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Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Quotable


Today's quote reminds me of something I say all the time--even to myself: "You make time for what's important to you." Simple, right? The things you act upon are the things that you hold dear/deem important.

I think we are all guilty of falling into the busy trap. I'm sure you know it well. We give most of ourselves to work and in the "between" hours, we find time for TV, sleep and a few social experiences. Pretty soon, we get very choosy with the social experiences and eventually, we're just burned out. Instead of telling people we're tired or admitting to ourselves that we're not doing ALL we could do towards our big dreams, we just put the busy stamp on our lives.

Want to meet for dinner this week? Can't. I'm just so busy (while dreaming of going home, ordering dinner and vegging out in front of the TV).

Sorry I didn't return your call. I was just so busy (screened the call because I wanted to finish my nap).

I should go to the gym but I'm just exhausted from being so busy (read: lazy).

I know I've been on the lazy/busy end of all of these and I've also been the recipient of the busy brush off. It's part of life until (i) you no longer feel bad about just saying no to someone; and (ii) you get your priorities in check.

At some point having life experiences becomes more important than watching someone else's on TV. Not to mention, ummm....DVR. That's where I am now. I'm making time for myself (and de-stressing quite a bit) by exercising. I'm getting my writing (outside of the blog) back on track and I'm actually developing a plan for expanding my family rather than musing about how great it would be to have a baby. Like I said before, you make time for what's important to you. Let go of the stuff that's not.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Playlist


Happy Friday! This week's playlist is another artist spotlight. I came across Norwegian artist, Mr. Little Jeans (Monica Birkenes) while reading about new music. When I started researching, I found lots of covers I loved (Single Ladies, anyone?). After getting past those, I sampled her new album, Pocketknife, and fell in love. Here is a collection of a few songs. You can get Pocketknife on iTunes.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Love List


1. John DeVore's essay, New York Doesn't Love You, struck a chord with me for it's honesty. As a transplant to New York (like most who live here), I've had my struggles with the city and now I live in the burbs just outside of it. Every time I go in, I find myself cursing the city with its smells, rude cab drivers, crowded sidewalks and urine soaked subway station corners. Two seconds later, I'm lamenting my move and talking about how much I miss living there. I don't know what it is but NYC is a magical place. It gets in your blood...and, if you're not careful, the hem of your pants.

2. 36 Hours is a weekend travel guide by the New York Times. I want start opening it blindly, pointing, and traveling. It's better than sitting on the couch asking, "what should we do this weekend?" and then sitting for another hour while I catch up on DVR until suddenly, the weekend is over.

3. Lilly Cole recently launched Impossible, a new social media network, to help people connect with a focus of expressing and granting wishes. That's right. It's social media that's not focused on selfies, hookups and likes. It's about sharing your talents and helping others as you can. Check it out here.

4. I'm not keen on strangers. I mean, who is? If a stranger approached me and said can I touch you, I might just run. I mean, this is NY. Yet, Richard Renaldi's Touching Strangers project appeals to my sense of humanity. It strikes the same chord for me that Humans of New York does. It's all about breaking down the walls between us and the world surely needs more of that. Read more about the project here.

5. I claimed not to be girly on this site several times. Yet, here I am with what is clearly an outfit featuring a tutu on my Love List. Does it help that it is balanced with a biker jacket? I think so. I LOVE this look and it can easily transition to Spring if its paired with a rocker tee and a simple black heel or ankle bootie...that is of course if you live somewhere outside of the north. Spring here will still require those boots AND that jacket...and judging from the weather outside today, maybe a scarf and gloves. Shop a similar look here.

6. Some of the headlines on Heds Will Roll cracked me up. It's like everything you want to say but shouldn't. I think every profession should have a site for this kind of musing.

7. Jem!!!! I really don't need to say much more if you are an 80's baby or want to be. But maybe you haven't heard there will be a live action Jem movie so I'll say a little more. Jason Blum, John M. Chu and Scooter Braun are crowd sourcing to move the project forward this very minute. Excited to see what will happen with this.

