Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies & Fitness Lovers

Confession:

I hate shopping. Like really, really loathe it. I didn’t get that girly gene. And as much as I love a good deal, I can’t get on board with Black Friday. I tried it once when I had to work early anyways one black Friday morning and it just wasn’t worth the chaos to me. Nothing like the holiday shopping season to bring out the lack of patience and ugliness in people.

Clearly my vote goes towards Cyber Monday instead. Gift-buying and good deals all from the comfort of your living room. Although I feel like online shopping has taken off so much lately that you don’t even have to wait the extra few days and can get some pretty good bargains starting Friday or even the week before.

My goal every year is to be done shopping by the time Cyber Monday rolls around. Of course it never really truly happens; there are always last minute ideas and additions. But this year, not knowing when the littlest of the SoS clan is going to arrive and what chaos that may {or may not?} add to our lives has motivated me to get cracking just a little bit earlier. I’m still holding out for a few things, but I’ve gotten a pretty good start.

 

Anyways, while perusing my standard online shopping sites {I’m looking at you Ebates & Amazon}, I decided I couldn’t help but share some of my favorite past purchases related to health and fitness. These would make great gifts but also be great to add to your own inventory. wink, wink.

So here goes. My version of a health and fitness gift guide, to go along with the 10,000 other ones that will be shoved in your face this and coming weeks. I highly suggest parking your rear in front of your computer or phone and doing it from home instead of attempting to navigate insane parking lots. {Also, if you’re doing any online shopping, sign up for Ebates {ref} –> all you have to do is click the store link from their site and you get cash back. Like I said, I’m not a shopaholic, but I’ve gotten almost $300 back. Plus it lists any coupons and sales the store has.}

*affiliate links used

gift guide for foodies

1. Vegetable Spiralizer – I’ve waxed poetic about this a thousand times, but it’s seriously a fantastic way to add more veggies to your life. My three-year old is obsessed with making vegetable noodles, which means he actually wants to eat them too. Here are some spiralizer recipes to get you started.

2. Rice cooker – I never thought I’d need a shortcut for something as simple as rice, but especially since having a kid it’s super convenient to just set it and forget it, instead of worrying about it burning in a pan. We use it for quinoa and oatmeal too.

3. Contigo Coffee Mug – these mugs are the greatest. Not only are they stainless steel and keep things warm {or cold} forever, they have a seal and a lock, meaning when you drop it on the seat trying to get a thousand things in your car you don’t have a disaster on your hands.

4. Yeti Coozie or Tumbler – ok, I laughed when I first saw these. Almost ridiculous. But it is no joke how long they keep your drink hot or cold. So yes, highly recommend. But be forewarned, it might make you sing that Buy Me a Boat song that mentions yeti coolers every time you use it.

5. Blendtec – I know the price tag is insane for a blender of all things, but you can usually find some pretty good sales this time of year {or try Costco or a refurbished one – mine’s refurbished and has been blending like a rockstar for years}. Everything they say about these superhuman blenders is true. I use mine constantly – almond milk, smoothies, cashew cream, hummus, banana ice cream, you name it. If you like super smooth things without any chunks or pieces, this is the way to go.

 

gift guide for fitness lovers

1. Barre3 or Pure Barre – DVDs or online classes. I’m obsessed with barre workouts {I love the focus on the tiny muscle groups you often forget about} and attribute my lack of recent injury to barre. Classes are expensive though so the at-home version can be a good bridge for between classes. I love that Barre3 has the option for online classes so you don’t get bored of the same workout.

2. UE Boom Speaker – I don’t know whether to put this under kitchen stuff since we have it blasting every time we’re in the kitchen or under fitness because nothing gets you moving like some good tunes. When you don’t have time for anything more, there’s nothing like a little dance party to get your blood flowing and your heart rate pumping. I usually listen to Apple radio or Amazon Prime music right from my phone, and I can hear it anywhere in the house without moving the speaker.

