Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sharing Things

Here are my workouts from where I last left off:

Wednesday – one  hour spin session
Thursday – 3 mile run
Friday – one hour bike, included some trail riding that was a blast!
Saturday – 45 minute long and steady swim
Sunday & Monday were for much needed rest
Today there will be a workout but I don’t know what yet.

I’ve been looking forward to my lunch of a Greek salad and roasted veggies all morning. Yuuuum.

Just for fun, I thought I’d share a few things about myself that aren’t related to exercise, healthy recipes, etc. Originally, I was going to post this last Friday and call it “Five Fun Fact Friday” but I got wrapped up in things and didn’t get to post it. So here it goes:

1)    I'm pretty shy. I love being able to express my ideas, thoughts, etc. on this blog that I might not otherwise share.      

2)      I wore braces and only wear my retainer when the hubs isn’t home.

3)      I am totally digging this new-to-me blog: http://www.thesmallthingsblog.com/. I’m not very clever when it comes to styling my hair. It wasn’t until my stylist taught me how to curl my hair a few years ago that I could actually do something different. For day to day styles, I tend to wear it in a braid, bun or just wet and sitting on my shoulders. Pretty thang… But not anymore! Kate’s tutorials are done so well and in a way that makes it easy for even a mess like myself to be able to do on my own and without any cursing! Win. I rocked this 'do for Valentine’s, it took me all of 15-20 minutes including time to curl, on my first try. And I like this style for a pretty change up to my boring bun. I’m also learning some great make up techniques. Overall, it’s so much more fun getting ready each day. Love it.

4)      I’m almost always behind the times when it comes to popular TV shows. Within the last 3 months, I’ve started watching 30 Rock, One Tree Hill and Friday Night Lights. I know this about me and yet I’m always amazed at how young the familiar actors look in the older shows like OTH and FNL. Sometime this year, I might even give 90120 or Dawson’s Creek a chance.

5)      I love travelling.

What’s a fun fact about you?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Week Three Recap

Week Three....oh week three. We did not get along very well. It was not my best week by any means, and I could most definitely physically feel the results of that.

The week started well in San Fran with lots of walking, but not super healthy food. The travel home through my through a loop and I never quite got back on track. I only logged three workouts, and I didn't didn't write down what I ate on Friday until today. Overall, I would not call it a success.

It was "Maddie Cooks" week...and I did cook, but only twice.

On Tuesday night, I made beef and broccoli with brown rice.


wokin' it
It turned out pretty well. I added amino sauce and garlic salt. It was a nice warm comfort meal, which was nice considering it snow AGAIN on Tuesday...it was only supposed to be a few inches, but I left work early it had snowed so much...

had to clean off and shovel out before I could get on my way home
Wednesday I was supposed to see a friend after work, but there was freezing rain, so we cancelled our plans. I eat the left over beef and broccoli and did a circuit workout in my bedroom. It wasn't the best workout ever, but it did the trick, especially since I really had not done anything for a few days.

Thursday was horrible. Thanks to the freezing rain from Wednesday night, Thursday morning on my way to work my car slid on some black ice, and I ended up in a snow bank. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and I was already going pretty slowly, so the damage to my car is minimal. But I had to spend Thursday night after work at Toyota to make sure I had messed anything up royally instead of in spin class.

I did cook when I got home though. The hubs got back from San Fran, so I made us Laughing Cow Mac and Cheese.


It was pretty good, but it was lacking something...it wasn't quite the dinner I was hoping for. And Friday we had take-out. I'm going to take this week as a good indication that I really shouldn't be a chef or even cook that much. Johnny can make much better, healthier meals, and he actually enjoys it.

Yesterday was the start of Week 4. A clean slate...or anything day to mess up. It's supposed to be "No Meat Week" but I had pork chops last night and didn't even think about it...I wasn't really paying enough attention to what this week or this whole challenge is supposed to be about. I'm 1/3 of the way in, and it's still a struggle for me. For the most part, I can't get in 5 work outs, and even though I'm writing down what I eat, I'm not really eating the right stuff.

