Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Life According to Buzzfeed Quizzes

Hi.  My name is Jill and I am addicted to Buzzfeed Quizzes.  Is there a 12 step program for this?!

These quizzes posted all over the Facebook lately are like crack, and I'm strangely reminded of being a precocious little middle schooler, eagerly looking forward to the monthly quizzes inside each issue of Seventeen magazine for answers to all of life's most pressing questions.

So just for fun, lets see what my life would actually be like, according to a few of the many (many) quizzes I've taken over the past month:


1.  If you'll recall from this post, I should actually be living in Barcelona.  Buzzfeed tells me this is because I'm "half party, half pensive".  Indeed.  I'm packing up the cats as we speak for our Transatlantic move.

 
 
2.  Now what am I going to do once I get there?  Well lucky for me, there's another Buzzfeed quiz for that.  My ideal career is Humanitarian because I'm a "giver and a justice seeker" and "You is kind, You is smart, You is important".  Oh Buzzfeed you know me too well -  that is only one of my favorite lines from a movie ever.  Nailed it.
 
 
 
3.  While living out my humanitarian mission in Barcelona, I think it's time I explore who I was before I became Jill.  Good thing Buzzfeed has a quiz pertaining to past lives.  I was a Hippie because I'm "a creative soul" and I have "a deep concern for the world around [me]".  Both true, but I think the most apparent indicator of this past life is my wild two-toned hair, which hasn't seen a pair of scissors or the inside of a salon in two years.  Next up, dreadlocks.  Make love, not war people.
 

 
 
4.  Along those same lines, I just HAD to know - which Beatle am I?!  I mean they are one of the greatest bands of all time.  I already knew who my fave of the Fab Four was, but would Buzzfeed tell me that he and I were one and the same?!  Well, be still my beating heart because I am actually the one and only Sir Paul McCartney.  Buzzfeed tells me this is because I have "a rather cheerful disposition and that sometimes rubs people the wrong way".  #sorryi'mnotsorry for that
 


 
 
5.  And last but not least, while I am really digging deep and finding out who I am at my core, I think it's only important to know - which emoji am I?!  I turn once again to the all-seeing, all-knowing Buzzfeed for this last critical piece of my identity and it did not disappoint.  I am a Sparkling Heart because I'm a "hopeless romantic" and "[I] know [my] one true love is out there".  TRUE dat.  Someday my prince will come.  If anyone knows a single eligible bachelor looking for the female version of Paul McCartney living in Barcelona - send them my way.
 
 
 
And there you have it, My Life According to Buzzfeed.  Just living the dream.
 
 
I would love nothing more than for you to take these quizzes (I linked to each one under the pics) and then tell me what your Buzzfeed life looks like in the comments! Please?!
 

 


Monday, February 24, 2014

Weekend in Pictures

What did I do this weekend, you might be wondering.  Or maybe not.  But here we go anyway :)


1.  I had my cats do my taxes:
source via Pinterest (not my cat)
 
They didn't get very far, so I had to finish for them.  I don't know where they get their work ethic.
 
 
2.  Met up with one of my favorite ladies for happy hour/night out downtown, in the neighborhood where I used to work:
 
 
Wherein I gave my real digits to someone who I pretty much knew I had no intentions of dating.  Ay yay yay.
 
 
3.  Toured the Baltimore Basilica, finally! This is a historical and religious sight I had been wanting to visit for years.  It was gorgeous and awe inspiring.  I love old churches.  We even got to tour the underground crypt.  Coolio!
 
 
 
4.  RUNNING IN SHORTS!  It was 62 actual degrees in Baltimore today.  What?!  I'm not even going to question what this wacko weather has to do with global warming.  I'm just soaking it in after this bananas winter we've had.
 

 
 
5.  I mentioned my new found love for Bolthouse Farms vanilla chai tea a few posts ago.  Well I decided to try this green tea drink from the same line:
 
 
 
Ehh. I'm going to file this one under a 'miss'.  It's not terrible, but it kind of taste like leaves.  Mixed with grass.  And maybe a little dirt.  So what are you waiting for - go out there and get yourself a bottle! HAHA
 
 
Hope you all had a great weekend!
 
