A jolly holiday, to you and yours 2

Share Button
card

Our annual Christmas card. I wanted to photoshop a monocle onto Lars, but was ultimately vetoed. Next year…

 

Wishing you a wonderful holiday spent with family, friends and possibly some eggnog of the spiked variety.

I’ll be in Nebraska wearing flannel PJs, playing Bananagrams and trying to integrate Lars with my mother-in-law’s dogs while cuddling my niece and nephew. I can’t wait!

Share Button

Liked this? Then try these:

January 2015: The sexiest month ever? 2

Share Button

sexiest-month-ever2

So….remember my post about maybe, kinda, sorta hosting a New Year’s internet challenge thingy this year?

Thanks to your comments, advice, and general encouragement (seriously…thank you guys!) I’m giddy with delight as I make today’s announcement!

Why did I end with footage of my dogs barking noisily in the background?

Because I could. Duh.

Admittedly, I was so concerned with making sure no one would notice I hadn’t washed my hair in 3 days when I filmed this video (could you tell?) that I may have inadvertently left out some of the details. Without further ado, here is the official info on the Sexiest Month Ever! workshop:

Who?

Anyone and everyone! The challenges can be done anywhere, so location is not an issue. All you’ll need is an internet connection and adventurous spirit!

What?

31 days of pushing outside our comfort zones and trying new things. Each day, workshop members will receive a video message from me detailing a daily challenge. As mentioned in the video, challenges will cover lots of things including:

  • health and fitness
  • diet and nutrition
  • goal setting
  • confidence
  • beauty and fashion
  • relationships
  • mental well-being
  • relaxation
  • being ridiculously happy and loving life!

On average, challenges will take less than twenty minutes, and most won’t cost you a dime! My favorite part? Each challenge is flexible and can be customized to suit your own needs, goals and lifestyle.  Once we’ve pinpointed the challenges that are a good fit for us individually (everyone’s will be different!), we’ll focus on learning how to transform those isolated experiences into year-long habits that will make 2015 our best 365 days yet!

Where?

The entire workshop will be hosted on a private section of the blog — once you’ve registered you’ll be able to log in and join the community! And I truly do mean community. The workshop is so much more than a bunch of videos with me giving you assignments. We’ll use the private section of the blog as our own workshop forum where we can share what worked, what didn’t work, what we learned, and how we’re going to use it.  I’ll be with you every step of the way, completing each of challenges alongside you and joining in on the discussion.

When?

The workshop begins on New Years Day! I’ll be posting the first challenge video on New Year’s Eve — so make sure to sign up before then!

Why?

Because life is too short to stick to the same old boring routine–it’s incredible how we can add adventure to our daily lives by simply doing one small thing in a new, different way. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned as a group exercise instructor is that we elevate each other when we do things together! If I’m in a boot camp class with twenty other women, you know I’m going to give it my all for the full hour! But if I’m at home by myself? I might do thirty fifteen crunches before throwing in the towel and flipping on the latest episode of The Real Housewives.  In exercise, and life in general, we’re so much better as a team. So let’s take 2015 by storm and make January our sexiest month ever — together! 

How?

Jump on the sexy bandwagon by clicking the huge pink button below–enrollment is only $15!

(And if at the end of it all, you totally hated the experience, I’m happy to put my money where my mouth is and provide a full refund.)

So what are you waiting for? Your sexiest month ever is only a few days away!





Share Button

Liked this? Then try these:

Fitness Adventures: my Flywheel Experience 1

Share Button

flywheel-sports

Whenever I’m traveling, I like to squeeze a few “fitness adventures” into my itinerary. While I love my life in Central Minnesota, the wide variety of super niche workouts I used to have at my fingertips are no longer readily available. Striptease aerobics in Smalltown? Pretty sure pigs will be flying circles around us before that ever happens.

While I was back in the Northwest last week, I made trying a new form of physical activity a top priority. The original plan was to take an aerial yoga class with my sister — but research soon revealed an 8-hour introductory workshop was required before signing up for an actual class. Thanks, but no thanks.

