Little Life Update, Big Thank You

Happy Thursday! I feel like I had to brush the cobwebs off my computer as I opened it up today, it’s been awhile! While part of me feels guilty for not having blogged consistently for quite some time now, I do have to remind myself that I have a “real” life outside of KaleKouture, that sometimes inevitably has to come before Instagram/blogging. But that’s what today’s post is about – where the heck I’ve been!

My excuse for any kind of hiatus on the blog tends to be “life’s gotten crazy”, but that really is the truth. And I’m learning how to be okay with that! In the past, if I wasn’t blogging twice a week, I got stressed out, and I feel like I would sometimes write just to write. I never want to blog about something just to put a post out there, I want to make sure it’s worth reading. So now, if that means I’m posting once a week, or every other week, or even once a month, I’m good with that! Quality over quantity.

I figured I would jump on the blog today though, to update you on what exactly all this craziness is – because it’s all exciting! Part of my absence has been me trying to transition from hardly working for three months this summer, to getting back to school. For any of you who are new to the blog, I teach Kindergarten! This is my third year teaching, and you’d think after doing it 3 times, getting back into the swing of things would be easier, but it’s not. However, we are now six weeks in, and I’m finally feeling like I can breathe again!

Aside from that, back in August, I mentioned my boyfriend Taylor and I were in the process of buying a house. And I am so excited to say, that after 3 long, stressful, confusing, sometimes discouraging months, we will finally be homeowners a week from TODAY! I won’t go into detail in fear of boring the heck out of you, but home buying is not for the weary. However, it has already been 100% worth it and I cannot wait to show you guys where I will surely be spending 90% of my time .. my sparkly new kitchen!

But all that to say, instead of blogging lately, all of my free time outside of school has been spent going to showings, looking at houses online, etc. And for the next two ish weeks, that free time will be spent packing, furnishing, and moving into our new home! But after we are moved in and settled, I have some exciting blog content lined up that I’ve been trying to work on in any spare moment I have!

On top of starting a new school year, and buying a house, I’ve also become an ambassador for City Shape KC! City Shape is a membership program that allows their members to try different gyms and workout classes all over the Kansas City area, as well as have access to various discounts and perks at local KC businesses! This means I’ll be trying out new workout classes every week, posting about my experiences, and attending City Shape events. I am thrilled to be involved with such an amazing group of girls who are just as passionate about fitness as I am!

AND, if you’re still reading, bless you. This is so much longer than I ever intended – this is what a two month blog hiatus does to me! But the true reason for me writing this post was not only to update you, but to THANK YOU, as well!

The blog hit over 10,000 views last week and when I saw it, I literally could not believe my eyes. Grateful does not even begin to cover how I feel knowing that over 10,000 times, someone has visited http://www.KaleKouture.com. That blows my mind! I would obviously not be blogging if there weren’t people reading, so – THANK YOU.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you, for continuing to care about anything I have to say, being interested in any recipe I’ve ever shared, or any other various reason you’ve come to the blog! Being able to share my two cents about fitness, health, wellness, balance, nutrition, macros, etc., with people who care and are interested, is so meaningful to me and I am so happy to be able to share my knowledge with you.

Whether this is your first time reading the blog, or the 10,000th, (my mom could be my only reader I really have no way of knowing!) thank you so much for reading. I hope you choose to continue to follow along. If you want to stay updated, just click the “come say hi!” button at the top of the screen, enter your info, and you’ll get an email every time I post!

I hope you all have a fabulous rest of the week!

XO, A

 

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Post Gym Hair Care

I think I speak for all women when I say washing, drying, and styling your hair can be one of the most monotonous and annoying processes. I’m probably biased because of the sheer amount of hair that I have, but regardless, I don’t know many people who love spending time doing their hair. I don’t think dry shampoo would be a thing if this weren’t true … Don’t get me wrong, I love my hair, it’s just a really big commitment to wash, dry, and style all at one time! This tends to create problems for those of us who workout most days of the week. Alas, the highlight of today’s blog post – post workout hair care!

