Saying No to the Summer Body

Saying No to the Summer Body

This conversation was sponsored by Denny’s in an ongoing partnership to bring you the newest menus and special offerings, as I am a member of Denny’s Diner Ambassador Council. All thoughts and opinions are magical and mine. 🙂

Growing up, I never knew there was a difference between my winter body and summer body, mainly because I am not the type of person that jumps at the chance to lay on the beach, or go for a hike, or strip down to barely there and get into water, either. Mind you, I enjoy looking at the beach or admiring the forest – in pictures. I used to love being in the water when I was younger, and even swimming IN the ocean, especially Hawai’i. Until – FISH.

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Once I was old enough to realize they are IN THERE WITH ME – Nope.

No lakes, no oceans, sure as hell no rivers and whatever is growing in there can stay in there. I resolved to only eat fish, they are not my friends – they are in fact food (sorry Nemo, but Bruce was wrong, LOL).

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In Northern California, we have long summers. So, even getting a late start on priming our bodies to enjoy the heat of the sun, wearing the allowable allocation of the most minimal amounts of clothing, tends to last longer that other regions of the nation. Granted, not everyone follows the same allocation of clothing to the body, but hey, do you. It’s mid-July, but believe me summer is still going strong till October. I’m getting a later start, but better late than never, right?

Forget the summer body, focus on your lifetime body

The last few weeks I’ve been hitting the ground running, in hopes to get my booty in shape for the summer, but with a reasonable goal to reach by my 35th birthday in November. I lovingly call it “Fly by 35.” Now, I am all about loving one’s self, so for those of you thinking, “girl you’re already fly, love yourself,” THANK YOU. I know. AND I am going to continue to love myself by making sure I am still running around by ages 50 and 60 because I have a lot to do with my life, like hopefully chase after my grandkids and great-grandkids. You know I want to be able to run down Main Street U.S.A. with each of them, for their first trip. I’m just early-prepping my aging body to withstand the future adventures. That’s how I see it anyway.

Then I began to think about it, and I realized that I don’t want a summer bod, I want a lifetime bod. I’ve said it in previous posts, it’s easier said than done. My weight fluctuates and my life circumstances change so I put workouts on the back burner, or even at times if food money was slim, I eat the crap to give the good stuff to the kids, or I just don’t eat at all. It’s a sacrifice as a parent, right? But that’s not healthy either and I plan on being around for a while, so I decided that I needed to get in gear. I’m sharing my work-in-progress plan of staying on track with a lifetime bod. I’m not getting any younger, and L O V E countdowns, so my first goal is to see how I can stay on track up to my 35th birthday.

3 Things that Will Help Me Stay on Track for a Lifetime Bod

1. Food

Being allergic to a lot of things means my food intake is already limited. However, I am not allergic to chocolate (thankfully) but that also means that I have to limit what I’m not allergic to (chocolate) in order to balance my gut with my muscles. Regardless, I have to eat. When you’re working out, expending energy, you need to intake energy in the form of foods and supplements. For work and home I switch up between morning protein shakes, fruits and raw veggies and I usually will eat leftovers from dinner that week. I haven’t gotten into the meal prep craze so I take baby steps. One meal at a time, literally.

When it’s time to head out the door for a family meal, there are a few spots that I can count on to customize meals that fit my lifestyle and allergies. Aside from Disneyland, one of my favorite places to grab a bite (at any hour of the day), is Denny’s. Breakfast, Lunch, or  Dinner, I know that I can jump in a booth and enjoy a meal that satisfies my tummy and keeps me under calories.

Image © Denny's Image © Denny’s

Even if you don’t have allergies to deal with, maybe you’re just monitoring your caloric intake or looking for healthier options, Denny’s Fit Fare Menu is a perfect place to start. There are four categories for Fit Fare: Lean, Light, Protein and Fiber.

They offer breakfast options like The Fit Slam (Lean, Light & Protein) is egg whites scrambled with spinach and grape tomatoes, bacon and an English Muffin; Banana Pecan Pancake Breakfast (Lean and Fiber) which sounds amazing – glazed pecans cooked into the wheat pancakes, fresh banana slices, egg whites and two strips of turkey bacon; and finally the Fit Fare Veggie Skillet (Light & Protein) – who says you can’t have veggies for breakfast?!

