September Running Goal.

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How in the world is it already September? I’m honestly not upset about it though since I’m so ready for scarves, warm coffees, crockpot meals, and all the baking. And with a new month comes new goals!

In August I was able to hit my 100 km (62 miles) running goal and had a moment where I considered bumping September’s goal up to 200 km. After some serious thought, I think that would be too large of an increase for me so we’ll just aim to go over the 100 km mark this month.

I’ve mapped out my daily distances again if any of you would love to run along with me! I’m also tracking a lot of my daily progress on my new Twitter account for the blog @ashraeyoga – come join the party there for random Ashley thoughts and sweaty photos. It’s going to be a good month!

Sept Running

Favorite Restorative Yoga Poses.

Over the years of my practice, I have grown an intense love for restorative yoga. This type of flow has helped me in numerous situations to deeply relax my body, calm my busy mind, and help release muscular tension. Restorative yoga is a variation of yoga practice where certain poses that typically aren’t stressing the muscles are held for an extended period of time and has the power to help heal the body and mind. 

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite restorative poses that you can do on your own time. Find a quiet, comfortable space, and let’s dive in!

The first pose (above) is Seated Staff Pose or Dandasana (Sanskrit name). Sit up straight, cross your legs in front of you at the skins, and place hands gently on top of the thighs and rested together in your lap. 

The second pose is Extended Butterfly which provides a great stretch for the inner thighs and groin, relief from menstrual discomfort, and helps maintain healthy bowel movements. From our Seated Staff pose, bring the soles of your feet together, place hands to the outside of the ankles or feet, and with a long spine, fold over your legs. 

The third pose is Savasana or Corpse pose which helps relax the body, reduce headaches, fatigue, and insomnia as well as potentially help lower blood pressure. Lie down on your back and extend your legs long allowing your ankles to splay out to the side. Arms can rest alongside your body, extend onto the floor over your head, or rest one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. 

Child’s Pose is our fourth pose and probably my all-time favorite yoga pose. This one flexes the body’s internal organs while lengthening and stretching the spine. It relieves the neck and lower back and gently stretches out the hips, thighs, and ankles. Bring your big toes to touch, knees can be together or knocked out wide, extend your arms long, and lower your chest and forehead to the floor. 

The fifth pose is Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana) which is a relaxing backbend and heart melter that some like to refer to as a cross between downward dog and child’s pose. From your child’s pose, bring your knees in under your hips and extend your hips up to the sky. 

Our last pose is Bow Tie Pose which is a nice, gently release for the back of the shoulders and the neck. Extend out onto your stomach and begin by placing one forearm parallel on the group in front of the other. Then start to walk the hands away from each other, crisscrossing at the elbows. Once you begin to feel the stretch in the back, release your head to hang heavy towards the floor or your forehead resting on a block. 

All of these poses can be held with your eyes closed and between 1-10 minutes for time depending on your comfort level. I hope these poses bring your relaxation and stay tuned for more of my favorite yoga poses! 

Simple Chicken Salad.

After weeks of the same meals pretty much everyday (which I’m totally okay with), I had a spark of creativity in the kitchen and wanted to try out new recipes this last week – As you can probably tell from my most recent food posts. The latest was a very simple and quick chicken salad, because you know I love simple!

This was a nice add-in to my workweek lunches which I have a tendency to have tuna, eggs, or a roast beef sandwich. This one is definitely a keeper! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 12.5 oz can Chicken Breast Chunk in Water
  • ~1 tbsp of Fat Free Mayo (or to your liking)
  • diced Celery 
  • sliced Black grapes 
  • Honey Roasted Pecan Pieces
  • Optional: Cheese

Directions:

  • Mix chicken and mayo in a small bowl. Once throughly mixed, stir in celery, grapes, and pecan pieces.
  • Enjoy on a brioche bun or across crackers with a tall glass of lemonade on the side!

Have similar simple recipes you enjoy, send them my way!

Thai Noodle Salad.

After attending a lake birthday party this last week I had a pretty intense craving for Thai Noodle Salad since the birthday girl had made a batch for her party but I didn’t get to try it. My typical experimental brain hit the web Monday morning to find a simple recipe that I could quickly whip up and voila, I found one that I happened to have (most) all of the ingredients!

We tested it out last night after a longish run (4 miles) in the heat. I would definitely tweak a few things next time just to experiment with taste but overall I would say it’s a keeper. Also noted, we served it hot but traditionally after mixing all the ingredients you would chill it in the fridge and eat cold.

