Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Let's give this a try

Yesterday was one of the rare times I had the Dr. Oz show on in the background and there was a woman who engaged in "fat talk."  Always thinking negatively about herself, cutting down on herself in front of her friends, etc.

(Sound familiar?  *raising hand*)

I don't do that nearly as much as I used to but sometimes it still slips.

Some lady came on and asked the woman to describe herself with five positive non-weight related adjectives.  I thought this was a good practice to remind ourselves that we are more than the weight we tend to focus on.

So here are mine:

1. Thoughtful
2. Sentimental
3. Funny
4. Direct
5. Creative

Now it's your turn!

Describe yourself using five non-weight related adjectives

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Frantic day, cake balls and learning to say no

Yesterday was one of those days that was just chock full from beginning to end.  I have a lot of holiday projects that are kicking into full gear and I had to get started on those.  Then I had all kinds of food stuff I had to do.  Chili was on the menu for dinner last night and leftovers for tonight so that means I had to hydrate the beans which heated up the joint.  My mom asked me like 3 weeks ago to do cake balls for her and I'm gonna tell her that's the last batch I'm doing for someone else.  I did a cake ball class for her and my aunt this time last year so I wouldn't have to make them for either of them ever again and yet I said yes by reflex when she caught me off guard.  Grr...why do I do that knowing it was going to be a busy time!?  The Mr is dropping them off to her tomorrow and they'll come with a note..."enjoy...I'm never making them again."  :-)   She said on the phone she didn't want to "mess with them."  Well, guess what, neither do I.  Every time I make those stupid ass things, I am quickly reminded why the frustration, irritation and more importantly time I didn't have isn't worth it.  Don't get me wrong, I love my mama and will do stuff for her but cake balls just aren't gonna be on that list.  (Especially when she knows how to do them!)  In my transitioning to middle age, my already short patience fuse is fraying at an alarming rate.

Plus I know I took in calories I wasn't planning on with the occasional finger lick.  Okay that and we may have had 2 cake balls for our night time snack since they wouldn't fit in the tin.  It was a shame, really.  We would've had one anyway just for quality control.  I won't have my name being bandied about as the creator if they taste like candy coated poo.  Do taste test calories count?

Don't answer that.

I already know.

But in the end, while they're good, they're only worth all the bullcrap if you're going to be making them for something for you not for a bunch of other people you don't even know.  I'm not in catering for a reason.  I'm about to rant...let's move on.

We did Turbo Fire last night and I burned just over 1000 calories so that felt good.  I feel like we're pretty much back to pre-vacation workout stamina but tonight will be the real test when we do kettlebells.  Thankfully it usually goes by pretty quick even though it's a butt kicker.  I know the 20 pounders will be challenging but I'm going to try to push through with them and listen to my body.

Do you agree to doing/making something even though your plate is already full and later regret it when the time rolls around?

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Things from the weekend

We're doing stuff a little different this Monday recap.   I'm here to share this weekend's "things."

Most irritating thing:  Drivers swerving into my lane/cutting people off at the last minute.  This is how 90% of people are driving now and it just makes me want to move to an atoll and learn to spear fish and get Castaway thin.  I know now why the prayer I say for the Mr every morning is necessary.

Cutest thing:  My grandpa had a spreadsheet full of dudes names for some lunch they have every month where they live.  Some people have died, new guys have moved in so the printed spreadsheet was looking rather ragged.  He asked if I could re-type it on my typewriter.  I told him I could do it on the computer.  When I came over to get the list, he had gotten a ruler and re-drew the blank spreadsheet on a piece of paper for me to "type" in on the computer.  ;-)

Newest thing:  A new grocery store opened (kind of Trader Joe-ish) and we went in even though it was packed to the gills and aren't crowd people.  They had some good prices on some things but then really jacked 'em up on others.  Like we pay $2.99 for light Babybel's at TJ's and this place wanted $2.00 more.  I was highly annoyed when we got home and I looked at the receipt and the 2 lbs. of brussels I got from them was $1.00 more a pound than the guy told us.  I know it sounds stupid but I paid like $1.50 more than I would've paid at TJ's and I was headed there later.  I'll try not to hold it against them but list your friggin' prices on a tag or don't carry the item.  Pffft.  On the plus side, the cauliflower I got was so huge I will not likely run out for over 2 weeks.  They also gave the Mr a freebie of some blueberry yogurt the guy in training liked a lot. We'll likely go back.  I found chia seeds in bulk for $4.99/lb over $9.99/lb from Whole Foods so since we're already down that way anyway, I'll be gettin' my chia on.

Saddest thing:  Lou Reed and Marcia Wallace both died and John McVie from Fleetwood Mac was diagnosed with cancer.

Most uncomfortable thing:  James Franco roast I ran across while flipping channels or basically roasts in general.  Everyone is so mean and people look so uncomfortable...not just the roastee but the people waiting to roast that inevitably get ragged on too.  I spend most of my time cringing, gasping and depending on who it is, I am physically unable to change the channel.  Whoever came up with this "honor" should be firmly smacked about the neck and face.

Halloweeniest thing:  Whilst perusing a warehouse for some deals on antiques, we were approached by Waldo with a bowl of candy asking if we'd like a piece.  So what happens when you find Waldo?  Was I supposed to keep him?  Thanks for the Starburst, kid!

Culinary thing:  When we were buying our other brussels from Trader Joe's, a woman was coming out of the back and said she always asks people how they prepare them.  I told her the way I do them most often and she said that sounded awesome.  She said someone told her they do them with brown sugar and butter and another person did them with maple syrup.  I tried them tossed with 1 tbsp of maple syrup before grilling them and they were quite good.  A nice little hint of maple that caramelized into brussels goodness.

