Workout and Eats Recap {08-06-2014}


Happy Thursday! I wanted to share some photos from the week so far of the farmers market, some eats, and my Wednesday workout.

Farmers Market Vegetables

Life has been busy, and I haven’t found the time to go to the farmers market in many weeks. I finally went Tuesday night to Atherton Mill and Market, and it was great seeing some of my vendor friends and picking up lots of delicious vegetables to cook later. I snagged some okra, cabbage, a couple roma tomatoes…

Farmers Market Tomatoes

…and some of these colorful tomatoes.

Farmers Market Artisan Bread

I also checked out one of the newer vendors – Carolina Artisan Bread. One of my class regulars, Bruce, has been raving about their bread, so I had to stop by their booth while I was at the market. After chatting with Bill, the owner and baker, I picked up a loaf of the whole wheat to check out.

Okra and Tomatoes

I cooked up the okra and tomatoes (thinking of sharing the recipe) that night to go with some grilled chicken and mashed potatoes (leftover from dinner on Sunday).

Dance Workout Recap

I was actually a little under the weather when I taught class last Wednesday and wasn’t feeling myself until this Wednesday, so I was really looking forward to class! I hadn’t worked out in almost a week, so it was good to get moving again.

Also, I’ve gotten used to looking forward to using my heart rate monitor, so I was excited to get some new stats. Since I got the HRM, I usually get everything on and set up, and I test to make sure the connection is good well before class starts. Last night, I decided that since all the previous tests were great, I didn’t need to do it this time. That was a mistake since when I tried to turn it on just after turning on the playlist, the connection failed. Doh! I had already started teaching class, so it was too late to try to fix it. When I teach, my class comes first, so I was more worried about making sure the music was good and that I was leading the song okay. Oh well, now I know to keep doing that HRM test before class! I’m pretty sure I burned more than 13 calories. Based on my past reads, the estimated calories burned was more like 600-ish. Not bad!

Here’s my Wednesday playlist:

  1. Rain Over Me
  2. Born This Way
  3. Que te Pica
  4. Locked Out of Heaven
  5. Tempted to Touch
  6. Boomerang
  7. Tusty
  8. Blue Jeans
  9. Ven Conmigo
  10. Break Your Heart
  11. Battlefield
  12. Adrenalina
  13. Let’s Go
  14. Bend Over
  15. I’ll Be There

I was feeling tired from the work day, but dance recharged me. A night with dancing is a good night!

Salad with Tomatoes

I had planned out an easy and pretty quick dinner. Hubby cooked pasta while I was at class, so when I came home, I just had to assemble a salad with those farmers market tomatoes.

Baked Ziti

I mixed the pasta with some leftover meat sauce from Monday’s spaghetti dinner and topped it with slices from a ball of mozzarella. The pasta baked while I got settled in for the night. I had a slice of the yummy artisan whole wheat bread on the side.


I added some new designs to my t-shirt shop. Remember – you can save 20% on orders over $30 with code SUMMER14 (through August 12).


Thanks for stopping by!

Own Your Strength Shirt and Apparel Discount


In case you missed it, the Own Your Strength Shirt design is now available in The Chic Life Spreadshirt shop (click to view t-shirt and tank top options).

Own Your Strength Shirt

One of the other Own Your Strength shirt design options had a ton of votes, too, and also has a different feel, so I’m hoping to add that to the shop later. Plus, I had a couple other ideas for fun shirts I’m hoping to roll out in the next couple days (or maybe tonight?!), including one fun one that I think will be fun to wear at Zumba Convention.

I’ve talked before about why I like the Own Your Strength line, but I really do feel like it’s an empowering message that you can take with you from everyday life to the gym. Many people look for strength without realizing how strong they already are. Own Your Strength!


From now till August 12th, save 20% on orders over $30 with discount code SUMMER14. Happy shopping! :)

Own Your Strength Shirt Options


I’m very motivated by positive words and sayings, and I like to surround myself with them. That’s part of the reason I really wanted to open a t-shirt shop. I don’t always see the designs I want out there, so I figured…why not make them? I have a notebook of motivational sayings that I often go to, and I’m working on bringing them to life in t-shirts and tank tops for my Spreadshirt Shop. I stayed up till midnight looking up fonts and playing with designs last night for one of my favorite sayings. Here are the Own Your Strength shirt options I came up with:

Own Your Strength Shirt Options

{Taking a break from my Outer Banks posts to share these – hot off the press!}

The Own Your Strength message comes from a sign I made for a 4-miler I went to a few years ago as a spectator. The saying has become very meaningful to me in the years since then. Strength is something I’m focusing on in my workouts (and life) currently. I don’t intend to become a body builder or anything like that, but I do want to work towards becoming stronger. I would love to have a shirt with this saying on it to use as motivation during my workouts and for life, in general. I also hope the message may resonate with people who see me wearing it as a reminder that we’re all stronger than we often know, literally and figuratively. Let’s own it!

Which Own Your Strength shirt option do you like most?

First Heart Rate Monitor Test


I decided to order a heart rate monitor last week, and I wanted to share the results of my first heart rate monitor test.

I actually wanted to purchase a heart rate monitor about five years ago, but these things aren’t cheap. Not only that, but I remember that the options were limited in the store I visited. Plus, the store employee helping me told me some of the non-traditional options (watch-only at the time) weren’t that accurate. He said the ones that do their calculations using the pulse on your wrist aren’t as good as the chest straps. So, I decided to wait, and then I got distracted and forgot about it, and now we’re here.


Calories Burned Estimation

I want to spend some more time researching heart rate monitors, but here’s some initial information you should know about using fitness tools, in general.