Ingredients:

  • Rice Noodles
  • Sauce:
    • Soy Sauce
    • Sesame Oil
    • Honey
  • Seasonings (I used Garlic Sea Salt, Terriakyi Ginger mix, and Crushed Red Peppers)
  • Vegetables (I used a mixed bag I had in the freezer)
    • Broccoli
    • Carrots
    • Mini Corns
    • Snap Peas
    • Onions
  • Optional Meat Topping (I had some Trader Joe’s Potstickers on hand that we through on top but shredded chicken or pork would also be delicious!)

Directions: 

  • Soak rice noodles in a pot or bowl for ~30 minutes. We placed our noodles right in the pot we would boil them in and went for a run. 
  • Boil noodles on high for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Sauté veggies in a pan with olive oil until crispy.
  • Mix sauce in a small bowl. I used about a 1/4 tbsp of seasme oil, 1/2 cup of soy sauce, and 1/2 tbsp of honey but this will depend on the amount of noodles you are cooking. 
  • Drain noodles, return to pan, add sauce mixture, and cook on low so sauce absorbs into the noodles.
  • Add veggies to the noodles. Continue to cook for about ~5 minutes or while cooking meat.
  • Cook optional meat.
  • Hot: Serve in a large bowl with a cold drink! 
  • Cold: Place mixture in a large bowl, set in the fridge for a few hours, then enjoy!

 

Delicious Instapot Chicken Tacos.

I’ve just started to explore the instapot craze since my partner owns one and let me tell you guys, I am hooked! I totally understand what everyone is raving about now. It is so simple & easy to make quick yet delicious meals.

I’m a huge fan of home cooking and dabbling with new recipes but can be turned off by the time it takes to make a well thought out meal so the instapot definitely solves that pain point. We threw whipped up some juicy chicken for tacos the other night & I thought I would share. We choose this recipe since all the ingredients are basic that you would more than likely already have on hand (win!). 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Chicken breast
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Taco Seasoning
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 small Yellow Onion
  • Taco Toppings:
    • Flour Tortillas
    • Plain Greek Yogurt/Sour Cream
    • Lettuce
    • Shredded Cheese
    • Diced Tomatoes
    • Diced Avocado
    • Additional Salsa

Directions: 

  • Combine all ingredients (minus toppings) in instapot, close lid, and cook for 15 minutes. 
  • Release steam, remove chicken from pot, shred, and return shredded chicken back to pot with the sauce. Can let it sit in the sauce for a bit to absorb or immediately serve.
  • Build tacos or salad bowl and enjoy! 

So simple, am I right! That’s why we’re all such a fan of tacos 🙂 

 

Sioux Falls Weekend Getaway.

A few weeks back I flew back to my old place of residence, Sioux Falls, SD over my birthday weekend for a college friend’s wedding. I thought it would be fun to share a (overdue) recap of this short trip and also add in a few additional favorite spots I didn’t get time to make it to!

And yes, I flew during this crazy Covid time knowing I would keep myself quarantined for the recommended timeframe after I made it back to Colorado. I would say that flying isn’t so bad if you take the proper precautions and are ready to follow quarantine timelines after your travels. I’m also hear for any questions you may have for your upcoming travels!

I flew out bright and early from the Denver airport on my birthday to arrive into Sioux Falls around noon. My mom and sister picked me up from the airport and we headed straight to a new local hotspot Daily Clean Eats and Drinks. My mom and I ordered the Tongue Thai’d Bowl and my sister got the Ambrosia Bowl – both were super delicious, filling, and healthy! 

We then checked into our hotel, the Holiday Inn Sioux Falls City Centre, and walked downtown for cocktails and wine at our old favorite, The Carpenter Bar. For dinner, we just hung at a family member’s house for some pizza and cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes (the Lemon Raspberry flavor is my favorite!). 

The next day was a bit of prep for the wedding with spray tans and getting our nails done. Then relaxing at the local water park, Wild Water West under a personal cabana sipping Cheladas, a stop at B&G Milkway for ice cream (I like the classics – Oreo Avalanches or Turtle Sundaes), dinner at Mackenzie Rivers with friends (I’m a big fan of the Southwest Chop salad) and more ice cream at Parlour Ice Cream House

The following day was spent traveling around eastern South Dakota to visit family members, rehearsal dinner, and a graduation party for our cousin. Then the wedding on Saturday with the reception at Icon Lounge + Events and lunch at Granite City on Sunday with friends before flying home (I’m a fan of the Mediterranean Chicken).

It was great, quick getaway filled with friend reunions, cocktails, and plenty of sweets. A few of my favorite spots we didn’t get to while back: 

If you find yourself in the Sioux Falls area or looking for a unique short getaway, there is definitely plenty of great places to eat, small local boutiques to shop, and a few nice sight-seeing stops in the area (when the weather is nice!). 

Mask Acne.

Mask Acne.