BONUS: For the gluten free customer, they offer gluten free English muffins! Throw the scrambled eggs, into the muffin and layer the bacon (hold the grape tomatoes, or get them on the side), and you have an awesome breakfast sandwich. You can even add a slice of cheese just to make sure it all stays in there together! I love cheese, so regardless of what kind of body I have cheese stays.

I’ll be more excited about the lunch, if Denny’s begins to carry gluten free hamburger buns, because their Chicken Avocado Sandwich is mouthwatering. Denny’s also offers a Cali Jack Burger (Protein & Fiber) and Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad (Lean & Light) for the lunch options. I could always just “bring my own bun” which wouldn’t be a first. 🙂

Fit Fare Alaska Salmon Image © Denny's Fit Fare Alaska Salmon Image © Denny’s

Dinner time is always a fun time because typically I have the whole family with me, so I tend to either share a meal with the hubby, or just have something light. I don’t like to eat a ton in the evenings, especially restaurant food, it’s heavy on my gut. I can definitely see myself eating off the Dinner options, because FISH. Remember my love for fish – on my plate? Denny’s has two delicious options of seafood – Tilapia Ranchero and a new dish, Alaska Salmon. Want red meat? Then the new Sirloin Steak is your best option.

When I’m not eating at Disneyland, Denny’s or trying out some cool new restaurant (I wish I did this one more), I’ll be toting my work lunch full of whatever delicious cuisine that my hubby and or kids prepared the night before! Or, I’ll be eating a gluten free cupcake. LOL.

2. Exercise

Eating right is only a portion of getting that lifetime bod. Movement is extremely important. I’ve realized after transitioning from retail to an office environment, sitting at my desk 8+ hours of the day works against my goals of maintaining a hot mama bod. I’m excited to say that I’ve been consistent in exercising either through walking, running, and/or my Nike Training Club workout app the last few weeks. On a good day, I do “two-a-days” which makes me feel super accomplished.

I’ve shared my excitement over the app in a previous post, and I swear it just keeps getting better! With one of the most recent updates, I am able to schedule my workout plan and time frame. This app also works in sync with the Nike+ Running app. I decided to create a workout plan for the month of July, just to test the waters. I’ve had some times that I had to edit my plan, because I didn’t have time, or was too sore, and the app allows that freedom to switch and add workouts.

3. Rest & Recover

I’m honestly having the hardest time with resting. My brain goes a billion miles per hour, there is ALWAYS something that needs to be done. Even if I skip a workout I am not resting, I’m doing something else. It’s important to allow your body to recover, realign and rest. Some of the ways that I’ve found to just relax my mind is by playing a game on my iPhone, or listening to an audio book.

My current rest obsession is Disney’s Emoji Blitz. 🙂 It’s a cute little game and you play to earn Disney Emojis for your keyboard. H E L L O – Disney Emojis. Having conversations with your crew are more fun with Disney magic.

In case you want to try it out, my awesome friend Mindy wrote all about it over on her blog This FairyTale Life. If you haven’t downloaded the game yet, you should. It’s adorable and quite therapeutic! 

When you are consistently working out, make sure you are taking the proper time to let your body recover, especially if you are really starting new or have been stagnant for a long time. You will feel it, maybe not immediately, but usually the next day or two. Go hard or go home, yes, but don’t hurt yourself!

You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
– Louise L. Hay ❤️✨🌺

All in all, I’m learning to mindful of my body and my spirit. On days that I just don’t want to workout or feel like I need to get that entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s in my mouth, I have to remind myself that I only get one body, so I need to love and care for it on a daily basis, always look to maintaining it for future use. This might look different for everyone, we all are unique. There’s no right size or shape. We should work on being fulfilled, happy and whole inside and out. I want to be around for a long time. I know that my hubby and kids want that, too. There’s a lot that I haven’t experienced in life, but I’m hopeful that these eyes will be able to see things, my feet will be able to take me to far off places and that my hands will be able to create magic for a long time. Happy and healthy. That’s my goal.