I need to have a real come to Jesus talk with myself and get my shit together. I came up with this challenge for a reason, and I should be taking it seriously.

Regardless of my meat eating yesterday, I did have a great ski day. The mountain wasn't my favorite, but the conditions were great and so was the company.

Ragged Mountain - New Hampshire

sunny and beautiful
Time to go out for a walk and clear my head...then to the grocery store to prep for a better, more serious, and more successful week this week.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Valentine's Day Recap

Last night’s workout was intense! It was a mix of swimming drills for a total of 1000 meters. So tough.

And now my Valentine’s Day recap. It started with a frantic run to a couple of grocery stores. The plan for the evening was for me to cook a dinner we’ve never made before and Jay was going to do the same for dessert. We cook a lot so coming up with something different was difficult; eventually I decided that roasting a leg of lamb would be perfect. I was focused all week (and for weeks prior) on my exam so I thought I could run to the store Friday morning and gather the things I needed. Apparently lamb is difficult to find. Two stores later, a very nice butcher was able to locate a new shipment for me. Whew!

I was in a hurry because my mom and I had lunch plans with my sister. After our delicious lunch, my mom and I ran a few more errands (including another trip to another grocery store for more things I needed…) and even managed to get ourselves locked out of the car at a hardware store. It was really funny and thankfully the weather was so nice. I cooked my dinner at my parents’ house because our current kitchen is very small and the stove tends to cook in a polka-dotted fashion. A few hours later dinner was ready! And I was nervous.

I got home to find a bouquet of flowers waiting for me. The best part about receiving flowers? Letting Chaca sniff them. She loves it! She’ll sniff each and every flower, go back and sniff her favorites while wagging her tail and for those that she doesn’t like she backs away real slowly. It’s hilarious and sometimes means we spend springtime walks sniffing each rose along the way; she is such a good reminder to slow down in life and “stop and smell the roses”. Love her.

Chaca In Action
 Jay had set up candles on a few pieces of lumber across our outdoor fireplace. Maybe it’s the construction side of me, but I am a sucker for salvaged wood, lumber, etc. in d├ęcor. We started with a baked brie dish – brie dipped in almonds and topped with a little raspberry preserve. Yum.
Cheesy Treat
The roasted lamb and potatoes were a success! I shouldn’t be so surprised that it was great, I did loosely follow a recipe from The Chew and they know what they’re doing!

Jay’s dessert was amazing! Cranberry-lemon macaroons, mascarpone whoopie pies and chocolate covered strawberries.
Jay was a little frustrated that the macaroons had fallen a bit, but I think his product of a very difficult baked good was incredible. How cute is it that he had already planned the strawberries way before reading my post? Apparently, that was one of his favorite memories too.

Love, love, love.

This was one of the best Valentine’s Days ever. I got to spend time with family, cook a special meal and enjoy time with my guy. With using what we already had, coupon clipping and reusing similar ingredients, this was a cost effective way to celebrate what can be an expensive day. And you know what? It was so much more meaningful to me than any reservation.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Workouts Where I Left Off

I took a break from social media and the blog last week to focus on an exam. I’m happy to report that it went well and I’m back here to give you an update of my past week.

Despite a rigorous study schedule, I did make time to squeeze in workouts. I just know that I’m able to focus and keep calm much better during stressful times if I just exercise, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Here’s what I got done, since my last update:

Friday: Barre Style class. I was inspired by my blogging partner to try something new. Like Maddie, my experience with this class was not at all what I expected from a barre class. This class focused a lot on strength training but through squat jumps, exercise balls and some P90x style moves. Also, there was not an actual use of a “barre”. The instructor was a bit on the bootcamp style of teaching which was scary at first but when I realized she was actually very nice, I chilled out and was able to enjoy the class. The last 10 minutes of the class were spent Zumba-ing with weights; I am not a Zumba kind of girl (read: no rhythm) and this was probably the most painful part of the class for me. Overall, it was not what I expected but if I just think of it as a strength training class, I’m okay with it and probably will try it again.

