December 13, 2012

Christmas Survey from Hungry Runner Girl Blog

Happy Holidays! I've been super stressed and busy but realized that there is only 12 days until Christmas so I need to start listening to lots of holiday tunes and get excited for the festivities!  When I saw a Christmas Survey on Janae's blog and Carissa's blog (both of which are awesome blogs to follow) I knew it would be super fun to fill out and get me in the holiday spirit today, when I'm fighting off a cold. 

1.  Favorite Christmas Album/CD/Song?
This year my favorite christmas album is Michael Buble's  Christmas.  That smooth, crooner voice is perfect for holiday songs. 
However, my sister and I's special Christmas song is Bruce Springsteen's Santa Clause is Coming to Town.  We have the whole live beginning bit memorized too, haha! It's the Boss c'mon, NJ pride, and all that jazz :)

2.  Run on Christmas morning or take the day off?
I'll probably run later in the day after opening presents, eating breakfast, and having a couple mimosas, but we'll see because I love running in the AM.  My parents have a treadmill too, so I know I'll be able to get  a run in sometime!

3.  What do you usually eat on Christmas morning?
My dad usually makes a big eggs and meat spread or some sort of pancakes with fruit.  Now that we're all older there is always some champagne and mimosas too while which we watch the parades on TV!

December 7, 2012

First EVER Friday Favorites 12/7/12

Hello all and happy Friday to you!
I've decided to do a Friday favorites post since I try lots of things, have a Pinterest full of boards and pins, and bookmark like crazy online,and I love the ones done by Carlyn at "Just Keep Sweating" and Kristin at "Iowa Girl Eats".

Favorite Winter Beer of the Week
(Image from Lagunitas Brewing Company site)

My boyfriend got me turned onto Brown Shugga from Lagunitas Brewing Company last weekend when he picked up a six pack. There are so many awesome winter beers out there. This ale isn't too dark and does have brown sugar and caramel notes which make it very yummy!

Favorite Workout Song of the Week

Ke$ha gets me pumped, and I'm not ashamed.

December 3, 2012

December Goals

Let's see how I did with my November goals first!

November Goals:
1. Drink 1 gallon of water a day.- Haven't quite been drinking a gallon. It's hard to drink at my job since I'm in a biohazard lab with no food or drink allowed inside and definitely harder on the weekends when I don't have my water bottle with me at all times. Still need to work on this.  
2. Eat consciously and limit snacking between meals. I was pretty good on this besides this weekend when my Internet was acting up and my food logging was not as consistent. 
3. Allow one "cheat" treat a week. I think I need to allow myself one  meal without guilt. I still try to get something more healthy and end up having little treats.  
4. Keep logging food and try to focus on mostly clean meals. I've been better at logging and trying to plan my meals. 
5. Be positive about myself-This I accomplished. I still want to drop some weight but have been admiring the muscle I put on in the past few months!

December Goals

1. Clean eats and maintain calorie goals!
2. Drink more water and green tea instead of coffee!
3. Compliment myself everyday!
4. Lose 5 pounds before NYE! 
5. Eat more veggies with meals and as snacks!

A big help this month has been the #Elf4Health challenge.  You are paired with an elf for 2 weeks (and then the partners change) with daily challenges that focus on physical and mental well-being.  Today the challenge is to track fiber intake!

I'm excited to continue doing this challenge and become even healthier this holiday season instead of falling of the wagon! I was doing really well on my healthy goals this week and even lost a pound but went off track Saturday night with one too many beers.  My weight is back up again but I'm hoping it's just water weight.  I'm back to clean eating and good workouts this week! Hopefully I see some progress!

What are your goals for December?

November 25, 2012

Post Thanksgiving Blues

I'm sure many of you indulged this past weekend with Thanksgiving festivities and travelling to relatives' houses.  My mom is a fabulous cook, and I definitely cheated on non-paleo treats this weekend.  I had a couple moments of severe food guilt and bad body  image.  I've decided to move on and get on a plan to look fabulous for Christmas.  Lots of water, logging my food, exercising, and working on moderation during the slew of holiday parties and events on the calendar already. 

 I've found drinking some lemon water in the morning has helped.  I also have started taking all my multivitamins and supplements including probiotics (helps with my IBS), Super B Complex, and the new addition of CLA tablets.  Tonalin CLA is derived from safflower oil and supposedly helps with reducing fat and increasing resting metabolism.

I'm coming to terms with some weight gain I've had recently and have decided that if I can lose a couple inches I KNOW I've gained lots of muscle from consistent strength training through Tina's Best Body Bootcamp .  Maybe with healthy eating and exercise, the CLA will help!

With my increased consistent use of supplements I've been turning to a lot of online shopping.  It's easier, and I can find great deals to save me money.  I've come across a site called Vitacost who was looking for people to review their products. Vitacost sells the high quality health and wellness products I want at super affordable prices.  According to Vitacost, they have over 2,000 of the top natural brands and health living products such as baking flours, chia seeds, vitamins, protein bars, and pre-workout aminos.

