have no idea why, but the combination above tastes horrible – must be the watermelon and milk πŸ™‚

{FOUR} Roasted Vegetables

roasted vegetables

Roasted carrots and potatoes

It seems like any roasted vegetable becomes a great hit in my family this summer. They are so good for you and super easy to make: just mix with spices and olive oil and roast in the oven at 400Β° F for 40 minutes, turning at 20. Done! Comes together while you’re grilling and makes a great side for pretty much anything.

{FIVE} Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Five on Friday

You guys probably read this book in high school πŸ™‚ I’m from a different country so I’ve just discovered it for myself before going on my trip to Savannah last week.

The action actually takes place in Savannah and that’s the reason why I wanted to read it. LOVE this book. Still working on but I don’t think it’s going to get worse πŸ™‚

And that’s my Five on Friday! Have a wonderful weekend, guys, and I’ll see you next week!

Lean Lena

DISCLAIMER: I have not been compensated in any way by any of the brands mentioned in this post for writing about their product/service. All the opinions above are my own and provided voluntarily and independently from any brand mentioned herein.

Random Likes – Five on Friday

Hey guys! TGIF!!!

I can’t wait for this weekend! So much going on lately – I have to tell you about itΒ in my Five on Friday post today πŸ™‚ Here we go!

{ONE} Cumberland Valley Rails-to-Trails

This is an awesome trail close by where we live and we went there last weekend for a bike ride. It was my very first time there and I LOVED it!


It is a beautiful trail, and the day was just perfect forΒ a ride – nice breeze, not to warm, no bugs yet. Pure AWESOMENESS! And I got a pretty good workout out of a recreational ride.

bike ride

We went out 4 miles, but then Carmen got tired and we had to go back. Was still a fun ride and we got to style at the finish line. Well, I personally was mostly styling my helmet hair πŸ™‚

bike ride

This Sunday hubby and I are going back there again for the 8th annual Race, Run, Ride & Ramble Trail Festival – we’re doing the 30K bike ride part of it. SO excited! Stay tuned for recap next week, friends πŸ™‚

{TWO} Lucky Brand

I’ve been a huge fan of their purses for a long-long time – well made, stylish, super convenient and spacious (crazy bag lady here) and just beautiful. I am a proud owner of this one:

lucky brand purse

I love their jewelry, too – like this Green Stone Woven Bracelet:

lucky brand

Or these gorgeous Two Tone Oval Orbital Earrings

lucky brand earrings

{THREE} DIY Easter Baskets

We had a wonderful Easter this year! We had the kids and since they are all grown up now, we decided to go with the DIY Easter baskets rather than the egg hunt. So, on Good Friday when everybody was taking their nap in the afternoon, I put together these baskets:

Easter baskets

DIY Easter baskets

Don’t mind my washer and dryer – I was hiding in laundry room while putting these baskets together πŸ™‚

{FOUR} Homemade Quesadillas

Oh I have been addicted to those! Carmen loves enchiladas, so we always have tortillas in the fridge. What better way to use them than make a breakfast quesadilla?

breakfast quesadilla

Takes no time to make, too – just whisk an egg, fry it as a pancake, put on a tortilla, add whatever else you want on it (I have cheese and ham), fold, brown on both sides, cut and devour! πŸ™‚

{FIVE} Indoor Cycling Instructor News

Well, you guys know that this Monday I taught my very first indoor cycling class at the local YMCA as my audition for the job there.

I passed and got a job offer, which I happily accepted!!!

I have yet to pass all the checks, orientations and such, but this goes to show how determination and hard work always pay off! Once you get on the right track, once you really want something and are determined to get it – the whole world helps you reach your goals.

You suddenly find just the right people to help and support you.

You suddenly find energy in yourself to do a cycling class, a yoga class and then come back to cycling room to practice teaching for another hour – all that on a Saturday morning.

It is an amazing feeling when you see your riders’ eyes and smiles at the end of the class. I want to do it again and again πŸ™‚

I am super excited about this job opportunity and the community of people I will be working with.

And that was my Five on Friday, folks πŸ™‚

Do share: what have you been liking lately?

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Five on Friday: Kitchen Gadgets Hoarding Edition

Hey guys!


Finally everything is right in my world – husband is back from his endless trip to China, kids coming back today, and so is the weekend!

Are you ready for the traditional Five on Friday?

Today we will talk kitchen gadgets. I am a complete hoarder when it comes to kitchen gadgets (anything really – appliances, tools, cookware, cutlery – ANYTHING). You name it, I’ll hoard it πŸ™‚

Anyway. Surprisingly there are still gadgets out there that I don’t own and that is what I am talking about here today – kitchen gadgets I want but don’t have (yet) πŸ™‚

{ONE} Paderno World Cuisine A4982799 Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer

Can you imagine?