What were some things from your weekend?

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Back to the grind and what I'm reading this week

This week has been good to get back to the grind.  I can't believe we've only been back for a feels like it's been three.  Why do vacation vibes seem to drain so quickly?  I'm glad we've gotten back to the exercising; especially strength.  I did miss doing that while we were gone and my muscles always feel like they've atrophied like Bugs Bunny trying to flex.

But enough of that schtuff...let's get to
22 Kick Ass Kettlebell Exercises

Airlines Are Purposely Shrinking Seats to Make You Miserable  (Probably)

Five Fit Celebs Who Live to Eat the 80/20 Rule  (Props!)

Never Shop in October and Other Secrets from a Retail Guru

Online Smart Shopping Tips:  Five Things to Do Before You Check Out  (I do most but in case you don't.)

The Best (and Worst) Foods for Healthy Teeth

Silly Things People Have Said to Me When I Tell Them I'm Not Having Kids  (I couldn't stop laughing at her comebacks.  SOOOO using a few of these!)

The Science Behind Why We Binge  (Because donuts and pizza are delicious?)

Fierce and Fab in 14 Days:  Tony Horton's P90X-Inspired Workout

A Vet in the Dog House  (My big question is who got the dog in the end?  I think I'd punch the vet)

Curtis Stone's Spiced Apple Pie  (Can you tell I miss The Cherry Hut and Grand Traverse Pie Co?)

Injured?  When to Ice and When to Heat  (Handy dandy chart)

7 Ways to Get Unstuck  (It's more than a Cure song)

8 Things You Didn't Know About Body Fat

Explaining Video Stores to Modern Kids  (We STILL do this.  Nixed Netflix when they jacked up their prices a few years ago and went old school.  Because there truly is nothing like browsing a REAL video store.  I'll do it until they're completely extinct.)

This weekend is a little shoppin', a little college ball and trying to remember to buy crappy candy we won't be tempted to eat for the children that won't show up at our house next week.

What's on tap for your weekend?  Do you get lots of trick or treaters?

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Guest post from The Mr: Talking to my old self

Oh you're in for a treat today, y'all. You get a break from my sorry ass and get to listen to the Mr spout off!  Buckle up buttercups!

First of all I'd like to thank the Mrs for asking me to share a post with everyone today.  This all stems from something that happened to me this week and we both felt it was something that perhaps everyone could appreciate.  I suppose I should introduce myself a little first.  I am married to your trusted blog-mistress, and have been through this weight loss journey along with her.  At my heaviest I weighed 455 lbs and am around (not counting any recently acquired vacation weight) 265 lbs.

During my weight loss journey, I had a lot of co-workers who would all notice the differences in my weight at various times.  It's funny how some people can be oblivious for much longer than others but that is how it is. Eventually, however, the weight loss became so noticeable that virtually everyone in my immediate work area noticed and for a long time I was getting compliments all the time.  That is a little hard to get used to at first but eventually I saw it as a gift.  Now that I am in the tougher third leg of my journey and not losing as much weight but maintaining what I have lost and I rarely have anyone say much of anything anymore.  Until yesterday, that is.

I was walking through the hall at work yesterday and had a guy who I've seen before but don't actually work directly with.  He works on a totally different floor and our paths rarely cross but he does come down for the occasional meeting.  He was heading in the same direction as me and I noticed he was kind of walking next to me and then he said, "pardon my asking but how much weight have you lost?"  I told him and his next question was "forgive me for being rude and asking but I have got to know, did you have weight loss surgery?"  I proudly said no and the look on his face was a mix of disbelief and, dare I say, relief.  I should mention that this man is probably close to 400 lbs and it was as if his eyes lit up when I said that.  He then said that was encouraging to him because another co-worker of ours died about 3 years ago from complications of weight loss surgery.  I knew the guy but had not known that he died of that, so this was news to me.

He suddenly had a ton of questions for me.  "What do you eat"? being the biggest one.  I found a lot of my old self in him.  It was like the old me at 455 lbs asking the new me how I did it and all of those questions I always wanted to ask someone who I'd seen who lost weight.  When I told him that I had slowed down in my weight loss lately he said "yeah but you keep losing weight."  He said, "I saw you lose weight initially and then over the past couple of years I'd come down here and see you and be like, wow that guy lost even more weight".  Then he said "when other people lose weight around here they tend to follow a trend where they eventually start to creep back up again but with you, every time I see you you're still losing weight so I finally had to ask you how you do it".

So all this time I never even realized that there was this person who noticed my weight loss from afar but maybe either didn't want to say anything or just wasn't ready to yet.  I understand that completely because I have been there.  It's funny because there is this part of me that wants to help everyone I see but then I'm reminded that you cannot just walk up to any big person and be like "I know how to help you" because I know what I would have done if that had happened back in the day.

But as much as I feel like I have helped someone else, I also realize just how much he helped me today too. Just by getting a reminder of where I've been and how far I've come is a big boost to the ego but also my motivation on this journey.  Just the shot in the arm I needed.  So I guess the moral of the story is that you should most certainly approach another person you've admired from afar.  You just might be helping them as much as you're helping yourself!

Do you see any inspirational people in your lives and want to say something but don't?  What is it that you would say if you could? 

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The rare two thumbs up

Last night we got in an at home circuit to kick some strength and cardio butt.  I feel like things are getting back on track but I can't wait to feel 100% again on the workout front.  I pee'd a LOT yesterday (sorry) so I know my bod is trying to let go of some of that sodium so that's a step in the right direction.

