Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blog Award. . .

My first blog award. . . what a lovely surprise!  Thank you so much for selecting me, Jenny @ Cassandra's Corner. I have been following Jenny's blog for a few weeks after stumbling across her page,and since then have enjoyed a few laughs!  You should check her out sometime!

So with this award comes some responsibility. Here are the rules:
#1 Choose 5 up and coming blogs to pass along the Liebster Blog. Each blog must have less than 200 followers.
#2 Show your thanks and appreciation to the blogger that gave you the award by linking back to them.
#3 Share 5 random facts about yourself.
#4 Post the award to your blog.

This is me with my husband!

 5 Random Facts About Me

1.  On average I have moved every two years of my life.  I'm 36 years old today.  Do the math. . . that's a lot of new homes!

2.  I went to three high schools and five colleges (yet managed to graduate on time)!

3.  My Nana passed away when I was a child, but I feel completely connected to her.  We're kindred spirits. In my heart, I believe her spirit watches over me.

4.  My blog is centered around the philosophy of making the healthiest food and exercise options you can on a daily basis, but I struggle with a wicked sugar addiction!  I cannot be trusted with certain sweets in the house (i.e. quality cakes with superior icing, dark chocolate in most forms, chocolate chip cookies).  It takes incredible will power for me to avoid them.  To challenge myself and beat those cravings, I purchase dark chocolate bars and keep them in the pantry!

5.  The pets I adopt/save turn out to be crazy (or maybe my family drives them insane).   Jolie (the cat I rescued while living in Korea) was the sweetest, most loving animal imaginable at the shelter but turned into a devil cat upon taking her home.  She'd howl at the corners of the walls, scratch people randomly, dive attack . . . Then there was Clancy, the sled dog from Alaska.  He escaped daily- while chained to a stake in a fenced-in yard!  He'd pull the stake out of the ground, hop a six foot fence, and run down the middle of the road with stake and chain trailing behind him... Now we have Rookie Belle, the Norwich Terrier.  She is gaining on two and yet still prefers pooping in the damn house! If you have any suggestions on breaking her of this nasty preference, I'm open to any and all ideas!

*Bonus Fact:  If I die tomorrow... I die knowing I did three things right in this life:  creating Brenden, Brielle and Bridget.  They are my world.  Shane, my husband, knows I love him fiercely, but there is something so basic, innate and overpowering about a mother's love for her children!

I try to do product reviews on Friday, but I had to put my review on hold for this post!  This week, I'm going to promote 5 blogs in leiu of my favorite product. 

Blogs to follow:  I'm not sure if all them have less than 200 followers, but I really enjoy these up and coming blogs!!! 

Vegetarian Mamma - page dedicated to healthy choices... what's not to love?
3 girls and 1 boy -  a fellow military wife with tons of kiddos... gotta show her some love!
Live, Love and Learn with Ms. Mommy HH6 - Household 6 (HH6) is a commander's wife call sign... fellow military wife... in her 30's... so much in common!
Two In Diapers- hilarious... with some good advice along the way!
Strawberry Snails Photography- amazing photos... and a lovely personality... an "old" friend of mine from middle school/high school in the very late eighties/early nineties... what???

Thanks so much for stopping by Cave Princess :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

This Post May Make me Unpopular Part Two

Have you ever caught yourself mid-judgement of a fellow woman?  I strive to keep my thoughts about other people very positive; you never know what struggles life has thrown at them.  My post Unpopular: Part One centers around acceptance, so why do I find some female behavior so disturbing?

I'm all for women embracing their singular sexuality and sensuality.  What could be a more feminist philosophy than accepting and revering that which makes us female?  We should be proud of our bodies and unafraid of displaying our confidence. 

But, when does that confidence shift to a need for attention?  I applaud women confidant enough in their appearance to wear figure enhancing outfits.... and find absolutely nothing wrong with showcasing the beauty of the female form (there are so many amazing shapes and sizes out there).