Next on the list of fitness adventures was SoulCycle. I’m constantly hearing my NYC friends rave about it…and if it’s good enough for Katie Holmes, it’s good enough for me! But alas, SoulCycle is only available in the Tri-State area and SoCal. Strike two.

Thankfully, Google is smarter than I am. My search for “Soul Cycle Seattle” led me to FlyWheel Sports in South Lake Union. It was a five-minute drive from where I was staying, and a few reviews I had found online actually preferred FlyWheel to SoulCycle. Done and done! I signed myself, and my sister’s boyfriend up for the 6:30am Saturday class. (He’s such a good sport.)

Never heard of FlyWheel? Here’s a brief explanation I found on their website:

This is the experience crafted by Ruth Zukerman, the legendary instructor and driving force behind the New York indoor cycling phenomenon.

An experience that lasts 45 or 60 minutes and includes climbs and descents, while working arms with weighted bars. It’s an amazing escape that challenges your body and relaxes your mind. Our studios offer stadium-style seating, making every seat in the house a good one.

Music is also an integral part of the Flywheel experience. Our playlists are created by instructors from a collection of music carefully curated by our own in-house DJ. Instructors choreograph their own classes, syncing their rides to the beat, assuring a fresh ride every time, and showing a little glimpse of their unique personalities.

Here’s my take of the FlyWheel “experience”:

Signing Up:

I was able to create a FlyWheel account online, and reserve my spot in class. Reservations ahead of time are required — and classes fill up quickly! This is how I found myself resorting to the 6:30 am Saturday class. The sign-up process included selecting exactly which bike I wanted to use during class from a map-like graphic of the studio — similar to when you pick your seat on an airplane. (The attention-whore in me selected to be in the front row.) I also input my shoe size so the folks at FlyWheel could have a pair of clip in bike shoes waiting for me. Overall the website was easy to use and sign-up was super simple.

Price:

You pay for FlyWheel classes with credits. One credit, sold a la carte for $25, equals one class. This is usually more than I’d be willing to spend, but I was willing to do in as a one-time “treat”. Imagine my delight when I realized the first class was free, and I didn’t have to fork over any cash– score!

The Studio:

 

chalkboard

Gorgeous, chic and basically everything you would expect from place that charges $25 per class. “It’s good to have money!”, Hayley’s boyfriend remarked as we entered the studio and were generally overwhelmed by the fanciness of it all.  Spa-like showering facilities? Check. Water bottle filling stations that dispersed filtered water in not one, but three different temperatures?  Check. A giant chalkboard class schedule that looked as if it had been illustrated by Michelangelo himself? Check.

There were several iPad check-in stations, and our bike shoes we’re waiting for us in pre-assigned cubbies. We were given access to digitally controlled lockers, and the girls at the front desk were beyond understanding when I mistakenly forgot my code and had to have them override the lock for me.

All in all, a girl could definitely get used to a facility like this.

Setting Up:

Our instructor Jay recognized B and I as newbies, and was extremely accommodating in helping us get settled. He showed us how to adjust our bikes, explained the various settings, and went over proper form and positioning. He even snagged an extra cushy seat cushion for me and my delicate lady bones to sit on.

flywheel

The Class:

Our workout was 45 minutes long, and absolutely flew by! (No pun intended.) Here’s what made FlyWheel different from a more run-of-the-mill spin class.

  • The instructor. He was just really good. Super motivating, smooth, professional and helpful. As an instructor myself, it takes a lot for me to be impressed. Jay was spot on.
  • The “targets”. We had set RPMs (rotations per minute) and Torq (resistance) numbers we were encouraged to hit that changed throughout each song. I liked being able to know exactly how fast I should pedal, and at what setting.
  • The Torqboard. This is basically a scoreboard at the front of the room that all the bikes are connected to. B and I selected super-secret Torqboard names (mine was “Katranny”), and were able to see how we measured up against the rest of the class. There were even a few stand-alone “races” where we would sprint for 60 seconds, and see our standings in real-time. Torqboard scoring is totally optional, but is a great motivator if you have a competitive streak.
  • The shoes. Having clip in bike shoes made SO much of a difference. Jay explained than when you’re clipped in, you target your hamstrings more as you pull the pedal up, not just when you’re pushing down. Trust me…the back of my legs could feel that he was right the next day!
  • The atmosphere. The “stadium style” set up of the class was really cool. And like many things in life, sweating your ass off on a stationary bike is so much better when the lights are out.
  • The bars. About 2/3 of the way through class, Jay lead us through a killer arm workout with a 6 pound bar. And I mean killer. It was great to get a break from all that intense pedaling, and my arms had definitely reached jello-status by the end of the song.