Last night was an exciting double feature movie night.  Oh yeah baby!  October has actually been a good renting month after a really dry summer.  Last week we rented The Heat (affiliate link)  (which if you know of my disdain for Melissa what's her face it will come as no surprise that we hated it) and The Croods(affiliate link) and we really liked it!  It was kind of a joke that we rented it because when we were in Traverse City, the State Theater was playing it on the weekend and I remembered we said it looked good in previews but the Mr denied it.  So every time we walked past it, I would look at the movie poster and we'd laugh.  But I'm glad we actually did rent it because it was original, cute and you don't need kids to like this animated flick.  So thumbs up on that one.

Let's get to last night's rents.  We had a rare two thumbs up double feature.

The Internship (affiliate link)  with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.  If you saw Wedding Crashers, think the same chemistry and honestly, the same bullshit spewing from Vince's mouth so if you can tolerate that, you'll be good to go.  If you're in your late 30's or above, it'll make you want to go punch some college students for the first two thirds of the movie, so there's that.  It's pretty much one big Google commercial but it's a good concept and good laughs from beginning to end.

The Way, Way Back.  (affiliate link) This is one that we feared we might be trailer duped on.  It's one of those independent deals with big names attached and that sometimes spells disaster for us.  Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell and Maya Rudolph.  All I can say it!!!  SOOOOO good!  We were so pleasantly surprised by this one.  It has some great throwbacks to 80's summers and that feeling of the awkward kid trying to cut their own path in life.  Liam James was perfect as Duncan and Carell was the perfect douchebag...kind of a nice twist from the characters he usually plays.

Rented any good movies lately?

(This post contains a few affiliate links to some pretty good movies.  Should you buy movies or start your Christmas shopping through them, I'll get a few cents back to help keep this well oiled machine on the tracks.)

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sluggy McSluggersons

Wow...last night's workout sucked.  

Despite walking 38 miles last week which might not be much for runners but for at home dvd'ers like us, it was quite a feat.  Every day we were sore and our hips hurt or my leg muscles were giving me a little grief but I was cool with it because walking just isn't something I do much. It also gave us a false sense that we were doing cardio and honestly except for a few times, it wasn't heart pumping. So you know, why bother using the resistance bands we brought or doing any extra cardio?  The end result?

Sluggy McSluggerson.

We ate an embarrassing amount of food.  That whole mentality of hitting the places we loved before, trying places we missed then being pissed that the places we tried sucked and that sense of entitlement of something better.  Ugh.  We both are so friggin' bloated.  The hollower places like my thighs, the weird dents in my gut and my calves are all puffed up but do you think some of the bulk could go to my deflated boobs?  NOOOOO.

So last night was our first "real" cardio workout since we got back and I thought I was fine through most of it but man it was just like the further along we got the more sluggish we felt.  I felt so heavy.  I mean every punch and kick of this familiar workout felt like lead.  My fat swung different when I'd do speedbags.  Just ridiculous crap.  No, I don't know how much we gained.  We know we're not in a place mentally to hop on the scale.  I think it could really derail us.  We're at a weird point...fragile almost.  So we're giving ourselves 2 weeks to be back on track before weighing in so the bloat has time to get out and we can examine how much actual weight has stuck around.  It ain't gonna be pretty folks.

I'm looking forward to rebuilding our stamina and getting back to feeling like I'm not wading through waller.

Do you feel sluggish when you return to your normal routine after lightening your workout load for a short period of time?

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Monday, October 21, 2013

We're back...Jack and wanna do it again

Howdy do all?

Well, if you follow me on Instagram, you know my secret...we snuck away to Traverse City, Michigan last week for a vacay.  It was much needed and we had a nice time.  When we went last year, we had six rainy days and one sunny one which happened to thankfully fall on the Mr's birthday.  This year we had five sunny days and two less than ideal but were still able to do stuff.  We stayed downtown this time so we could walk most places to eat and shop.  We got in 38 miles of walking averaging 5.43 miles per day.  I think that's a new record for us beating Chicago by about 1/2 mile.  However, I don't think it put a dent in the damage we did food wise but that's another post.

In the meantime, here's a few shots from our getaway...

No vacation is complete without a trip to the local Humane Society

It's pretty sad when 6 samples this size give us both flaming headaches.  Definitely not drinkers but the spiced cherry wine is amazing.

Glen Haven Beach...heaven on Earth.

Frankfort Lighthouse
It's quite a haul drive wise but we bought Billy Crystal's audiobook version of his new book Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?  (affiliate link)  It helped the time pass by quite nicely and if you should get it, I highly suggest going audiobook with it because he reads it and does impressions and some chapters are read in front of an audience so it seems almost like stand up.  It'll make you laugh, cry and prepare you for some scary shit aging wise.  I'd better buy stock in travel neck pillows because apparently we'll all be napping a lot.

Whatchu been up to?

(This post contains an affiliate link to a pretty hilarious book.  If you buy anything through it, I'll get a nominal kickback and you'll help keep a roof on this blog home.)

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Why I'm a Prime girl and a freebie offer

I know this is going to sound like an infomercial but bear with me.  I'm only sharing this because I love this service and use it all the time...okay that and I forgot to bookmark the few things I read this week because I'm absentminded like that.  Wah wahhh.

Am I the only one who is just over half done with my Christmas shopping?  I am?  Oh...then I won't tell you that I have the Mr's already wrapped.