8. I painted the vases in my foyer when I gave it a makeover a little over a year ago. This weekend, I will be using some old beer and wine bottles to do this project from Cupcakes and Cashmere. I have the perfect window to display the collection in and Ash will be excited for me to move my collection of empty bottles out of the corner of our pantry.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Find Your Happy


Last week, I posted about the International Day of Happiness. A couple of days later, I stumbled upon the #100HAPPYDAYS challenge. The goal is to find one thing that makes you happy each day for 100 days and capture it in a photo. As I read about the challenge, I learned that most people who signed up (actually 71%) said they started but stopped shortly after because they didn't have time. Sad, right? I mean, who doesn't have time to find at least one moment in the day to focus on happiness. And if you're attached to your smartphone like I am, taking a picture during that happy moment is just as easy.

I will confess that I did a 365 photo project last year and am trying to do one this year (My 4 Hens' Project 52). I love both but my struggle is with finding something other than Ash, sunsets, flowers and animals to capture. When you're trying to stay present and live through moments rather than just snapping pictures of them, your pictures are generally rushed, ill composed and blurry. Oh well. I'm in anyway. Who's with me? I mean, really...it's all in the name of happiness. Who can say no to that? Here's the site to learn more. Cheers to #100HAPPYDAYS!! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Weekly Weigh In


Hi guys! Robyn's taking a break this week but I'm here to weigh in and share last week's fitness highlights so let's get into it, shall we?

You know the heavy breathing soundbite that works its way into every horror movie?

Actress: Hello?
Mouth Breathing Killer: Heavy Breathing…
Actress: Who is this?
Actress: Mouth Breathing Killer: Heavy Breathing…
Actress: Bobby, stop playing around on the phone.
Mouth Breathing Killer: Heavy Breathing…

Mouth breather (hiding in the shadows) jumps out and gets all stabby and murdery.  

Yeah, well that is exactly what I sound like after a failed attempt at a set of burpees. Last week, I pushed myself to keep trying new Neila Rey HIIT combo workouts and was successful with some of the routines. However, when I tried to do a set of burpees (thinking I’d gotten strong enough to make it work), I realized I’d met my match. I had to just sit and breathe (heavily) for a couple of minutes. SO…it’s back to push-ups and jump squats for now…because those are a walk in the park right? Yeah...


Let’s get to the weigh in results. This week it was only 0.2 pounds. First, I was kind of annoyed considering my clean eating effort this week (minus a pub stop after visiting the Basketball Hall of Fame—did I mention March Madness makes us do weird things??). Then, I had a reality check after I did my measurements. I lost a few more inches and the staple pants in my work wardrobe officially don’t fit anymore. Woo-hoo! I still don’t have a need to shop because (1) I have pants a size down from my current size and (2) I’m waiting until I’m at my goal weight (which I’m hoping to hit by early summer—just in time to shop for vacay clothes). Hey! A girl’s got to have some incentive to keep pushing this hard. You know…outside of my overall well being and what not. So yay (!!!) for lost inches even if they’re not lost pounds.

This week’s workout focus is on plyometrics. A year ago, I found some plyometric workouts on YouTube but tucked them deep into the recesses of my mind because the act of basic jumping (like 5 jumps) literally made me feel like I might pass out. 


Now, I’m much stronger. I can’t do a burpee but I can jump squat with the best of them. Ok, maybe the best of the beginners group. You get it. Anyway, this workout from XFit Daily is my challenge for the week. It is burpee free (I will beat you burpee…just not today) but it is still tough.

        

For food, I’m noshing on what I call an Elevated Elvis. Check out the super simple (seriously it doesn’t get easier unless you’re ordering from somewhere) recipe here. I’m also still obsessing over veggie noodles made using a spiralizer (I use this one). The next recipe I’m trying will be for tomorrow’s lunch and can be found here. Here's to success in whatever fitness challenge you're facing this week. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Quotable


Today would mark Dr. Dorothy Height's 102nd birthday. She was a major part of the civil rights movement, but until she published her memoir, Open Wide the Freedom Gates, in 2003, her story was largely unknown. She was the lone female voice in many decision making councils during the movement and continued her work long after it was over. She worked tirelessly for women's rights, an end to discrimination and relief for the poor until her life ended in 2010. Today's quote speaks to her commitment to service. You know I champion giving back/volunteering and I couldn't agree more that it is the way we grow and develop. Happy Monday! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Playlist