Will you join me in saying “no” to the summer body and work towards maintaining a lifetime body? 🙂

Spread Magic

This conversation was sponsored by Denny’s in an ongoing partnership to bring you the newest menus and special offerings, as I am a member of Denny’s Diner Ambassador Council. All thoughts and opinions are magical and mine. 🙂

Moments in Dining Out Together

Moments in Dining Out Together

If you’re anything like me, dinner time can be hit or miss. With the hustle and bustle of working full time and coming home and assuming the “homework dance,” while attempting to cook dinner with your spouse, whilst having a conversation, it gets pretty overwhelming. Sometimes, it’s nice to just say to cooking, “not today,” and plan for a night out.

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Whether we sit together at our own dinner table, or plan a special time out to eat together, there is something special about sharing a meal with your family. At the end of a long day, even if I do spend time in the kitchen, sitting down with my family brings comfort, peace and I love the interactions that ensue.

This past week I began a new year as part of Denny’s Ambassador Council, so it was a special treat to take the kids out (on a school night at that!), and share a family meal. My kids & I love our local Denny’s in Lodi (I-5 and Hwy 12); the staff is always very attentive, they take great care of us, and the experience is always wonderful.

I know that I’ve shared before that Kids Eat Free on Tuesday nights, and with a large family, we like to take advantage of the savings! We specifically went to Denny’s to try their newest menu “Red, White and Bacon!” Do you love bacon? Because my family LOOOOVES bacon (I won’t lie, I’m eating a gluten free bacon breakfast sandwich as I type). My kids freaked out when I told them the menu was all about bacon. They were immediately sold and the countdown to our Tuesday night excursion began.

For all of my bacon-loving movie fans, Denny’s “Red, White and Bacon” menu is a partnership with Twentieth Century Fox and their new film, Independence Day: Resurgence. 

Our kids are usually little angels when we go out. All of a sudden they remember their Ps and Qs, they are cordial with each other, and they share food! I often think we should go out more often for that alone! Unfortunately, the pocket book doesn’t always agree, so we get out when we can, and make it memorable with each experience.

If your kids can eat off the kids menu, let them. We encourage it, especially when we are looking to save a bit of money and honestly they get enough food, even as little tweens. Now, we do have a couple that can eat off the adult menu, so then we add an extra side (usually 99¢) from the kids’ menu.

Selecting their food is half the fun, as the kids’ menu changes just like the adult menu. Our kids still love to color and do the activities in the menu. I seriously hope they always keep their love for creating and handwriting, along with their childlike spirits! They are so fun!

The kid’s menu doesn’t have anything “new” but the activities, and you CAN substitute the new honey jalapeño bacon for regular bacon and it is delicious!

MOMENTS NEVER FORGOTTEN

I think my favorite times when we eat out include the conversation. The kids are always entertaining, and it is sweet to see how they are growing up into little adults. We will never get these moments back. Some days are absolutely trying as a parent, but nothing brings a smile to your face more than a stranger encouraging you and telling you how wonderful it is to see a large family enjoying meal OUTSIDE the home. I think it’s rare to see large families out and about, let alone confined in a restaurant. There was a time when we didn’t really go out because being outnumbered by toddlers and little ones isn’t always fun and games (for them it is, though). Ha. But they are growing up, and have almost mastered their inside voices that getting out is good for ALL of us, especially on those nights where my “not today” attitude is showing. Food brings us together, and it’s been blessing to have more opportunities to get out and dine together as a family. So, thank you Denny’s!

