Coffee + dog food

Coffee + dog food 4

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This weekend, I embarked on the Suja 3-day juice cleanse. I’ve completed three days of non-stop juicing once before, but this time I opted to order the juice instead of making it myself. Purchasing the juices was definitely more my style for the following reasons:

  • I wasn’t slaving away making six juices a day. (Not to mention spending 20 minutes cleaning out our juicer every single time.)
  • The juices tasted better than the ones I made myself.
  • Every last ingredient was certified organic and non-GMO. The juices were also cold pressed, which mean they were more nutrient-dense than my homemade versions.
  • I had an extremely packed weekend schedule, and the pre-bottled juices were perfect for being on-the-go.
  • Because the cleanse was so damn expensive, I managed to muster the motivation to see it through to the end…if only to get my money’s worth.
  • I avoided completely destroying my kitchen and living room in an ill-fated attempt to blend cashew milk.

Overall the cleanse went really well, and I highly recommend  Suja’s products. Their cleanse was about forty dollars less than the infamous BluePrint Cleanse, and seemed to offer a better variety of flavors and ingredients. Also? All 18 juices shipped for free with my Amazon Prime account.

But let’s keep it real…the cleanse wasn’t all sunshine and roses. The morning of the very first day may have been the toughest. I woke up with a pounding headache and growling stomach. I just wanted to eat something. This lead to the first cheat: my daily two cups of coffee.

coffee

I justified my rule-bending by reminding myself that I was doing this less for the actual cleansing, and more to kickstart some weight loss.  While caffeine is a “no-no” in the cleansing world, it wouldn’t add to my daily calorie count, so I decided to indulge. I felt better with the first sip, instantly deciding to allow myself two cups during each morning of the cleanse. When juicing in -10 degree weather, such exceptions are a necessity. (The coffee was also a lifesaver as I ended up going out to eat twice with friends. Having a hot cup of joe to sip on made forgoing all the tasty food much less painful.)

The following 48-hours of juicing went surprisingly smoothly. Despite a highly active schedule (which included filming my Body Pump audition video) I felt light, energized, and not at all hungry!

Until I got to the end of day three.

I’ll let a text message conversation from last night explain my other…um…”cheat”.

group-text

Okay…let me explain five things real quick:

  1. The donkey rides are completely irrelevant to this blog post, but I thought that part was worth leaving in.
  2. You know those paper thin pieces of “bread” they serve at restaurants that are really  just delicious shreds of fried cheese? THAT is what these dog treats taste like. Only saltier.  And when you’re in the midst of a juice cleanse, extra salty bites of cheese bread is just what the doctor ordered.
  3. Each treat is gluten-free, and just three calories. (And I only had four twelve of them!)
  4. Now that I’m off the cleanse and less hungry, I tried them again  to see if they tasted as good. And they did. I stand by my love for this high quality snack product.
  5. I will not be able to offer my friends the treats as appetizers after all; Jolie, Penny and myself devoured every last one of them.

Have I convinced you yet?

treat

You can buy them on Amazon! (Just saying.)

And that, blog friends, is 600 words on why I should probably never do a juice cleanse again.

(At least just not when there’s an ample supply of “Cheese Please” in the pantry…)

 

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The Paint Chip

The Paint Chip 12

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It’s official. You will not be reading a “real” post today, as I’m to exhausted from doing THIS:

stairs

stairs2

stairs3

Scott was doubtful of my ombre staircase from the get-go. After slaving away for six consecutive evenings, I was anxious to hear his final verdict on my spur of the moment paint-job.

“It looks like a paint chip…but I guess it’s alright.”

I’ll take it! So long as I don’t have to paint over those six stripes that took a million years to create, I’m a happy camper painter.

I’d known I’d wanted to use the bottom of our staircase to make some sort of statement, but Scott had shot down my ideas of doing a metallic bronze finish, or covering it with patterned wallpaper. The gradient seemed fairly low-risk as it could be easily undone, and wouldn’t require any additional supplies. The darkest color is the paint we’ve purchased to cover the rest of our stairwell, and the lightest color was left behind by the previous owners — they had used it to paint the dining room walls.

As for the five in-between shades, I simply mixed different proportions of the dark and light colors until I was happy with the results. There was definitely some trial and error involved, but being that I didn’t cause any damage or spill the paint bucket all over  myself/the dogs/our concrete floors, I’m counting this project as a victory. I even made sure to clean my workspace to the point of spotlessness as soon as I was done —  I’m earning some serious paint cred with Scott.

The bad news? After this project I pretty much never want to see a paint brush again —  yet I’ve already committed to helping Scott paint the rest of our two-story stairwell and the garage this weekend.

Yes. The garage. Who actually takes the time to paint the interior of a space designated for parking cars and storing Christmas decorations?

Oh yeah…this guy.

scott

It’s gonna be a long weekend.

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Wait…I’m a grown up?

Wait…I’m a grown up? 12

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Ten reasons I sometimes doubt my status as a grown-a$$ adult.