3. 21 Day Fix – Ok, fair warning – use caution when gifting this if it wasn’t requested; don’t want to offend anyone. But really, this is one of my favorite at-home workouts because they’re so quick (less than 30 minutes} but seriously effective and the trainer doesn’t bore me like many workout videos. The meal plan is just an added bonus. Honestly I wish it had a different name because “fix” is rather off-putting to me, but it would make a great gift for anyone on your list that’s trying to take that step into getting in shape or boosting their health. {I love this one so much that her newest one Hammer & Chisel is on my list – it comes out in December.}

4. Pull- up bar – I remember being a kid and kicking butt at pull-ups. I’ll have to live vicariously through that memory because doing a pull-up right now sounds like a joke. But I think it’d be pretty awesome to be able to do them and this is the perfect way to practice.

5. TRX – LOVE this. So, so, so many things you can do with a TRX and it cuts down on the need for a ton of equipment. We’re in the middle of finishing our basement and I can’t wait to mount it from the ceiling instead of relying on a doorway.

6. Fitbit Charge – I have a love/hate relationship with my Fitbit currently because right now it just tells me how lazy I’m being {thank you 9 1/2 months pregnant and on an exercise restriction}, but it’s truly eye opening how easy or hard it can be to get or not get moving enough throughout the day. I also love that it’s a watch and tracks my sleep too {which for the record, is currently averaging an abysmal 4.5 hours a night. {Thanks three year old + pregnancy.} I also love that it syncs with My Fitness Pal for tracking food intake. {The husband has my Garmin Vivofit and prefers that one – a bonus there is that it tells you when you’ve been sitting too long.} Here’s my full review of the Fitbit Charge.

7. Aztec Healing Clay – okay this is kind of a random one, but this clay mask is as magical as everyone says it is. I didn’t buy into the hype the first time I used it {apparently my face is that bad??}, but the second time I was a convert. Makes your pores disappear and gives you baby soft skin, even if you look like a fool wearing it in the process. Even better, follow it up with Marula Oil. Feels soooo good.

 

Are you a Black Friday or Cyber Monday person? What’s on your list this year?

 

And lest I forget the upcoming holiday:

Last minute Thanksgiving recipes

The great Thanksgiving recipe round up

My 5 Favorite Coffee-Related Things

Five coffee-related things no coffee lover should live without. {Also see my fave hack for bullet*proof coffee.}

It’s National Coffee Day!

Now, admittedly I’m not usually into “National Whatever Days” – there are about 10 any given day every day of the week so it kind of loses it’s flavor. But. but but.

Coffee & I are BFFs. Soo I thought I’d share some of my favorite coffee-related things with you.

Here goes:

Cold-brew coffee. {Cold-brew? Cold-brewed? I have an inner debate with myself every time I say it.} I was obsessed with cold-brew coffee before it was even a thing. Heck, now you can just buy it that way, you don’t even have to brew it, but that’s boring. For years, I used my own hodge-podge method that took awhile and made a little bit of a mess but was totally worth it. You can see how I used to make homemade cold-brew coffee here. Now I use this snazzy cold brew coffee maker from OXO Good Grips which makes a heck of a lot less mess.

how to make cold brew coffee

Reusable K-cups. {It goes without saying here that a Keurig single cup brewer tops my “coffee favorites” list, mostly because the husband and I have seriously different coffee preferences and we were constantly switching out pots of coffee.} Anyways. These are actually my second favorite reusable K-cup, as they don’t seem to make my faves anymore. Womp womp. But these Brewooze reusable K-cups are great and come in fun colors, so I can pre-fill cups at night and have them color-coded to know what kind of coffee is inside in my morning haze.

reusable k cups

Glass coffee cup. I love this Joco cup not only because it’s reusable, but it looks cool too. Plus it’s chemical free and dishwasher safe <—bonus over most stainless steel. I use it for hot and cold and have to fight my three year old for it, likely because of the fun color. {They even make reusable carrier trays, how cool is that?} And hey, saves you 10 cents at Starbucks.

