Elf4Health and Other Fun Stuff!

My blogging is never 100% on point around the holidays, frankly it is the easiest thing for me to step back from and just take a break from in order to not feel (super) overwhelmed and stressed.

Just to give you an update on what’s going on/what’s coming up, I thought I would throw together a fun picture post!

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I am participating in the Elf4Health again this year!

Here are the list of everyday “activities”. Yesterday was meatless monday. Usually this isn’t a big deal, I had my usual oats and peanut butter for breakfast and eggs with avocado and tomato for lunch, but because of the holiday Nick and I are in the mode of “use everything in the fridge” so I made a steak & cheese sub with peppers and onions for Nick and was planning on making a veggie sub for myself but there was too much steak, and I didn’t want to throw it out. It’s the thought that counts right?

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Today, I unsubscribed from a lot of emails, I get a lot of duplicates between my blog email and my personal email. Tomorrow is a new workout, I think I will try a Pinterest one, Thanksgiving is to make a phone call and Friday is to track water intake, both are things I like to do and will hopefully be easy! Saturday is Treat YO SELF, Nick and I are going to a dinner dance at church, so definitely treats ;) and Sunday is 100 burpees…that last one looks fun ha!

Another fun item on the horizon is the Swanson 30 Day Giveaway. 30 Bloggers are working with Swanson Vitamins and each day one blogger will have a giveaway on their website, giving away $100 to Swanson, the only catch is that each giveaway is only valid for 24 hours. It started yesterday, so make sure to check the list here to see which blog is hosting the giveaway each day. Mine will be up on December 4! I can’t wait to show you what I got with my $100, it will surely come in handy for holiday cooking and baking!

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Speaking of holiday baking…I finally put my cookies in the mail (yesterday) for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I am so excited to be able to participate this year!

Come back on December 11 and I will share with you the family recipe Nick’s mom passed down to me that I made and sent to my recipients!

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Now with all this baking, I am glad that Achieve is holding a competition to get our butts in the gym. Basically we get points for every class, vacation workout, check-in, smoothie, etc… A lot of these things are ones I already do but this is a great way to stay on top of things during the holiday season!

I am going to take a break until after the holiday, but tell me what exciting things do you have going on?

Studio Poise: My Afterthoughts

Since I have finished my month at Studio Poise (you can read more here) I have a lot to think about when moving forward with my fitness options.

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I loved my time at Studio Poise, it came at a time in my life when I needed something to help me heal. I needed to find a place where I became more in touch with my body, and in a place where my emotions could catch up to my body. Physically the miscarriage was over, but emotionally I had (and still have) a long way to go. The classes at Studio Poise brought me to a place where I could do a lot of thinking of where I was in my life, and a place where I could relax and try to be at peace with where my life is.

That’s not to say that the classes didn’t give me a killer workout, because they did, but they are something completely than running and lifting weights. I focused completely on my movements and my body, and pushing my body and my mind to a different place.

The yoga especially brought me to a place that I hadn’t allowed myself to be in, at least not around other people. I thought that I would be in a bad head space (since the teacher was/is pregnant and due right around when I would be) but it actually helped me move in a more positive place, and that really surprised.

It is really hard for me to pick favorite classes, but if someone made me, I think I would pick Pound Fit and Zumba.

So now that we know I love Studio Poise, what’s the next step?

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I still have my membership to Achieve Fitness, but that is up at the end of February. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the team at Achieve, I love the other members (or at least most of the 6 am crew) and I love how I feel after a workout. I definitely don’t have the bond with the other members at Studio Poise that I do with the members of Achieve/

I don’t love how far away Achieve is, now that I have found a place that is pretty much next door, I realize just how far it is. It’s not that it’s not doable, but the easier I can make it for me the better. The other traffic factor is that I could never make it to an Achieve class at night and make it back at a reasonable hour. At Studio Poise I can leave my house 20 minutes before class and still have plenty of time to change into studio footwear and get my class equipment set up.

A con for both places is that neither have childcare. Even if one had childcare 2 times a week that would be a sell for me.

So for now I have purchased a class package deal, thanks Santa, and I am taking about 1 class a week at Studio Poise and I am back to my regular schedule at Achieve. I think I will let future Kelly figure out what to do when her membership at Achieve ends.

Have you ever struggled with figuring out your workout routine?

Cold Weather Necessities

I don’t know about you but even though I don’t like the cold weather my biggest pet peeve is the fact that it wreaks havoc on my skin. Couple the weather with well water, and I am in dry skin hell. It took me almost a year, but I have found products that work so that my skin isn’t cracking and bleeding all winter long. I bet you are loving that visual.

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I went into Sephora last winter and basically pleaded with the sales associate to find a moisturizer that would not make me want to claw my skin off after an hour or two of wear. I fully expected the woman to refer me to something that would cost a lot of money, but she actually referred me to the Sephora line.

The first layer is Ultimate Moisture Serum, I put this on immediately on after I get out of the shower. I wait a minute or two for it to set and then I do one of two things.

Most days I move immediately to the Intensive Instant Moisturizer, unless I am going out, then I use Smashbox BB Cream, it has a moisturizer in it so I don’t feel the need to use both.

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Cetaphil was actually something I found through B’s pediatrician. Unfortunately, B inherited my dry skin and no lotion we tried worked. His pediatrician recommended the Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Moisturizer it is a long-lasting moisturizer that is approved for Eczema prone skin. It keeps B’s skin smooth and it helps keep mine from feeling dry as well. I also keep their Therapeutic Hand Cream in purse. When we are out I am constantly washing both of our hands and it dries out our skin and causes it to crack and bleed. This has been lifesaver, it is not greasy and dries very quickly.

A tip: if my hands start bleedings, especially the knuckles, I dab on some Aquaphor before bed and it is usually a lot better by the time I wake up.

Unfortunately, I also get chapped lips like crazy and for years I have been using Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, it is a bit more expensive then your regular chapstick but I find it is the best for dry chapped lips. I keep tubes everywhere, my car, purse, house, etc…

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Lastly, I love having soft and comfortable sweats. There are some days that it can be too brutally cold to spend a lot of time outside. Those days B and I get dressed in our comfiest sweats and spend our time playing in our living room. Right now my favorite gear is the Batwing and Robin CowlNeck from Athleta and my Studio Poise sweatpants. They both are soft on the inside and outside, none of that itchy material. I ordered both a size up because I like my sweats kind of baggy.

What are your cold weather must haves?

Studio Poise: Week 4

Disclaimer: I was given a month of unlimited classes in exchange for my honest review. This is not a sponsored post.

If you missed weeks one, two, and three at Studio Poise, feel free to check those out first, this post is about my 4th and final week and I will have an after thoughts post up later this week as well.

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I left off with last Wednesday, so I have a little bit more than a week to catch you up on.

That Friday, I once again took Pound Fit with Emily. Honestly, I really love starting my Friday’s with this class, the music and sequences are hard enough, and sometimes I feel a little bit like a dancer/badass.

On Saturday morning I finally took Poise Power Flow Xpress with Melissa. This class is at 7 am, and many times it gets cancelled since less than 3 people sign up, finally I was able to get into a class and I am so glad I did. I have never actually taken yoga before so I was a bit apprehensive, but due to the nature of the class size, Melissa was able to correct our poses and help me understand what my body should be doing.

Melissa also noticed that I have hyperextended knees, basically my knee goes past the point where most knees “lock” and becomes almost inverted. I’ve always been like that and after some research I read that yoga can actually assist with this. Anyway, Melissa was able to give me pointers for each movement that wouldn’t cause my knees to actually hyperextend. I really appreciated that extra effort and care.

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I followed yoga up with Zumba, probably not the best back-to-back sequence, but I really wanted to take both classes, and I don’t regret it.

Sunday, I was signed up for Piloxing, but Emily was subbing so it ended up being a very small Pound Fit class instead, and you all know how much I love pound, so I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.

Last Wednesday I finally made it to a Piloxing class. I will be honest, I was having a real shitty morning (how that’s possible at 6 am is beyond me) and I went into class in an awful mood. When I am in that kind of mood the last thing I want to do is pretend I am happy, and throughout the class I was frustrated. I was frustrated when I couldn’t get a sequence of movements or when I wasn’t doing something correctly. I felt like I was the only person who hadn’t taken a class before, and even though the class was smallish, I felt lile I didn’t understand anything Diana was saying. Frankly, I think 99% of it was my mood, I am definitely willing to give this class another try on my own dime, but I hope I am in a better mood.

Friday, was Pound Fit again, I know you are all surprised. I will spare you any review, but I will say that Emily introduced a few new songs/sequences, and I loved them.

Saturday was my last day in my unlimited month of classes. I took Zumba and Poise Xpress with Christina. For some reason I though Zumba started at 8:15 (probably because most of the weekday classes start at 6:15) so I ended up there a bit late, but I just jumped in the back and followed along.

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Poise I ended up adding last-minute since there was room and I missed part of Zumba. Both classes were wonderful and I can see that there has been a decent amount of improvement from my first class to this class. While, I am nowhere near as great as some of the ladies that take this class, I am very impressed in my improvement.

How do you handle a class when you are in a foul mood?

The Cartographer of No Man’s Land: The relationship between Father and Son

I know my last Studio Poise post should be up today, but my month doesn’t end until Saturday, so I am saving that post for next week!

In case you didn’t know, in my pre-child life I was a teacher, more specifically I was a history teacher. The areas I loved to teach (and to continue to learn more about) are any War era, the 60’s & 70’s, the Cold War era. When I got the opportunity, via From Left to Write, to read and review The Cartographer of No Man’s Land by P.S. Duffy, I was ecstatic!

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When his beloved brother-in-law goes missing at the front in 1916, Angus defies his pacifist upbringing to join the war and find him. Assured a position as a cartographer in London, he is instead sent directly into the visceral shock of battle. Meanwhile, at home, his son Simon Peter must navigate escalating hostility in a fishing village torn by grief. With the intimacy of The Song of Achilles and the epic scope of The Invisible Bridge, The Cartographer of No Man’s Land offers a soulful portrayal of World War I and the lives that were forever changed by it, both on the battlefield and at home.

 

I haven’t finished the book yet (thank you UPS snafu) but I have read the majority of it. There are many different topics that come to mind when reading this, but the one I want to touch on is the relationship between a father and a son. I didn’t have any brothers, so I didn’t really encounter how this relationship could unfold on a day-to-day basis. I did however see the adult relationship between my dad and grandfather and between my uncles and their fathers.

For the most part these relationships were still “hard” for lack of a better word. The father(era) were stoic and sometimes cold to the son, and it was not even close to a relationship I had with either of my grandfathers. This is something I can see now, with some of the father son relationships that are in my life.

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I do hope this is a trend that is ending. I know that Nick and B have a very relaxed and fart-joke filled relationship. Nick is definitely the fun parent, I am the rule maker and enforcer ha. B has learned to love music and instruments just like his dad, and I am sure their bond will only get stronger as B gets older.

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While all parent-child relationships are important, I think it is okay to let our sons know that men can have healthy relationships with other people, men and women. By having an open and communicative relationship with his father, I only hope that B continues to have wonderful relationships and role models with the men in his life.

What do you think? Do father/son relationships seem cold, do you think that is changing?

At Peace

I love running, I do, but at this point in my life I think it is time to take a break.

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Last year’s jingle run

The thing is, I had a hard time getting back into running after my miscarriage. I KNOW that the running didn’t affect it, BUT, my body hasn’t felt the same.

I had registered for a second half-marathon, just in case my goal PR didn’t happen at Zooma, and if I did PR, then it would be a fun congratulatory 13.1 hilly miles.

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To be honest, I had forgotten about that I even signed up for the Newton Chilly Half, it wasn’t until I received the emails about packet pick-up and race day that I remembered. It was a relatively cheap registration, $40, that I had made back during the summer. If the race had a shorter option (a 5 or 10k) I probably would have still gone to the race and just downgraded.

There wasn’t an option, so instead I decided to soothe my soul…I took my first yoga class at Studio Poise, and I let my body enter healing.

Someday I will come back to running, I am not sure when that day will be, but it will happen. For now I am sticking with my strength and Metcon at Achieve and my favorite classes at Studio Poise.

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Studio Poise: Week 3 and learning to trust my body

Disclaimer: I was given an month of unlimited classes in exchange for my honest review. This is not a sponsored post.

I can’t believe that I am already blogging about my third week at Studio Poise. If you missed them, check out weeks one and two.

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My week again started (errr ended?) with Pound Fit with Emily. I literally added my name to the wait list for every single class that fit in my schedule, so whenever I made it off the list, I jumped at the opportunity to take the class. Friday was no exception, the class was once again wonderful. The music was loud and fun to workout to. Emily kept the energy up and happy. I was working hard but I was also having fun.

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Saturday I took my first ever Zumba class. That class is no joke, mad props to all of who do that 2 or 3 or even more times a week. Basically Zumba, if you haven’t taken it, is a series of dances sequences. Each song has specific dance moves and these songs are in multiple classes. I suppose if you go 2 times a week it might become easy to catch on.

I ended up towards the back in this class and in retrospect this was probably a good thing. I was able to not only watch Danielle but also the other students, and that made it easier.

I took Zumba again on Tuesday evening. I usually hate taking evening classes, but I enjoyed Zumba so much that I didn’t really mind that it was at night. It was also early enough that I could get home at a reasonable hour. Tuesday’s class I was in the front and I actually found that a bit more difficult. Whenever Danielle took a break or watched us or faced us I lost my focal point and sometimes forgot what I was supposed to be doing.

Overall, I really enjoyed Zumba, I found some of the sequences extremely difficult, but others were very easy for me to catch on. I loved that the music wasn’t all latin, not that I hate latin music, but it was fun to put a song that I know and love along with some serious dance moves that were making me work.

The last thing is that for this class you are supposed to wear clean indoor sneakers. I had a pair of Under Armour sneakers that hadn’t made it into the outdoor rotation yet, and I had worn to the gym a handful of times. These were actually very uncomfortable so for Tuesday’s class I wore the sneakers that I wear to Achieve, and they were almost perfect. Because of the grippy bottoms they weren’t as smooth as I would like, but I had no foot pain post workout. I would definitely invest in a pair of minimalist sneakers for this class if I make it a part of my regular rotation.

I was supposed to take Piloxing yesterday (Wednesday) but I never woke up on time. I remember my early alarm going off. I usually have three alarms, the first one wakes me up, the second usually gets me out of bed, but sometimes it takes the third. Regardless, I heard the first, I thought that I hit snooze, but then I woke up at 6:20 am. Nick said he didn’t hear any alarms and I don’t think I turned them off. (I think that maybe I turned them all of with the initial alarm) Class had just started and I could possibly make it, but I realized how rude that would be. I am signing up for this class for my last week because even after last weeks disaster and yesterday’s issue I truly want to try it.

FYI: Studio Poise’s missed class policy is if you are an unlimited monthly member you pay $10, if you just pay by the class then you lose that credit.

This missed class made me realize something that I think I have been missing. I believe that because of the cost of the gym membership and my goals I sometimes don’t listen to my body and take a must need rest day. Now that we are on the path of trying to get pregnant post-miscarriage I realize I need to listen to my body more than ever. I am trying to not beat myself up over a missed class, especially one that I was really excited to try, because it was what my body needed.

How do you deal when you miss a gym class?

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing: Holding On

I received a complimentary copy of “The Last Winter of Dani Lancing” through my relationship with From Left to Write. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing is about a college student, Dani, who was murdered twenty years ago but her killer was never found. Now a promising new lead may change everything.