Saturday: Biked 18 miles.

Sunday: Rested.

Monday: 50 Minute Spin Session.

Tuesday: 50 Sit Ups & 50 Push Ups

Wednesday: 50 Sit Ups & 50 Push Ups

Thursday: 35 Minute Run

Friday: Run around like a crazy person getting ready for Valentine's because I hadn’t done everything yet!

Saturday: Terrible 4 mile run. Will need to redo this one soon.

Sunday: Rest.

Monday: Rest. I really didn’t need rest, I was mostly just lazy. I’ll be working out tonight, no doubt.

I owe you a recap of my Valentine’s Day dinner, our plan was a success! For now, I need to go look up a good swim workout.
Happy National Drink Wine Day!

Monday, February 17, 2014

California Dreaming...

I'm back in Boston after 12 glorious days in California. It's freezing and we're preparing for yet another snow storm tomorrow (I missed two or maybe three while I was gone). It's not exactly what I wanted to come home to, but all good things must come to an end...including weather.

So let's recap the rest of Week 2 and Southern California and the beginning of Week 3 and Northern California...

After my nana swim class, I took another new class at the Y, which is also filled with nanas. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with a nana. I love my Gram most than almost anyone in the world. But I don't generally think exercising with them is going to be my thing. Well Nana Class Part 2 was actually pretty killer. I did a barre class which was torture on my legs and those ladies held their own. I was super impressed. It was definitely slow paced and not exactly what a real barre class is like, I'd imagine, but for someone who had never done it before, it was a good intro into what it would be like.

it hurt so good.
Barre class was my fourth workout of the week. My 5th was a walk with my mom...I might only consider it a half because we didn't walk all that far or fast, but it was some movement.

On Saturday, I left my mom and the warm warm wonderful sun of Southern California for my husband and the mostly warm mostly sun of San Francisco. He's there for work, so I planned my trip so I could spend a couple days with him there en route back to Boston.

Fun Fact: This is our second time meeting in the San Francisco airport in less than four months. Back in October, he was headed out there for work and I was headed home from Australia. We landed in SFO about 10 minutes apart, so we spend my hour and a half connection together before he headed out to work and I headed home. This time, we also landed about 10 minutes apart, but we got to leave the airport together.

SFO October 2013
SFO February 2014

After we got into the city and dropped our bags, we started walking around. We were planning on heading toward Fisherman's Wharf to see the Golden Gate bridge, but when we got to the cable car stop, there was a sign informing us that the Chinese New Year Parade had stopped the running of the cable car. Instead of try to figure out the cab situation or walk a million hills, we just decided to enjoy the parade and some great Asian food in Chinatown instead.

Happy New Year!

Sunday was also a day of lots and lots of walking. We finally made it to Fisherman's Wharf via the cable car, and I finally saw the bridge (this is was my third time and San Fran and only my first time seeing anything besides the convention center). The weather was absolutely perfect, so we took full advantage and walked along the water and enjoyed the views.

The Rock

Golden Gate Bridge

So my Week Three, which is "Maddie Cooks" week started with my traveling and therefore I have not made so much as a cup of coffee yet, but now that I'm home and the hubs is not, it means I have to cook (especially because I ate the last of our cereal for dinner tonight). This weekend was definitely my most unhealthy eating since I started this challenge, but a weekend away with Johnny is about as rare as it gets, so I tried not to worry too much about it. I walked a lot and I wrote everything down as planned, so I'll count those in the win column and start planning for the rest of the week. 

Any good suggestions for what a gal like me...who doesn't like to cook at all and isn't particularly good at it...should make this week?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Nanas and Me

Good Morning from sunny California. It's amazing how warm weather and sunshine can just put me in such a good mood! The forecast says 80's for the next three days, so you bet I'l be laying out by the pool trying my best to get some mid-winter color. I'm paler than pale could be right now.