My hair is fairly long, and it’s thick, meaning there is a lot of it. From dripping wet out of the shower, to curled and styled, I’m looking at no less than an hour and 20 minutes, and that is not an exaggeration. However as most of you know by now, I work out 6 days a week, and I work five of those six days! Meaning 5 days a week this mane has to be presentable, and I don’t know about you but I don’t have the time or energy to wash my hair every single day. However I’ve got this hair thing down to a science and I’m here to help you figure out how to tame your post-workout locks and keep them fresh to allow you to go a few days in between washes!

Step One: Use a hair tie that doesn’t crease your hair. No crease means less restyling later! I Just discovered these “Kitsch” clear hair coils couple of months ago and I now swear by them. They’re little coils which look super small to begin with, but expand to whatever size your ponytail is. Like I said, my hair is incredibly thick, so I kind of figured these were too good to be true based on how tiny they are in the box. But I was wrong. I guarantee no matter how thick or thin your hair is, these will work! The best part about these hair ties is that they don’t leave a crease in your hair, whatsoever. For $6.99, they’re a pretty darn good investment! 

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Step Two: Put your hair in a ponytail! This is part of step one, but I figured I would mention it. Putting it in a messy bun, or anything other than a ponytail increases the amount of work you’re going to have to do later, so stick to a pony!

Step Three: blow dry the sweaty parts of your hair. My hair tends to be pretty sweaty at the nape of my neck and around my forehead after I workout, so I take two minutes to blow dry the sweat out. I know it sounds gross, but this will help increase longevity of your blow out/style. Letting it air dry will make it greasy and that pretty much kills the whole purpose of this post.

Step Four: Buy 10 bottles of this dry shampoo and don’t ever try anything else. As much as I’d love to say I’m sponsored by “Psst!”, I am not. However I truly believe I probably account for 10% of their annual sales. All that to say, I am obsessed with this dry shampoo. After I blow dry all the sweaty parts of my hair, I spray this on my roots and use my fingertips to rub really get it into my roots. This absorbs any moisture left on your roots and gives it a little grit/body post workout.

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Psssst! Dry Shampoo

Step Five: Style as needed! By this point in the process it’s up to you what you do. If your hair has stayed pretty much in tact, there’s no need to add any unnecessary heat by restyling, but depending on the day, I sometimes need a quick straightener or wand run through.

And there you have it! This routine typically allows me to wash my hair about every three days, which is a lifesaver. I hope this is helpful to you guys and has given you some insight into a new styling technique so that your’e not wasting all your time washin’ your hair!

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Meal Prep Magic: Kodiak Cakes Muffins

Lately, I’ve had a ton of people ask me what my favorite things are to meal prep. Because I go back to work this week and will be needing to ramp up my meal prep game anyway, I figured this would be a great time to start a little mini series on my favorite meal prep recipes!

I have raved about meal prepping ever since I started this blog, and to this day it is still something that is SO important to me. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, meal prep is my number one piece of advice when it comes to staying on track with healthy eating habits. Having food that is readily available, pre-prepped, and even portioned out, is my absolute saving grace during my crazy hectic work week.

I meal prep just about everything I eat during the week, on Sundays. I wash and chop all my veggies, steam/roast whichever ones need to be steamed/roasted, I portion out all my morning and afternoon snacks into ziplock bags, I cook all my protein, etc. Once I’m done prepping, I portion out all of my lunches and put them into my meal prep containers. That way, when I’m putting my lunch together at night for the following day, I just throw everything in my bag! It makes it so quick and easy and it saves me so. much. time.

I have a few tried and true meal prep staples that I come back to over and over again, but every once in awhile I’ll come across something new that I love, which is the first order of business in this “Meal Prep Magic” series!

