Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekly Weigh-In and Musings: 7/27/2012

Last Friday's Weigh-In stats
Weight: 126.4
Body Fat %: 20.2 + 3 = 23.2%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-20"

Yup, I meant to post this yesterday but I got super involved and focused on creating my own invitation suite for the wedding. I happened to find a plum/cherry blossom graphic on iStockPhoto so I downloaded the Adobe Creative Suite 6 trial intending to use Photoshop to edit the colors to my liking. I accidentally opened Illustrator first then realized that the graphic I'd gotten also came with an illustrator file making the creation of my invitations that much easier. I even found a great place that will print, cut and mount the cards if I so choose.  Working on the stationery this past weekend was a lot of fun, and I think has reminded me how much I love doing stuff like that.

Which is good because my blog design needs a serious overhaul in the IE and Firefox browsers. I have no idea what happened to my template but it's hideous now! I do know about it and I am working to resolve it, but it could be a couple weeks, so please bear with me. Or you can download Chrome. :)

Deck Garden
I have flowers! They're not supposed to be white though...

I also have a ton of cherry tomatoes.
That's all for this super delayed post!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Eric Makes: Way Too Good Toffee Chocolate Popcorn

On Friday last week, I was sitting on my bedroom floor sorting my large pile of laundry into several smaller piles when Eric called to me from the other room. "Are you going grocery shopping tonight?" He asked. I thought how I didn't have a list or any idea what I wanted to eat the next week, and called back, "Probably tomorrow, why? I'd go tonight if you went with me. Why?"

Why, indeed.

He stumbled across the recipe on Foodie With Family. He's not sure how he got there, but that's the magic of the intarwebs.

How do you like your popcorn?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekly Weigh-In and Musings: 07/22/2012

Friday's Weigh-In Stats
Weight: 127.2
Body Fat %: 20.8 + 3 = 23.8%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-20"

I managed to set up two photographer interviews for this upcoming week, both of which are in our price range. I think that means by this time next week I'll know which one I want to hire. Oh, and I found my wedding dress. ;) No pictures here until the days after the wedding though!

Deck Garden
I chopped off a bunch of basil last weekend to give to my friend, Meaghan. Hopefully she's enjoying the fresh basil. My cherry tomatoes are starting to turn red and are delicious straight off the plant. My very first zinnia bloomed and I think it's going to be yellow, but it'll be a week before that's confirmed.

How has your weekend been? Fun? Boring? Lemme know down below!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tried It: Pole Dancing Class

I'm always interested in trying new fitness classes, and lately, I've really wanted to try a pole dancing class. Why? Mostly because when I watch pole dancers from an athletic perspective, I'm blown away by the strength and agility they have to possess to even do simple moves.
I mentioned it to one of my friends who admitted she'd bought a groupon for a couple of classes in the city. Since these kind of things are always more fun with another person, we picked a weekend and I signed up to take a class with her. 

What's the verdict?

Pole dancing is hard but it's quite a lot of fun to try if you go in with an open mind. It requires a ton of upper body and core strength, and flexibility. It also requires that you have tougher spots on your shins and hips because you will likely bruise the crap out of them the first time you do it. You don't want to wear a lot of clothing either because you need the skin contact to stick to the pole.

Will I try it again?
I definitely think so, but it won't become a primary form of exercise for me. :) 

Have you taken a pole dancing class? Do you want to? Let me know down below!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Weekly Weigh-In and Musings: 7/13/2012

Friday's Weigh-In stats
Weight: 127.8
Body Fat %: 20.4 + 3 = 23.4%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-20"

I'm pretty happy all that sushi bloat was gone that morning. 129 would have caused me to have to report failure on my Stickk contract.

PT Updates
Between Pilates and my prescribed exercises, I'm doing much better. My PT told me that I should ease back into running, starting with two miles and building by 10% each time. I ran on Monday and I made it to about 1.8 miles before it started to get difficult to ensure that my pelvis was stable. I think that means, I'll try another two miles this week and hope that I feel stable for the full two miles.