 
How was the weather in your 'hood this weekend?
 
What were you up to?

 
 
 



Friday, February 21, 2014

Workouts Lately...and an avocado shortage?!

 
Since I don't have a Spring half marathon on the books, you may be wondering, 'What has our little Jilly been up to?'.  Or more likely, you have not, but I'm going to tell you anyway!
 
I'm still running, but I'm also doing lots of other kinds of workouts lately too.  Mother Nature has been throwing lots of tricks at runners this year (helloooo polar vortex), that have made it hard to get outside.  I do enjoy snow running now and then because it's so peaceful and serene when the snow starts falling, but lately there is just SO much packed snow and ice on the ground, it's been difficult and too dangerous to do much running outside.  I mean, lesson learned from these guys:
  




So, here's what I've been up to this week:

Sunday - Rest.  Traveling back from PA.

Monday - 20 min interval workout on the bike.  40 min upper/lower body weight lifting (machines and free weights)

Tuesday - Xtend Barre (1 hour class)

Wednesday - Got all the way to the gym, started undressing in the locker room and realized I DIDN'T PACK TIGHTS!  Since I believe my gym frowns upon working out in your underwear, I had to pack up and take my workout home.  I ended up doing this workout from Pinterest 3 times through (took about 30 mins) ... in my underwear.  You're welcome for that image.  #thisisprobablywhyi'msingle


 
Thursday - 5K run outside.  In which I risked my life because 1 out of every 2 houses had not yet shoveled their sidewalk from winter storm #Pax, which let me remind you, was an ENTIRE week ago.  This run was more like an obstacle course.
 
Friday - 30 min interval workout on the Arc Trainer.  Followed by 10 mins of abs and stretching.
 
There you have it.  The most random workout mix up ever. What can I say, I like variety.  I get bored doing the same thing over and over (unless its running, because I'm kind of transported to another world sometimes when I'm running). 
 
In fact, last week I did a workout on the most awkward piece of cardio equipment at my gym - the StairMaster:
 
 
You would think since I have been working out in gyms since I was about 15 (so going on 20 years now) I would have worked out on this machine millions of times by now.  You'd be wrong, and now I know why!  I did a 30 min workout on this thing and feared for my life every second.  I kept having the feeling that I was going to fall off the back.  I have very tiny elf-like feet (size 6.5) and they didn't even fit all the way on these stairs. I can't imagine how people with larger feet feel.  Do only your toes fit on the step?! Although I felt like I got a really good workout, I don't think this is a machine I will ever be going back to.  I think I will just climb the steps to my 3rd floor apartment for 30 mins next time.
 
And for the last piece of randomness here, I heard that the drought in California may cause an avocado shortage?!! Say it isn't so.  I am currently sitting here eating one now as I type this and praying for rain for you West Coasters (sorry runners). 
 
I hope you all had a wonderful week of workouts :)
 
 
 
What have you been up to this week? 
 
Has your running suffered this winter, or do you just take it to the treadmill?
 
Have you ever done the StairMaster at the gym!?
 
What will we do without avocados?!
 
 

 
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Tried It: Sunshine Burgers!


As a member of the Sweat Pink and Fit Approach network of bloggers, I was recently given the opportunity to sample a variety of vegan/non meat, organic veggie burgers from a company called Sunshine Burgers.  About a week ago, I got a shipment from Sunshine Burgers that included 6 different varieties of their burgers.  They shipped the burgers in dry ice so they remained fresh until I got home from work that night!  Behold the variety:

 

Although all of the varieties have different unique flavors and whole-food ingredients, they are all organic, contain no GMO ingredients, and are all vegan (score one for Jilly!).  They are also free of many common allergens (like gluten, wheat, soy, corn, oats, dairy, eggs and nuts). 