For the past week and a half I've been working out at various gyms on a military instillation.  Army bases often post dress code guidelines of appropriate gym apparel. For example, sports bras may not be worn alone and shorts must provide adequate coverage. Regardless of location, on a military base or in the civilian world, most women I have observed generally dress in the range of modest to tastefully sexy when working out in mixed company. It fills me with pride to see women of all ages, shapes and sizes looking strong, feminine, sexy, confidant and powerful on the gym floor, on the track, in a spin class, in a yoga studio, etc.

One of the functional gyms (Crossfit oriented but very adaptable to my style of fitness) on the fort has quickly become my favorite.  I feel incredibly comfortable there and enjoy all of the equipment.  At night, it tends to house a younger crowd looking to impress (hey,,,, we've all been there at some point in our lives).  I've noticed Crossfit girls in trendy little outfits frequenting this gym.  I truly find them adorable and am impressed by their fierce abilities (I'm talking about multiple muscle ups), but sometimes these same girls feel the need to "cool off" by tying their tanks up under their sports bras and folding their short shorts down past the hip bone. Shortie shorts are fabulous.  I own and wear a few pairs, but I DO NOT DEADLIFT IN THEM!!!!  I HATE to be a critical person, but every time I see this behavior I roll my eyes.  What looks good for a photo shoot does not necessarily translate into an ordinary day at the gym.

It is human to seek approval and enlightening to revel in confidence, but when does pride in your feminine appearance shift to pleas for attention?

Thursday, June 21, 2012


It is official. . . I am obsessed with chocolate green smoothies.  A picture from the Eating Like a Bird blog inspired me to create my own antioxidant concoction.  This recipe is absolutely DIVINE.  I'm very proud of it and want to share such delicious nutrition with everyone!

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 T raw cocoa powder or carob powder (I've been using carob with yummy success)
1/2 cup pineapple
1/2 cup cherries
2-3 cups spinach

Approximately six months ago, I started drinking spinach, kale, romaine, you name it . . .  My inspiration came after viewing an insightful documentary. (See previous post What I Should Eat).  Ever since, experimenting with various blends has evolved into a little hobby. Some recipes have been merely palatable while others (specifically the one listed above) rock my morning.  If you're hesitant to give green smoothies a try I am making you a promise:  you can't taste the spinach at all!

I use a wide variety of protein powders to accommodate all of my yummy alternative protein recipes:
Tera's Whey (I wrote an entire review on this brand in my post Busy Army Wife)
Jay Robb
NOW (I purchased mine on Amazon; it is not organic but uses no artificial sweeteners; the taste is very mild and blends nicely.)

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Super Hero Princess

Wordless Wednesday

In my post Unpopular, I stress that health and a positive body image, despite how others perceive you, should be the messages we convey to women, specifically our little girls.   My daughter, Bridget, refers to herself as a super hero princess.  I LOVE that about her!  I want both of my daughters to be strong, healthy women, proud of their bodies and more importantly proud of their minds and souls.  All three of my children have lovely little spirits.  Today I wanted to share a glimpse into the special, determined mind of Bridget!  Next week I will spotlight Miss Brielle!  And of course,,,, Mr. B (Brenden, my son) will be my inspiration for "Wordless Wednesday" in the upcoming weeks as well!

My little super hero princess!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Flirting with my Husband and a Killer Workout

My husband, Shane, is active duty in the Army.  Last week we PCS'd (Permanent Change of Station) from the DC area to Fort Bragg, NC. . . home of the 82nd Airborne Division.  I did not step foot into a gym for ten days opting to run stairs, take long walks, or just sneak in quick little workouts here and there while I set up my new house (which I happen to love - not always the case with military quarters). 

Shane and I left our three children with visiting grandparents (Ray Dog and GinGin Sugar) and hit one of the numerous gym facilities on Fort Bragg.  It was a perfect way to start off Father's Day with my husband,,, doing something active with the father of my children.  Not only does exercise make you look and feel wonderful,,, working out can be a fun way to flirt and show off your physical capabilities with your mate.  It always seems to reaffirm our attraction to each other! 

Today's workout represented a determined refocus and commitment to habitual exercise! I needed a break.  My muscles craved some rest and my motivation required a bit of rewiring.  Now.... I'm back... and ready to hit it hard!