Or also known as maskne, as I like to call it and have heard around, is the breakouts and irritation you get from wearing your mask (which you should because that is very important!). I notice myself that the irritation comes from mostly wearing my mask while teaching yoga and barre classes. I probably would also see breakouts from wearing the masks while working out but I am still sticking to home workouts mostly and outdoor running. During the times I am teaching though, I’m talking a lot more and creating a lot of heat and moisture around my lips, chin, and cheeks. This is the best atmosphere for breakouts to produce.

This can be quite frustrating because who really wants to deal with pesky little pimples. But have no fear! As needed as the masks are and as annoying as the irritation and breakouts can be, there are a few things we can do to potentially avoid the consequences of wearing the masks and that comes in the form of better skin care!

My favorite skin care brands are Clinique and Beautycounter but I’m sharing a routine today that you should be able to find products within your favorite skincare line.

  1. Start with cleaning off your make-up and entire face (including your neck) with cool water and a make-up remover. I personally use the ‘Take the Day Off’ makeup remover from clinque with a cotton ball or pad.
  2. Rinse you face with water again to clean off all leftover product.
  3. Invest in a facial scrubbing brush. My personal Fancii brush is pictured below and I am also a fan of Clinique electric scrubbing brush. Yes, we’ve already removed our makeup but now we will use a cleaner and the scrubbing brush to remove dirt, dead skin, and grim that sits deeper in our pores. Spend a good amount of time in this step gently running the brush all over your face and neck. Rinse your face clean with water after (and then make sure to rinse clean your brush after each use).
  4. I just started another step of covering any outbreak spots with an Acne Spot treatment.
  5. I’ll then cover my face and neck with a moisturizer.
  6. Followed by an Overnight Resurfacing Peel.
  7. Then end with a Balancing Facial Oil.

I’ll then go sip on a Four Sigmatic night time mushroom tea & sleep like a little baby knowing I’ve fully taken care of my face. I know this is quite the process but covering facial skin care health is very important espesically as our faces are getting use to wearing a mask for the majority of our days.

As always, share your own skin care tips with me in the comments – you know I love to try out new products and routines!

 

August Running Goal.

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I’ve been pretty quiet around here for the last couple weeks since Summer tends to get crazy busy every year and the time just slips right away from me. I’ve been more focused on getting outside while I can and taking full advantage of my free time since I have been teaching multiple yoga classes a week, Barre Teacher Training, and working full time. Fortunately and intentionally my schedule is clearing up finally! My Enneagram type 7 personality is a bit worried to have a more open schedule so of course, I’m already starting to fill it with goals I want to tackle in the upcoming weeks (like organizing my closet and improve my hair care routine).

Which brings me to my post today and my goal for August. I’ve recently dove headfirst back into my passion for running and decided its overdue for me to train for another half marathon so this month’s focus will be about increasing my distance and ultimately covering 100 km (~62 miles). I’m including my rough schedule if anyone else would like to join in!

For the forecast, I’m mapping out a lot more than 100 km to give myself flexibility in case the days I schedule my longer runs I’m just not feeling it. As always, I’m open to any tips and tricks to help complete this monthly goal. Let’s go!

August Run Plan

Stress Bloat.

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You’ve probably experienced in the last few months. I know I have at least once or twice for an extended period of time. Between work changes, my classes being postponed, scheduled, and rescheduled, finances, car issues, travel plans, and the normal everyday woes, life has been pretty darn stressful lately!

Stress can put a lot of pressure on your stomach and abdomen, and also upset your hormone balance. This stress can also cause digestion issues for food your body normally does not have a problem digesting, leading to discomfort, pain, gas, and bloating. Which gives us that uncomfortably large belly section.

It is first important to determine if your bloating and discomfort is truly from stress or if it is possibly from your diet. If you are aware that your irritable digestive tract and bloating are caused by your diet, then it is important to familiarize yourself and pontentially avoid FODMAPs. If it is not food-related, then it is time to evaluate your daily stress level and what is causing it.

Stress bloating is not as widely discussed and therefore many people have never heard of it. It can be a surprise to some that stress can trigger a physiological reaction. But if you’re under chronic stress, cortisol hormones are constantly dominant and the result is bloating and gas and because the body is not seeing digestion as a priority, the sympathetic system redirects blood flow away from the intestine area and to other parts of the body that seem to “need it more”.

Okay, so now we get it that we’re bloated and gassy. How do we resolve this? Stress management and digestive support.