Happy Friday!! It's time for another playlist. Occasionally, I spotlight a new or new to me (as is usually the case) artist that I'm loving. This week is one of those weeks. I feel like music sets and reflects moods whether you want it to or not. It may strike a chord because of the feel of the track or the lyrics might tell your story. This week, I heard Time to Dance and City Girl by The Jezabels and both struck a chord with me. It's not so much about the lyrics but more about the feel--though I could identify with the lyrics in both songs. In any event, I decided to look up more of their music and I found a new artist to add to my favorites file in the most eclectic music collection ever (ok, maybe not ever...but close). Anyway, I hope you enjoy The Jezabels as much as I do. Enjoy your weekend! Cheers!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Because I'm Happy...


Today is the International Day of Happiness (visit this site for more information). I try to focus on happiness every day so I'm using today to focus on happiness in others by giving back. I'm going to try to do nice things for people just because and I have some volunteer work lined up to do tonight. I am also going to focus on what I'm grateful for throughout the day, focus on the present moment and work in a meditation session after I get home from the gym. So hum.

What are you doing to celebrate happiness today?

And, since it still makes me super happy, I can't end the post without a shout out to Pharrell Williams and his video for Happy. Enjoy!

            




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Love List


1. As you know from the Friday Happy Hour posts, I love to make cocktails. I have a jigger but this one stops the drip. Plus, I'm a tool geek. I go for the new tool every time (as long as it's useful). Check out the ReJigger and how it works here.

2. Tired of the cliche stock photos that pop up when searching for images of women working on Google? Don't worry, someone is on the job. Specifically, Sheryl Sandberg's foundation, LeanIn joined forces with Getty Images* to create 2,500 images of powerful women. Rah! Rah!! Read more here and check out the photo collection here. The organization is also working to ban the word "Bossy." I'm loving them these days.

3. I admit it. I am on a full on exercise kick. I'm trying everything I'm capable of and packing it into the shortest amount of time possible. This handy little chart complete with torched calorie information shows the top 10 calorie burning cardio workouts and it is perfect.

4. I love a fortune cookie. Ok...I don't love the cookie but I like reading the fortunes and playing all the cliché games that come with them. You know...learn to let go an live in the moment (in bed). Anyway, this necklace comes complete with an inspirational fortune and a fortune cookie charm. As an added plus, it's customizable. Pick up the necklace or the bracelet (or anything--there really are some great pieces) from Christina Kober designs.

5. Confession: I've been trying to work on a milk maiden braid for a few weeks and it has sucked every time. It's really hard to do on your own unless you're a bit of an expert braider. Anyway, This one seems slightly easier and I like the addition of the pulled out pieces in the front to effect bangs. I'll be trying this one from Daily Candy for date night. Fingers crossed.

6. So many of us are obsessed with Pinterest. For every project you've tried, there are hundreds or maybe even thousands of people who've tried the same thing and friends, they can't all be winners. Some of my projects miss the mark by a long shot. The Pinterest Fail site gives me a little comfort and, I must admit, quite a few giggles.

7. I LOVE asparagus and I adore pizza. Why not combine the two? What better way to celebrate spring in a healthier way! This shaved asparagus pizza recipe from Smitten Kitchen is one of my current faves.

* Getty Images is also offering photography grants in connection with the project. Learn more here

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Weekly Weigh In


Robyn: 

So another week and another .2.  I see a trend here.  This going down “.2” is not really a good thing.  That said, I have been really doing well this week – counting all my points and tracking.  Of course, that does not mean I counted points this past weekend…that could be the issue.  That also does not mean that I am losing weight.  Yes, as you know, I weigh myself everyday and have not seen results this week.  In any event, I took one step towards going to the gym – I took the gym clothes OUT of the closet.  Baby step, but a step in the right direction.  


