Recipe: Chili. Workout: Strength

If I just want to wish you an average Thursday, do I just say “Thursday?” Instead of ‘Happy Thursday!”


Pardon the headache and grumpy mood.

Today started cheery and bright with the puppy. She got her morning cookie out on the patio. She’s too cute.

‘Mama, just gimme the cooooookie. I sit real nice this this”

“Look, mom. I even give my paw. I’m a good puppy”

And then, I somehow managed to take my favorite picture of the day

I absolutely love that face.

So I took her for a super long walk. She, of course, led the way.

I kid you not, I looked a wreck on that walk. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t even wearing a bra. Disgusting.

You can even see my flyaways in this shadow pic

We ended up walking longer than expected and Layla needed a shade break

Oh right. Before the walk, I did two things

  • I made chili
  • I worked out

The chili was sort of a throw-together meal, so I can’t really give you EXACT amounts, but it went like this


  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 medium yellow onions (from our garden!)
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • give or take 10 mini carrots

(chop all that stuff up)

  • 1.5 lbs ground beef

(brown the beef in a skillet)

  • paprika
  • cayenne pepper
  • chili powder
  • onion powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • parsley
  • basil

(to taste)

  • 1 big ass can of tomato sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste


Throw it all in a crock pot. Cook on high for 2 hours, low for 2 hours. EAT.

It was soooooooo good. I can’t wait for leftovers.

On to the workout…

My leg felt a bit better when I woke up this morning, but I didn’t really want to take any chances with high impact stuff in case it made it worse. So I stuck with strength (ps: last night I couldn’t go without doing any kind of workout, so I did 200 situps on the stability ball. phew)

I did 5 ‘sets’ of exercises. Each set I did 2x through. If you need me to further explain moves, let me know!

Set 1

  • weighted lunges (12 each leg)
  • weighted squats (12)
  • weighted split squat (12 each leg)

Set 2

  • Donkey kicks (16 bent knee, 16 straight leg toe taps, 16 crossover knee)
  • Double leg glute squeeze (video shows the exercise on the ball, I do these on the floor)

Set 3

Set 4

  • Concentration curls (8 full, 8 all the way down-halfway up, 8 all the way up-halfway down. each arm)
  • Tricep pulls & extension (8 each)
  • Chest press & Flys on the stability ball (8 each)

Set 5

  • Behind your back pulses (12 count)
  • Overhead press- palms in (12)
  • Lateral extension (12)

Time from this cranky pants to hit the hay.


Thursday Q&A

I got 10 requests, so I’ll give 10 answers. Here we go.

What are some tips for throwing together meals?

The simple, and kind of asshole answer would be: find shit and mix it. But to be honest, I just look for a carb/starch, veggie(s), and a protein. Once you’ve got that basic formula, it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy from there on out. Here are my usual suspects:


  • Israeli Couscous
  • Quinoa
  • Potatoes (sweet, red, russet)
  • Whole Wheat pasta

Veggies (the usual suspects)

  • zucchini
  • peppers
  • mushrooms
  • onions
  • carrots
  • spinach


  • Chicken
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Bacon (only on Sundays, because it doesn’t count)

There is no rhyme or reason as to how it can be assembled. Sometimes I roast the veggies, sometimes sautee, sometimes raw. The meat is generally on the skillet, or they’re leftovers. And the veggies? It’s really what’s still edible in the crisper. I leave the seasoning pretty simple: EVOO, S&P. That way, if there are leftovers, it’s still pretty basic and you can do whatever you want with it. Tyler usually adds hot sauce or ranch dressing or soy sauce. I like it plain.

What’s the most awkward situation you’ve been in?

I’m awkward in general, so either I write a novel titled: JEN, or tell you about accidental public farts or nip slips.

What are you top workout moves?

I was actually talking about this with one of the girls in my bootcamp yesterday. I think the best overall exercise you should do to work total body is the burpee. If you have no equipment, or you’re stuck in a hotel room, or only have 5 minutes to get your sweat on: choose burpees. True, they are dreaded, but shut up and do them and you’ll be sore all over the next day.

Lately, I have been obsessed with Pikes. Here’s what it is:



That’ll get your core working. No joke.

I also love curtsy lunges with a bicep curl, moving into a high knee and lateral raise. (Holding weights in each hand, take your left foot and step diagonally behind your right leg, keeping your torso and hips facing forward. As you drive you left knee to the ground for the lunge, perform a bicep curl. On your way back to the start position, pick up the left foot and raise your right knee to the side of your body, while simultaneously performing a lateral raise with your arms.)

LOVE squats. Any and all variations.

Clean and presses.

Hmm, I love everything? I don’t know. I go in phases. These are my favorites for now. In six months it could be tricep dips and wall sits. I kind of go through phases (but i still make sure to engage in muscle confusion and total body exercises!)

Why is Athena so awesome?

Again, another novel. I met Athena at the gym (shocker, I know). I was taking both her classes every week. I was obsessed. Not with her, but with her classes. I was also taking about 528529 other classes a week. I had turned into a gym junkie. I made her fudge one Christmas. She made me a mixtape (it was love). Once I got certified to teach, we became friends. And drank margaritas on occasion. We share new moves, blogs we love, recipe ideas. Seriously, she’s awesome. Check out her blog. Now.