The workout:

Shane and I challenged ourselves with a deck of cards.  Each card represented a different body part and number of reps.  Here is how we broke down the deck:

Hearts- Pull ups
Diamonds- Push ups  
Spades- Core
Clubs- Shoulders

Sample of what we did:

7 of hearts = 7 pull ups
Queen of diamonds = 10 push ups
King of spades = 10 sets of 10 (or 100 reps) mountain climbers off the wall
5 of clubs = 5 heavy shoulder presses

Get it?  Shuffle the deck and see what you get!  We kept switching up the exercises.  For pull ups we did chin ups, classic, assisted, etc.  Our push ups included diamond, incline, decline, classic, on a medicine ball, etc.  Some of our core exercises included holding planks, off the wall mountain climbers, roman chair leg lifts; with the core work sometimes we multiplied the card number by 10 in order to achieve a good burn.  Our shoulder exercises hit the front, medial and rear part of the deltoids.

Um.... yea.... I'm having a difficult time lifting my arms right now.  Love it!  Give this idea a try sometime.  The variety is limitless, and you can be so creative.  Please share some of your ideas with me!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Daily Menu- Example of What I Eat in a Day. . .

In the past two days, multiple sources have requested for me to provide a sample menu of what I typically eat.  Here are two sample menus!

Eating totally clean menu:

Breakfast: Protein pancake made with a small portion of fruit.  This morning I made a chocolate protein pancake with 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1/4 cup egg whites, 1/8 cup unsweetened almond milk, roughly 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 packet Stevia.  
A green smoothie . . . my favorite vegetable smoothies usually incorporate pineapple and spinach.  I eat a protein source with every meal, so I might have scrambled egg whites or  something I've batched cooked, such as a protein muffins, chicken muffins, mini egg muffins (made with cooked quinoa rather than oats or flour). 
Snack:  1 can pole-caught, low mercury tuna fish (I prefer it packed in olive oil because I don't use mayo), handful of raw walnuts crushed by hand, brown mustard served over a bed of greens or with cucumber slices.
Lunch:  Veggie omelet scramble. . . 2 eggs scrambled with vegetables using coconut oil.
Snack:  This is the time of day I can get into trouble...grazing while I make dinner... so I like to keep ready made snacks around such as:  protein cake balls, protein cookies, mini egg cups, turkey muffins (all of these recipes can be found on my Facebook page Cave Princess).
Dinner:  My dinners consist of 4-5 oz. of meat or eggs and vegetables.  On occasion, I eat quinoa (it is a seed not a grain) which is a very clean carb loaded with protein.

Indulging a bit menu:
Breakfast:  Same as above. 
Snack:  Same as above.  More prone to grazing.
Lunch:  Same as above.  More  prone to grazing.
Snack:  Dark chocolate 70% or greater, Greek frozen yogurt, Fage Greek Yogurt with my favorite chia seed homemade jam.  When I indulge in dairy why Greek?  Frankly, I prefer the taste and texture, but it is also packed with less carbs and more protein! 
Dinner:  Same as above.  Steal bites of my children's dessert.

See a trend?  On my off-days I'm going to indulge in something sweet and steal bites from my family here and there.  I'm not training for anything specific, but I feel better when I eat clean.  Of course I live my life:  eat birthday cake, enjoy dinner with friends, etc.  Last night my family and I went to a huge party honoring one of our military friends.  The event was catered with pasta, garlic bread knots, a chicken dish and salad.  I ate a big plate of salad greens (no dressing) with the chicken on top.  The chicken was breaded and covered in a brown sauce, but I didn't sweat it, because I wanted to enjoy myself with friends, and I wasn't tempted by the pasta and bread.  After dinner I stole a few bites of Brenden's (my son) cannoli!