The thing that makes it the most affordable is that if your order is $49 or more you get FREE SHIPPING.  Even if you are only picking up a few things that total less than $49, your order will ship for only $4.99, no matter the size.  Like I said, I'll be reviewing some products from them, if you are still skeptical.

I thought I'd just pass on a great find, especially since like the whole world, they are having a Black Friday/Cyber Weekend sale which ends Monday Night (11/26) at 11:59 where you get 15% off EVERYTHING! Check out Vitacost

What supplements or health products do you love and use?

November 16, 2012

Holiday Tips for Staying Fit

Hello all! I'm still trying to figure out how often to blog and have been super busy!

Tina's Best Body Bootcamp has been great. It's been more difficult to fit in the longer workouts for strength training so I've just been doing the best I can, but I'm excited to get sweating a lot before Thanksgiving. The isometric hold sets were killer, but I love challenging myself to use heavier weights, even if it's just for 1/3 sets.  I can't wait to kick it into high gear for the holidays!

 I've also been trying to do a Whole 30 challenge this month also where you eat all whole unprocessed foods on a paleo diet (no grains, no dairy, no sugar, etc.).  I've cheated a bunch, mostly with a couple glasses of wine or beer. I'm not losing weight really, probably due to the cheating.  I have noticed a lot less bloating though.  I also have IBS (sorry TMI) and not eating any grains or essentially being gluten-free has helped A LOT.  That is probably the best thing I've learned from this challenge. I knew if I made it a pass/fail challenge on myself I'd feel awful so I've been focusing on being conscious of what/how much I eat and hopefully going to take it up a notch after Thanksgiving. I am determined to lose 5 pounds by Christmas and feel GREAT for New Years!

Since Thanksgiving is coming up I thought I'd share some of my holiday tips for staying fit.

1. Limit drinking.

My alcoholic drink of choice is two glasses of red wine or a vodka/club soda with lime. I also like the vodka/club combination because if you drink just club/lime in between, nobody knows or will ask why you're not drinking.  It's not just alcohol but all the holiday punches, hot chocolate, and Starbucks peppermint mocha lattes to watch out for.  I always try to go for a skinny latte at Starbucks and just limit myself to small glasses or tastings of high sugar/calorie liquids!

2. Buy a new outfit!

I'm going to buy a really cute sparkly dress for New Years and a cute dress for Christmas that I want to look fabulous in.  I'll leaving it hanging on my closet door so I see it as a reminder every day.

I'm thinking this dress for Christmas-SO cute!

3. Bring something you want to eat to a party!

I love baking and making really awesome sweet treats.  We all know sweet treats and indulgent foods are happening almost every week from Thanksgiving to Christmas due to all of the parties and get togethers.  My usual strategy is to make a delicious sweet treat but also bring something more healthy such as a lightened up spinach dip or fruit salad.  People appreciate the unique dish (I mean who really needs 5 plates of box cookies and brownies!) and then you know there is something that is healthy for you to snack on too!

4. Most of all, enjoy in moderation!

This is such a cliche, but I believe in treating myself.  I know because I indulge in sweets and alcohol, I'm never going to have the fitness model body but enjoying time with friends and family and good food is important to me, especially around the holidays.  I always just try to fit a workout in, drink lots of water, and make sure I'm eating enough protein and veggies.

Please comment if you have any other tips for the holiday season or really great recipes you'd love to share!

November 3, 2012

Bootcamp and Food Guilt

Hello all! I'm just finishing my 2nd week of Round 3 of  Tina Reale's Best Body Bootcamp! (More info at  It's been great for me because after running my first two half marathons in September and October (WOOHOO!), I'm looking to take a few months to really start strength training more to get toned for the holidays! I love having a plan to tell me what exercises to do and learning to try new things because usually 

I stick to the basics in the gym i.e. bicep curls, tricep dips, deadlifts, etc.  Moves like the scorpion or wall squats have been challenging but it's fun to try to up my weights and get a good sweat on. So far, I highly recommend signing up for the next round if you get the chance!

Halloween weekend was hard for me. I had a low after going out last Saturday and drinking booze and then binging on candy corn and chocolate. Then I just dwelled on how awful I am and bad I look and how it's all my fault.  I need to stick to the MyFitnessPal calorie  goals while minimizing treats.  I know it is unreasonable to just suddenly start eating extremely 100% clean eats so I'm going to focus on ENJOYING one "cheat" a week and allow myself to  balance out some less healthy things I love with more veggies and lean protein.

October 24, 2012

(Belated) 10 Running Questions

 I'm just getting into this blogging thing so my posts are going to be sporadic for a bit.  I've been working really hard on getting to the gym everyday this week because I'm trying to slim down before the holidays and get back into lots of fitness classes now that my 2 half marathons are over! I saw this running questionnaire from about a month ago that Another Mother Runner posted, and I thought my answers would be a nice little running introduction from me to you! 