Speaking of the pool...last night I did a hilarious water aerobics class at the YMCA. This being try something new week, I thought about taking a self defense class, but the way the timing worked out, the "Aqua Fit" class fit better into my schedule. With no class description, I took a chance at what it might be, having loved some good water aerobics in the past. Well this was not like my past classes. This was nana central. Not going to lie, I loved the class, but it wasn't exactly a killer workout. We did some barre work under water and some zumba moves, so I definitely worked some muscles that haven't been used in a while (my lower back is sore already, actually), but I was the youngest person in the class by about 15 years.

it's fun to stay at the ymca
I'm excited to be at the Y this week because I feel like it's definitely the place to try new classes. So many people are just starting out in fitness, or are older, or aren't but the level of Y exercise classes is much broader, allowing for all skill levels. I took a spin class on Monday night, and although spin is not at all new to me, it was a very different class than I'm used to. (I know it doesn't fit into the theme of the week, but I was jonesing for the bike). Someone in the class had never done spin before, and the instructor was so helpful and attentive to her. It's definitely an environment that I appreciate and even feel like I need right now...especially as I try new things this week.

All and all...week two is off to a great start! How's everyone else's week going? Any new classes you've been doing?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week One Check In

Week one of the 9 Weeks to 29 Challenge is done! So how did it go? Well, it went alright...not as well as I would have liked because I got stuck in San Francisco for several more hours than I planned on my trip to Southern California, and I got a nasty cold. Fun times.

So far I've taken my vitamins everyday, not had a single sip of diet coke, and tracked everything I've been eating. In that regard, I'm quite pleased with how the week went. It was a good way to notice that my diet needs some more cleaning up, and overall I feel well. I didn't get in my five workouts though, and that's what I'm most bummed about. I got in three and a half...not my best showing. But it is what it is, due to the circumstances, and I'll just have to do better this week!

I did get to ski, take a spin class, elliptical and treadmill at the gym, and go for a walk (that my half workout because it wasn't a particularly hard walk).

skiing with my sister in NH
We had a pretty nice snow day last week too, which was nice because I got to stay home and prepare for my trip. It's also the day I took spin class because I was home already, so I didn't have to worry about commuting and traffic and not making it to class on time.

snow day!

As I mentioned before, I also traveled to California on Thursday. I'm here to visit my mom for a while (who is spending her winter away from the aforementioned snow and in the sun). I got a free week pass to the YMCA here, and already have some interesting sounding new classes picked out for Week 2! I'm not sure I have the skills for all the classes, but at least at the YMCA in Southern California, I'm far less self conscious! And California has much better weather...

so much wonderful sunshine
Now that I'm in one place for the week, I'll be better about updating about my new workouts this week...there's one on the agenda for tonight!

Friday, February 7, 2014


Wednesday’s workout was a 1000m swim and Thursday’s was an hour spin session. I’ve been paying more attention to making sure I have enough fuel each day to make it through my afternoon workouts and it has made a huge difference. Though I had plenty of energy for my workout on Wednesday, my motivation was lacking. I had to use what I like to call “Shampootivation”.

For everyday use, I buy Dove Shampoo and Conditioner, it’s not too expensive and it works well. But I allow myself to buy a special shampoo or conditioner that can only be used after a good workout; I have to earn it, no easy half-assed workouts. It may be odd, but I absolutely love when my hair smells extra good, it puts me in such a good mood! Knowing I can use a product that smells great and will leave my hair feeling a little softer than usual pushes me to go that workout done. If I have a date night with the hubs or a get together to go to, I’m likely to leave out the workout with the excuse that I need to spend time getting ready, preparing snacks for a party, etc. but not if I know that I want my hair to feel and look amazing for the occasion. I find myself waking up at 5 am or taking a longer lunch to get that workout done, no excuses. It’s a win win – I feel better about myself because my hair feels good AND because my body has had its workout. Sometimes, especially when I don’t have a race goal in mind, I just need that little push and a fancy treat like shampoo or conditioner works like a charm.