  1. This morning, I got lost on my way home from the gym. Let me repeat that. I got lost trying to find my house that I have lived in for no less than eight months on the way home from a gym I drive to every day.
  2. I could be perfectly content on a diet of hot dogs, top ramen and those frosted pink and white animal crackers. (And as much as I hate to admit it…I could easily wash it down with a big ol’ glass of Sunny D.)
  3. I don’t know how to use a lawnmower.
  4. There’s an entire section of my closet dedicated to sequins and/or faux fur.
  5. I still get pimples. Lots of them.
  6. GoJane is my online retailer of choice.
  7. I legitimately enjoy a good water park.
  8. I’ve been known to make Scott shut off the news so I can catch up on the latest episode of Pretty Little Liars.
  9. I may or may not be currently planning a tea party.
  10. Britney Spears (circa 2001)  is my hero, style icon, and perky-breasted spirit animal.

If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve outgrown the Frappuccino and have started finding bald men attractive, I’d pretty much be a fifteen-year-old with crows feet. I think my bedazzled, spray-tanned role model put it best:

I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.

Or as Scott would say, “I don’t have a wife. I have a teenage daughter with a salary.”

I’ll let you decide which of those is more accurate.

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Two days of pumping

Two days of pumping 2

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No. Not that kind of pumping. (I realize I’m a super ridiculous dog mom, but that’s where I cross the line.)

I was referring to Body Pumping…the strength endurance workout created by New Zealand fitness powerhouse, Les Mills.

Two weekends ago, my gym hosted a Body Pump Instructor training. My gym currently offers Body Pump classes, and while I’ve only taken a few, I really enjoy the challenging, music-based strength workout. My group fitness director had encouraged me to get certified to teach the format, so I decided to sign up for two 9-hour days of pumping iron.

(Yes. Ouch.)

I won’t lie…my training didn’t get off to the best start. Scott, who had promised to drop me off at the gym for my first day of training, decided to make one of his incredibly involved devil smoothies right as it was time to leave. Naturally, this meant I strutted into training ten minutes late.

I sheepishly entered the group exercise room I teach in twice a week to see a circle of thirteen strangers. I also saw a giant poster hanging on the wall with handwritten “rules”. Commandment numero uno?

“Don’t be late. (10 push ups)”

Whoops.

Fortunately, our trainer didn’t make me drop and give her ten. She did however hand me a breath mint.

The confused look on my face must have been more apparent than I realized. “Don’t worry,” she assured me, “I gave one to everyone.”

We then proceeded to each go around the circle and engage in a traditional Roman handshake while touching foreheads and saying “Kia Ora” followed by our name. This would have made much more sense had I been there for the introduction in which we learned that Les Mills is founded on a “Tribe” culture, with several ties back to the traditions and rituals of it’s New Zealand heritage. But…I missed all of that, (see “devil smoothie”, above), which meant I was generally perplexed, yet thankful I had at least been given a breath mint.

Soon after this, we sat down to learn a little more about the essence of Body Pump. The words Les Mills uses to describe this particular format are strong and grounded. Basically, instructors should exude a vibe of strength and stability as opposed to bouncing around chirping like happy, cracked-out cheerleaders. Also? Instructors are encouraged to embody the strong, grounded persona by forgoing bright colors for the official shades of Body Pump: black and red.

This sure would have been nice to know before showing up to training in this get-up.

outfit

Yes. Seriously.

But I was stranded without a vehicle, and it was too late to go home and change, anyway. I decided to own my obnoxiously loud workout gear and focus in on what I came to do in the first place: learn more about Body Pump.

And learn, I did. I’ve attended my fair share of fitness workshops, and can say without a doubt that my Body Pump instructor training was head and shoulders above the rest. Here’s what pushed my experience over the top:

  • The training was two days instead of one. That’s eighteen hours of hands on learning, which resulted in a very thorough understanding of the class format.
  • Our trainer was incredible. Kind, funny, and didn’t make me feel weird about my flower pants. She also was full of great feedback and pointers.
  • There was a ton of emphasis on proper form. After nearly thirty years of struggling with lunges, I feel like I’ve finally grasped correct range of motion and positioning. (Even if I can only do two of them in a row.)
  • We took the Body Pump class four times. Four times. I can’t stress enough how helpful this will be when it comes time to teach my first class. Familiarity is key!
  • We had the opportunity to practice teaching and cueing. Believe it or not…I’ve been to several instructor trainings where this wasn’t covered. Um…hello? Teaching and cueing in front of a live class is the hardest part of all! Tackling this in the training (and getting real, honest feedback) was incredibly valuable.
  • Our trainer filmed us while we were teaching. As painful as it was to hear myself yelling motivational phrases when she played the footage back on her iPad, I was able to learn a lot about what I was doing wrong (and right!).

The icing on the weight lifting cake were the amazing participants I shared in the training with. We genuinely liked each other enough to go out for a team dinner on the first night!

dinner

No, you’re eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. I somehow convinced Scott to share a meal with a dozen fitness instructor strangers. There may have been some crumpled receipts angrily thrown at him after a few snide remarks…but it otherwise went fairly smoothly!

The most valuable lesson I learned during Body Pump training? How vital it is to vary your workouts. I exercise six days a week, which typically includes Olympic weightlifting and cross training at my local Crossfit gym, as well as free weights and cardio (Turbo Kick) at the gym where I teach. I’d argue I’m in pretty good shape. But my muscular endurance? I hadn’t focused on this area as much, and it really showed in my training. There were lots of spots where I had to stop and take breaks, even though I was lifting a fraction of my normal CrossFit weight.

The moral of this story? Variety in your training will make you a more well-rounded athlete.

The other moral of this story? Multi-colored flower pants should be worn at your own risk.

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