THE MENU

Some of the new and returning things that you’ll see in this limited edition menu include:

  • Red, White & Blue Slam® – It’s back! In honor of “Independence Day: Resurgence” this classic entree includes two fluffy blueberry buttermilk pancakes topped with strawberries, cream cheese icing, and whipped cream. Of course, a slam isn’t complete without two eggs cooked to order, hash browns, and your choice of two bacon strips or sausage links.
  • Honey Jalapeño Bacon Slam® – Everything that the Slam is known for – two eggs cooked to order, two buttermilk pancakes, hash browns, and thick-cut honey jalapeño bacon.
  • Triple Bacon Sampler – SIX strips of bacon!! Two strips each of honey jalapeño bacon, turkey bacon, and hickory smoked bacon, hash browns, two eggs cooked to order, and your choice of bread (don’t forget they have gluten free).
  • Honey Jalapeño Bacon Sriracha Burger – This is a Sriracha seasoned, hand pressed 100% beef patty topped with cheddar cheese, two strips of honey jalapeño bacon and creamy Sriracha sauce, served on Denny’s new brioche bun with a  side of French fries.
  • Loaded Bacon, Steak & Potato Skillet – note, this does not include honey jalapeno bacon, but it can be substituted!
  • Bacon Cheddar Tots – House-made shredded potatoes, bacon and cheddar cheese, served with sour cream for dipping! I bet this would actually taste good with ketchup. Or ranch. Or both. Just saying.
  • Maple Bacon Sundae – say WHAT?! I’ll have to go to Denny’s again, but on an empty stomach, because honestly by the time we got to dessert, I couldn’t look at anymore bacon. 🙂 It is on our “try next” list. This is exactly what it sounds like. Premium vanilla ice cream, maple syrup and crispy bacon.
  • Sweet Blueberry Sensations beverages
    • Lemon Berry Smoothie
    • Berry Blue Lemonade

ENTER THE SPECIAL SWEEPSTAKES

For a limited time, Denny’s and Twentieth Century Fox are inviting you to participate in a fun sweepstakes, with the grand prize being whisked away to the red carpet for the Hollywood premier of Independence Day: Resurgence!

You can enter by posting a photo of a person that you’d want fighting alongside of you, should we ever encounter an alien invasion! Use the hashtag #IDRSweepstakes on Twitter and Instagram and be entered to win an all-inclusive trip to the Hollywood premier!

Are you enticed by the deliciousness of bacon? I’m not sure how well you can fight off aliens on a full stomach, but at that point I don’t think you’d care. 🙂

Spread Magic

This yummy conversation was sponsored by Denny’s in an ongoing partnership to bring you the newest menus and special offerings, I am a  member of Denny’s Diner Ambassador Council. All thoughts and opinions are magical and mine. 🙂

The Christmas Season Brings New Flavors

The Christmas Season Brings New Flavors

Well, it’s officially the Christmas season. The year has seemingly flown by and with Thanksgiving now on the back burner, people are okay with mentioning Christmas carols and seeing dancing lights amongst their neighbors homes. I’m okay with Christmas any and every day.

If you know me personally, you know that I love all the Christmas things. To be honest, I started listening to Christmas music the day after Christmas last year off and on, but the consistency picked up probably around July. One of my favorite songs is the holiday version of “it’s a small world.” You must also know that I love all Disney Christmas, too.

Some of my favorite pastimes of the holiday season is going to Disneyland, or viewing Christmas movies with my family, while drinking my homemade peppermint mocha. I also love Christmas shopping and holiday flavored/scented everything – from candles to cupcakes. So, naturally, it’s no surprise then if I tell you how excited I am for Denny’s Tastes of the Holidays menu! Even though I cannot eat most of it, just knowing that my family can enjoy my serious love for Christmas and I can live vicariously through them, makes me happy.

Image courtesy © Denny's Image courtesy © Denny’s Image courtesy © Denny's Image courtesy © Denny’s

This holiday season, Denny’s is unwrapping three new festive dishes, a fun Rudolph Pancake Breakfast that was inspired by the classic and famous little red-nosed reindeer himself, which includes two pancakes with turkey-bacon antlers, whipped cream, chocolate eyes and nose, with sides of eggs and hash browns; a fluffy Pumpkin Pecan Pie Pancake Breakfast that will treat your taste buds with pumpkin pancakes decked out with pecans and pecan pie sauce, served with eggs, hash browns and either bacon or sausage; and a sizzling Holiday Harvest Skillet served up with a blend of gouda-apple chicken sausage on flavorful red-skinned potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and fire-roasted bell peppers and onions. To top that sizzle off, there’s an Italian cheese blend and your choice of two eggs. Just writing this all out is making me drool for breakfast!