I was really excited to sample these, because I am always looking for new healthy ways to add protein into my diet.  I do eat meat, and most often get a bulk of my daily protein intake at dinner in the form of lean beef or turkey burgers.  However, more recently, I've been doing a lot of reading and research into factory farming practices, and this has prompted me to reduce my meat intake in favor of more plant-based protein sources.  This opportunity couldn't have come at a better time, because I just started switching out my turkey burgers for some veggie varieties!

In the past week I've tried many of the varieties I was provided by Sunshine Burgers.  The first one I tried was a breakfast sausage replacement  - the "Hemp & Sage" flavor.  I ate this plain between a bun, as one would eat a breakfast sausage sandwich.  In hindsight, I probably should have added an egg in there to make it a real breakfast sammie!  You could definitely taste the sage seasoning in this one, which I liked.  It didn't really taste 'meat-like' to me, because the texture was more grainy than meaty, but I liked the flavor.

My two favorites by far were the spicy varieties!  I loved the "Loco Chipotle" which was a larger, quarter-pound burger, and also loved the "Southwest" version which was a spicy black bean burger.  One night for dinner, I toasted a whole wheat bun, filled it with a Loco Chipotle patty and topped it off with some sprouts and avocado slices.  YUM!  The avocado added some creaminess which offset the spiciness of the burger.  Loved this combo:

 
 
I ate all of my burgers like burgers, but the company has lots of great ideas on their website for crumbling the patties and using them in recipes.  As we all know, I'm not THAT creative in the kitchen, and eating these like burgers was just perfect for me!  They are super easy to prepare because they are already fully cooked (#winning!) so all you have to do is heat them up in the microwave.  BOOM.  Easiest dinner ever.
 
 
If you want to try Sunshine Burgers for yourself, you can check out their website for even more information than I've provided here.  If you're in the Baltimore area, and looking to purchase a box for yourself, they are available at Safeway stores and Whole Foods.  You can also find a store near you on their website.
 
 
*Disclosure:  Sunshine Burgers provided me with the samples for this post, but I was not compensated in any way.  Reviews and opinions are entirely my own!
 
 
How about you?
 
Do you dig veggie burgers? 
 
Have you ever tried Sunshine Burgers?
 


Monday, February 17, 2014

That weekend I realized I'm 34 years older than someone?!

So my last post was a little tongue-in-cheek about VDay but in reality, I actually had a great Valentine's weekend! 

I headed back to PA this weekend to celebrate the first birthday of my godson.  Late Friday night, as I was helping my friend set up for the party, we started to become delirious from all the crafting and decorating going on, and I was suddenly struck by a very profound realization.  I turned to her and said, 'Can you believe we are like 35 years OLDER than your son'.  My friend, being much more gifted at math corrected me, 'Um, you mean 34'.  Yeah, of course.  Anyway, 'How is it possible that we are 34 years older than another human being?'.  This was something I could not wrap my head around.  HAHAHA  I had so much fun that night with her, we were literally cracking up at everything, and it almost felt like the days we spent back in high school and college together.  Except yeah, there was a baby sleeping upstairs, her baby, who was almost 34 years younger than both of us.  BAM!  When you stop to think about it, it's pretty crazy how time flies.  He is one cool kid though.  Watch him take complete control of his birthday cupcake.  The kid knows what's up!

 
 
In fact, he is so cool, he even has his own FAN CLUB:
He apparently likes older women :)
 
 
I got to spend this lovey-dovey weekend with lots of people I love and hadn't seen in awhile, which was really nice.  And even though I'm single, I somehow managed to come home with a pile of Valentines!
 

 
My dad has been buying Valentines for me and my sisters since we were little kids.  That giant box in the back is filled with all kinds of chewy, non chocolate candy - SCORE!  And my nephew made me some sweet crafts and gave me that new portrait - what a cutie!! 
 
So yeah, I felt very loved this weekend (and also a little old!) HA
 
Hope you all had a great weekend :)
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Friday, February 14, 2014

And this is why I need a Valentine...

...because I really need one of these giant, creepy teddy bears:



Or not!