*ducking objects being thrown*

I do pretty much all of my Christmas shopping through Amazon.  I have ever since it was a novelty and especially now that it's a mainstay.  I'm also pretty impatient.  Standard shipping is fine but it's 3-5 days from the time it ships.  If you get Amazon Prime, you get upgraded to 2 day shipping on qualifying items which are most things they sell.  For us this is well worth the annual fee ($79) because we use Amazon all year long when we need something or are buying birthday presents and don't want to spend our time out with the throngs.  I just made myself curious, hang on...okay, I'm back.  I placed 32 orders so far over 2013.  27 of them were Prime eligible making shipping under $3 per order!  For a $3 charge not to have to run all over town if one store is out of something and having to go to another location or go back out another time, you can easily waste those 3 bucks in gas.    I'm a big proponent of not wasting my time!

If you don't have it and want to give it a go for a free 30 day trial just like we did initially, click here (affiliate link) to sign up and do your holiday shopping!  Oh, did I forget to mention free streaming of videos and TV shows and instant access to Kindle titles?  Honestly, I love it for shipping so much that I forget I can stream (oops!) but let me tell you when we're on vacation and are bored at night, we remember then!  There are 160 exercise titles that are prime eligible so we don't have an excuse to not exercise while we're gone or if we just want to try something different.  You can also rent popular exercise titles if you want to try before you buy.  I think they're usually $2.  Another benefit?  You can invite up to 4 people to be added to your membership so if $79 isn't up your alley then maybe agreeing to split the cost of a membership for about $16 for all of that between family and friends could be worth it?

As far as customer service, you can't beat them.  I'll admit I have had 99% great experiences with Amazon but there have been a couple of experiences over a decade that have been less than stellar and these were with third party sellers.  Amazon stepped up and immediately rectified the situations and have always taken care of us.  Customer service to a traditionalist like me is pretty freakin' important.  It's a dying practice everywhere else but because of how we've been treated in the past, it's what keeps us coming back.

Amazon didn't ask me to write this and yes, I am a part of their affiliate program.  But I'm just letting you know about the free 30 day trial because the holidays are coming up and who wouldn't want to be done with shipping on someone else and spend your time doing better things?  No strings, just make sure you cancel by day 30 if you don't want it and take advantage of what they have to offer in the meantime!  I lurve Amazon long time, especially this time of year so if you're looking to score a deal on shipping or see if it's comparable to Netflix (obviously they don't carry the Netflix original series), this might be a great way to see if it's for you!

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.  Should you do the trial, I will get a nominal kickback to help keep this blog up and running.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bingo on wheels

We're on the move today, which means long hours in the car.  It seems every time a bigger road trip is in the works, we stumble upon this...

via Pinterest
He always excitedly asks me "remember auto bingo!?"  I give him a blank stare and say "for the 400th time, no.  I never had it!"  It's almost like his brain will just not comprehend you could road trip as a kid without it.

When I was a kid, we didn't go on road trips that were too long or required too much to keep me occupied.  I was more than content to look out the window and take it all in.  I don't remember asking "are we there yet?" to a degree that would exercise my parents "vacation elbow."  I think the only form of entertainment I had was "dancing" to the beat of the raised asphalt lines every few feet on the freeway.  I would use the "beat" of the sound of the tires going over them to see if I could tell if they were spaced the same distance apart.

When the Mr was a kid, it was very much like National Lampoon's Vacation.  His parents loaded up three kids in the family truckster with their auto bingo and other things to keep them entertained for long, car-centric trips.  I've heard many stories about the oldest sib ruining trips and even being sent home by plane so the rest of them could enjoy their vacation.  (And they did with them out of the picture.  It's ironic this sib now takes their own children to the same places they ruined for the rest of the family and raves about "good times" had there as a kid.  Mmm hmm.)

As adults, we plan road trips by seeing if there's anything interesting along the way like movie locations, cheesy tourist attractions or more importantly some kind of wood cut out where you poke your head through the hole.  It's "our thing."  If there's one of those penny crusher machines that embeds a picture on a flattened penny when we get to our destination...all the better.  Oh and yes, I would totally stand over a kid who is just playing with the crank not actually buying anything until they felt uncomfortable enough to leave.  Outta my way junior, I have an otter to smash on a penny!  I still find myself just looking out the window taking it all in while the Mr drives.  We try to keep a road trip no longer than 7-8 hours but 10 is our absolute cut off before we go a little stir crazy and start turning on each other.  I don't think we should reach that point today.

Do you like road trips?  What is your cut off for the amount of time you'll spend in a car?  What did you do as a kid on family road trips?

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Almost only counts in horse shoes

I'm a big proponent of getting rid of your "fat clothes" as you size down out of them.  I've always felt that hanging on to them kind of gives you that excuse to not see your goal through or have clothes to fall back on if your commitment wanes.  This way, gaining weight will cost you some money and that might be just enough incentive for some.  We have probably donated well over 10-12 bags of clothes over our weight loss up to this point.  But what about those other clothes?  The ones we call the "almost there" clothes in our parts.

These are clothes that, in our cases, fit well up top but are snug and/or short on the bottom but another 10-20 lbs off could make all the difference in how they fit.  That's great but here's the problem, especially when dealing with a shirt that is too short...unless your torso shortens, it's never going to fit!  I know your gut can go down and not push the shirt out as far but we're talking shirts that by the time it fits well on the bottom, the top is going to likely look ridiculous.  We both have been hanging on to those clothes for about 2 years now. I would pull out certain tops I really liked to see if they fit yet and the top would be even more baggy than the last time but the bottom still hit in the same bad place.  You know that place.  The one that cuts just high enough on your gut that the wrong move will expose your muffin top (or the Spanx suckin' in your muffin top) or the top you'll spend all day self conscious about and pulling down.  Yeah.  It's time to get rid of those.  We did.