joco-glass-coffee-cups

Peet’s Coffee. As much as I love coffee, I’m not as much of a brand/roast snob as you might think. I just like it bold and dark. The only time this is an issue is when it comes to decaf. I know there’s a whole population of people out there that think decaf’s a joke, but what’s a caffeine-limited pregnant or breastfeeding coffee lover to do? Switch to decaf after that first glorious cup. And it’s probably those same people that assume if you’re enough of a wuss to drink decaf, you want it to be weak and lame too. Not me. I still want it as bold and dark as ever. Peet’s Decaf Major Dickason blend is the best bold-decaf I’ve found so far. If you have other favorites please do tell.

peet's decaf coffee bold roast

KIND Caramel Macchiato Bars. Ok these aren’t really coffee, but they have a coffee flavor and go really well with a cup of joe. Also, I get to keep them to myself because my three year old knows that “coffee is only for grown ups”. #ihatesharing

 

What are your favorite coffee things?

Garmin Vivofit Review

I never put much thought into wearing a fitness tracker. I had a basic FitBit briefly but it didn’t engage me enough to keep wearing it and I hated the color so I rarely actually put it on. I figured I was active enough and counting steps wasn’t really on priority list. Then I got the Garmin Vivofit {which I received through my partnership with Verizon Wireless & FitFluential – I don’t have to blog about it but I want to because it’s cool}.

I strapped it on and prepared to watch the steps start counting up, up, and up…

vivofit fitness band (500x500)

Only they didn’t. I’d have mornings and moments filled with lots of fun, activity, and steps, then I would barely cross over to my goal by the end of the day. Other days the number of steps I ended with was just abyssmal. It was a bit of a wakeup call – I know how bad sitting and not being active is, yet here I was pretty much being a lazy bum in denial. While I’m not perfect about it, sitting the actual number of steps I’ve taken at any given moment is definite motivation to get up and moving.

So about the Garmin Vivofit specifcally: here’s my basic list of Pros & Cons to make it easy for you to skim through. {Here’s the vivofit I have.}

Pros

No need to charge battery – it’s a watch battery that’s predicted to last about a year. This means you never have to take the tracker off, stop tracking activity to charge it, or remember to put it back on, and no charger to keep track of. This is a huge plus in my book.

Shows when you’ve been sitting too long – A red bar bar appears above your step count if you’ve been still for too long. For each 15 minutes you remain still, a shorter bar is added. Walking around for a minute doesn’t make it automatically disappear either – it takes a bit of movement. {I desperately want to make this a con because it drives me crazy, but it’s the entire point of wearing one – to move more.} I believe the Vivofit 2 beeps to alert you when the red bar appears.

fitness band

Multiple displays – with the push of a button you can choose to show # of steps taken, # of steps left to reach your goal, miles traveled, calories burned, time, or date.

Color selection – I have basic black but I love the bright blue and purple. {There’s also others.}

Easy set up – you literally put it on and it works.{It comes with two sizes of wrist straps that you can interchange.} Besides that you can just download the Garmin Connect app and sync it wirelessly through Bluetooth, or it comes with a piece to plug into your computer to do the same.

Can automatically set & adjust your goal based on behavior. – I might not have known where to start otherwise.

Can get wet – can leave it on in the shower and swimming.

Can’t “force” it to take steps – I can’t shake my arm off like T swizzle and make it think I took a bunch of steps.

Cons

A little bulky – It’s a little bit on the big side for my preference, but I’m not sure there’s a smaller one out there that also has a display. {?} I find wearing it with the display side on my inner wrist {technically upside down} is more comfortable, especially when sleeping. This means I have to choose to look at it, meaning I might not notice that evil red bar telling me I’m being lazy.

garmin vivofit fitness tracker (500x500)

Poor sleep tracking – the sleep tracker only records how much you move while sleeping, and if you set your normal wake/sleep times it defaults to them no matter when you push the sleep button. While the amount of movement tends to correlate with my quality of sleep {i.e. lots of movement when the toddler takes over my bed}, it’s not always a perfect indicator and it doesn’t give me any information on how to improve this.