Now here is my product review!  Every single day I drink about a gallon of water and herbal tea or green tea. Recently, I won a tea giveaway featured by Two Moms a Little Time and a Keyboard

Tiesta Tea

As a huge consumer of herbal tea/green tea I was pleasantly surprised by this fruity, green tea concoction from Tiesta Tea.  First, it smells divine.  I keep it in the cupboard with my tea cups.  Every time I open the cabinet door a lovely smell greets me.  Second, it has a pleasantly full taste that satisfies a little little sugar craving; nothing too sweet just a nice fruity note.  Finally, caffeine can make me jittery, but I am able to drink two cups of this in the morning and early afternoon with no issue!  I will definitely purchase this tea!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

This post may make me unpopular. . . Part One

This post may be make me unpopular with some people and may run contrary to fitness perspectives.   Conversely, my goal with Cave Princess is to be inclusive and accepting of all individuals interested in understanding their bodies.  With that comes the acceptance of different beliefs and different body types.  That is why I research numerous books and articles on different diet philosophies: vegetarian, vegan, paleo, raw, and allow all of them to influence my food choices.  Clearly there is no "one size fits all" solution to healthy living.  Consequently, my research is focused on best practices from a variety of resources.  Again, my objective is to share knowledge with those individuals who are pursuing their healthy living goals.     

I recently read a rant written by a particular woman who was experiencing insecurity from within the paleo community.  In short, she felt that people considered her to be not “lean” enough to represent a nutrition movement.  Initially, I felt connected to the writer.  After all, it is not easy being a girl; we have a ton of pressure to be petite and pretty!  As I read further I grew very uncomfortable with the scale and scope of her analysis. 

The writer threw around what “appropriate” bodyfat levels for women should be, and how women who go below a certain percentage (which happened to be rather high) might experience fertility issues.  You have to dip pretty far down into the low teens/single digits to stop menstruating.  How do I know?  Because I’ve been about 12-14% BF (measuring bodyfat is not an exact science-count on 2-4% inaccuracy) and my cycle was completely normal.  I chart my fertility consistently and found I ovulated on a regular basis as well.  Women don’t have to be 25% BF to be considered fertile creatures.  We should be applauding each other for reaching our goals!  Women can be sexual and fertile at various bodyfat levels.  I'm not advocating single digit BF levels; however, a woman can remain and lean and fertile! 
The subsequent comments at the bottom of the post were incredibly harsh.  "Real women have curves; men don’t like women with six packs".  Guess what?  I naturally have a six pack.  Losing fat comes from my stomach first- not my waistline, not my face, not my arms or legs,,,,, from my abs.  (Don't ask about my butt...fat loves to linger there!)  Am I not a feminine woman because that is where I lose fat first?  Why bash?  Are your insecurities so pervasive?  I follow various Facebook fan pages.  On one of those pages Cameron Diaz was featured.  I'm not a huge fan of Cameron Diaz, but women were bashing her for having "man" shoulders, muscular abs, and no boobs.  Really?  Is that where we are?  Insulting women for being too strong and lean?  Making fun of women that dedicate part of their lives to fitness?  Now women are either too fat, too skinny or too fit?  No wonder young girls suffer from distorted body images.

This is a picture of me (I just ran to the bathroom to take it).  It is the end of the day, I had some Greek frozen yogurt (cheat meal), and my stomach is bloated; I have been eating clean but not monitoring my diet closely and exercising sporadically this week due to my move to North Carolina.  My abs are still visible.  Does that make me less feminine?  I hope not!  

My daughters already talk about wanting to look pretty.  I heard my three year old daughter Brielle mention she didn't want to wear a particular outfit because it didn't make her look pretty.  I could not hide my tears.  This is Brielle eating one of my gluten-free paleo chocolate chip cookies during her last day of (three year old) preschool.  How can that precious little thing worry about being pretty?  I already monitor what I say about food and fitness around my children. 

We should be thinking about our daughters, our nieces, our granddaughters, our friends, our sisters when we judge and comment negatively on the appearance of other women.   I'm proud of my body, even my abs- though some may find them unfeminine.  Maybe one day I will be confidant and brave enough to share a picture of my least favorite part!  If you can't discern what that is.... scroll up and read again! 

Tell me what part of your body you're most proud of. . . I hope some of you will say your brain!