My donate piles.  Clothes I'll miss, clothes that were too big and ones that might've been bought under  the influence of cough medicine with codeine.

We both went through our closets and tried on every shirt.  Some were obvious to donate but others (maybe out of wishful thinking) we would ask the others opinion to see if they were too big.  Unfortunately some of our favorite shirts got the heave ho.  But I guess it's time for others to enjoy them now.  I even found a few 26/28's and a couple of 4x tees in the back!  (I'm an 18/20 now and wear XL's in most stores)    Between us, there was a whole garbage bag full of clothes to say aloha to.  Of course I had to make sure a few of them got replaced so we went to Old Navy and picked up a few basic long sleeved shirts for me that I could add some scarves to and dress up and grabbed a few shirts for him elsewhere so I think we're both set for the winter.  We made sure as we shopped that we chose shirts that were long enough and made sure to stay away from cotton so they didn't do what many of our old shirts did, which was shrink upward...never to be worn again.

Do you keep those clothes that "almost fit" even though you know the likelihood of them being a flattering fit is low?

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Free Workout Resources

You guys know I like my at home DVD's.  It's how we've lost 99% of our weight.  I also don't always have money to spend on adding new blood to the rotation and who doesn't like to get something awesome for free?

Here are a list of some cool, free websites I keep bookmarked when I need new workout injected into the routine.

Workout Labs  (Customize your own workouts, get them in PDF form and take 'em on the go!)

Do Yoga With Me  (We use this quite a bit.  There are some great sessions for all levels of yogi's)

Fitness Blender  (A great source for at home workout videos for all fitness levels)

Fitness Magazine (They have some really good instructional videos.  Mixing and matching can help you customize your own workout)

Blogilates (Cassey Ho is super cute but VERY peppy.  I need to be in the mood for it (or mute) but you go ahead and dive on in!)

Tone It Up (These ladies have some great workout moves that I like to incorporate into my own homemade workouts.  I will say, sometimes seeing them in their bikini's makes me feel like wearing a turtleneck and long yoga pants.  It's up to you whether you find that motivating or not.)

Do you have a go to website for free workouts?

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Apples to Apples

Sorry if anyone came here thinking we were talking about the board game(affiliate link)  which is awesome in its own right but I'm talking about real apples baby!

I eat apples every day.  Fall is my favorite time of year because my two favorite apples ever are in their peak form...Honeycrisps and Pink Ladies.  I'm always amazed when people say they've never heard of or tasted either of them.  Scandalous!  I found out all kinds of interesting info about both kinds so if you've never had them and are curious (or you just want to learn something new today), read on!

We have Western Australia to thank for Pink Ladies.  In 1973, they hybridized the Golden Delicious and Lady Williams apples but didn't make their way to the States until the late 1980's.  They're grown mostly on the west coast.  They used to have a much shorter in store season in our part of the woods but I've noticed the past few years I've been able to find them *almost* year round!  Their season is from September through early Spring.  Yeah baby!  Their taste has been described as a tart kick on the first bite with a flood of sweetness.  I love that about them.  I call them "dessert apples" because they're sweet enough to really satisfy a sweet tooth.  I have a friend who said I saved her by turning her on to the Pinks because they subbed her nightly sweet treat 5 out of 7 nights per week.  They're great baking apples because they keep their shape and they're great to use in salads as well.  They can last as long as a month in the fridge but they'll be lucky to make it a week in ours!

Now, onto the Honeycrisps!  They were first produced in 1960 when the honeygold and macoun were cross pollinated at the University of Minnesota but we couldn't get our hands on them until 1990.  (I guess it's becoming clear I like nouveau apples instead of the ones that have been around since the beginning of time.)  Honeycrisps are grown in areas with cooler climates such as Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Minnesota and Washington.  The taste is like a drop kick to the tastebuds...a balance of sweet and tart that will grab your attention.  Their season is short compared to Pink Ladies...from the third week of September to mid-October.  That's right, that means you'd better get your hiney to the store and pick some up because their season is winding down!  You can use them for pies but these can also be used for applesauce as well.  There's a good bet that now that the weather is changing, there's a bag of honeycrisps in the car for 'road food.'

What are your favorite kinds of apples?

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Friday, October 11, 2013

R&R required and what I'm reading this week

I am looking forward to a little relax-say-she-awn.  (Or relaxation for those without the ability to decipher what the hell I was saying in the previous sentence.)

It's been a hectic few weeks and now that holiday stuff is getting ready to gear up for the year, our weekends are going to get jam packed.  The Mr has a huge work project coming up that will undoubtedly make an already stressful time even more so for him.  So this weekend we're just focusing on doing what we want.  (I know, this doesn't really differ much from any other weekend but the focus is going to be on being chill.)  We'll be doing one of many birthday celebrations for the Mr but this one will just be us which I'm looking forward to.  I'm going to forego a weekend recap Monday because I just want the weekend to be ours this time and not have to worry about taking blog worthy pics.  I know you guys understand because you're cool like dat!  I've got a mega hectic week next week so I may not be commenting on a normal schedule the next few posts.  Now that that's out of the way, let's move on to...

5 Inventions That Enhanced Laziness  (I can't believe the remote control wasn't on here!)

Woman Fights Back Against Online Bullies  (I don't know that I personally would want to rehash it all but good on her if she's got the fortitude to bring that attention to herself)

Does Muscle Weigh More Than Fat?  (I'd like to think we all logically know the answer to this but I've seen far too many people not grasp that a pound is a pound.  Now the SPACE it takes up?  Then yes, that's the difference!  :-)  )

The Best Carbs for Weight Loss

Remodeling 101:  Pop Out Outlets  (Pretty cool!)