1. Best Run Ever: I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler this past April in Washington DC.  That was the longest race I've run up to that day, and I was very anxious even though I'd ran 10.5 miles in my training to prepare.  I tried to keep up with the 8:30 pacer who was actually running 8 min miles.  I ran the race in 1:20 and definitely experience the runner's high.  I felt so great and the run wasn't hard just very enjoyable.  Crossing the finish line with a nice time and a huge smile on my face was when I really felt like a runner.  Immediately after my run I felt like I could run even more, and then eventually some soreness kicked in at brunch.
2. Three words to describe my running: Relaxing (definitely the time I use to de-stress and think about things), competitive (with myself and other runners, I'm always chasing the PR and trying to get better!), and healthy (it's become a part of my life but I balance it with crosstraining and try to keep it from being like work but always being something I want to push myself to do!) 
3. My go to run outfit: Something bright colored and fun.  I'm a big fan of running capris (no chafing!) and a dry-fit or wicking shirt (Under Armour rocks and are a Baltimore company to boot!). I usually have a headband, armband for my phone, and my Brooks purple Pureflows of course!
4. Quirky habit while running: Sometimes if a good song comes on my iPod I do a little rocking out and dancing with my hands haha

October 16, 2012

Baltimore Running Festival 2012

This past Saturday it was a no brainer that I take part in the Baltimore Running Festival this year since I am a city resident! It truly is a wonderful event with a marathon, half marathon, team relay, 5k, and kids fun run, all happening on the same morning! I just ran my first half marathon around three weeks prior so I was really excited to be able to better pace myself and beat my previous time.  I bought a super sweet Baltimore Ravens team color Baltimore shirt and decided to be extra spirited and run in a purple & black tutu because it would be fun! I spent Friday night making my tutu while watching Netflix and eating lots of carbs, because carb-loading is the best excuse to eat lots of food :)

Saturday morning the BRF has the full marathon start before the half, and eventually meet up early on in the half marathon course. The half started at 9:45 AM so I had a pretty relaxed morning with enough time to eat, drink some coffee, digest, use my bathroom and get ready. The street I live on was closed off because the marathon was actually running down it so I walked/jogged to the start line of the half. 

 I made it into my corral about 20 minutes before race time.  I realized in the corral I had left my iPod on my kitchen table so I panicked because all of my long runs had be ran with my iPod. Oh well.

The race ended up being fabulous! The weather was perfect, and the hills of Baltimore weren't too mean to me. It isn't an easy course though. It goes through some of the more sketchy parts of the city but the support from most of the residents and  lots of spectators was fabulous. There was lots of signs, cheering, music playing, and people handing out water/beer/candy to runners.  Honestly, wearing the tutu was the best decision I made that morning.  Without my iPod I really had to feed off the energy of other runners and the crowd.  I can't tell you how many times during the race I heard "Go tutu!" It really made me excited to keep running!

Around mile 8.5 I started to feel tired because I had been running at a 7:30 pace (what?!).  I slowed down to around 8 min/mi pace and fueled up with some gummi bears I packed, some Powerbar energy gels I grabbed from a water station around mile 9, and some candy corn from some spectators (SCORE!).  The end of the race is downhill, and I had a huge smile on my face.  I knew I had this but was just focused on getting a really sweet PR.  I pushed it at the end and ending up running a 1:43:23 which is a full FIVE minute PR from my first half less than a month ago at 1:48:24.  I was so happy.


The post-race area was a little crowded, and it was hard to figure out where to grab my free beer and meet up with my boyfriend.  The medal for this festival is awesome and has a big smiling crab on it. Also Baltimore is the home of Under Armour so all the runners in this festival get really nice UA shirts.  I was happy the half was a purple short sleeve shirt-I know I'll be wearing it all the time!  I think I'm going to bite the bullet and go for the full marathon next year! I encourage everybody to run in the Baltimore Running Festival next year if they get the chance.

Apparently early registration will start this week!


October 9, 2012

First post!

Welcome to Breathe Deeply and Smile, my very own blog! I'm Lauren and in the past year since I've gotten into running I started reading healthy living blogs. I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while and finally decided to.  This is going to be more amateur than most you probably read since I really have no idea what I'm doing.  I figured if a blog would be a fun hobby and would help me stay accountable and connect to even more people in the virtual world of social media.   
Like many people I had a bumpy start gaining the freshman 15 in college and not really exercising after being a high school athlete   At the end of college I became more conscious of my health, but it really has been a focus in the past couple of years. A year ago this month I ran my first 5K after training all summer.  After running my first half marathon a few weeks ago (blog post all about that to come) and having a really emotional moment afterwards, I realized how important my lifestyle changes had become to me.  If reading other people's blogs inspire me, maybe I can inspire somebody out there.  
The main purpose of the blog is to share my journey in trying to find peace and balance in my life.  I suffer from a lot of anxiety and feelings of self-doubt.  Just earlier, a few days out from my second half marathon, I was having thoughts of how it's not really a big deal to be running a half marathon!  I love cooking, healthy living, running, and eating dessert! I will post updates on my journey to try to live a more clean and healthy lifestyle (all while being a sweat pink ambassador!), my introspective journey in learning how to enjoy each day, and random things I find that I love on the internet!  
So take a moment to breathe deep and smile, today is a beautiful day :)