In addition to the new flavors, the returning dishes include the Build Your Own Holiday Slam® returns, where you can customize your breakfast and include pumpkin pancakes and gouda-apple chicken sausage, and the traditional Holiday Turkey & Dressing Dinner, complete with sliced turkey breast, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce – plus two sides of dinner bread!

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I love to get the kids a little midday treat, and since Denny’s offers take out, one of the things that we will take advantage of this season is ordering the Santa’s Milk & Cookie Shake. While I am secretly crying inside because it is chock-full of sugar cookies, inevitably meaning I cannot enjoy this due to my food allergy, I know that my kids will love it. It looks so cute and festive! The shake is vanilla flavored with a blend of sugar cookies topped with whip cream and sugar cookie crumbles. I might have to make my own gluten free version at home and perhaps add a dash of peppermint or candy canes!

Image courtesy © Denny's Image courtesy © Denny’s

One of the little holiday treats that your kids will enjoy is the new menu! It’s all about the holiday, and features Rudolph and friends. You will also see the new Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer kid’s cup, which would be oh-so-cute to add to our cup collection and the kids can enjoy homemade peppermint shakes or drink their favorite cold beverage.

Image courtesy © Denny's Image courtesy © Denny’s

I’m truly grateful for my time with Denny’s this year, it has given us an opportunity to get the kids out of the house for special meals, and have new experiences in dining. We all tried new things, and found new favorites. Our local Denny’s was always warm and inviting, and they took really good care of us each visit.

Remember, kids eat free on Tuesdays, so make it a family night!

This holiday conversation was sponsored by Denny’s; all opinions and magical thoughts are 100% mine.

How a Family of Seven Can Eat At #DennysDiners for Under $25!

How a Family of Seven Can Eat At #DennysDiners for Under $25!

When you think of the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s always nice to have a night out with the family, especially when you know that you won’t be spending a ton of money! I made a plan to budget some money for a family dinner night at Denny’s, with a goal of spending less than $25 before the tip, for all of seven us.

Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? But I’m happy to report that not only was it possible, three of us even ended up eating off the regular menu, not the $2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu! Every family is different and you must take into consideration any food allergies, or picky eaters. But once you get that squared away, it’s pretty easy! Here are four easy tips on making your dollar stretch when you want to eat out at Denny’s.

1. Find out when your local Denny’s has “Kids Eat Free” night.

Our Denny’s “Kids Eat Free” night is on Tuesday nights from 4 pm – 10 pm. The requirement for kids (13 and under) eating free is that one (1) adult purchases an entree $4 or more. Their meal does not include drinks. And the adult entree order can be from of the $2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu.

You should also know that one adult entree entitles ALL of the children in your party to eat for free; this is the real deal, not a one-for-one special that many other places have. Obviously, since our kids outnumber us by 3, it’s really nice and budget-friendly.

2. Plan your meal ahead of time with the kids.

Because I was challenging my wallet, I wanted to make sure there were no hiccups or “add ons” when ordering. This means, our kids didn’t order drinks, just had water. I know, terrible, right? They’re used to it because we typically don’t drink soda or juice at home. Every once in a while they’ll get a Shirley Temple or hot cocoa when we eat out, but that is not often.

They also understood that they couldn’t add a million extra sides to their meal because each one costs extra. Instead of each of them tacking on french fries, we just ordered one big side order for $2 and they shared it. I should have clarified with our server if their extra sides were covered, but forgot to ask.

Having your kids be part of the challenge is also fun because they try to figure out how much they can eat, or order within that monetary amount. You help them become decision makers and understand the value of money and what it can or can’t buy. Luckily, for us, we ate when they got free meals, so ultimately it didn’t matter as long as they ate from the kids’ menu.