I have some big plans coming up, including a 40th bday and a law firm reunion.  And come hell or high water, I want to look at least half-way decent.  So this is my renewed motivation to keep going this week.  Be accountable.


As for this week’s recipe, I am reviving an oldie but goodie. I made Baked Eggplant Parmesan this past Sunday.  I love eggplant and this is the perfect, easy recipe. I highly recommend it served with whole wheat ziti. Check it out here

Nicole: 

Hi peeps. Time for another weigh in!! Yippie!


Ok, I am being sarcastic. I think everyone on the road from fat to fit approaches the scale with a little trepidation. Did I have too much wine? Will that slice of pizza kill my progress? Did I eat too little and slow my metabolism down in the process? Am I retaining too much water because of salt intake or that dreaded time of month? So many things run through your mind.



Once you’re on the scale, it’s a different story. It could be a happy moment if you’ve made progress and frustration if you haven’t.  To that I say, don’t be too hard on yourself. Figure out what you can do better and give it your all for the following week. You really will get there if you keep pushing. Then, maybe the scale won’t be so scary.

As you know, I was having a string of weeks where I was losing tiny amounts or nothing at all. I made some changes and so far, they’re working. This week, I am down 1.2 lbs. and am quickly creeping up on my personal halfway point.  Turning up my workouts has made all the difference. I still can’t say I LOVE working out or that I can’t wait to go to the gym but I am proud of myself for sticking with it. It means there has been a change in my priorities and I have finally put my health higher on the list.  Maybe that gives us something in common or maybe you think I’m crazy for not adoring the gym. No matter what, we’re all in the fight together—walking, running, spinning, swimming, HIIT-ing, and dancing the pounds away.  Let’s GO!!!



This week, in terms of food, I’ve been obsessed with snacks. I wanted to opt for something healthier than the Girl Scout cookies stacked in my pantry (Sidenote: I ordered them because (1) I order every year from the same Girl Scout; and (2) my will power wasn’t quite as strong as it is now.) I headed out to the store to track down snacks with plans to scoop up kale chips and roasted nuts. What I found was pre-packaged kale chips aren’t nearly as healthy as I thought. The pre-packaged versions, while probably tastier, are usually flavored and covered in tons of ranch or nacho flavored powder. You know…the stuff that makes Doritos addictive. Half a cup can contain over 140 calories and 10 grams of fat. Clutch my pearls. Anyway, I decided to try my hand at making my own. All you need is kale, olive oil, salt and garlic powder. Get the recipe here


I'm also still trying to incorporate more raw foods into my diet. I picked up some Carrot Cake Super Cookies by Go Raw this week. Look out for them in an upcoming product spotlight.  
As for working out, I did a lot of weight training this week. Lifting dumbbells while in a hundred different positions can get really boring really quickly. To keep working with weights while adding a little excitement, I decided to go for a kettle bell routine. If you need video, check out one by Fitness Blender. If you want to see some basic moves and then put them to use later, check out one by Fitsugar.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Quotable


A blessing is always appropriate no matter what you believe in. I thought an Irish one would be good today. Happy St. Patrick's Day. Be blessed. Oh, and Happy Monday!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Playlist


SXSW (South by Southwest) has been plugging along all week. There is so much creativity bubbling in Austin this week I had to share a slice of it. This week's playlist highlights some of the artists performing this year. You can find more of them (and there's literally something for everyone) and see what movies are showing here. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Love List



1. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Are you doing that? If not, you’d probably enjoy this little Buzzfeed quiz as much as I did. I was apparently supposed to be an astronaut…not sure about that one but I still enjoyed it.  

2. I mentioned Neila Rey in this week’s Weekly Weigh In. I’ve been doing two of the HIIT workouts this week and boy…let’s just say I’ve been red faced and sweating a lot. Nice visual, huh? Sorry. Anyway, I’m a little obsessed with the site and am thinking of doing the 30 day HIIT challenge. You can check it out here

3. I was reading a little about the controversy over Subway’s bread. If you haven’t heard, it contains azodicarbonamide (that’s a mouthful). It is the same chemical used in yoga mats, shoe soles and other rubbery objects. (Ewww, right?) Yeah. Something tells me most of us would be hugely surprised if we knew more about all of the chemicals in our food. Here’s to eating chemical free foods as much as possible. This site can help you learn more. 