I saw the 2014 version of this commercial while cycling my little heart out at the gym one night this week, and I seriously thought it was a parody of something.  I couldn't believe that it was real and they were selling a real product.  The video I posted is from 2012 - I couldn't find the 2014 version online anywhere - but it was even creepier than this one - imagine the same ad, but all of the women are wearing skimpy lingerie and draping themselves over the bear.  HA! I kid you not.

On second thought, I think I'm good on the Valentine's gift this year :)


HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to all you lovelies out there!


Have you seen this commercial?!?


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Without Winter, Would There be a Spring?

As I sit here this afternoon, in the midst of yet another apocalyptic snowfall this season (thanks, Winter Storm #Pax), this question came to mind, and I've been thinking about it a lot, both literally and figuratively. 

 
 
As young children in school, many of us learn about the four seasons.  We learn that in temperate climates, there are distinct seasons of the year, and each one has a special purpose and characteristics.  We understand that certain things must happen at particular times of the year, in order to make way for other things to happen later in the year.  So I guess you could say in terms of climatic seasons, there really would be no spring without winter.  If nothing ever died, or hibernated, or froze, there would be no need for rebirth, regrowth and warming. 
 
I often wonder what it is like to live in a tropical climate, or a place that doesn't have a winter season?  Is everything just constantly in bloom and flourishing?  And if this is the case, do these people know how good they have it?!  Is every plant, animal and human just bursting at the seams with happiness?!
 
In a more figurative manner I wonder, if you never experience bad 'weather' in your life - bad times, tragedies, heartbreak, etc - do you appreciate the goodness you have as much?  If it were summer every day, I wonder if I would start to take it for granted?  I know when we are in the midst of summer, and every day the weather is gorgeous and beautiful, I start to do just that.  It's only when we have a rainy day or when I'm smack dab in the middle of a dark grey winter that I realize just how beautiful summer is. 
 
And so I ask, do we always need a comparison to realize how good we have it?  Do we sometimes only know what goodness we have once it's gone?  Sadly, I think I do, and I wish that wasn't the case.  I think there are probably highly enlightened people out there who, when they are in the midst of some really good weather, give gratitude for it and realize just how lucky they are, without needing any reminders or comparisons.
 
But on the same token, do you think experiencing bad weather, climate-wise or life-wise, makes you appreciate the sunny weather even more?  I do think so.  I think when you're at rock bottom (as we just may be this winter!) and you make it to the top - whatever that may be for you and your situation - you see it with very different eyes, than someone who has been there all along, even if that person is truly grateful for all that they have. 
 
But alas, these are questions I really do not have answers for, provoked by what has seemed like the longest, coldest winter ever.  I we will all be dancing like maniacs in the street when spring finally rolls around.  I imagine it will feel like we are seeing the season with new eyes - every new blossom and ray of sunshine we feel on our face may just feel like the first one ever.  And for that wonderful gift, we can thank this crazy winter.  I think I've just found the silver lining...
 
 
What do you think?
 
Would you know and appreciate your good weather, if you never experienced any bad?
 
If you live in California or the tropics, please chime in!  (And also let me know if you need a new roomie!)
 

 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Most Random Roundup Ever...

There were so many things I wanted to talk about with you last week, however none of them seemed long enough for a full post.  Soooo, I now welcome you to the most random roundup of conversation pieces ever.  In no particular order, here are a million (or 5) things that have been on my mind this week:

1.  My new favorite drink.  I just discovered this and am now officially ADDICTED.  I drink Bolthouse Farms' green drink often (Green Goodness) but I would always just pass this chai drink over.  Big mistake, people. Huge. I can't tell you how amazing this tastes.  It looks 'milky' but it's actually soy-based so it's non dairy!  Although I'm not too keen on adding unnecessary soy back into my diet after having eliminated soy milk, I think it's ok for a once-in-awhile treat like this.  Also there's 9g of protein per serving which is pretty suh-weet. 

