The Best 30-Minute Holiday Workout

30minholidayYes, the holiday season is super busy. Between things ramping up at work, busy malls, gifts to buy, cooking and holiday parties galore, it can be awfully difficult to fit in exercise. It’s also cold, and we don’t know about you, but something about that chilly weather makes it so much harder to get out of bed an hour earlier to fit in a workout.

Thanks to Nicole from Pumps&Iron, it really couldn’t be easier! Her AMRAP Workouts (As Many Reps As Possible) have you set a timer for an allotted amount of time and complete as many reps as you can in that period. Once the bell goes off, you’re done! Try to beat your record each time, getting through the reps an increasing number of times as you get stronger.

This one is a simple 30 minutes and needs no equipment but your own body, so you can do it anywhere, anytime. Baking a nice pie for your next holiday party? Complete this workout while it’s in the oven!

30-Minute Bodyweight AMRAP Workout
Set a timer for 30 minutes and complete as many rounds of the following circuit as possible.

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  • 10 Jump Lunge to Mountain Climbers: Start in a lunge position and jump up, landing with opposite leg in front, back in a lunge position. Place hands flat on ground and do a mountain climber set (one on each side) so that the same foot ends up in front. Stand back up into lunge position. That’s one rep.
  • 10 Breakdance Planks (each side): Start in a plank position. Step your right foot up and out to the side. Bring your left foot across your body, in between your right hand and right foot. Lift your right hand into the air as you twist your body, thrusting your hips up towards the ceiling as you shift your weight onto that left hand. Think of the motion as weaving your left foot through the right side. Reverse the motion back into a plank position. See the exercise in action HERE if you’re reading this like whaaat is this chick talking about (it’s a tough one to explain!).
  • 20 Alternating Sumo Squat Jump Leg Lifts: Squat down, legs wide apart and butt back. Jump up, landing back in starting position. Shift your weight to your left leg and kick your right leg straight out to the side, staying low the hold time. Return to starting position. Repeat, only lifting left leg after your next jump squat.
  • 20 Leg Lifts to Butt Lifts: Laying on your back with hands under your bum for support, lift legs off so that they’re hovering off the ground. Lift them  up, perpendicular to the ground (keeping them straight the whole time) and then lift your butt off the ground, thrusting your feet up towards the ceiling. Lower butt to ground, and then lower legs back down to starting hovering position.

New to these exercises? Learn more on Pumps and Iron!

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Wrap Your Presents with Fun DIYs!

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For some reason the holidays have us feeling crafty. Perhaps it’s the influence of Pinterest or the desire to get a little creative come the end of the year. And with the opportunity to create some awesome DIY gifts and décor this holiday, the ideas feel endless!

One of our favorite parts of the holiday season is sitting down with a cup of cocoa, some cheerful music and a whole lot of gifts to get into the spirit and wrap away! An hour of wrapping and you have a living room filled with pretty colors and exciting surprises for friends and family.

Then we thought- how can we extend this great wrapping event? Why not get a little creative with our wrapping this year? On top of this, we recently found out that Americans as a whole use “four million tons of wrapping paper and shopping bags” per holiday season… that’s 30 million trees! Saving this wrapping paper by repurposing materials you already have may just be one of the easiest ways to give back this year.

Check out some our best DIYs we’ve found around the web to try this year. Share your photos with us on Facebook or in the comments below!

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Paper bags, a sharpie and a red pom-pom make for adorable wrapping.wrapping-ideas-christmas-lights

 A bit of art paper, paint and your fingertips go a long way for this cute idea! Tutorial here.

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Insert natural elements into your wrapping with pinecones and tree stems. 

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 Make using old newspapers a bit more festive with a little string and some handmade gift tags. 

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The perfect gift for your favorite chef just got a little bit cuter.

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You don’t have to be in elementary school to have fun with paper snowflakes! 

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Who knew the kiddos on your list could have just as much fun playing with their wrapping paper as the toys underneath?

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Using a bit of twine and a couple stickers, it’s super easy to make your gifts look like they came directly from the North Pole for an extra cute touch.
Tutorial here.