App leaves much to be desired – after the first few days of looking at things, I pretty much ignore the app. It’s nice to go back and look at the bigger picture, but besides that it doesn’t do much for me personally.

No backlight – not really a big deal but it’d be nice to be able to see the numbers when I’m going to bed or setting it to the sleep option {when I’m in bed and it’s dark} instead of just guessing.

Doesn’t always seem to predict movement/non-movement right – maybe it’s just smarter than me, but sometimes when I’ve been crazy active it still gets a red bar and when I’ve been lying around it doesn’t. Hmm.

So that’s it all broken down, but I haven’t taken it off since the minute I put it on, if that tells you anything. Winking smile

vivofit

Get it here –>> Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band, $89 **Currently 10% off at Verizon!**

Do you wear a fitness tracker? What kind and do you like it?

Getting MORE

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Verizon Wireless.

There are a lot of things we’d all love more of, aren’t there?

– More time

– More money

– More sunshine

– More SPRING

– More muscle

– More endurance

– More strength

– More time …oh I said that, huh?

Guess you can’t really buy those thing at a store or pluck them off a wish-granting tree. That’s too bad. But there are ways to make some of those happen.

The only way I’ve figured out how to get more time is to do the dreaded, unrecommended time-management strategy of multi-tasking. Dun dun dunnn. I try to do it with things that won’t suffer from lack of total attention. Example: listen to a report on my phone while on the treadmill at the gym. I know, way less exciting than some good mood-boosting music. {I use the Sol Republic relay headphones I’ve mentioned before. Love that they actually stay in my ears.}

Or perhaps checking and replying to emails that only need a quick, non-indepth response if I’m a few minutes early picking the Kynado up from preschool. {I don’t waste a minute of precious school time. Winking smile}

Or timing a conference call for when I’d be stuck in the car anyways. {Thank goodness for the invention of blue tooth.}

The downside is these things all require the use of your phone, minutes, and data plan. A plus since it’s an on the go option but still a negative because it’s easy to go over all that stuff especially if you share a plan. I’ve told you about Verizon Wireless’ EDGE program before; their newest program focuses on the plan instead of just the product. It’s called… MORE {surprise, surprise}. MORE Everything gives you a way to have more text, talk, and data, without spending more money.

more everything

It includes {among other things}:

– Shareable data

– Unlimited texting

– 25 gb cloud storage per user

verizon more everything plan

So until there’s an actual way to really get more time, using technology is the best way I’ve found to get around it.

What to you do to squeeze in more?

Just a reminder, this post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Verizon Wireless. If you couldn’t tell.

Fit Fam Fun

The ONLY kind of post-Thanksgiving shopping I do is CyberMonday, from the comfort of my own computer. Heck, this year I’m even shopping from my phone.

I’ve been on the hunt for gifts that are something the family can do together, plus keep us healthy at the same time. Here are some of the fun ones I’ve stumbled across so far.

Fitness-Family-gifts

Find out more about each here!

Cheribundi {Giveaway!}

Guess what?! The folks at Cheribundi want to give YOU the chance to try out their juice! If you missed it, you can read about the benefits of tart cherry juice for muscle recovery and my review of Cheribundi.

Here’s a peek at the brand new line up of bottles:

cheribundi tart cherry juice

To enter, leave a comment below telling me your favorite way to recover from a hard workout.

Bonus entries:

Tweet the following: “I want to try @Cheribundi from @sideofsneakers!  http://ow.ly/hUJ2s” {You can put this on Facebook if you don’t have Twitter.}

You can also “like” or “follow” any of our social media pages:

Cheribundi on Twitter

Cheribundi on Facebook

with a Side of Sneakers on Twitter

with a Side of Sneakers on Facebook

with a Side of Sneakers on Pinterest

with a Side of Sneakers on Instagram

Leave a separate comment for every action you take. Giveaway closes Sunday at midnight EST. Open to those in the continental US. Good luck!