 

After Class:

Whether you use the Torqboard or not, FlyWheel tracks your progress in a private online dashboard you can access at any time. It was really interesting to see my stats after class! I can especially see how this would be useful overtime if you were a regular flyer.

stats

Overall:

flyyyy

As you can see, B and I were spent by the end of our first FlyWheel class. But we had so much fun and felt pretty accomplished for making it through.

(I mean…not to brag or anything, but according to the Torqboard, I did beat the lady who was five months pregnant. #nobigdeal)

While I really enjoyed this Fitness Adventure, spinning isn’t my favorite format of exercise on the planet, and a FlyWheel membership is a bit too spendy for my blood. I’d like to FlyWheel again in the future — but as a once in the while ‘workout splurge”, not a regular endeavor. FlyWheel also offers FlyBarre, a dance-inspired total body toning class, which I’m hoping to try the next time I’m in Seattle.

****

Who else has tried FlyWheel? Any SoulCyclers out there? I’d love to hear about your experience, as well as any other “Fitness Adventures” you’ve taken on. I’m always looking for new ideas!

Share Button

Liked this? Then try these:

Gifts I didn’t ask for. (But still totally appreciated.) 3

Share Button

Over the weekend, Scott and I celebrated Christmas early with my family while we were back in Washington.

christmas

It was a holiday feast for the record books. My mom made the best turkey I’ve ever had in my life (not exaggerating) which was only enhanced by the seven or so mugs of mulled wine I consumed over the course of the afternoon. We played Catch Phrase, watched Frozen (I’d never seen it!) and decorated the tree while giggling at all of our old elementary school Christmas art projects my dad had saved over the years.

As far as I’m concerned, this is what a family Christmas gathering should be about. Quality time. I could honestly take or leave the whole presents thing, which is why I had laid some ground rules with my mother before arriving.

“Let’s not do gifts this year, okay Mom? It’s not going to actually be Christmas, and we’re all adults who don’t really need anything. We all know we love each other…let’s not buy a bunch of crap so we can prove it!”

Mom tentatively agreed, giggling at my argument.

“Great!” I exclaimed, “We’ll just focus on spending time together and having fun — no need to ruin it with loads of commercialism.”

Yet when Scott and I arrived at my parents house, I couldn’t help but notice the neatly stacked pile of carefully wrapped gifts sitting atop my parents’ coffee table. Closer inspection revealed that every single one of these gifts were addressed to Scott and I.

And we were the jerks who had followed the plan and showed up without any presents.

Whoops.

“Oh, don’t worry!” Mom reassured me. “We only spent twenty dollars on each of you…these are just a few stocking stuffers I had before we agreed to not do presents!”

“And the gift from us is actually something I got for free!” my sister chimed in.

I let out a deep sigh. I suppose a few presents wouldn’t hurt. And the prospect of unwrapping a couple small surprises did sound kind of exciting.

Three hours later, surrounded by eager family members, Scott and I sat down to open all of our gifts. Here’s what we uncovered:

Flannel Pajamas

flannel-pajamas

Slipper socks + camel toe + elastic waistband = the cat lady trifecta!

To: Katrina From: Mom

I never would have picked these out in a million years as…well let’s face it…they’re a bit on the frumpy side.

Still, I decided to try them for a few minutes, just to make my Mom feel good.

I pretty much haven’t taken them off since as they are magnificently comfortable. Also…pastel plaid flannel tends to grow on  you after a few hours. Sometimes, Mom really does know best.

