New Changes for Me and the Blog!

Ta da…my blog can now be found at sequinsandsushi.com! No more long link to find it 🙂 I finally bought the domain so now it will be much easier to share the link and also no one else can take the name, yay! However, all of the old links to sequinsandsushi.wordpress.com will still be directed here, which makes it so easy. I’m so excited!

Thanks to Jess, I have also now become a Blue Diamond Tastemaker, which means I can sign up for projects involving certain products of theirs (almonds, almond milk, crackers, etc.) and write a blog post about them. In exchange for the blog post, they send me the products free; I can choose to put them in any recipe I would like! Currently all of the projects are full but I am hoping to do a sponsored post soon. Check out Jess’s post using Blue Diamond vanilla almonds to make banana nut bread muffins!

I also started a new workout regimen this week (titled Time for a Change…how fitting!) that I had pinned on Pinterest awhile back. Let me just say, I am hobbling around like an old person right now. It hurts just to sit on the toilet, but no pain no gain, right?? On Wednesday I did “Monday” and yesterday I did “Tuesday”, and since I work at the bar tonight this will have to be one of the “take it easy” days…but I usually do a lot of running around at work, so I won’t necessarily be taking it easy! I like that it can be customized to each person’s weekly routine, and it also allows you to choose your own ab exercises and cardio, so you can try to improve each week. I like having a structured “plan”, otherwise I end up just doing a bunch of random things at the gym. The soreness makes me believe it’s working so far!

I also found a few good articles on the My Fitness Pal blog: this one about how to eat well while on vacation (probably should have read that before my trip…) as well as this one about the importance of having a treat day/meal/snack every once in awhile. If you deprive yourself of something, you will eventually snap and binge on it. I think of the times when I “cheat” and order a meal/dessert that is fried/unhealthy; usually after having just a few bites I realize I don’t want it anymore, but by telling myself I couldn’t have it, I just made myself crave it even more and I’ll eat the whole thing. Thinking ahead and planning for these treats can allow you to enjoy something you love without going overboard. Also, by not letting yourself have treats as often, they become something you look forward to!

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Vacation Recap: Myrtle Beach

Hello everyone! I had a great week in South Carolina with my brother, sister, and brother-in-law…I enjoyed lots of sunshine, shopping, drinks, food, and relaxation time. But reality hit quick and it’s back to work for me…just wanted to share a few pictures from my week away!

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Greeted by palm trees upon arrival 🙂

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First beer of the trip: a hef at Gordon Biersch

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Great brewery tour at New South in Myrtle Beach!

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Beer time!

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Up close and personal with some sharks at the aquarium!

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Broadway at the Beach!

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Feeding the fox squirrel- indigenous to SC!

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And of course…sushi

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Family 🙂

2nd Annual Dirty Girl Mud Run!

Saturday I completed my 2nd 5k mud run! We had a blast once again and definitely got nice and muddy (I think I need a pedicure to get all of it out of my toenails). I only did it with 2 friends this year, but the other 2 are definitely doing it next year, so we will carry on the tradition once again!  I also donated my shoes again at the end; Dirty Girl will clean and donate the muddy sneakers to those in need. Therefore, I have an excuse to buy some new sneaks…yay!

This year we ran a later wave, so we had to wait longer at some of the obstacles than last year. But according to my Fitbit (which I wore under a sweatband so it didn’t fall off), I still burned 410 calories…not bad for running/climbing 3.1 miles! We celebrated with our free beers, free Larabar samples, and lunch at the sports park before heading home. Then my boyfriend and I celebrated with dinner. Can’t wait to do it all again next year!

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Before and after!

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Tough mudders!

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Last year’s before and after photos!

Fitbit Flex Review!

So I think I mentioned that I got a Fitbit Flex for my birthday, and I have to say that after about 3 weeks of wearing it, I still love it! Now that I know how all its bells and whistles work, I wanted to put up a review of what I like and don’t like about it. I know that when I was looking at different fit trackers I thought reviews were helpful, so hopefully this will inspire some of you to try the Fitbit (or another tracker)!

So this is what the Fitbit Flex looks like. It’a a thin rubber armband that snaps on; it comes with a larger and a smaller armband, which I assume is supposed to be men’s/women’s, so I use the smaller one for my little wrist. The small “chip” goes inside of the armband, and this is what you charge on a USB to keep the Fitbit going (I usually charge it once every 4-5 days). You can wear the Fitbit in the shower if you want to and the chip still works (but not in the pool)!

Basically the chip sends all of your info (steps, calories, miles, active minutes) to your phone via an app or your computer via a USB. I solely use the app because it’s more convenient, since I almost always have my phone. If you tap the Fitbit twice, 1-5 circles will light up. Each circle represents 20% of your daily goal. So the more circles, the closer you are! You can set your daily goal on the app to be a certain number of steps, calories, etc. Mine is set to 15,000 steps a day. Once you reach your daily goal, the Fitbit will vibrate! I also check my stats on my phone throughout the day to see how I am doing.

You can also add in a certain activity and its duration, which I do at the gym, and manually add calories if you wish. You can look at a chart of your day for each stat (i.e. miles) and see how far you went in 15 minute increments. For example, one day I took a walk with my coworkers but didn’t bring my phone. When I got back to the office, I was able to look at the chart and see how long our walk took, how many miles, how many calories, and how many steps. Very cool! It also tracks sleep – simply put it on your non-dominant wrist, go into the app, and add sleep log…then it will log sleep data until you wake up. Then simply press “I’m awake” on the app and it gives you a sleep summary!

PROS

The armband isn’t huge, so it’s not bulky or super noticeable.

I like that it doesn’t look like a watch, because I already wear a watch and don’t want to look like I’m wearing one on each arm!

You can see how close you are to your goal right on the Fitbit, in case you don’t have your phone/computer handy.

I love that it vibrates when you meet your daily goal – such a feeling of accomplishment!

I think the best part of the Fitbit is just seeing it on my wrist, which is a constant reminder to KEEP MOVING! I find myself thinking “I’ll take the stairs, because I need more active minutes!” It’s all in my head, but it works!

When I add an activity (i.e. elliptical), I can click one button and have it tweet out my stats to Twitter.

It analyzes how long and how well I sleep!

You can look at a chart of your day for each stat (i.e. miles) to break down your stats into 15 minute increments.

Fitbit sends you emails with new badges (i.e. First 10, 000 steps) and weekly progress reports.

You can sync up with friends who have a Fitbit (unfortunately I have none) and challenge each other!

You can add in calories consumed and water consumption for the day (I don’t do this, but some people love calorie counting- it can all be done in the app!)

The battery life is really good, usually 4-5 days, and you can see the battery level on the app. It also sends you emails when it is low.

CONS

You have to go to the app to view all stats (except percentage of goal completed). Not a big inconvenience, but sometimes I wish the armband had a little screen that told me steps, miles, etc. without having to check my phone.

The USB won’t sync with my computer. Not sure why. But at least I have the app, so I use that to track my info!

The Fitbit didn’t come with a user manual, just said to go to a website to set it up. Therefore, I had to surf the internet to find out how to do certain things, or just figure them out myself.

The Fitbit has a hard time recording some stats while on certain gym machines. For example, the Cybex arc trainer doesn’t seem to be detected…if I do half an hour on the machine it only recognizes about 3 active minutes. Not a big deal, since I add in my gym activities manually anyways, but I wish it could more accurately measure my workouts.

Doesn’t record heart rate.

Overall I love the Fitbit! I like that it keeps me motivated and is very easy to use. It came with a black armband but you can get other colors to snap the chip into. I’m thinking the Tiffany blue or hot pink?? Maybe my next purchase 🙂 Also a Tory Burch collection is supposed to be arriving soon…can’t wait to see what patterns they will have! Let me know how you like your Fitbit/activity tracker or if you want to get one!

Atlas Fitness Tracker

I’ve recently been looking into getting a fitness tracker to help me keep track of calories burned and the duration of my workouts. I was looking into the Polar FT4 (around $65) and the Polar FT7 (around $75), both cheap enough that my parents might consider getting me one for my upcoming birthday! However, today I saw a post for the Atlas fitness tracker. It’s new (only available by pre-order) but it will not only calculate calories and duration but also identifies your exercise (so cool!), calculates the number of reps, and evaluates your form. Check it out here; there’s a cool video on how it works in real time. It also isn’t a super bulky “manish” watch, and doesn’t appear to require a chest strap! It runs for around $180 though, so not a cheap option. But it sounds really, really cool…and I kind of want it. Thoughts?

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Atlas Fitness Tracker