The only thing that’s stopping me from getting one right now is the limited counter space in my kitchen. And I mean really limited.

{TWO} Transparent Toaster – Magimix Vision

Never ever burn a piece of toast again! I am totally getting this one when our old toaster dies πŸ™‚ Maybe by the time it happens this one won’t cost the ridiculous amount of money πŸ™‚

{THREE} Euro Cuisine YM80 Yogurt Maker

yogurt maker

Oh my god! Need I say more? This thing makes yogurt! Yogurt that you actually know what’s going into…. DREAM! And it’s only $25!

{FOUR} Hamilton Beach 25475 Breakfast Sandwich Maker

I LOVE breakfast sandwiches. The problem is I rarely have time to make myself one in the morning, and I don’t really like the idea of making them in advance, and freezing them to reheat later.

This little thing would be perfect for me! (if only I had counter space for it, too πŸ™‚ )

{FIVE} Traditional Electric Crepe Maker Tristar

I am pretty good at making crepes.

homemade crepes


What I like about this crepe maker though is the lower edges than the regular pan I usually useΒ – nothing gets in the way when you need to flip the crepe.

And that makes 5 kitchen gadgets I’d gladly own πŸ™‚

Do share: What is your dream kitchen gadget?

Have a wonderful weekend, guys!


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Five on Friday – Fitness Geek and a Little More Bling

Hey, guys! Happy Friday!

I hope you had a great week!

Traditionally, Friday post is about five things I am loving lately, want to own, already own and adore, etc. etc. – Five on Friday.

So, here we go.

{ONE} More Swatch Watches

Did I mention I am addicted to them? No? I am addicted to them.

Here is another one from my collection.


There is an interesting story behind this one – I got it in China in 2007, at the Beijing International Airport duty free. I didn’t have enough money with me to get it at that time, so I had to borrow some from my travel companion. πŸ™‚ Ever since – where ever I go wearing this watch – I always get a compliment.

I have never seen one like that anywhere else.

In fact, I was having trouble finding a picture on the internet until I got on Swatch Official Website and used their search function.

So, for those of you who want one, the model name is Swatch Affecting SFK292G.

{TWO} This awesome T


I think I am going to buy it as a present for one of my fellow “inmates” πŸ™‚

Buy on Etsy.

{THREE} Stability Ball – Gold’s GymΒ 

I’ve been eyeing those for a while wanting to get one to exercise at home, and I finally did. I got mine at Walmart. If you ever go out to get one, pay attention to the sizes they come in – the ball diameter you need depends on your height, so read what’s on the box before you grab it – otherwise you will have to go back and deal with the people of Walmart trying to exchange it πŸ™‚


Can also get it on Amazon:

What I like about this particular one is that it comes with an air pump and an exercise chart! This Wednesday I did some ball exercises every commercial break while I watched Criminal Minds on TV πŸ™‚


{FOUR} Yoga Props – Blocks

You guys know that I have a couple of rest days a week… Well, what’s a rest day without some home yoga practice in it, right? πŸ™‚Β So. I’ve been getting some props for my yoga practice at home. It is amazing how much you need when you try to “do it at home”!

So, I recently read this article by Christine and it inspired me to order yoga blocks.

Yoga block

If you’re into yoga – check out Christine’s blog. She has a great series of posts titled “Ask a Yogini” where you can ask her any question about your yoga practice!

{FIVE} Homemade Granola

Been addicted to it lately. I made a whole batch last weekend, and I have to tell you – put some yogurt on top and you got a perfect filling snack that will keep you going until lunch! That’s pretty good if you’re trying to limit your snacking.


You can find a recipe for it here.

Do share: what’s your latest favorite finds/likes/addictions?

Have a great weekend, guys, and I will see you on Monday πŸ™‚

Valentine’s Day DIY Gift Ideas

Hey guys!

How did the Valentine’s Day get so close again? Totally sneaks up on me every year.

I have a selection of Valentine’s Day gift ideas for you if you are as into DIY as I am πŸ™‚ Links below will take you to tutorials on the blogs of the gift ideas’ authors.

{ONE} Wooden Polaroid Gift Set by Sugar & Cloth


{TWO}Photo Puzzle by All for the Memories


{THREE}Personal Picture Clock by Rosy Red Buttons


{FOUR}Garage Hook System by Lemontree Creations

Garage Hook System

{FIVE}Bookends for Baseball Lovers by Mod Podge Rocks


{SIX}iPhone Apps Magnets by Infarrantly Creative


Have a great Valentine’s Day, guys. Show some love to your special ones!

Question: do you ever make gifts yourself or do you prefer buying them?