Have you wrapped your presents creatively in the past? We’d love to hear your ideas!

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Style & Support from Vionic with Orthaheel Technology

vionic1We talk a lot about foot health and comfort here at PlanetShoes. Which shoes do we find the most comfortable? What socks fit best? Which boots could you literally wear all week long with no fuss? We’re obsessed with the ways shoes fit and feel and know exactly which brands make your feet feel amazing.

One brand we all swear by is Vionic with Orthaheel Technology. Founded by Phillip J. Vasyli, an experienced podiatrist, these shoes, sandals and slippers are infused with the best footwear technologies and techniques discovered by his thorough and ground-breaking research. Through his years of experimentation, Dr. Vasyli invented the first orthotic insole available without a prescription… the insole that is now present in every one of Vionic’s shoes!

vionic2You can always tell when you slip on a pair of Vionic. Between the essential stability, addictive support in the footbed and unmatched relief from the midsole, these shoes take care of each and every part of the foot. The orthotic within each shoe allows for the foot’s proper, natural alignment, soothing aches and pains at the source.

We never really thought of the importance of support and structure in our slippers… after all, you just use them lounging around the house. However, when we thought about it, we realized that since we practically live in our slippers on nights and weekends, having support is just as important! Vionic helped us grasp this, infusing their slippers with their raved-about orthotic technology. After all, wood floors and tile can put just as much pressure on your feet as concrete and asphalt!

Try out Vionic shoes and slippers this holiday. Their Orthaheel technology really can’t be beat… we’ve tried it!

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Where is Sugar Truly Lurking?

15061081508_c0a4154bcd_zThe holidays are so wonderfully sweet… both the cheer and the desserts. While the negative effects of sugar are often discussed and written about, it’s so difficult to avoid the sweet stuff during this time of year. Between drinks, desserts and yummy pastries, there’s simply no way! Some of these desserts only come around once a year, and we know you’ve earned it.

The scariest part of it all, though, is that the majority of sugar we eat over the holidays doesn’t even come from any of these sweet concoctions. Most of the sugar we ingest comes from the normal, healthy foods we eat every day: salad dressing, fruit juices, marinara sauce… the list goes on and on. Canned tomato sauce, for example, has as much sugar per serving as a Twinkie. It’s also super important to look at yogurts closely… while they naturally will contain about 10 grams of sugar, many of the flavored varieties can have over 30 grams (as much as a candy bar!).

So how do we limit our sugar intake over the holidays? If you’re anything like us, and adore sweets, it’s a great idea to cut down on sugar consumption within your normal eating habits to account for the extra sugar added on at those holiday parties. But how do you start?

Firstly, think through each item you eat on a regular basis. Do you love cereal in the morning? Check out the sugar counts next time you buy a box. Even ‘healthy’ cereals made from whole wheat and bran can be loaded with sugar to improve taste. And while it’s easy to be fooled by the label, organic cereals can also be full of the sweet stuff.

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Flickr: totbakeddesign

Nutrition labels show sugar in grams, which is only helpful if that means something to how your brain processes the information. Food for thought: 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar. If you’ve ever baked cookies, this measurement is a bit easier to picture and makes a whole lot more sense of those oftentimes confusing, mysterious labels.

Being aware and mindful as you walk down the grocery aisles, checking the nutrition labels on each of your most-eaten items, can do wonders for your health and waistline. If words make more sense to you than numbers, you may be apt to check the ingredient list before the labels. This totally works too. Looking for how high on the list sugar falls is a great tactic, but it’s important to know a few of the million names for sugar when doing so.

Substitute names for sugar include: high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, barley malt, molasses, brown rice syrup, cane juice crystals, cane sugar, carob syrup, corn sweetener, crystalline fructose, dextran, diastase, evaporated cane juice, and fructose.  Find a list of 57 different names here.

With high-sugar diets leading to diabetes, obesity and heart disease, it’s more important than ever to take control of your intake. While the holidays are meant for treating yourself and indulging in those goodies you love most, it also makes taking control of your regular meals even more vital. Enjoy the holiday and feel good doing it by limiting your sugar for a happier, healthier you!