4. I’m not a girly girl…at least in most areas of my life. That said, I can appreciate the pretty in delicate, girly clothing. When I saw this top, it immediately jumped onto my wish list. It’s different enough to have an edge despite being suuuuuper feminine.  

5. Do you pass time when bored or while thinking by doodling? Check out what your doodles say about you

6.  This photo made me want to book a trip. Can you imagine having breakfast in the clouds? Check out UnakiTerrace here. 

7. Skin Deep is a cosmetic database that rates products for how harmful they are. It doesn’t mean you should throw out everything you own and run for the Tom’s of Maine and Burt’s Bees (although both are great product lines). Just arm yourself with knowledge about what you’re putting on your body. 

8. When I tore my Achilles tendon a few years back, I had to stop wearing heels until I was out of physical therapy. After months in flats, heels never felt the same. To this day I still feel a little wobbly in anything over 3 inches unless it has a thicker heel or wedge. Imagine my delight when checking out Spring 2014 shoe trendsMid sized heels are back! Yippie! 

9. I’ve been doing a lot of yoga lately. My yogi focuses on vinyasa flow yoga. Get into it. Here are the basic poses

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

On Being Stuck...


In this week's Monday Quotable, I told you about how stuck I was feeling in several areas of my life. It seems the universe heard me. As many of you know, I believe in God and rely on my faith to get through a lot of life's challenges. In an effort to continue growing my faith, I signed up to receive daily devotionals a few years back. I now get them from several sources. Monday, after finishing my post I got a devotional about breaking out of a rut. It was called Getting "Unstuck." I smiled to myself at the coincidence. Then, today, I got part 2 of what appears to be a series about getting unstuck. I thought I'd share it with you. It was originally published as a daily devotional by Jentezen Franklin Media Ministries on August 16, 2013. I've never heard of this ministry before today so I can't vouch for them and their work. All I know, is this devotional and the one before it came right on time. Funny how sometimes answers will rise up to meet you just when you need them. Here's the devotional:

Though you’ve settled the issues of forgiveness and faith, getting unstuck involves two more challenges. You will need to learn: 1) Flexibility. When your faith runs into obstacles, your flexibility keeps you in the race. You need the ability to ‘roll with the punches,’ to bend without breaking. Don’t marry your methods! Be willing to make a mid-course correction when it’s needed. Flexibility, however, isn’t ambivalence or wishy-washiness. Flexibility is: a) An attitude of determination to adjust to life’s challenges and stay on course; to trust God for wisdom; to fine-tune your responses to changing circumstances. b) A commitment to take action. A positive mind-set alone won’t get you unstuck. You’ll have to ‘do something!’ Remember, big doors swing on little hinges; taking small steps of faith will move you forward! 2) Firmness: resolve not to quit. You’ll encounter problems that leave you no option but to stand still, like the Israelites between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army. In the tightest of spots, they received this five-fold counsel: a) Don’t give in to fear. Don’t let it decide your response. b) Stand still. Stop your irrational, emotion-driven behaviors. c) Quit talking. Don’t talk yourself into defeat. d) Look for God’s way forward. Expect Him to take action that will get you unstuck. e) Be ready to move forward when He opens the way. These are simple but powerful steps you can take when you don’t know what to do. And what about when you blow it? Acknowledge it. Re-label it as ‘Valuable lessons learned,’ and put it in your ‘What not to do next time’ file! (Source)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Weekly Weigh In

We're back for another Weekly Weigh In. We're both getting to know things about ourselves during this process and are making progress (whether through weight loss or lessons) each week. Here's what happened since the last time we weighed in. 

Robyn: 

Unfortunately, I do not have much to report this week.  Down .2.  Unacceptable.  As a positive, I am starting weight watcher meetings this coming Saturday.  So hopefully, looked for new and improved Robyn (and Robyn’s weight, and blogposts) in the coming weeks.