What Plus Sized Women Would Prefer to Be Called  (Uh...not this "plus sized" woman.  I think this term is a little too "rose colored glasses" for my taste.)

The Ultimate Travel Bucket List  (I just added a few to mine)

The Simple Things You Should Be Doing Every Morning (But Aren't)

Does Sweating Mean You're Burning More Calories?  (Maybe you're just a sweaty beast?)

Waiting Builds Patience and Leads to Better Decision Making  (I totally agree.  This instant gratification society is not going well)

13 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise  (All great reasons to lift your rump off the couch!)

Hawaii:  Where Milk Can Cost As Much As Wine  (We always cringe when it's time to grocery shop and I never gripe about paying $5-7 less when we're back home!)

Easy Ways to Cut Sugar and Salt from Your Diet  (Great suggestions!)

The Incredible Powers of Nostalgia  (Then I should be a wizard!)

Courtesy of The Mr    (She overacted a bit with the guy but the tables?  Yeah, I'd be outta there!)

We're continuing to celebrate the Mr's birthday this weekend...getting out into nature with no phone, no cameras, not a single luxury and just enjoying our time together.

What's on your agenda for the weekend?

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Morning Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

My morning oatmeal isn't your typical bland bowl of oats.  Most times I like to fancy it up a bit.  I always add bananas but sometimes I'll add Biscoff spread or mini chocolate chips or if I'm feeling sassy, both.

These babies were inspired by the sassy days...

Morning Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
(Makes 34)

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups oats (regular or quick cook)
1 medium ripe banana, mashed (no lumps)
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Trader Joe's organic maple sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick Blue Bonnet margarine, softened
6 tbsp Biscoff Crunchy Spread
1/2 cup Nestle mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350, grease cookie sheets with cooking spray or use silpats.

Combine butter and sugars until fluffy.

Add vanilla, banana, Biscoff spread and chips.

Blend until combined.

Add flour, baking soda and oats and mix well.

Chill dough for 15 minutes.

Drop by rounded tablespoon on the cookie sheet about 2" apart.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Cool for 5-7 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

See that glossy sheen?  That's what you want.  Yum!

Now obviously you can't substitute these for a bowl of oatmeal calorie wise but they'll make one heck of an addition to your Fall/Winter baking rotation!

Nutritional info per cookie:  Calories 91  Total Fat 3g  Sat Fat 1g  Poly Fat 1g  Mono Fat 1g  Sodium 45mg  Potassium 35mg  Total Carbs 15g  Fiber 1g  Sugars 8g  Protein 1g  Vitamin A  2%  Vitamin C 1%  Iron 2%

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bathed in pain

For the first time in a long time, I had to skip a workout due to a migraine.  I've worked out through migraines before (to the point of almost passing out) but that along with a knee that was feeling the pain told me listening to my body was the better choice.  This one was a stress induced one and there's not a whole lot I can do for it once it kicks over.  So the Mr gave me a deep massage until his fingers almost snapped off and once I realized working out wasn't in the cards, I went upstairs to run a detox bath.  Of course the damn drain decided to start not holding water so I had to yell for the Mr to come fix it.  It ALWAYS works for his salt baths but not when IIIII need it.

*kicks pebble*

He got it working for me and I grabbed the MP3 player and put it on .5 because that's about as loud as I could tolerate it.  I got my potions ready for the double, double toil and trouble.  Here's what I use for my detox bath...

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay(affiliate link) 1/4-1/2 cup.  It's about a pound of the stuff and is known for tightening pores and detoxifying when used in a bath.  It is also a GREAT facial!  Put 2 tbsp of this with 1 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar, stir and keep it in the fridge for a spot treatment or use it for a facial and you can feel it tightening your face as it dries.  When your face begins to pulsate like a Wes Craven monster it's about time to remove it.

Epsom Salt-  (affiliate link) 1 cup.  I'm sure most of you know it eases aches and pains and such.  This stuff works instantaneous on the Mr but doesn't do quite as much good for me right away.  I always feel better afterward but it's like a miracle for him.

Relax Synergy Essential Oil Blend-  (affiliate link) I love this stuff.  It has a nice relaxing scent and you only need 2-4 drops for the whole tub.  I also use a drop in the facial mask to make the apple cider vinegar easier to take since I loathe that smell.  You can also put some in a water bottle and freshen your sheets, hair, face, clothes, whatever.

The Mr said to make sure I got my neck down in the water as much as possible. I did that the best I could which meant I had to sit with my knees bent up out of the water.

Of course the first thing that came to my mind was when Freddy Krueger's glove comes up in the bathtub.

Damn 80's horror movies welded into my brain.  You can imagine how relaxing that was.

By the end of my bath I felt about 25% better which sucked but better is better.  I hated missing a workout because of it but I didn't have a choice.  Rat bastard migraine.  I started making to do lists and getting things crossed off of it so I don't go into today with another one.  Note to self...THIS is why procrastination is bad!

How do you handle migraines/bad headaches?

(This post contains a few affiliate links for your future relaxation and pimple free pleasure.  Should you buy through them, I will get a nominal kickback to help keep the lights on around here.)

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Simple centerpieces, juvenile humor and Satisfries review

This weekend was...interesting.

We got an early start for a long road trip and as seems to be our usual over the past few months another Saturday sunrise on four wheels.

I had to take a pic of this cute, simple flower arrangement for Fall that was at a roadside pumpkin stand.  Isn't it gourd-geous?  Wah wahh.