Okay, on to the good stuff. I will preface by saying I am a nut job and I am already ready for pumpkin spice everything, (I know, I’m that girl) which is maybe probably one of the only reasons I landed on this recipe out of the hundreds I searched through on Pinterest. But besides the pumpkin factor, I also chose this recipe because it has minimal ingredients, it’s fairly low carb for a muffin, and the ingredients are on point. On point meaning healthy, but also meaning I already had them all on hand which is the real reason I pick most of the recipes that I do … And truly, who doesn’t love a warm pumpkiny chocolatey muffin in the morning?!

This recipe is total meal prep magic for me because I can prep an entire pan of muffins and be donezo with 7 days worth of breakfasts in less than 20 minutes. And they’re macro magic too! These muffins are packed with healthy fat from the coconut oil, protein from the Kodiak Cakes mix, and they have the perfect amount of carbs to give me energy and keep me full until my mid morning snack. To round out my breakfast for the week, I’m pairing a muffin with two egg cups (on the blog later this week) and some fresh blackberries!

The Recipe

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease muffin tray, or line with paper liners
  3. Mix all ingredients until smooth
  4. Fill muffin tins evenly
  5. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown
  6. Enjoy!

Macros

  • 153 calories
  • 17g carbs
  • 7g fat
  • 6g protein

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Hitting The “Reset” Button

After a week on vacation, an extended weekend trip, a holiday, or just a weekend “off track”, it can be so hard to get back to a normal diet. Learning how to jump back on the wagon after falling off for a few days, a week, or even a month, is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the long term.

I have many, many, many Mondays where I have to hit the “reset” button and get back to the world of fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc. Not to mention finding my way back to the gym. We all do, but learning how to say it’s a new week, and a new opportunity for me to give it 100%, instead of, I’ve lost all progress, I’m back at square one, I might as well forget it and give up, is the most important advice I could give anyone. Mindset is everything when it comes to making a change, and if you practice the above phrase enough times, I promise you’ll get there. 

Today I’m sharing my tips and tricks that help me get back on track after a period of “falling off” for a little bit. It’s hard for me to even call it “falling off” , because I feel like that carries such a negative connotation. To me, they’re better named “grace periods”. Periods of time when you eat and drink things you normally wouldn’t, and you’re not as active as you should be or usually are – those are also called times of balance and flexibility. Or even better known as, life! Your body needs a couple of days here and there to reset; these periods of time are also crucial for your mental sanity!

If you think you’re going to be able to go through life without having periods of time when you can eat whatever the heck you want and not set foot in a gym, you will not be successful for very long, and here’s a secret – those are the people who are unsuccessful the quickest. Always having to say no to things you enjoy is not a lifestyle, it’s a death sentence when it comes to learning how to change your eating habits. Am I saying you should have a week long grace period every single month? No, I wish it were that simple. But a weekend here and there, that’s health – mental and physical.

On to the good stuff, my tips on how to “reset” and start your week on a good note.