We have a venue!
That venue I said Eric and I were going to tour last Saturday? We loved it. We booked it! Our wedding will be next year at Wedgewood Pines Country Club in Stow, MA and I could not be more thrilled with the location and the staff. Now we're onto the rest of details. First up? Stationery! Eric and I went to The Paper Store today and looked through several ginormous books of samples. It was pretty much just like the movie.

Tasty Cookies
I leave you today with a picture of these fantastically delicious Raspberry Linzer Cookies that we had after Zumba today.
Thanks Joyce! :) They were good.

Monday, July 9, 2012

3 Reasons Everyone Should Take a Pilates Class

Several years ago, I picked up a cheap Pilates DVD. I watched it once through completely and tried to do it on the second watch. It was difficult and the cues the instructor used didn't make a whole lot of sense. My takeaway? Pilates was a silly, pointless way to exercise. I completely wrote it off.

Let's fast forward to a couple of months ago where I have my first physical therapy appointment. The root of my problems? The deep core muscles that are supposed to stabilize my spine and pelvis don't engage when they should and everything is all out of whack. On my drive home, a little light bulb lights up in my head. My problems sound like something a good Pilates class would help me with. The studio where I take Zumba, The Core Connection, is also a Pilates studio and since they offer a fantastic summer class pass, I decided to bite the bullet and try out Pilates Mat 1. After a couple of classes, I even jumped on the offer to take a fundamentals class.


I've become a Pilates convert. Never again will I think that it's a "silly, pointless" way to exercise, I've been completely humbled by the experience of a great Pilates studio.

Develop postural awareness
Most of us hop in our cars each morning, staring intently at the road. We get to work and sit at our desks each day, staring intently at computer screens. We then hop back into the car and head home, staring intently at the road once more.  And the sad thing is, most of us are completely unaware of our posture the entire time. We sit with our chins jutted forward, slouched in our chairs. Our brain realizes that it doesn't need to engage the deep core muscles to stabilize the spine or pelvis, so it doesn't.

Our workplaces may have us take ergonomic surveys but I suspect, that like me, many people don't give it a lot of thought. Posture, similar to basic nutritional concepts, isn't something that's taught or emphasized in school. Our necks hurt, our lower backs are tight and we simply write it off as a nuisance of existing. Which is pretty dumb, if you give it more than a second's worth of thought. Pain is your body telling you something isn't right. Yet, we take Advil and continue on with our days, eclipsing the true problem.

Our posture is terrible.

But if you give Pilates a chance and approach it with an open mind, it'll help you understand what you're doing wrong. It may help you realize that you are pushing your head too far forward, that you aren't using those deep core muscles to stabilize your spine and pelvis. After a few classes, you might find that you're paying attention to your posture, making minute corrections throughout the day. And then, you might find that your lower back or neck pain seems to happen just a little less often.

Increase core strength
This one's pretty obvious. All that focus on your core will help strengthen those muscles so that they can start doing their job without your conscious thought. A strong core is a happy, healthy core. That's pretty much it.

Prevent injuries
I almost hate to say it, but my injury could have been prevented if I hadn't written off Pilates so many years ago. As a software engineer, I sit on my butt all day with terrible posture. As a person who loves to exercise, I'd then go out for a run wherein my stabilizing muscles wouldn't do their job and other muscles would overcompensate. I'd come home wondering why my calf hurt and my back felt so tight. It all seems so obvious now. Hindsight is 20/20 and all.

Lastly, I'd like to mention that not all Pilates classes are equal and the instructor matters. If your instructor isn't wandering around helping you understand the correct feel of a particular exercise or helping you modifying one, you might want to reconsider. If you're in the Northborough area, looking to take one, I highly recommend The Core Connection.

Have you ever taken a Pilates class? Had a terrible instructor or a really fantastic one? I'd love to hear about everyone else's Pilates experiences!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Weekly Weigh-In and Musings: 6/6/12

Weight: 126.8
Body Fat %: 20.8 + 3 = 23.8%
Measurements: 34"-26"-34"-20"

I feel as though my weight fluctuates like crazy with all the weight lifting and Zumbaing (totally not a word, I know) I've been doing lately. I love the changes in my physique but it can be difficult mentally to be content with weigh-in whose graph looks like a sine wave. Eventually I'll get back to running and things should start to stabilize a little more.

