25 February 2014

High Calorie-Burining Treadmill Workout

Winter blues screwing with your workout routine?? Yeah... me too.  I love to workout and run outside, but the cold weather here in the Northeast has been disastrous to my workout routine.  I have been forced to stick to the stationary bike and treadmill to get my cardio on, and I have NOT been happy about it.  Doesn't it seem like time goes so much slower when you are checking out the same scene for a good half and hour?  You can only look at the same meat head benching triple your body weight for so long.

I decided it was time to switch things up a bit.  I developed a treadmill routine that allows for a mix of speed and incline training that will increase your heart rate and improve your calorie burning efficiency, while simultaneously creating a more "interesting" workout.  Switching up your speed and incline will allow you to burn more calories than just running at the same moderate pace and incline.  Here's the deal:  if you stick to the same pace and incline all the time, your body becomes more efficient at the workout, thus burning less calories.  Think of it this way- your body is in cruise control mode- when you stick to the same pace and incline, you begin to flat line the energy needed to keep going.  When you fluctuate your speed and incline, your body will become less efficient and will burn more calories.  Make sense?

The below workout starts off with a warm-up, works into speed training, followed by a quick cool-down and amps your body back up with incline training.  Lastly, there is a sprint at the end to reach your peak, and slowly decreases in speed to get your heart rate back down at a healthy pace.  This part is crucial because you do not want to just stop, especially after a sprint.  If you do so, you could pass out.  Your heart needs to stay elevated to allow your blood to flow properly. Restricting blood flow can cause a lack of Oxygen to your brain- thus causing you to pass out.

Anyway, follow this routine to switch up your cardio routine.  This workout is for moderate runners.  If you are a beginner, I would suggest decreasing the suggested pace and incline by at least 1/3. The entire routine is 25 minutes and you will probably burn between 175-275 calories.  Enjoy and happy running :-)

13 February 2014

Strawberries and Champagne Cupcakes

What do you think of when you think of Valentine's Day?  Chocolate, Strawberries, Champagne?  Well I have a special cupcake recipe that combines all of these delicious treats.  These strawberries and champagne cupcakes are a sure fire way to your "special someone's" heart.  But, I have to warn you, they are very time consuming.  I spent almost an entire day creating these bad boys, but they are definitely worth it!  This recipe calls for a homemade strawberry cake batter, strawberry champagne filling, topped with a champagne buttercream and chocolate hearts.

So... let's start with the the cake batter.

For this recipe you will need:

1 1/3 cups of frozen or fresh strawberries (I would only use fresh if they are in season)
3 cups of flour
2 tsp. of baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cups of whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup of butter at room temp.
1/2 cup of coconut oil
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake trays with 24 liners.

First you want to cut up the strawberries and put them into a food processor.   Combine until you get a fairly smooth texture (it is okay if it is a little chunky).  It should look like this:

You can set the strawberries aside.  Then, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  Then cream your butter and coconut oil until light and fluffy using the paddle attachment on a standing mixer.  (Note: I normally put the coconut oil in the microwave for about 10 seconds to let it get a little soft.  It does leave a very slight coconut taste, so you can always remove the coconut oil and replace with butter.  I really like the moisture that coconut oil brings to the recipe, so I like to use it.)  Next, add in your sugar, one cup at a time.  Take your strawberry puree and mix it together in a separate bowl with the vanilla and milk.  Take your dry ingredients and add about half slowly into your mixer.  Then, add in you strawberry mixture.  Lastly, slowly add the rest of your dry ingredients.

If you used fresh strawberries, your mixture will be a normal vanilla color with chunks of red.  However, if you used frozen strawberries, then you will have a slight pink color to the batter.

Take your batter and fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way.

 Pop in the over and cook for about 22-24 minutes.  Here is what they will look like:

Let cool and core out the center for your filling. 

Next you want to make the filling:

Here are the ingredients:

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup champagne
2 1/2 cups frozen or fresh strawberries
4 tbs. cornstarch
3/4 cups of sugar

In a medium saucepan, whisk together your water, champagne and cornstarch.  Allow to thicken until it is reduced to about half.  Then add in your strawberries cut into bite size pieces and add in your sugar.  Cook at medium high heat for about 10 minutes and allow to thicken.  Then set aside and cool.  Note:  you may want to make this first because it does take about an hour to cool.

Fill your cored cupcakes with the filling.  They should look like this:

Next comes the champagne buttercream frosting. You will need:

2 sticks of butter
3 1/3 cups of powdered sugar
1/3 cup champagne
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 drops of red food coloring (optional)

In a standing mixer, again with the paddle attachment, cream together your butter.  Slowly add in 3 cups of the powdered sugar, stopping and scraping down the sides with a spatula when necessary.  Then add in your champagne and vanilla.  Then, add in the last of your powdered sugar to thicken up a little.  Mix on medium high until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Then add in your food coloring and mix on low until you get the desired color.