  • Do. Not. Be. Hard. On. Yourself.
    • If you’re going to throw in the towel after one weekend, vacation, holiday, whatever it is, DON’T. If I did that, I wouldn’t be here today writing this blog, and I surely would’ve been done with this lifestyle one thousand times over again. No one is perfect, so don’t waste energy on beating yourself up, use that energy to get back to on track.
  • Short term goals are key
    • If you hit the reset button on Monday and tell yourself you’re going to be perfect with your diet and exercise for the rest of the month, year, your life, whatever crazy long term promise you’re making to yourself, stop right there. Short term goals are key to success. Instead of telling yourself you’re going to be perfect for the rest of the month, tell yourself you’re going to give it all you have for today. Sounds crazy right, just today? Yes, one day at a time.
  • It should be automatic, like clockwork.
    • When  you wake up on Monday morning, there are no lingering ifs, ands, or buts about it. It’s a new week and you’re starting over. You’re going back to eating how you should, and you’re getting back to your normal workout routine. Monday isn’t a transition-from-the-weekend day, it’s the first day back on track.
  • Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
    • If you’ve just had a “grace period”, I’m going to assume you weren’t on your hydration game. You may have been drinking, but I doubt it was water and I doubt it was enough! When you hit the reset button, that means committing to 64 oz of water, at least. Make it your goal for the week to drink at least 64 oz of water or more per day. Water is vital in flushing out excess toxins and salt, and it also helps with fatigue, digestion, etc. I could go on and on about the benefits of water. You’ll look and feel so much better if you’re drinking tons of water, so go for 64 oz or more!
  • Eat your veggies!
    • During a grace period, veggies fall to the very bottom of my list of things I’m making sure to get enough of. I’m allllllll about the carbs. That means, when Monday rolls around, I make it a priority to eat my 5 daily servings of veggies -one at every meal, and two for snacks. They’re full of fiber so you’re going to be full, and they’re going to help you get rid of all the not-so-great stuff you ate, if you know what I mean.
  • Grocery Shop + Meal Prep
    • Sunday evening, or the night before your “reset”, grocery shop. Fill your fridge and your pantry with healthy options so that you can wake up on Monday and be encouraged by what you see, not weighed down by looking at an empty fridge, or one full of things you shouldn’t have. Buy the things you need to meal prep, and do it! Spend two hours prepping your entire week’s worth of food so you don’t have to put one ounce of thought into what you’re going to be eating for all your meals.
  • Plan your workouts for the week
    • I don’t just mean tell yourself what days you’re going to go, I mean write them down. I use a daily planner and I schedule my workouts in my planner just like anything else I schedule during my day. I write down the time, and exactly what I’m doing. That way, I can schedule other things around it and I know without a doubt I’m going to have time for it. Writing down what exactly I’m going to do also helps with the excuse I can’t think of anything to do today, I’m not going to go. Here’s what my planner might look like:
      • Monday @ 5:00am – Cardio + Back/Biceps
      • Tuesday @ 6:30pm – Cardio + Shoulders
      • Wednesday @ 6:00pm – Cardio + Legs
      • Thursday @ 6:30pm – Cardio + Triceps
      • Friday @ 5:00 am – Cardio + Shoulders/Chest
      • Saturday @ 10:00am – Cardio + Legs
      • Sunday: Rest day!
  • Make sure you get your protein in
    • During my grace periods, I focus on eating the good stuff, and the good stuff tends to have a lot of carbs, a lot of fat, and very little protein. When I’m hitting the reset button, I’m committing myself to being back on my protein game for the day. Your body needs protein for so many reasons, but besides everything it does for you, most importantly it keeps you full and your cravings in check! Make sure you’re getting protein in some way, with all of your meals.

As always, thank you for reading! If you’re someone that’s hitting the reset button today, know that I’m right there with you! I had a week of vacation last week, and a weekend full of a whole lotta celebratin’ this past weekend – which included a lot of dips, alcohol, cheese, dessert, you name it! Remember, don’t think of it as “falling off the wagon” – you let yourself live a little bit, and now it’s time to refuel your tank with the good stuff! Have a great rest of your week!

XO, A

Clean Fit Box Review!

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What Is Clean Fit Box?

This month I was lucky enough to receive my first “Clean Fit Box“! If there were ever a subscription box created specifically with me in mind, this would absolutely be it! Clean Fit Box is a monthly subscription box containing 5-7 protein heavy, clean (imagine that), great tasting snacks and natural workout enhancing supplements. This is not just a box full of “trendy” health products I see all over Whole Foods and/or Instagram. Their items are not mass produced – they’re considered “small batch”, so you won’t see them in many stores. Clean Fit also offers a gluten free and vegetarian option if you fall into one of those categories!

What I love about Clean Fit is not only their boxes and what they do, but what they believe. Part of their message is “always clean: we believe that eating clean, natural foods support long-term fitness gains and complete wellness – not just temporary effects”. What’s not to love about that? Something I believe and support 100%.

Part of Clean Fit’s promise is to never include three simple things: 1) artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors, 2) trans fats or partially-hydrogenated oils, 3) fake sweeteners or high-fructose corn syrup. These snacks are CLEAN, people! They truly mean it.