According to this article in the LA Times:

Arriving at a true count of how many calories you’re burning, i.e., your energy expenditure, is not as simple as 1-2-3. To get a direct count while, say, you’re ellipting along on an elliptical, you would have to be in a special room where precise measurements could be made of the heat released from your body. This method (based on the fact that burning calories releases heat) is possible but usually not practical.

What I’ve gathered from this and other similar articles (like this and this) is that fitness tools should be used for estimations only since they’re not 100% accurate. I’m cool with that.

My Heart Rate Monitor

I purchased the Polar FT4 from It was $61.82 (down from 99.95 according to the site) and on prime shipping. After my Clarisonic debacle, I checked the Polar web site and found Amazon listed on their Where to Buy page for online, so I believe it’s legit this time. I did send an email to the customer service team to find out more.

At set-up, I was asked to enter:

  • Weight
  • Height
  • Date of Birth
  • Sex

I feel like the more information you enter, the more accurate your calculations, and this asked for more than other machines and tools I’ve seen.

My First Heart Rate Monitor Test

My First Heart Rate Monitor Test Results

So, my estimated calories do not actually match the photo above. Fail. Here are a couple reasons why:

  • I hit the wrong button. Yep, I ran my first test during a Zumba class I was actually teaching, so my focus wasn’t as much on my heart rate monitor as it was on my class. Just after class ended, a participant came up to chat. I quickly hit a button on the side thinking I’d stopped it. I guess I just hit a different view because I looked down a few minutes later to see the calories burned had jumped up. Doh!
  • After class, I sometimes lead my class in a free mini toning session. We do 3 toning songs and 1 stretch. I turned the heart rate monitor back on for this portion of the workout, which added more to the calories burned number. However, in doing a quick read through of articles on heart rate monitors, most said that you can’t really use them for calculating strength training / toning.

Luckily, I did happen to look at the estimated calories burned right after class ended. The number was 658. Not to shabby for just under one hour of a workout. Since this is my first test, and I haven’t tried calculating calories burned in any other way, I’m not sure how accurate (or inaccurate) this is. But, I still appreciate the estimation.


I’m looking forward to continuing to experiment with and learn more about my heart rate monitor. Even though the studies say the calculations aren’t 100% accurate, I still think the information is helpful as a general guideline. My first key number I’m most interested in is the calories burned. But, I’m also interested in paying more attention to the heart rate information and learning how to use that information. Hopefully, I can find some good resources to learn more about how to best use my heart rate monitor. Any suggestions?


Any heart rate monitor enthusiasts out there? What tips do you have for this newbie?

Totally 80s Dance Fitness Party


Any 80′s fans out there? Last month, I hosted one of my favorite theme classes to date. I wanted to post that I recently hosted an 80s-themed Zumba class. But, seeing as how most classic 80s songs are pop, and Zumba classes should be at least 70% Latin, that wouldn’t be accurate. We only had one Latin song on the playlist, and that was a samba remix of Take On Me. So yes, I co-hosted an 80s themed night of dance fitness with my friend Ashley – two back-to-back classes. And we had SO much fun at our Totally 80s Dance Fitness Party!

Totally 80s Dance Fitness Party

I started class with the above outfit. I wanted to go with a Madonna lacy skirt look, but I couldn’t find the ruffle skirt I wanted to wear, so I opted for leggings and leg warmers and an off-the-shoulder shirt instead. My hair wasn’t exactly done in an 80s style, but I had reason behind it…

Totally 80s Dance Fitness Party

{Cool down outfit for the Totally 80s Dance Fitness Party – don’t worry, there are shorts under there!}

…I did a costume change! I realized late the night before class that a) I had a dress, necklace, and hair style that semi-resembled Madonna’s from her Like a Prayer video and b) I already had a cool down choreographed to the song. It was too perfect…and silly. But, I figured if I could make my class laugh a little, it was worth it. I was fortunate enough to have some guest instructors attend the class, so they were able to lead the song right before the cool down so I could run out quickly and change.

Madonna - Like a Prayer Outfit

{Madonna snapshot from her Like a Prayer video – photo found via Google images}

{Like a Prayer music video in case you want to watch}


Here’s my full playlist from the Totally 80s Dance Fitness Party:

  1. Walk Like an Egyptian – The Bangles*
  2. Hey Mickey – Toni Basil
  3. Bad – Michael Jackson
  4. Take on Me (Batucada / Samba) – ZIN Volume 43
  5. Motownphilly – Boyz II Men
  6. Whoomp! There It Is – Tag Team
  7. Let’s Go Crazy – Prince*
  8. Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leopard
  9. Two of Hearts – Stacey Q*
  10. Jump – Kris Kross
  11. Wanna Be Startin’ Something – Michael Jackson
  12. Maniac (BOF Flashdance) – Michael Sembello*
  13. Footloose – Kenny Loggins
  14. Time of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes (Dirty Dancing Soundtrack)
  15. Like a Prayer – Madonna

We didn’t have enough 80s songs to make a full playlist, so we used a couple 90s songs, too. And we had four new songs (see *) on the playlist with three that I choreographed. I wrapped up a couple just before class, so they were finished in the nick of time. Phew! I had a couple others that were almost done, but I guess I’ll have to save those for next time! Till then, I’ve been using Maniac and Let’s Go Crazy quite a bit in my other classes. Of the new songs, I think Maniac is especially fun. I took a lot of inspiration from the Maniac music video, so it’s like a dance fitness version of that. Wheeee!

Ashley did some fantastic new toning choreo to some of my favorite 80s songs in the second class (like I Think We’re Alone Now!), which made the tough workouts strangely and happily enjoyable. Gotta love that!

The Totally 80s Dance Fitness party was a blast! I had so much dancing with class and the guest instructors. The energy in the room was so high and lively. I definitely want to do another one of these one day!

Have you done a fun dance fitness theme class recently?

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