Credit
Now that the weather is hopefully shaping up, I am planning to get back outside, start walking and yes – eventually sign up for the 10k coming this early summer.  Now, if only, we could fast forward past tomorrow and Thursday when the weather is not going to cooperate.

Credit
For this week’s recipe, I made Roasted Chicken with Balsamic Vinaigrette and a baked sweet potato. It was delicious.  The longer you marinate the chicken, the better it gets.  As an aside, my sister attempted this recipe with boneless thin chicken breasts and it was less successful.  The recipe is compliments of Giada De Laurentiis and you can find it here.

Nicole:

Dear plateau, DEUCES! Woo-hoo! I’m off the plateau. The plan to buckle down and incorporate high intensity exercise into my routine worked. I am down 2.2 pounds this week. I also finally made a decision to buy what I can admit is a glorified pedometer and purchased the Fitbit Flex. It’s helping me keep track of steps, sleep and caloric intake, which is great but it serves a better purpose. It is forcing me to look at how inactive I am (even with exercise) and challenging me to get in10,000 steps a day no matter what. Well, it’s not literally forcing me…there’s no electric shock to my wrist if I’m only at 6,000 steps but I like the challenge. Having the ability to check my steps on the app has led to me walking more during the work day. Instead of going to the bathroom closest to my office suite, I walk all the way across my company’s campus and back. I get about 3,500 extra steps a day like that. If I have a deficit at the end of the day, I hop on the treadmill. I feel good going to bed knowing I’ve gotten in 5 miles of walking on top of my yoga, Zumba, HIIT or strength training.
Credit

Now, I just have to keep the momentum going. Last week, I gave tips on breaking through a plateau. I followed some of the steps and incorporated two new workout routines into my schedule, I added more reps and heavier weights (from 5 lbs. to 7.5lbs. dumbbells for most exercises and up to 10lbs. on a few) to my strength training routine. I also tried to pre-plan my meals and stay hydrated. This week, I’m going to keep up with that and I may try to incorporate some metabolism boosting foods as well. Here’s to continuing down the path away from the plateau.

This week’s workouts are toughies (at least for me) from Neila Rey. I love her visual workouts. I plan to do each one twice in addition to my normal routine (enjoyable) workouts. Here they are:  






















This week’s recipe isn’t so much a recipe as a great time saving, healthy meal I found. I went out in search of my Don Lee Farms Veggie Patties. They didn’t have them. Bummer. I walked the aisles looking for some quick alternatives for lunch or a lazy dinner and found Frankly Fresh’s vegetarian stuffed grape leaves. I like to add a little lemon and can eat them warm or cold. Their website is currently being revamped but here's a photo (Credit). You can find them at Costco. 


Hang in there this week. Our goals are within reach!! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Quotable


I told you in the last Weekly Weigh In that I was feeling stuck in many areas of my life. That has shifted a bit in terms of weight loss (tell you all about that tomorrow) but everywhere else, I'm feeling a little powerless. There are so many things I want for my life and there are ways to get there but I'm frozen at the edge of my current path and staring at my dreams off in the distance, just across the valley. It's a scary place to be and I think fear is keeping me stagnant and focused on the things I can control. Why? Because all that's separating me from the next step is risk...or a total lack of knowledge. Deciding where we want to live next, how best to expand our family, and our respective next career moves are all looming over our heads. They're huge decisions but we've done all the ground work. All that's left is to take the first step/make the leap. Maybe we're not ready but the desire for a breakthrough is starting to grow stronger than fear and it makes stagnant living the most uncomfortable thing in the world. Today's quote reminds me that you don't have to be "ready." You don't have to make dumb decisions but you can't let the lack of a sure thing kill your drive. At the end of the day, nothing worth having is sure, predictable or easily controlled. Here's to taking the leap of faith. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Naturally Beautiful: Treating Winter Dry Skin


A couple of weeks ago, I introduced the Naturally Beautiful series with a post about skin brushing. I told you about how soft my skin had become by skin brushing daily for over a month. Since then, I’ve continued brushing and most of my skin is still healthy and glowy. My hands and face are a different story. For a couple of weeks, I've been slathering oil on my hands and it just wasn’t working. I didn't know what to do for my face so I doubled up on my moisturizer. Nothing was working. Finally, as I was driving to work, it dawned on me that my hands and face are overly dry because the full force of my car’s heat blows on them for a solid 2 hours a day while I’m commuting to and from work. My house is also a balmy 78 degrees. What can I say? I like it to feel like summer. 