I applied my frosting using a piping bag and Wilton's Open Star 1mm tip (my favorite :-))

Lastly, you can make your candied hearts.  I also managed to spell out "love" for V-day. I melted my chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute at medium power. Stirred and put in again for 30 seconds.  That did the trick!  Then allow the chocolate to cool for about 5-10 minutes and put into a piping bag.  I then let it cook for another 5 minutes so the chocolate wasn't too runny and hard to work with.  It helps to run under cool or warm water to get the right texture you want.  Then cut the tip of the piping bag about a quarter of an inch up and pipe your shapes onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  See below:

Allow to cool int he freezer for about 20 minutes or so and they should pop right off!  Be sure not to make the lines too thin or the chocolate will break.  Top your frosted cupcakes with the chocolate and ta-da!  An impressive V-day treat is ready to be served.

12 February 2014

Layering with Chambray

Lately, I just cannot get enough of chambray as a layering piece.  I feel like it goes well under almost anything... a printed cardi, structured blazer, casual sweater, etc.  Top the look off with a scarf or statement necklace, and you're golden!  I was never really a fan of chambray until I took on a holiday job working at a Coach Outlet store.  Part of our dress code at the time was to layer a navy or black cardi over top of a chambray shirt.  I was a little hesitant at first, but after finding the perfect shade, I was hooked!  I love pairing it with a mustard color or some sparkle.  Here are some examples of how you can layer in chambray via Pinterest.

Chambray under sequence and a blazer done by Penny Pincher Fashion

Chambray under stripes with colored skinnies via unknown

Chambray under a cardi with gold accents by Chelsea Lane

These are all really great examples of how to layer with chambray.  I have also seen it done as a top on its own with a patterned skirt, or as the top layering piece with a patterned top underneath.  Either way, you can't go wrong!

Here is my take: Chambray & Cheetah with pearls!

Please ignore the horrible Instagram photo... I am working on my photos 

05 February 2014


Hi!  My name is Natalie Cawley and I am new to the blogging community.  I currently reside in Philadelphia, but I am orginally from Pittsburgh (Go Steelers)!  I work in database marketing and I have always had an "itch" to do something creative; so here it is!  I love fashion, fitness, cupcakes, gold jewelry, coffee, my family and my boyfriend :-).  You will see all of these love and passions flare through my posts.

Enjoy! If you want to contact me further, fill out the little form to the right!

Half Marathon Training Schedule

So, I am in the process of training for my 3rd half marathon (if you are going to enjoy sweats, you gotta keep your figure somehow!) I love to vary up my workout, but twice a year, I bust my butt to accomplish some kind of running goal.  This year, I am actually planning to do 2 half marathons in the spring and maybe 1 or 2 in the fall.  I am currently training for the Philly Love Run on March 30, 2014.  My only goal is to beat my last time and run in under 1hr and 55min. 

To prevent myself from dying around mile 6, I HAVE to follow some kind of 10-12 week training plan.  I decided that this time I was going to develop my own.  Currently I am in week 3.  I usually do one long run a week with a mix of cross training and pace/speed runs throughout the week.  I usually plan to do my long runs on the Saturdays (so I can soak up the daylight), but the winter weather has not been in my favor this year.  I have been trying to squeeze in my outdoor runs whenever I can.

Here is a copy of my training schedule:

Mondays are normally designated to cross training (30 min of cardio e.g. elliptical, step class, etc,) and strength training.  It is important to keep up with LIGHT strength training because you don't want to lose muscle while you train.  You also don't want to go too hard for risk of injury.  On Tuesdays I do intervals.  Intervals help you to pick up your speed and help you to develop a faster running pace.  I like to do 1 min. and 30 sec. at a jogging pace and 1 min. 30 sec. at a sprinting pace. Then, repeat 5-7 times.  Wednesdays are cross training days.  I like to do spin class.  Thursdays are a 3-4 mile run mixed in with a couple Time Trial runs.  With a Time Trial run, warm up with an easy, light 1 mile, then pick up the pace and time yourself at each mile.  The second time, try to beat your pace.  This will help you to increase your pace for the race.  Every other week I give myself Friday off.  The "on" days are just a light relax and restoring run.  Lastly, we have the dreaded long run.  Be sure to hydrate yourself and have a small snack about an hour before. 

Some extra tips:

  • The two weeks leading up to the run, do not over-do it.  You do not want to risk injury.
  • Start to eat extra carbs, especially the week of the race.  Allow yourself one or two extra servings.
  • Invest in a good pair of shoes. Everyone has a different running technique.  To avoid pain and injury, find yourself a good pair of running shoes.
  • Vary your workouts between indoors and outdoors. 
  • If your course has hills, make sure to fine practice runs that incorporate hills.
  • Stay hydrated!
  • Have fun!

04 February 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes over the weekend... and OH MY GOSH were they delicious.  The gooey center, topped with a heavenly, whipped frosting made these cupcakes to die for! 

Seriously, just look at that gooey center! I promise you, they taste just as delicious as they look.  You see, the trick is to freeze the dough ahead of time so that when the cupcake bakes, they center has to unfreeze first, thus leaving an ooey gooey center.  Genius!

After you freeze the (egg-less) cookie dough balls overnight, whip up some vanilla cupcake batter. Either from scratch, or a box is fine.  Fill your cupcakes 2/3 of the way and drop one ball in each cupcake.  After you bake them, frost(I used Wilton Open Star 1M Tip) and top with miniature chocolate chips. 

Here is the finished product!  Enjoy!

I am in no way claiming this recipe to be my own.  In fact... if you want to make them yourself, check out Kevin & Amanda.