3. The $2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu

For the kids that don’t get enough in their tummies off the kids’ menu, you can order from the $2 $4 $6 $8 value menu. My eldest (14) ordered the $6 Eggs in a Basket and she had so much food, she ended up bringing her hash browns home. When we realized the kids would eat for free, my husband and I deviated from ordering from the value menu, mine for allergy reasons; him, because he really wanted the Super Bird ($9.69) sandwich, haha.

You should also note that when you order from the value menu there are no substitutions, not even for allergy reasons. I think that is something they should consider in the future, considering the price of the gluten-free english muffin is the same price as the side of toast slices they’d use for the sandwich. In the end it didn’t even matter because they were out of stock on the bread (even after calling ahead of time to confirm they had some), so I just ate chicken sausage, egg whites, and hash browns.

Here’s a glimpse at the menu, there is a lot that you can choose from and even if your entire family at from the value menu you can still save!

4. Use coupons!

Denny’s often does advertising through coupons in the paper or daily mail. Additionally, make sure to sign up at Dennys.com for rewards and you get a 20% off coupon. Since we recently participated in the Denny’s No Kid Hungry initiative, we had a $5 off $20 coupon which came in handy for this trip.

Okay, so our grand total (not including the tip) was $24.04! That’s pretty awesome for feeding all seven of us!

The kids are excited about the new holiday menu, including a holiday spirited milkshake and Rudolph pancakes! Stay tuned for our next adventure! 🙂

 


This is a sponsored conversation through my partnership with Denny’s. All opinions shared are mine and hopefully added some magic to your day!

Dine and Donate – Denny’s + No Kid Hungry {Giveaway}

Dine and Donate – Denny’s + No Kid Hungry {Giveaway}

I’m doing a giveaway with Denny’s starting now until October 12, 2015!

In case you missed, it, I am partnering with Denny’s and No Kid Hungry in an effort to end child hunger in America. You can catch up here and here.

The time is coming to a close, and in an effort to spread as much awareness as possible, we are doing a giveaway for the last week of our fundraising! It’s easy to enter, just dine at Denny’s and if you choose to donate $3, you are qualified to enter! When you donate, you also get coupons for future visits!

Did you already donate and visit Denny’s during this campaign? Upload your pics and tag away! It counts!!

Head to your local Denny’s and donate $3+ to No Kid Hungry, snap a pic of your visit, follow & then tag me on Instagram or Twitter (@camilledashana), use the hashtag #DennysMagic, and be entered to win* a $20 Denny’s gift card & No Kid Hungry t-shirt!


*Winner must be 18 years or older. There is no limit to entries; winner will be chosen at random through Random.org. This giveaway is sponsored by Denny’s.

 

Star Wars™ Inspired Boba Fett Soda!

Star Wars™ Inspired Boba Fett Soda!

Every once in a while I crave some bubbly. I’m not typically a soda drinker, but I love the sparkles!

I grew up drinking Italian sodas, so I thought I’d try making something to satisfy the craving with less sugar and heaviness. I wanted to figure out a way to have the bubble, a hint of sweet, and not a fruity flavor.

Remember those Star Wars™ + Coffeemate creamers from Force Friday? 🙂

Well, believe me when I say that I have plenty. There were five Star Wars™ flavors, and one was Italian Sweet Crème! It also happened to be Boba Fett bottle design, hence the name.

Italian sodas are made with just a couple of ingredients. Super easy, super fast. They are also fairly cheap. Well, I tested out my own recipe tonight and I’d like to introduce my new recipe:

Boba Soda!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 – 2 tbsp Boba Fett Italian Sweet Crème creamer
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Syrup
  • 8 oz Club Soda
  • Ice
  • Whip Cream (optional)

Add your ice, club soda, creamer (I liked it with 1 tbsp, my kids preferred it with 2), then syrup. Stir it up and drop in a fun straw. It’s always more fun with a straw.

And there you have it! Easy, peasy! This would have been an awesome drink to serve at my son’s Star Wars™ Episode X party, but we can have it for our Force Awakens celebration instead!

Be creative and try out any creamer flavor or syrup combo. I was happy with the slight hint of vanilla, and more bubble.

Too bad the Force can’t whip me up another! Are you brave enough to try out the Boba Soda?