Of course, antiquing was on the schedule and because I have a 9 year old boy trapped inside me, seeing this made me giggle enough to whip out the phone.

I was flabbergasted to see the Western Barbie I had as a kid.  The box has never been opened so even her little stamp pad is in it's original plastic and the hair brush and stuff is all still in its connective plastic at the bottom.  I still have mine but I don't think she looks quite this good anymore.

These freaked me the hell out so if they haunt my dreams, they have to haunt yours.  The Mr said it's like the Headless Horseman had children.

This is where I would've put a picture of the puppy we almost bought and are still struggling with our decision.  I'm kind of proud we're not just jumping into it but it's brought out a lot of emotions and is making us think about our priorities vs. our fears.  It's not exactly fair that when we came home there was a pet catalog from a company we hadn't heard from in years.  Next.

We split a small Burger King Satisfries.

If you like thick fries, you'll love these.  I like big, thick steak fries and these are pretty good though a little salty for my liking.  I'd probably get them with no salt next time because I don't need 330mg of sodium I'm not even going to enjoy.  I also have to note that I hate BK's fries so this is a step up for me.

When we got home, we started watching the DVR'd football games far later than we should.  The Mr got very vocal so to take his mind off of things, I gave him one of his birthday presents speakers for the car.  The one thing we immediately noticed is the speakers in the car SUCK.  I mean, hard.  Yesterday he installed them and finally I can car-twerk to Robin Thicke properly.

Before we knew it, most of our Sunday was sucked down the drain.  We found this open house we wanted to go to of this mid-century modern house that looked like it could be a quart and a half of awesome so we went.  Wow.  There was one room in this 1960's home that we loved with it's awesome 60's fixtures, black and white checkered linoleum and paneling.  Perfect for a retro room like we've always wanted.  But when it's being sold "as is" and the homeowners list "no knowledge of water damage" in a house that smells like a YMCA pool and there is clearly water damage all over the go.  Well that and the petrified mouse skeleton in the old circuit breaker that revealed a full wiring overhaul might be in order was probably the final nail.

Our workout was later than I like on a Sunday but still got in about 650 calories for a shorter workout so I guess I can't complain too much.  Today we have to workout early because we're getting together with family for an early b-day dinner for the Mr so that we're not too close to my cousins b-day dinner.

What did you do this weekend?

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Hairy beast, impending age issues and what I'm reading this week

It's Friday y'all...can I get an Halleluyer?

I need a vacation.  Seriously.  I'm so tired of dealing with irritating people who won't proverbially shit or get off the pot, situations out of our control and decisions being made that basically are akin to Indy throwing the sand over the invisible bridge and taking a step on faith.  I would like to just be able to take a breath please and not have some kind of bullcrap to worry about for a week or so.

Yesterday was hairy beast day.  My hair turned this weird ass orangey color from the sun in Kauai.  I mean I had brown roots and red hair with no dye involved.  I HATED it!  It reminded me of my cringeworthy Sun In days.  Ever since then, my hair tends to get this brassy red in the summer.  So I grabbed some John Frieda foam hair coloring.  I'd never tried it before and I wasn't sure how foam would work but it seems to be just fine.  The color is nice and dark again with only slight hints of the red in certain light but it's not the dominant color.  No blotchiness that I can see and it's somewhat soft but thankfully not fried like it felt a few years ago when I found one gray hair, flipped out and grabbed cheap hair color and turned it into a haystack.  Then I grab the cold wax strips and shaped the brows.  I can't do tweezers.  Maybe one or two but nothing more than that.  I don't rip them way back because I can't stand over-tweezed/super thin eyebrows and mine border on Brooke Shields in the 80's.  I don't really mind it but as I've gotten older, the hair seems to grow further down the eyelid than it used to.  WTF is that about?!  Am I part Bigfoot, Gus?  (Extra points if you know the reference)  Is this just the beginning of the things waiting for me as I age?

That reminds me, when I was at the wedding last weekend, I was talking to a guy from high school in church while we were waiting for the wedding to start.  There was a row of older people ahead of us.  Most in their late 60's, maybe a little older and then one couple that was probably late 50's.  The guy was lamenting about how he's going to be turning 40 soon and we began lamenting about earlier bedtimes (12:00am is early for me), aching joints and not wanting to go out quite as much.  I said I should just start practicing beating kids with a stick off my lawn.  The woman in her 50's turned around, smiled and said "just you kids wait!"  Hey, has Oprah been lying all this time when she's been word barfing about how much "better" it gets as you get older?  Is that a lie that people older than we are tell us?  Kind of like how you can't get relatives that are mothers to talk about pain of childbirth or the possibility of pooping during childbirth because if you knew ahead of time the human race would go extinct.  She scared me a little in her "you're going to piss yourself when you sneeze, your boobs will end up tucked in your socks and jowls are imminent" tone.

I'm babbling.

Let's get to...

How to Lockdown Facebook Now that Graph Has Rolled Out  (Don't let something stupid you said 5 years ago pop up to the general public)

How to Get Sh!t Done Working from Home  (Great ideas!)

Father's Epic Letter to His Closed Minded Daughter (Regardless of your stance on the issue...this is why Grandpa's rock)

Get a Full Body Workout with No Equipment

Clean Stubborn Stains with Shaving Cream  (Good to know!)

Airlines Promise a Return to Civility...For a Fee  (If everyone pays to board early then how can you call it early boarding??)