My current motivator is Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner. I came across it in my Birchbox and have been hooked, it is crazy good. It’s a lot pricier than any other motivator I’ve used but a little goes a long way and I had points to use so it was really affordable. It was the perfect reward for pulling through a tough (both on me and my hair) swim! Other past shampootivation includes Herbal Essence and the samples from Birchbox that are perfect size for my gym bag.

I’m sure using other treats like a special eye palette, piece of jewelry or putting money aside to pay for a spa treatment would work too.

Anyone have some fun workout motivators?

Have a great weekend!!!!! I'll be recharging my camera so I can get some more pictures up on here :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sweaty Run & Mushy Stuff

Here is last night’s very sweaty workout:

5 Minute Walk/Jog Warm Up
2 Minute Jog
1 Minute Sprint
Repeating the 2/1 Minute Segments for 35 Minutes
5 Minute Jog/Walk Cool Down

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, it’s fun to think about my favorite past celebrations. In college, the best way was to wait until Feb. 15th, pile into a car with my girlfriends and visit the nearest Walgreens for ½ priced candy.  Romantically, I think my favorite was the first Valentine’s Day Jay and I celebrated together. I had spent the week leading up to and including part of the 14th out of town. Before I left town, I had created a treasure hunt of clues and little treats (bags of chocolate, a homemade XOXO tic tac toe magnet set, etc.) all around his house. On the morning of the 14th, I called him and told him where the first clue was hidden. He really seemed to enjoy the thought and effort I put into the gift and it made our being apart a little easier. Due to a little mix up with the airline company I almost didn’t have a flight back to Albuquerque, however, after a run through an airport, some tears and a lot of anxiety I did make it back home. Jay made reservations for us to eat in the wine loft of the Slate Street Cafe (highly recommend it) where we leisurely shared a cheese plate, amazing wine and entrees.  After such a hectic week and freak-out when I thought I’d miss our first Valentine’s Day, it was such a treat to enjoy a meal and so much conversation. We spent the rest of the night enjoying the world’s most ridiculously delicious chocolate covered strawberries (made by a donut shop?!) with a little TV and our pjs.

My Valentine
Reflecting on my favorite elements of my favorite Valentine’s Day- a leisurely meal, conversation and comfy pjs- I knew just what we should do this year. Our plan this year is to cook dinner and dessert at home; Jay will be taking on dessert and I’ll be handling dinner. The one rule is that it can’t be something we’ve made before, so I guess Valentine’s Day meatloaf, veggie chili or fish tacos are out of the question…drats! I was hoping I’d pick dessert because I had so many fun ideas in mind and I just love to bake. I’m looking forward to the challenge and the surprise that awaits on the 14th 
Of course I’ll be picking up a treat for my other Valentine:

My Furry Valentine

What is everyone else planning for the 14th? Favorite or least favorite Valentine’s Day?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Super Sore Sunday

The weekend just flew right by!

I opted for a rest day on Friday but was up bright and early Saturday to get my 600m swim done. I hadn’t realized just how sore my arms were from my circuit workout earlier in the week until I was swimming. Ouch! Following the swim, I helped out with some yard work. Yard work = workout #2! My body was so worn out that despite my excitement, I didn’t even make it through Melissa McCarthy’s SNL monologue. We are currently without a DVR so I’m going to have to be old fashioned and wait until they rerun it. Or it ends up on Netflix.

Knowing we had a day of football and indulgences, the hubs, my dad and I took off on a forty-five minute bike ride. I had considered not going on the ride because my legs were sore from Saturday’s work but I’m very glad I did. If anything, I think the ride helped loosen my tight muscles a bit. The rest of the day was spent eating fajitas, shrimp cocktail and drinking beer.

The hubs decided to bring his favorite beer mug to the Super Bowl party because he felt it was only right to honor a team that came so close to making it to the big game. He’s a good sport and doesn’t mind my jokes about the Buccaneers too much. 

