Cute Shoes, Core Workouts, and Cake

Good morning and happy Thursday to all of you! Are you ready for some randomness? This post has no underlying theme. It’s a little bit of everything. :)

Let’s start by talking about my first run in my new Asics. I hopped on the treadmill after work Tuesday to test out these babies.


The verdict? I loved them. And kind of hate myself for not buying new sneakers sooner. I felt like I was running on a trampoline or something. My feet and legs didn’t feel heavy, it was like I had an extra bounce from below. It was awesome.

Although my legs, feet, and knees felt fantastic, my lungs did not. So I called it quits after 25 minutes since this cough refuses to let up. Grr!

My Favorite Ab Exercises

Since we’re on the topic of workouts, my friends over at Tribesports wanted to share an ab circuit with all of you!

6 types of crunches

You can find full instructions on how to do each of the moves here.

When I do core work, I’m actually not a big fan of regular crunches. They tend to hurt my neck (thanks to an old injury). Here are some of my favorite ab moves that won’t put too much strain on your neck.

Walking Plank

A close cousin of the regular plank, the only difference is you walk on your hands and feet four steps forward, then four steps backward. Continue for 30 sec – 1 min.


V Sit

This one kills me. Get into position, and give it to God. Hold for at least 30 seconds.


Superman Plank

Make it fun by rolling a ball with your free hand. Bounce it against the wall, and when it comes back, switch hands and roll again.


Of course, the best way to see results with ab exercises is to mix cardio in between sets. Burpees, mountain climbers, high knees…something to get your heart rate up!

Onto my next random topic, I used my Kitchen Aid last night!


It’s just so pretty. I love it so much. And I can’t wait to use it more!

A couple months ago, I began a partnership with Source4Women, a subset of United Healthcare which provides the latest articles, tips, and information concerning women’s health. Their website also includes some healthy recipe ideas, so last night I decided to try one of them. I adapted the recipe to make it gluten free, here’s what I did!

kitchen aid

Gluten Free Gingerbread Snack Cake
Adapted from Source4Women. Makes 9-16 squares.



3/4 cup + 1 tbsp gluten free all-purpose flour
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp almond flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Coat an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Combine GF all purpose flour, almond flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and xanthan gum in a small bowl.
4. In a large bowl, stir together sugar and oil. Add in the egg and mix until fully combined.
5. Add molasses and buttermilk, and continue mixing until fully combined.
6. Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients slowly, in two or three batches. Stir well.
7. Pour batter into square baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
8. Allow to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve!


You guys, I think this was my most successful attempt at de-gluten-ing (it’s a word) a recipe. This gingerbread turned out fantastic!


Most of the gluten-free baking I’ve done has resulted in denser than usual products that definitely don’t taste exactly like the real thing. Although I’ve never tried this particular recipe with the flour it calls for, I have had my share of normal, gluten-filled cakes.

This gluten free version could compete with the best of them. It has the right taste and the right texture, a huge accomplishment if you ask me!


I had a couple friends taste-test with me last night, and they agreed. Six thumbs up!

Questions: When it comes to ab exercises, crunches or planks? Do you often experiment in the kitchen, or stick to what a recipe calls for?

55 thoughts on “Cute Shoes, Core Workouts, and Cake

  1. Carrie

    Woohoo for loving the new sneakers! A new pair of kicks can make a huge difference. :) Ugh, I really need to start doing ab work, like, everyday. I don’t mind crunches, which is probably because I usually do them on a mat (or on my yoga mat during a class). Planks get me, though–so tough!

  2. sarah @pickyrunner

    Yummm my mom and I have been dying to do a little more baking before I head back to school. She really wants a standing mixer and claims we have one but she can’t find it. So we have to use a regular hand one. tough life. Great ab workouts! I get bored with the ones I do every day, so these are great!

  3. Megan

    So much random goodness! I am more of a planker and I never follow recipes, I actually pretty much stink at doing. Baking I will follow recipes though because I have no natural ability to bake!

    1. aftertheivyleague

      Haha I’m kind of the opposite! I have more abilities with baking than with cooking I’d say, and I usually follow recipes with just minor tweaks here and there. I’m getting better though the more I practice!

  4. Lillian (@lilsmct)

    The GF gingerbread looks amazing! I’m going to have to try that recipe, because it sounds awesome. :) And hooray for new running shoes, too – I love the color combination, and they’re super cute. it’s amazing how big of a difference those make – I always feel like I’m running on clouds whenever I get a new pair of kicks. :) Have a fantastic day!

  5. Amanda @ .running with spoons.

    That snack cake sounds amazing! I’m on a real gingerbread kick right now, so I kind of want to reach through the screen and grab a piece :P I’ve never had much luck with gluten free baking, so it’s awesome that it worked out for you :) As for recipes, there are some that I stick to, and some that I end up changing a lot… heck, sometimes I even come up with my own. I guess it’s all about how daring I’m feeling that day :)

    1. aftertheivyleague

      I think I’ve started a gingerbread kick too…I love the flavors involved, so delicious and comforting. I agree, sometimes I like to stick to the recipe (especially when it’s complicated and looks really good), and other times I trust my instinct and know that a few substitutions won’t hurt. Experimenting with GF can be tricky, I’m glad this one worked out although I’ve had several failures! haha

  6. coffeencollege

    I like different types of crunches but I feel planks sometimes seem like the harder workout. So recently I’ve been upping how often I do plank workouts. I did one last night and man it burned!

  7. Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen

    Huh that’s a good idea to mix in different exercises in between abs. I always do crunches at the end of my workout solo but this sounds like a great trick. Also, I need to try and avoid the plateau affect since I do the same type usually. Oh, and are you still feeling sick? Since your lungs still aren’t back to normal, maybe go to the doc? My mom convinced me to go the other week and I found out I had bronchitis. Ew!

    1. Meghan @ After the Ivy League

      Definitely, doing cardio bursts in between crunches and ab work will keep your heart rate up so you get more out of your workout. And yes! Also helps to mix up which exercises you do, don’t want your muscles to get too used to it. I haven’t broken down and gone to the doctor yet. I’m feeling fine for the most part, I just still have a coughing fit after working out. But other than that I’m fine, so I think eventually it’ll go away completely. I hope so anyway!

  8. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles

    I always love me a pair of pretty shoes :-p
    For ab workouts, I like planks (different variations), Russian twists, and reverse crunches on a bench. V-sits absolutely kill me!
    I haven’t done much gluten-free baking, but I’m tempted to try that cake!

  9. kaityscooking

    I do both crunches and planks but love doing more plank exercises, so much better! and that cake looks amazing! gingerbread cakes the best, and i cant believe how i lived without my kitchen aid for so long its amazing. when it comes to making breads and such it makes your life soooo much easier!

    1. aftertheivyleague

      I’m loving my new Asics, I switched to the brand a few years ago and have never looked back. The gingerbread is def dangerously delicious! I froze half the batch but the other half did not last long haha :)

  10. reluctantlyskinny

    V sits make me want to die – I might be the least flexible person ever. I prefer to experiment, it’s more fun that way! Plus I’m picky, so I always end up replacing something anyway!

    1. aftertheivyleague

      V sits are seriously a form of torture or something. They work great though! I tend to experiment pretty often too…mostly because I never have all the ingredients on hand and I don’t feel like going to the grocery store!

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