More venue updates!
A week ago, I booked a tour of a venue in southeastern MA. At the time, I hadn't located the sizes of the rooms but I wasn't overly concerned. A few days later, I was poking around the website again and finally stumbled across the capacity for their smallest room. The smallest room held 220 with a dance floor, which started to worry me because I knew this place went by minimums for food and beverage. I e-mailed my contact and asked about the minimums for my dates and the response made my jaw drop. Even with our off-season dates, the minimum for a Saturday evening wedding at the smallest room was $18K. Obviously that's quite far out of my budget and since we're set on having a Saturday evening wedding so I had to cancel my tour and go back to looking into more venues.

I found a country club with decent reviews and a discount for off-season bookings about half an hour from where we live, so I set up a tour. Hopefully it'll be a little more promising than the last few weeks of venue locating. I feel like this has got to be the hardest part of the whole planning process.

Zumba Instructor Training
This past weekend my friend Meaghan and I went to Zumba Basic 1 instructor training. We had a blast and I racked up 20K steps on the Striiv. The first item on the agenda was a Master's class taught by Ann Saldi, our Zumba Education Specialist (ZES). The room was huge and the class was packed. After a couple of songs, Meaghan and I had to move to the back of the room. I definitely had a harder time in the back because there was very little room and I couldn't exactly see Ann so great. Yeah, I should I have put my glasses on.  After that, she took us through a lot of the instructor basics. I definitely have a heartier dose of respect for my Zumba instructor (Hi Elena!) at The Core Connection now. It really is a second job (albeit a fun one) to learn and choreograph songs. It's definitely going to take me a few months to get a full playlist worth of songs for a class.

Deck Garden Updates
And know it's time for the obligatory deck garden plant photos:

Monday, July 2, 2012

June Foodzie Box

Ever since Foodzie switched to the new format wherein you select which box you wish to receive, the shipping has been lackluster. My box hardly ever arrives with enough time for me to check it out, photograph it and eat the things contained within before the next month begins and I have to select that month's box.  In truth, I'm pretty disappointed with it lately.

But not as disappointing as the next bit of Foodzie news. For anyone who hasn't read the blog post, Foodzie has been acquired by Joyus and after the July boxes will no longer be a subscription service and the prices are rising again.

What does that mean for me? It means that after I receive my last box in July, I'll no longer be blogging about the Foodzie box. It's been a good run but it's no longer worth it for me. The price is just too high now for me to buy it monthly. I wish Foodzie the best of luck with their continuing evolution and for providing a fun subscription while it lasted.

Anyhow, let's move on and get to the good stuff.

This month's theme was a boardwalk box which contained a lot of things that I knew Eric would love:

  • Salty Peanut Salt Water Taffy
  • Mini Swirl Strawberry and Cream Lollipop
  • Root Beer
  • Pistachios
  • Organic Cherry Vanilla Cotton Candy
  • Spiced Almond and Pistachio Caramel corn
Salty Road Taffy
I loved this taffy. I wanted more. It was my favorite thing in the entire box, or more to the point it was one of the few things that I actually got more than a single bite out of in the box. I liked it enough that I'm considering buying their Caramel Apple variety this fall.
I hardly got any almonds and I definitely didn't see any pistachios. It was alright. I liked the little bit of spicy kick that it had, but it wasn't anything I'd buy again. I didn't share this with Eric at all.
In general, I'm not a huge cotton candy fan. I had a bite and said, "Yup, tastes just like cotton candy." Eric ate the whole bag, so clearly it must have been pretty good.
 I left this in the fridge and came home after Zumba training to discover that Eric had drank the whole thing. His thoughts? Nothing special, but he says he isn't particularly discriminating when it comes to soda. He also said that he didn't have any vanilla ice cream to turn it into a float which would have been better.
 They're pistachios. I don't have much else to say. I like pistachios but I don't like having to shell them because I have a tendency to shoot thing all over the place.
I haven't tried the lollipop yet, but I'm sure I'll get around to it. Or I'll give it to someone at work.

If you're a Foodzie box subscriber, what do you think of the acquisition and changes?