Go Sox!
I’ve been thinking for years about picking an NFL team to follow and everyone has been telling me that I need to pick one, esp. because the hubs is very into it. This year I finally narrowed it down between the Seahawks (mostly because I love that bright green…) and the Saints (I love NOLA). Before their playoff game, I announced to my family that whoever lost was going to be my team. Saints lost and it was decided. Or so I thought. Minutes before the game even ended, I received multiple texts about how I shouldn’t root for the Saints for a number of odd and unconvincing reasons. The real reason? Saints are apparently the Buccaneers division (is that even the right word?) rival and my family is apparently (and in the cutest/funniest way) team “Jason”. I think the household rivalry will be fun and if it means I finally watch a full game and get into football, I think we all win. Especially the hubs!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

9 Weeks to 29

Well hello there! It's been a while. As Mari mentioned, we're back! We've been chatting and we both realized we needed this space again to keep up going and motivated. I'm excited to overshare with all six of our readers again!

For me, the hiatus has absolutely been because I feel off the fitness wagon in an awful way. Work and life got crazy and I just couldn't make it work. It happens some times, and I'm not happy about it, but I've decided not to dwell on it any longer and just move onto better things.

In an attempt to get myself back on track, I've worked out a personal fitness/healthy lifestyle challenge...Nine Weeks to Twenty Nine. So what's it all about? Well, nine weeks from tomorrow, I am turning 29 years old. I'd like to be in a much healthier place come my birthday, so each week from now until then, I'm going to challenge myself to something new.

Ground rules: For all nine weeks, there are some things I'm going to stick to. They are:

  1. At least five workouts a week - 30 mins or more and skiing counts
  2. Vitamins every day - iron and multi-vitamins
  3. Water water water...and no Diet Coke - I'm not cutting out booze, but the DC is outta control
  4. Only one cup of coffee each day - I think my caffeine intake is affecting my sleep
  5. Keep a food and workout journal - tracking has always been key for me
Each week, I'll take those ground rules and incorporate a new challenge. They are:

Week 1 - Back to Basics - this week I'll just be incorporating those 4 rules above into my life. I need to go to the store and get the vitamins, probably buy some healthier snacks, etc. I'm taking this week to set myself us to be successful.

Week 2 - Try Something New - I'm going to be traveling the whole week for week 2, so "Try Something New" should fit in well here. The 5 (or more) workouts will be something I have done before...maybe a new class, a different studio on the road, a workout video, etc. Should be interesting!

Week 3 - Cooking with Maddie - I never cook. Ever. When the hubs travels and I'm left at home, I eat a lot of cereal and canned tuna. But this time, I'm going to cook! The first part of the week I'll be traveling with the hubs, but then I'll be home without him for a few days, and so it's my chance to actually cook and make some healthy stuff.

Week 4 - No Meat Week - I don't eat a TON of meat, but I eat enough that it should be interesting to come up with a week's worth of menus without meat!

Week 5 - Try it Again - Mari came up with this idea, and I love it! This week, I'm going to try things again I've sworn off...Zumba, eggplant, peach yogurt..we'll see how it goes.

Week 6 - Photograph Life - Meals and workouts will be documented in photos. Keeps you honest about what happens when you have to share the photographic evidence.

Week 7 - Seven Straight - In week seven, I'm going to work out seven days straight. It's hard for me to fit in a full workout everyday, so this is going to take some good planning and dedication, but I'm going to push myself extra hard to squeeze in all those workouts.

Week 8 - Take it from Someone Else - Also an idea from Mari, each of the workouts this week will be something from another blog. I read a lot of the healthy living blogs out there, and lots of those wonderful ladies give some great workout ideas. I'm going to borrow them (and give credit where credit is due, of course).

Week 9 - No Sugar - This week is going to suck. A lot. Which is why I'm leaving it to the end...so I can celebrate making it through no sugar week with a giant piece of gluten-free birthday cake. But I know I eat way too much sugar in my life, and while I'm not about to give up sweets or dessert for the entirety of this challenge or my life, I'm thinking a week will do me good.

So that's that! I'm sure it might require tweaking throughout the process, but for now, this is the plan and I'm hoping for the best. And now I'm off to CVS to buy a new stash of Flintstones vitamins.