 

Lame socks

socks

To: Scott, From: Mom

Before you feel too bad that Scott received the quintessential boring/practical Christmas gift, you should know that he specifically requested these. If that’s not a sign he’s a full-fledged grown-up, I’m not sure what is.

 

Zipfizz energy drink in limited edition Marshaw Lynch packaging

zipfizz

To: Scott & Katrina, From: Dad

While this might initially appear to be a super random gift, I’ve got to say I wasn’t all that surprised.

Me: Ha! I love this stuff! Thanks, Dad!

Dad: You’re welcome! Have you had it before? It’s limited edition! They only have this flavor in Washington state.

Me: I have had it — but never the “limited edition” obviously. Did you get it from Zippy?

(For your reference, “Zippy” is the Zipfizz vendor at the local Costco. My dad gave her that name over a year ago when they first met on his weekly sample run. They’ve been friends ever since. I know about her as he brings me to visit her — and to get a free cup of Zipfizz–every single time I’m back home. He strategically visits her at the end of his sample feast as all the free tastes of salty foods make him thirsty.)

Dad: I did get it from Zippy! She says hello, by the way. Did you see the package? That’s Marshaw Lynch! It’s limited edition packaging.

Me: Yeah…cool. Hey, what’s Zippy’s real name?

Dad: I don’t know. I just call her Zippy. Hey…be careful with that package, Scott!  It’s limited edition.

Scott: Sorry, Mark.

Me: Does she mind that you call her Zippy?

Dad: Of course not! You know she let’s me bring my water bottle over and fills it up with an entire package of Zipfizz, right? Everyone else just gets a little Dixie cup.

Me: Pretty cool, Dad….

Dad: Zippy told me this is a new flavor. Limited edition! You can only get it in Western Washington.

*****

This might be one of the best gifts Dad’s given me in a while. Not only was his excitement over the limited edition packaging highly amusing, I also legitimately like Zipfizz. Gifts I can consume (and not have to store for a million years) are always a winner in my book.

 

Copenhagen Porcelain Christmas Plate

danish-christmas-plate

To: Katrina, From: Dad

Every year, the nation of Denmark creates an official Christmas plate. (And yes, once again, this is limited edition.) Mark has picked one of these out for me at a local Scandinavian Christmas Bazaar each year — this particular plate is from the year I was born, and entitled “Juleposten Sendes”, or “The Christmas Letter”.  While I love vitamin-infused energy drinks as much as the next gal, this plate might just top the Zipfizz.

 

Dana College Coffee Mugs

dana-college-coffee-mugs

To: Scott & Katrina, Love: Hayley and Babak

Speaking of Denmark, did you know that Scott and I did our undergraduate studies at the only Danish college in the United States? These coffee mugs bear the logo of our beloved alma mater, Dana College, which tragically closed it’s doors in 2010. (The sudden closure still breaks my heart. Scott took it even worse than I did. The entire situation was quite complex–you can read more about here.)

Dana memorabilia is increasingly difficult to come by now that the college is closed — the fact that my sister was able to find this pair of mugs was really exciting! The story of how she found them? Even better.

Hayley is involved with Lutheran Campus Ministries at a local college. Being that Dana was a Lutheran institution, the campus ministries office where she volunteered just so happened to have these mugs in their coffee cabinet. Rumor has it, they’ve been living there (and used regularly) for the past twenty years!

Hayley explained our story to her manager, who was happy to “donate” the mugs to us. She and Babak filled them with a variety of delicious tea bags, and saffron-infused sugar stirring sticks from a Persian market. I wish you could have seen the look on our faces when we opened them!

********

And not to worry — our gift-giving family members didn’t walk away totally empty-handed. I did, however, opt to share experiences instead of things. Perhaps the biggest hit was a week of hot yoga with my Dad. Let’s just say he–and his booty shorts–have quickly become obsessed with all things Bikram.

yoga

Are you doing traditional gifts this Christmas? What are some ways you cut back on material possessions and play up the “experience factor” over the holidays? My dream is to someday skip presents all together and take a huge, snow-free family vacation!

Share Button

Liked this? Then try these: