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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How to be fabulous. (According to me.)

How to be fabulous. (According to me.) 3

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According to my dictionary, the word ‘fabulous’ means:

  1. almost impossible to believe; incredible.
  2. exceptionally good or unusual; marvelous; superb.

I always thought it meant ‘someone who smells good and has perfect, fancy hair’, but I suppose I’ll leave it to the experts on this one.

So now that we know what fabulous means, how do we make it happen? (Aside from wearing perfume and getting a weekly blowout?) I spent the evening thinking about the characteristics of the fabulous, and have come up with a list of ten things that I believe take the average Joe from mundane to marvelous:

1. Believe it.  People who are fabulous know they are.

2. Wear ginormous accessories. Even the most basic jeans and tee can look incredible when paired with a giant handbag, large statement necklace, and oversized sunglasses. Instant fab. (Men: sub the necklace for a scarf, and the handbag for a murse. Obviously, the sunnies still apply. Obviously.)

3. Have perfect posture. The fabulous don’t slouch. (I’m still working on this one.)

4. Travel often. Is it expensive? You bet. But its money you won’t regret spending. Besides, the memories from your adventure will last way longer than the Marc Jacobs watch you’ve been pining over.

5. Know how to graciously accept a compliment. So many people try to downplay their awesomeness when given credit. Don’t tell the person giving you kudos that they’re wrong! Simply smile, and say ‘thank you’, no matter how much they just made you blush. (Also? Make sure you know how to graciously give a sincere compliment. You’re not the only one who’s fabulous, after all.)

6. Quit overlooking your life. Stop and enjoy the moment. Realize how lucky you are and celebrate where you are right at this instant. Just because you have a Venus-sized zit on the tip of your nose and $600 dental bill doesn’t mean you aren’t lucky in other ways. So stop picking at that pimple, pour yourself a glass of bubbly, and toast to your amazing self!

7. Wear big hats. The people making fun of you are just jealous, I promise.

8. Be ridiculous. (Within reason, of course.) Life’s too short to never have someone roll their eyes at you.

9. Be driven. The fabulous are passionate about what they do. We spend the majority of our time at work– if you don’t care about what you’re doing from 9:00 to 5:00, a massive chunk of your life is being wasted. Find what motivates you, set goals, and push yourself to new limits. When you love your work, it really isn’t work at all.

10. Say what you need to say. Be upfront and honest about what you think. Don’t be afraid to tactfully voice your opinion. If you care about someone, let them know. If someone’s hurting you, let them know. And for the love of God, if your friend has spinach in their teeth, please speak up.

****

I wanted to include things like “make brunch a habit” and “invest in personalized stationary”, but I decided to stick to more hard-hitting qualities. Did I leave anything out? What’s the magic ingredient that you think makes someone fabulous?  (Other than being named Beyoncé or owning a show pony with a braided tail.)

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Dining in Style

Dining in Style 11

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I’ll admit it…I’ve been a bit stingy when it comes to sharing photos of the new house. I’ve had primarily two reasons for this.

1. There’s typically dirty underwear, dog toys and recycling accoutrements scattered everywhere…which doesn’t make for the most flattering photographs.

2. We haven’t really “finished” any of the rooms in our home. Every last nook and cranny has been a work in progress. A very slow work in progress.

This weekend, I’m happy to say all of that changed…at least for the dining room. After hours of framing, hanging, re-hanging, and trying to cover up rogue nail holes with more frames, I’m delighted to say our dining room is complete.

dining-room1

diningroom2

diningroom3

barcart

dining-room4

wall

Here are a few of my favorite “moments” from the gallery wall. (Apologies for the glare…my iPhone photo skillz leave a lot to be desired.)

A collection of vintage Norwegian photos taken from the pages of Happy Norway to You and Summer in Norge. I purchased the books for five dollars a piece at a Norwegian rummage sale several years ago, with the intention of someday framing my favorite images.

norway

Yes, there are two photos of nude ladies. One of the perks of not having children is that you can hang naked people on your wall without (as much) judgement.

A photo from Scott’s college wrestling days.

wrestling

Taken at the 2006 NAIA National Tournament. Scott had just won the match that secured his spot as an NAIA All-American. I don’t think I’ve EVER seen him so excited as he was in this moment.

Both of our hometown area codes.

Written on two tiny chalkboard labels I found in the kitchen section at Target.

Written on two tiny chalkboard labels I found in the kitchen section at Target.

A photograph of Seattle’s Aurora Bridge taken in 1931.

A going-away gift my Dad presented us with when we moved to Minnesota. He'd been saving it for us after snatching it up at garage sale a few months prior.

A going-away gift my Dad presented us with when we moved to Minnesota. He’d been saving it for us after snatching it up at garage sale a few months prior.

 

The frame wall is something I plan on updating as we find new art and keepsakes that feel like a good fit. There’s still a few empty spots I need to fill in, but for now, I’m happy with where it’s ended up.

As for the rest of the room, here’s where we found all of our furnishings:

  • ChandelierIKEA. I’m proud to say I assembled this bad boy all by myself.
  • Dining tableRestoration Hardware. This was our one big “splurge”. We waited until it went on sale and used a coupon code.
  • Dining chairsOverstock.com, painted by yours truly. One of the few craft projects I’ve tackled that didn’t end in disaster.
  • Rug- IKEA. I’d been pining over this rug from the Stockholm collection for years. Now that it’s in our home, I  love it even more than I thought possible. (As do the dogs. It’s their preferred sunbathing station.)
  • Bar cartTarget. Confession: I went out and bought a scotch decanter and bottle of Johnny Walker Black purely for decorative purposes after bringing this cart home. I tried to take a swig of it on Valentine’s day, and have since decided it will probably never actually be used. (There may have been some spitting out while screaming involved.) But hey…at least it looks fancy.
  • YASE lettersTarget, painted by yours truly. These might just be my favorite thing in our entire house.
  • Frames & Photos – Repurposed stuff I already had, and a few prints from Annie’s in Ballard.

It feels great to have one area of the new digs feel somewhat complete. We’re trying to keep the ball rolling by finishing our kitchen updates (our new backsplash is getting installed in just a few weeks!) and giving our stairwell a much-needed paint job. I’m even attempting to paint a gradient of sorts on the underside of our staircase.

All by myself.

This will probably end in calamity, in which case I will immediately paint over it with solid color, and pretend like it never happened.

(This is the scenario Scott’s betting on. Here’s hoping I can prove him wrong.)

 

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