Thrust into an intense devastation that nearly destroys their marriage, Patty and Jim Lancing struggle to deal with their harrowing loss. Patty is fanatically obsessed with the cold case; consumed by every possible clue or suspect no matter how far-fetched, she goes to horrifying lengths to help clarify the past. Meanwhile, Jim has become a shell of his former self, broken down and haunted—sometimes literally—by his young daughter’s death. Dani’s childhood sweetheart, Tom, handles his own grief every day on the job—he’s become a detective intent on solving murders of other young women, and hopes to one day close Dani’s case himself.

Then everything changes when Tom finds a promising new lead. As lies and secrets are unearthed, the heartbreaking truth behind Dani’s murder is finally revealed.

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At first I found this book confusing, there were many voices telling the story; Jim, Patty, Tom and Dani. I think the confusing part was when Dani’s character was talked to as a ghost. It took me a few chapters to get the hang of it, but as soon as I did, I didn’t put the book down. I literally read the majority of the book in 3 days.

I used to be a huge fan of psychological thrillers, but that was before I had B. I think having a child makes these types of books hard to read because you can relate it to your life, and that is frightening.

However this book reminded me of a time in my life that I struggled with, and sometimes still struggle with. Seven years ago the world lost an amazing human being. One of my best friends tragically drowned while out cliff jumping with some friends. I remember everything about the day, but the days after were a blur. The year after had some of the highest moments in my life, but also some of the lowest.

The majority of my friends had graduated already and I was one of 3 of our group still in school. Nick had moved to Boston for a job, and I was feeling alone. I dwelled in the what-ifs and the pity parties. I pushed a lot of people away, relationships I wished I could have maintained are no longer even reachable.

I was angry and I hated everyone. Jack was loved by everyone, there is no question about that, but we were friends since the day we met, and I felt like all these people who sorta knew him were treading on my grief (silly, I know that now). He was silly — he loved practical jokes and especially loved pulling them on me, I guess that’s what happens when you are the only girl in a group of friends. He cared about our friendship, and about the relationships I had in my life, he was the brother I never had. We had a small circle that transferred to WPI at the same time and we hung out all the time. To this day, I only have a great relationship with one of them. I realized he was the glue that held us together. I was mad at him, he always did stupid things, like cliff diving, and I felt that he was being so selfish, leaving the world when I wasn’t ready for him to.

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L-R: Jack, Rob, Sean and I am in front.
The last time the four of us were together.

A year after his death a bunch of us made the trek to upstate New York, Jack’s love of outdoors was definitely inherited from his parents. As part of their process they got a piece of land and were planning on cutting the brush and trees down to make a trail, in his honor.

We made it to the trail a few days after most of his family, but we still wanted to help. One of the people who was still there brought us to where they had left out. One of our group stepped on a Ground Hornets (or is it wasps?) nest. They literally attacked me, my sister and another friend started flicking them off me but there were too many. I took off my shirt and ran through the woods towards the cabin we were staying in. I was covered in bumps and was in pain. Sadly, this was not the first time this happened so I knew what I had to do. As soon as everyone got out of the woods and was okay, a few of us took a drive to the nearest drug store. We stocked up on Benadryl and medicine for me. While we were in the store the power started flicking on and off and when we left it was down pouring. All I could do was laugh, typical Jack, I said. That’s when I knew I would be okay. I knew he would let me know that he is still looking out for me (and playing jokes) and that I can still count on him.

Whenever I go through a rough spot, I pray, but I also ask Jack for a sign. Maybe its stupid, but it helps me knowing that he is still a part of my life.

Everyone deals with death and grief differently, certain songs on the radio remind me of our countless road trips. Whenever I see an Eagle Summit, I think of him. I deal with realizing that people are in our life to teach us something, whether good or bad, and we don’t get to choose how long they are here for. It took me years to accept that last part. 

I will admit, it is hard that I can’t introduce him to B, or he can’t see the path Nick and I’s relationship has taken, or anything in the future that will be without him. I know that he is making people happy wherever he is.