What are you looking forward to most on your trip back home?

Yay! I’m flying to NY August 6th, heading out to see all my gym friends in Boston for a bit, then back to NY to chill with the fam. What am I most excited for? Seeing my friends. Having a girls night out. No boyfriends. No husbands. No babies. (Kysha, it’s different in your circumstance. The baby is IN your belly, so it doesn’t count)

Better yet, no talk ABOUT boyfriends, OR husbands, OR babies.

Just having fun with the people who ‘get’ me.

Ok, someone will probably have to force me back on the plane to Calgary at the end of the trip.

What were you for Halloween every year?

I don’t remember EVERY year, but I will do my best to remember what I can.

  • A pumpkin
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • A cat
  • A gypsy (not the ones that are on TLC)
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • A hobo
  • Thing 2
  • A nurse
  • Richard Simmons (that one was awkward because I had a huge boot on my foot. So technically I was Richard Simmons gone wrong)
  • Tom Cruise from Risky Business
  • Lady Gaga
  • Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman

Yup. I got progressively worse. Maybe I should shoot for being a pumpkin again this year.

How did you become a fitness instructor/get your certifications?

I was actually approached by one of the instructors (hi Liz!) at the Y who noticed I was at her class like EVERY DAMN WEEK. (Even when my car broke down and had to get towed, I had the guy just drop me off at the gym so I could make her class). She helped me get signed up for a certification course for Corpbasics Cario Kix and Cardio Cutz.

Soon after, I got certified in First Aid/CPR and I was teaching one class every week. I wanted to do more, though. I became so engrossed in the thought of being able to bring fitness to others, that I practically lived in the gym. (Ok, I did have a life though. I worked a full-time boring-ass office job, AND was taking grad school classes, AND I got a new dog, AND I was driving 4 hours every weekend to go home.)

Liz then approached me with the idea to get certified as a personal trainer through ACSM. The Y was offering a 3-day workshop to help prep for the exam, so I signed up. I knew a lot of the material, but o-m-g was there a ton more that I didn’t know. And the test was HARD. Like, try to memorize every constellation in the universe, then draw them all with a blindfold on. Super hard. But I studied and studied. Took the bajillionty hour test, and I passed. Since the certification is really the gold-standard for training, I really had the golden ticket for whatever I wanted to do at the gym.

I got up to teaching a Core class, Total Body Sculpt, Express Core, Express Lower Body, and Cardio Ball. And subbing for Athena and anyone else when I could.

I finagled my hours at work so that I could accommodate class times at the gym. Because the gym had priority. But the job had the paycheck. (Well, the higher paycheck. Unfortunately)


Then I moved.

To Canada.

And all those certs I had?

Out. The. Window.

I have been starting from scratch since February so I can at least make some money training up here. So far, I have gotten re-certified for CPR/First-Aid, taken a Fundamentals course, and a Group Strength course. I have about 3 billion other courses to go before I’m squared away. (The system here in Canada is way more confusing than the States).

Luckily, the director at the Y has really helped me out and allowed for me to volunteer instruct the outdoor bootcamps. I can continue to do this until all my certs are complete, then I can teach more indoor classes and what not.

We shall see!

What are some of your favorite breakfasts?

Honestly, I go in cycles. I’ll become obsessed with one thing, and have that for breakfast every day until I can’t stand it any longer. My recent faves have been:

  • Cheerios and almond milk (or Panda Puffs! I JUST FOUND THEM HERE AND I AM HAPPY!)
  • Eggs
  • Whole Wheat English Muffin w/almond butter
  • SMOOOOOOOOTHIES (omg there are so many good ones. pb banana, blueberry, strawberry, chocolate mocha. I usually throw in plain 0% greek yogurt and chia seeds for the omega-3s)
  • Protein pancakes (again, with chia seeds, greek yogurt, etc. and I top them with either almond butter or raw honey instead of maple syrup. Even though Canadian maple syrup is probably one of the most divine flavors ever.)
  • On weekends, Tyler makes Eggs Benedict. I devour them.

What are some of your favorite U.S. shops?

…all the others that I like are pretty international (Banana Republic, LULULEMON, Gap, Sephora)

What’s your love story?

Ack. Maybe this is also my answer to the most awkward situation. Let me try to break it down without it being too confusing.

I was living in Boston. I started dating a guy who I went to college with. He was Canadian and had gone back to Ottawa after school. We had a long distance relationship going for over a year. It was going really good. Then, I found out he was dating another girl in Ottawa. At the same time. And they had been together for years. Ack. We both broke up with him and the other girl and I became friends. Last summer, she suggested we go to Calgary for the Stampede. I drank a glass of wine, then booked the flights online. (whoops). Turns out, she was friends with Tyler when he used to live in Ottawa. She had arranged for us to stay at Tyler’s house in Calgary for the duration of the trip. After I left Calgary, Tyler and I began texting (like maniacs). He had some extra vacation time, so he flew out to Boston…literally a week later. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Is that a weird How We Met story?

Have any more questions for me? Send them my way!!