 
 
2.  The Fault in Our Stars.  I finally got around to reading this book (there was a wait list for it at my local library).  It's one of those books that I could have stayed up all night to finish, because I really wanted to find out what happened, but I didn't.  I finished it in 3 days though. I kind of wanted to save the ending.  This was a sad one though, and pretty depressing.  I've never read any of John Green's books, perhaps because he is a 'young adult' author, but I enjoyed his writing.  What I really liked about this book was the feeling of young love it conveyed.  It made me remember what it was like to have those 'new love' kind of feelings, and perhaps that's why it's all the rage with adolescent girls(!).  I did find the dialogue between the 2 main characters to be a bit above their head though.  It reminded me of watching Dawson's Creek back in the day and thinking 'what high school student speaks like this?!'.  Verdict:  If you want a quick read and are ready for a good cry, then dive right in!
 
via
 
3.  Welcome to the Psychic Network.  Several weeks ago I had a very vivid dream about someone.  It came out of nowhere so I didn't know what to think of it, but I couldn't shake it.  However, early last week I found out that what I dreamt about ACTUALLY HAPPENED.  Hello!!!  Cue the Twilight Zone music.  I don't know how you feel about psychic messages but I definitely believe that some people are more receptive to receiving these than others, just like people who are mediums.  I don't know if there are people out there who can 'see' the future, but I think being psychic is being receptive to energy and soul communication outside the physical world.  It's kind of what I think people do when they meditate (yet I still have no experience in this!).  I think these people are better at blocking out everything going on in the physical world so that they are able to receive messages from their own and other's spirits.  This past year, I've been really working at blocking out superficial stimuli and listening to my own intuition, and there have been more than a few instances where I thought about something or had a feeling that something might happen and then IT DID.  I don't know how to explain this other than to say, I've never been more in tune with myself than I have become over the past year.  Not trying to freak anyone out here!  That being said, if I have a dream about you, I'll let you know ;)
 
4.  CVS will stop selling cigarettes.  I think this story was pretty groundbreaking last week, and a sign of what's to come.  I think their action will have a domino effect amongst pharmacies and other retailers and it's a pretty brave action on the part of CVS.  They said their motivation was that cigarettes do not fit with their philosophy of health and wellness.  Granted, there are still lots of unhealthy things you can purchase there, but this is a big one!  It's exciting and definitely a step in the right direction.
 
5.  Dead Poets Society lives on.  Have you seen the new commercial for the Apple iPad Air?  If you have, did the narration sound familiar?!  Robin Williams is actually reprising one his quotes from the great old 80's movie.  If you have never seen the movie, please do.  I loved hearing these words again, therefore I love this commercial.  Behold:
 



And there you have it.  You have now been privy to all the wild random thoughts running through my head last week :)


What about you?  What was on your mind last week?

Did you discover any new foods, books or commercials?!

What do you think about CVS's new tobacco policy?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Spring Race Decisions

 
 
I've finally decided on a Spring race.  It wasn't part of my original plan and I was back and forth on it for several weeks, but after having lived through my new schedule during the month of January, I was forced to make a tough decision. 
 
I was looking for a Spring Half to do that was relatively close to me (to save on travel costs) but on a course I had never run before.  I came across this brand new race in Philadelphia called the Love Run scheduled for March 30th, and liked the sound of it.  I've never run a race in Philly.  I got to talking with my sister - the one who joined a running group and ran her first 5K this past October - and it turned out her running coach was trying to convince the team to run this race as their first group half marathon! 
 
My sis's first race!
 
 
I thought it would be incredible to run this race with my sister, and be there to support her in completing this awesome milestone. So, I had all intentions of signing up a couple months ago.  But when I returned to Baltimore after the Holidays, my obligations starting piling up...majorly.  I started to get anxiety thinking about how I would fit training into my days, when some days I didn't even get home until late in the evening (exhausted nonetheless).  With the way things are right now, it just didn't seem feasible that I could train for this half marathon that was 8 or 9 weeks away. 
 
So, last week I made the call that I would not be registering for the Love Run.  I talked it over with my sister and she was actually ok with it.  She is planning to go down and stay the weekend in a condo with all the girls on her team, so as it turns out, I wouldn't have had anyone to room with for the weekend anyway, and I probably would not have seen too much of her!  I kind of feel like it may have been hard for her to choose between spending time with her coach and her team that weekend and time with me so I think it's better the way it worked out.  My sister has run with these ladies since last summer and I think it will be really special that they are all doing this together. 
 