  1. Stress Analysis
    • First determine what is causing you to stress. Is it work-related, money issues, relationship problems, or is simply just watching the daily news. Once you’ve determined the source, assess if you can change anything to reduce your stress. (i.e. Maybe you’re taking on too much responsibility at work)
  2. Meditation
    • Check out my post on How To Start Meditating. Stress management definitely starts with our mind set and how we’re choosing to show up to each individual situation in our lives.
  3. Probiotic
    • When the gut becomes unbalanced with unhealthy levels of certain bacteria, probiotics can help restore the balance. They’ve been shown to secrete protective substances, which may turn on the immune system and prevent pathogens from taking hold and creating major disease.
  4. Water consumption
    • It might sound counterintuitive to drink more water when retaining water, but drinking water can actually help reduce bloat. Drinking plenty of water helps to naturally flush our systems of excess water and sodium that we might retain
  5. Diet
    • It is important that you are monitoring what you are eating and maintaining a healthy gut.
  6. Movement
    • Physical activity can get the bowels moving more regularly, which can help to release excess gas and stool. Getting the bowels to move is especially important if a person is feeling constipated. A walk around the block can provide fast relief from gas pressure.

Bloat is never fun, but if it is stress bloat start at the source of the stress to reduce the consequences and then add activities and habits into your daily routine to reduce bloating and gas.

WeeCasa: Tiny Home Resort.

I’m a big fan of Tiny Homes. Like, huge fan

I’ve probably seen all the Tiny House Hunters episodes on HGTV and I don’t want to admit how many Tiny Home Instagram accounts I follow. I have a fascination with the minimalistic lifestyle and the fact that you don’t seem too settled down in one place. 

I’ve moved a lot growing up and I get asked often if I’m going to “stick around for a while”. I love living in Colorado, my current home, but my soul will always have a longing to continue to explore. I don’t have a huge desire to buy a house, though I do want a backyard for my dog so I’m constantly considering the tiny home lifestyle. 

Which brings me to WeeCasa, the tiny home resort in Lyons, CO. In this current state of staying at home this was the perfect get away! My mother had a big birthday coming up at the end of June this year and we knew we would want to celebrate in some way but traveling was pretty much out of the question (and our favorite thing so we were pretty bummed). It was decided that my South Dakota fam would visit me in CO but I selfishly didn’t want another weekend sticking around my apartment. So the great idea to spend a weekend at WeeCasa came to life! 

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We had the perfect relaxing weekend of grabbing coffee in town, sitting by the river, sipping wine, and going to bed early. The resort is right in the heart of downtown so access to food and activity was in arms reach. 

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We headed down Friday from Fort Collins after I spent a few hours working. We hit the road around 2 and were making good time to make it to the resort within an hour but had to make a pitstop at Spirit Hound Distillers first. If you are a cocktail person, then this is a must! My mom and I both ordered a Cherry Limade Mule and my sister ordered the Cucumber Coop – both drinks were amazing. 

*Forewarning you that everything we ate and drink over this trip did not disappoint in the least 🙂 

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We then got into Lyons, checked into our tiny home, unpacked, and headed into town to find ourselves some chips & salsa and Margaritas. Which lead us to Mojo Taqueria and some delicious street tacos. We ordered the Roasted Tomatilla Medium salsa for the table and our individual orders which as followed:

  • A: Watermelon Mint Marg, Tacos – Carnitas & Short Rib
  • B: House Marg, Tacos – Carnitas & Chicken Tinga
  • K: Mezcalrita, Tacos – Short Rib & Rajas con Calabazas

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After dinner, we stopped at the St. Vrain Market to grab ice cream and baked goodies and spent the evening with some take-home margaritas and boxed wine. 

Saturday morning we got up early for a walk into town and stumbled across our new favorite coffee shop The Stone Cup where I ordered the Iced Mexican mocha, my mom had an Iced White Mocha, Kimberly had the Caramello, and we all split a Lemon Blueberry scone. We then hopped around downtown for some shopping, where I found some new great finds at Red Canyon Art Co, grabbed a Santa Fe (Spicy Turkey) and Miami (Tuna) sandwich from the Market, and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing by the river. Saturday’s dinner was probably my favorite meal of the week at the Pizza Bar 66. We took recommendations from our waitress and ordered the ravioli (because we are from STL), cheesy garlic sticks, and the Gonzo pizza (add pinneapple). Everything tasted so delicious and especially alongside two bottles of chilled Sauv Blanc wine. The rest of the evening we simply relaxed outside our tiny home in lawn chairs and chatted with our tiny home neighbors. 

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On our last morning, we woke up and packed up the vehicle before heading back into town to grabbed coffee at The Stone Cup again. This time we all ordered Cold Brews with Sweet Cream and were very bummed we can’t have those every day now! We then headed out of Lyons into Longmont, CO for lunch and shopping. It was such a nice, relaxing weekend and just a short drive from Fort Collins that I honestly can’t wait to go back and try out my next tiny home at the resort! 

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