Since decreasing the heat at home and in the car aren’t viable options for me, I had to find another solution. Having palms so dry they catch and scratch silky and soft cotton fabrics (I’m not kidding) is unacceptable. Really. Unacceptable.

So, in that spirit, I started a better moisturizing routine for my resistant spots and got them to fall in line. I started by putting a good amount of body butter* on my hands and feet. What’s a good amount? It’s not scientific. You want there to be slightly too much to rub in. Place each hand in a clear plastic (not latex) glove and put a moisture enhancing glove on each hand. Do the same for your feet but use saran wrap or freezer bags on your feet. (Find gloves and socks here.) If this makes your hands and feet too uncomfortable, you can just use the gloves. They’re made to keep moisture in. I just don’t like the build-up from product inside the gloves and socks. After a day or two of this routine, your hands should be back to their baby soft warm weather state. Repeat the process once a week until the cold winter bids us adieu.


 The face is a bit of a different beast to conquer. Did I just call my face a beast? Oops. Anyway, you can’t wrap your face in plastic before bed and a thick layer of body butter may just cause your pores to revolt. I have a good moisturizer that contains Vitamin E that I’ve used for years (L’Oréal Futur-e) but it doesn’t seem to be working against this special type of winter we’re having.

Almost every beauty company now has a face oil for moisturizing or cleansing. They may have been around for a while but they seem to be promoted everywhere lately. I’ve been shying away from them because the idea of putting actual oil on my combination skin just screams pimples and makes me want to douse my skin with astringent. Then my skin got dry enough to want to try anything. I checked out a lot of oils and found them to be too expensive considering they’d be one or two time use products. So I went to Hey Fran Hey (who is quickly becoming my guru for all natural skin and hair care advice) and found this video:

         

I gave the almond oil a try and so far, no breakouts. I’ve only been doing it for a week so I will keep you posted on results. As far as actual method, I follow Fran’s pretty strictly. I don’t use the steamer either. No time, my friends. The only difference is after the hot water rinse, I wipe down my face (in small circles) with a konjac sponge before splashing my face with cold water (to close my pores). Then, I pat it dry with a clean wash cloth. And there you have it. My skin is in a much better state and I hope it will only improve from here. I'll definitely keep you posted.  



* In a recent Love List, I shared a recipe I found for homemade body butter. I used the same recipe (choosing cocoa butter and jojoba oil) and added eucalyptus essential oil. The smell is all over my house, car and office. It reminds me of the spa. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Weekly Weigh In


Hi peeps! 

Robyn is taking a week off from the Weekly Weigh In so today you've just got me. Don't worry, I have plenty to say! But what else is new?

So...a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well, I could sum up this week…hell, the past few weeks in one photo, it would be this one:

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That’s right people. I am on a plateau…in so many areas of my life and I gotta tell ya…being stuck SUCKS! But, this post is about weight loss so let’s stick with that.  I have been hanging out at the same weight for a few weeks now and I don’t know why. I’ve been staying within my points (even with weekend indulgences) and I’ve been exercising at least 4 days a week for a minimum of an hour each session.

Ash put me in check a little yesterday after weigh in by mentioning my pants were much looser than they were in January. He’s a big proponent of ignoring the scale as long as there are visible results. The idea is you can be the same weight and have a totally new body because you’ve built muscle and shed fat in equal measure. I know the science and I can accept that on its face. That said, I’ve got some fat on top of that muscle that’s GOT TO GO!



So what’s a girl to do? Well, that finally brings me to the subject of today’s post.  In short, doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. So, I’ve got to shake it up a bit. Here are some tips I’ve curated. (Disclaimer: Obviously, I’m not a doctor.  Check with yours before starting any workout routine.)