24 Smart Ways to Stress Less About Technology  (Take this to heart tech junkies!)

17 Reasons Kids Don't Like Facebook Anymore (Don't drink anything while reading this.  Hilarious)

12 Fall Food Fails  (Make yourself feel better about not being able to produce what you saw on Pinterest)

11 Fashions the Kids Were Wearing in 1993  (Uh, thank God I didn't wear 80% of these stupid fads!)

7 Ways to Curb Your Cravings   (Could've used this the other night!)

5 Unusual Ways Men Learn to Be Good Husbands

Roll Out With These 5 Foam Roller Exercises (video starts on landing)

Pill made of poop cures gut infection  (For my friends with gut issues)

Dumb and Dumber's Blind Billy is back!  (video starts on landing but you don't need to watch it.  There are pics in the article)

That's about it for that.  We're going on a small road trip tomorrow then watching football when we get back.  We need to clean the house  Or maybe today.  Double boo.

What are you doing this weekend?  Anything good?

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Feeding the beast

After last night's workout, which wasn't a hard one at all, I was ravenous.  I fixed a pork chop and brussels for dinner and about 30 minutes after we ate, I was hungry again.  I have my calories planned out meticulously for the week and there was no room for feeding the beast an extra snack after our evening nosh of sugar free old favorite but now rare treat.

I desperately wanted some light kettle corn.  110 calories, full of fiber and not so far over the edge that it couldn't be worked in.

No.  Must stay strong.

I will not think of the buy one, get one free ice cream cone offer I have printed out for the weekend or the fact it's buy one get one free sundae day. cream.

No.  Stop thinking.

La, la, la.  

We have 2 extra apples.  Nutritious, delicious, need to be eaten.  Another 100 calories.

*defeated sigh*

Green tea.  3 calories, filling, warm in the tummy.

So proud of our decision not to eat the pantry.

Looks so cute all hot and cozy served up in my Arcade Restaurant mug from Memphis.
They have the best sweet potato pancakes...

...with syrup

...and a piece of bacon to have the savory cut the sweet.


How do you deal with beastly cravings?

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A chemical shift, a stupid question with an honest answer and movie review

I'm feeling pretty random today so bear with me.

It's pretty evident that my hormones are starting to shift for the month.  Little does Aunt Flo know there's going to be a road closed sign when she tries to pull up the street this month so...sorry!  See ya in November!  But since my body doesn't know that yet, I've been feelin' the bitchy gene kicking up.

One instance was this stupid package our new car company sent us.  One of the things in this little package is a travel journal.  While this would be a good idea, the thing would need to be half it's current size to fit in the already too small and cramped glove compartment.  Do you have any idea how irritating it is to go from a glove compartment that you had to let the driver know to send out a search party if you're not out in 10 minutes to one that barely holds the registration, insurance card, mandatory ibuprofen and a nail file?!  On the inside cover, it asks for more information than I'm willing to put on a travel journal and then has the nerve to ask me "how I felt driving it off the lot."  This was my response:


Thankfully I had leftover chili on the menu for dinner so after our workout, I just had to heat it up and we could settle into movie night.  We rented This is the End(affiliate link)  I'm always leery of all star casts because I have rarely come out impressed and then it makes me question every future movie they're in.  But given this starred James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill and basically everyone from Pineapple Express, Knocked Up  and/or Superbad, I had low expectations.  They all play themselves, which is an interesting premise.  I'll say that it met every expectation, was quite a bit more violent than I was expecting and had about the amount of weed smoking going on you'd anticipate.   However, the exorcism scene alone almost made me pee myself laughing.  Channing Tatum and the Backstreet Boys cameos are interesting.  I don't know whether or not to recommend it but it was just the kind of stupid comedy I needed.  If you like those guys from that genre of movie, then you'll probably love it.  My recommedation...suspend your disbelief.

What was the last movie you rented that you'd be hesitant to recommend?

(This post contains an affiliate link.  Should you buy through it, I will get a few sense to keep the blog hummin' like a machine.)

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Quick Chicken Salad Cups

This one's for the lunch crowd.  I'm not the kind of person who is going to cut starchy carbs from my diet.  If this is going to work long term for me/us, we've got to include the things we love.  But I do try to cut back on them where I can and when I want to lighten up my chicken salad, I grab my little gem lettuce or endive and I make these bad boys...

Quick Chicken Salad Cups

2-3 leaves of little gem, endive or bib lettuce
2.5 oz Trader Joe's chicken breast*
2 tbsp Miracle Whip Light
1 oz wedge honeycrisp apple
1 scallion, diced

Grab your lettuce leaves for action

Boil two Trader Joe's chicken tenderloins and shred.

I eat an apple every day.  I took one wedge of a honeycrisp apple and diced it down into small chunks and diced one scallion.

Add those to the bowl of chicken along with 2 tbsp of Miracle Whip Light.

Give it all a mix and add any salt free spices like thyme, basil, oregano, etc.

Divide it up and add it to your lettuce cups.  I like to put a hit of black pepper on mine just before digging in.  Plate it with your lunch and enjoy something quick, easy and healthy!

If you're going to make these the night before for your brown bagger the next day, put the chicken salad in a small container and wrap the lettuce leaves in tin foil to keep them crunchy then assemble when it's time to dig in!

(*-  You can use any chicken breast but the nutritional info will be different.  You could use anything from hummus to pesto to pureed avocado as the binder here.  Keep in mind it will change the nutritional info as well.)

Nutritional info:  Calories  151  Total Fat 4g  Poly Fat 2g  Cholesterol 51mg  Sodium 311mg  Potassium 123mg  Total Carbs 13g  Fiber 2g  Sugars 8g  Protein 17g  Vitamin A  21%  Vitamin C 8%  2%  Iron 5%

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