Helpful Sources:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/19/healthy-sugar-sugars_n_5315969.html
http://www.takepart.com/video/2014/10/27/sugar-john-oliver?cmpid=tpdaily-eml-2014-10-28
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/04/jj-virgin-sugar-impact-diet_n_6102534.html?cps=gravity

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Wish List: A Cute Form of Hat Hair

hathairMittens, gloves, scarves and hats are guaranteed to fill your heart with cheer this holiday season, while seriously warming up your outdoor fun! The temperature outside may be cold, but it doesn’t mean you need to stay indoors to have a great time. It’s all about bundling up… and wool, cold-weather accessories have you covered!

Let snowflakes fall slowly and melt dreamily onto hugging wool outfit accents. They easily add a pop of color and a bit of spunk to any winter outfit. Do you own a classic, warm black coat that you practically live in during the winter months? Spice up that coat easily with a great, colorful scarf and some grey knit gloves to keep your fingers nice and toasty.

We’re kind of obsessed with our accessory brands for their unique pieces and beautiful wool materials. Pistil makes amazingly warm scarves and hats that make any outfit pop while Xob upcycles yarn to make one-of-a-kind creations. The fun truly never stops with our accessories collection!

Check out some of our stunning styles, or shop the whole lot here.

Cozy, Comfy Scarves

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Keep Your Head Warm in Hats!

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Mittens and Gloves for Cold Fingers

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What accessories are on your wish list this year? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Homemade Coconut Thin Mint Cookies!

Thin_Mint_Plate

Well, we are officially in the depths of holiday season, and right now, we’re really loving it! Warm desserts and hot cocoa, gift-giving, time with family and friends and decorated storefronts have us all in quite the chipper mood.

One of our favorite parts of the holiday season, of course, is the food! Roasted winter veggies, cheesy comfort foods and scrumptious, chocolate-y desserts are to-die-for during this time of year. It’s the perfect time to indulge and treat yourself at the end of an accomplished year of health and happiness.

In the same vein, we thought… why not infuse a little health into our desserts? The holidays are filled with the need for chocolate goodness, so why not challenge ourselves to find a recipe that uses all whole ingredients while still staying absolutely delicious?

And then we found it! Andrew from One Ingredient Chef has dreamed up this recipe for Coconut Thin Mint Cookies, made with no refined sugars and all whole flours. They still taste like your classic yummy Thin Mints… with a healthy twist!

Try it out and let us know how it goes via the comments below. Happy baking!

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Step One
Combine all the dry ingredients (flours, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda) in a large mixing bowl and stir together. In another bowl, melt the wet ingredients (coconut oil, applesauce, almond milk, vanilla, and peppermint extract) and whisk together until fully incorporated. Note: if you prefer less Thin_Mint_Dough“healthy tasting” cookies, feel free to add more coconut oil and less apple sauce.

Step Two
Carefully add the wet ingredients into the dry and gently fold together. At this point, roll up your sleeves and use the best kitchen tools you have (your hands) to squeeze this dough together and form it into one large ball.

Step Three
Add the dough to a lightly-floured surface and roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Then, use a cookie cutter (or the rim of a cup) to cut out rounds about 1 1/2 – 2 inches in diameter. Bake on parchment paper at 350º F for 12-16 minutes until the cookies are firm and cooked all the way through.

Step Four
Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool and prepare the chocolate coating by melting dark chocolate chips/chunks in the microwave and adding a few drops of peppermint extract. You can either brush the chocolate over the cookies or go all-in and simply dip them into the bowl of melted chocolate. Thin_Mint_BrushFinally, top with a dusting of finely-shredded coconut (and optionally, crushed candy cane pieces).

Allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour so that the chocolate can set… if you can wait that long. :)

About the One Ingredient Chef
One Ingredient Chef is a healthy food blog run by Andrew Olson. His goal is simple: he wants you to become healthier than ever before while cooking the best food of your life. As he says, “The One Ingredient Diet is my simple answer to a world of processed foods. But this isn’t about munching on lettuce! My job is to show you (step-by-step) how to cook deliciously healthy food with only *real* ingredients.”

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