1. Add new workouts to your routine each week. If you do the same moves/routines every week, your body gets used to it and won’t respond as much as it did when you started. For me, Zumba and Yoga have become regular parts of my routine.  I will continue doing them because I enjoy both classes. I just know I’m going to have to add a second part to my routine by doing high intensity intervals and going back to the torture that is Spin (I’m being dramatic but whoo! Spin is a killer. It’s much harder than I remember it being in my early 20s.)

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2. Add more reps or heavier weight to your strength training or 15-20 more minutes of cardio to your routine (or both!). Ash often tells me to “go to failure” and I roll my eyes at him. Seriously, last week, we were training together and he was pushing me beyond where I was comfortable/easy. Deep inside, I knew he was right to push (he could see I was going lighter than what I'm capable of lifting). That knowledge didn't stop me from walking away from him and going to do my own thing. It was that or throw a dumbell at him. Kidding! Anyway, I don’t have to fall out on the floor at the end of a workout to see results but I know when I haven’t worked hard enough. When I'm being lazy, I let that ride. I may be on the treadmill for 30 minutes but if I haven’t truly broken a sweat and I only walked at 3 mph with a 1 inch incline, I haven’t done much in the way of burning calories. It’s about the push. I've got to remember that when I want to take the easy route.

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3. Activate the afterburn. One of the adults in my house says this all the time…and it isn’t me. It’s a joke between us now but Ash really means something when he says that. Our bodies will usually continue burning calories for a couple of hours after intense exercise. The Cross Fit set usually experiences this in great measure but for those of us that aren’t there yet, afterburn is still a thing. It depends on what’s intense for your body. Go for maximum intensity. Also know as you build muscle, your body will burn more calories—even at rest—just to maintain.

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4. Incorporate more metabolism boosting foods into your diet. Here are a few: egg whites, lean meat, chili peppers, coffee, green tea, milk, cheese (including cottage cheese), whole grains, avocado, lentils, tempeh, asparagus, greek yogurt, walnuts, almonds, edamame, whey protein, spinach, tofu, fish, shellfish, quinoa, buckwheat, poultry, and hemp seeds. Make sure to eat proper portions. Also, stay hydrated. Dehydration can slow down your metabolism. Keep cold water on deck. Your body will burn calories to warm you up.

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5. Plan your meals and prep in advance if possible. I find that when I eat on the random and log my meals later, I consumed more calories/points than I thought. This usually happens on the weekend. Almost every restaurant has a website with a full menu. If you’re going out, pull the menu for the restaurant you’re visiting, pick a meal and journal it so you know what you’re consuming and can plan your drinks, etc. accordingly.

I’m sure there are a ton more tips to break through a plateau. These are just the ones I thought would be effective for most people. What have you done to break through a plateau?

For this week’s recipe, I’m went simple. This weekend, I needed something quick and decided to go for a light but filling meal that used to be a staple for me: Chickpea salad. Find the recipe here.

As for this week's workout, I feel like I need to stick with the spirit of this post and share the only high intensity (for me) workout I did. I did head to the gym to do the workout because I feel it motivates me a bit more. I will admit to skipping the burpees because I straight up CANNOT do them (yet). I did squat jumps instead. Maybe if I do a HIIT (high intensity interval training) video two or three times this week, I'll see better results. Here's to getting off the plateau!! 

          


Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday Quotable


The Oscars aired last night and there were many touching speeches. It’s always nice to see someone reaching a high point in their career and experiencing real joy. In honor of that, I thought I’d do something a little different with this week’s Monday Quotable.  Here are my favorite lines from two of the top speeches (IMHO) of the night.

“No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.” –Lupita Nyong’o

“He [God] has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates.” –Matthew McConaughey


Jared Leto also gave a touching, beautiful speech. I just couldn’t find a specific quote to apply to the everyday. That said, his tribute to his mom and brother speak to how we should love our families and his willingness to stand on behalf of a great cause really inspired me to go to the mat for the things I believe in. You can see all three speeches below. 

                            

                            

                            

I'm also including Steve McQueen's speech for 12 Years a Slave for the jump alone. The joy in that is infectious. Enjoy and Happy Monday!