The Clean Fit Box is such a great way to find new products you love, while eliminating the ones you don’t love at the same time. While I loved almost everything in my box, there were definitely a few things that weren’t my favorite. Which is something I think is is kind of a given with any subscription box. And while some people might see this as a downfall, I find it extremely helpful. Clean Fit guarantees that if the items were individually bought, it would exceed the price of the box itself, and I can say without a doubt that this is true. That being said, if there are things you love, you’re probably getting a great deal. If there are items you don’t love, chock it up to being helpful, at least you didn’t pay full price!

An additional benefit to the Clean Fit Box is that it’s not just a box full of samples. There are both trial and full size samples, so you’re definitely getting your money’s worth when it’s all said and done!

What’s In it?

On to the good stuff, what was in my box! I thought this box had such a good variety of so many different items, many of which I will definitely be purchasing again. I’ve linked all of these items, so if you want to try them out, just click them!

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Pricing:

The cheapest way to buy a Clean Fit Box is to sign up for a year long subscription, which brings the price of your box down to $29.70 a month. The prices minimally raise from there, with the most expensive box being monthly, which is $34.95. However if you’re not sure about whether or not this might be something for you, I’d definitely try one month first!

Would I buy 

YES, YES, YES! You guys know I am 100% honest with you regardless of what I’m posting about, that being said, I am positive when I say I would order this box again. This box was worth well over $35 and I got to try so many things I would never have normally picked up at the store, just because I wouldn’t have known what it was! It also opened my eyes to products that aren’t even available at my local Whole Foods/Hyvee that I now can’t wait to order! I would definitely recommend this box and I can’t wait to see what next month’s box contains! Go order one for yourself!

 

Avocado Chicken Salad

IMG_1292Chicken salad is one of my absolute favorite recipes to make if I’m looking for something I can make a large quantity of, in a short amount of time. I also love it because it’s a super easy recipe to manipulate the quantity of, depending on whether you’re wanting to eat it the whole week, or for just one meal! It’s also the SIMPLEST recipe I’ve ever created. I promise you, it takes longer to get the ingredients out than it does to actually make the chicken salad itself!

This recipe is a cleaned up version of my mom’s chicken salad recipe, which I ate on whole wheat bread at least twice a week when I was growing up. I not only love chicken salad because of how yummy it is, which is obviously important, but it’s versatile, and the recipe can be easily modified depending on what you’re feeling/what you like! You can change up the spices you use, the ingredients you mix in, etc.

The original recipe is not too far off from the one I came up with, however this version is a lot more macro friendly. Instead of strictly using mayo for the creamy base of the salad, I use a little bit of greek yogurt to add extra protein, while reducing the fat content. However, I’m guessing I’m not the only one who despises the taste of plain greek yogurt, so I add a little bit of avocado oil mayo to mask the tart flavor, while adding in just a enough of the mayo-y taste we all know and love in a traditional chicken salad. This is also the reason for the packet of stevia – it adds a little bit of the sweet flavor the chicken salad lacks by using greek yogurt! I love the burst of sweetness the dried cranberries bring to a chicken salad, but using full sugar dried cranberries can add tons of unnecessary sugar to the recipe, so I use the reduced sugar version to help cut down on the sugar and carbs!

Below is the tried and true recipe I use, but as always, feel free to swap in/out what you do and don’t like! Click on any of the ingredients to see the exact brand I use.

  1. Drain the canned chicken and dump into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Break up the chicken chunks with a fork until finely shredded.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients and thoroughly mix until completely combined!
  4. Enjoy!

For me, this recipe ends up being around 6 servings. The macros for each serving are:

  • Protein – 11 grams
  • Carbs – 5 grams
  • Fats – 6 grams

This chicken salad is fabulous on its own, but it’s perfect in a sandwich, on whole wheat crackers, in a whole wheat tortilla, etc. The options are endless! I hope you enjoy! XO, A