I'm still feeling a bit sad/guilty that I won't be there to run with her, but I guess that's means we'll just have to plan for another one in the future.  (You hear that Laura?!  I'm already planning your 2nd half marathon!)  But, I am also feeling relief that I did what was best for me right now, and that I won't have this anxiety hanging over my head and scrambling to try to fit in training with my crazy work hours. 
Training for a race should be fun!
 
 
So, what race DID I decide to do, that is the question.  Well, I stated in my 2014 Goals post that I wanted to run a 10K this year because that is a distance I've never raced before.  And that's exactly what I'm doing!  I signed up for the Sole of the City 10K in Baltimore on April 12th.  This race is run by my favorite local running store (Charm City Run).  You get a sweet Under Armour half-zip for participating, plus the race will benefit a local Baltimore teacher who was injured in the Boston marathon bombings last year.  Also, it won't require as much training on my part and I'm guaranteed a PR since it's my first one!  Just an all around winning combo if you ask me.
 
 
 
I feel both excited and relieved about my decision, and also a bit remiss that right now I don't have a Spring Half to look forward to.
 
Who knows, as I live through my new work life, perhaps I will find more wiggle room and I can always register for a race in late Spring or early Summer.  If not, I love Fall racing season and this will just give me more time to prepare for and find a great Fall half (maybe that will be my destination race?!).  I also plan to continue my 5K streak that started last year by peppering in several of those fun little races in throughout the year. 
 
So that's where things stand right now.  I've still been managing to work out 4-5 times per week, but only running once or twice.  My other workouts are all cross training (biking, weights, HIIT, swimming, yoga, and now barre) that I manage to squeeze in at the gym, or at home; wherever I can find the time! 
 
In the first half of this year, there are several professional and personal things I want to focus on (I will probably share these with you at some point!), and not having a big race to train for will allow me to do those things.  This year is all about doing what feels RIGHT for me, and I keep tuning into those feelings as I make my decisions.  So far, they've felt right so I'm going to just keep tuning in and listening to my heart :) 
 
 
What races are on your schedule this Spring?
 
Have you ever had to cut back on running races because of other life obligations?
 
 

 
 


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Xtend Barre: First Impressions

As I mentioned in my last post, this Sunday I took my first Xtend Barre class.  If you've never heard of Xtend Barre, you can check out their worldwide site here for more info.  The creator of Xtend Barre is a professional dancer as well as a certified Pilates instructor and she combined elements of both those practices into one workout, which is now patented and franchised all over the world.  Pretty cool!

I purchased a Living Social voucher several months ago, for a new studio that opened just north of the city.  Good thing I checked the date on that there voucher because it was about to expire!  So after decompressing from last week and cleaning like a maniac most of the weekend, I woke up Sunday morning ready to try a new workout!  Who am I kidding though, working out always makes me feel better and trying new kinds of exercise is pretty much like crack for me :)

Prior to attending a class, you have to pre-register online, which I did the day before.  I am guessing this is to limit class size to a certain number of people since there is limited barre space around the room.  As I registered online, I was provided instructions as to what to wear/bring to class.  It was suggested to wear tights, which I did.  You also need to wear/bring socks (they also sell special socks with grippers on the bottom at the studio), and the instructions stated 'no bare midriffs'  HAHA.  I chuckled at that one.  Ok, I'll leave my belly shirt at home, if you insist.

Upon arriving at the studio I was immediately struck by how clean, airy and beautiful the space was!  It was definitely not like your typical 'gym' at all, and certainly not like boot camp and CrossFit spaces I've worked out at.  The entire studio was decorated in shades of turquoise, white and grey.  Super clean and sophisticated.  Here's a picture of the front entry and display area:

 
 
 
 
The owner greeted me warmly at the desk upon arrival and welcomed me in.  I had to fill out a form of basic personal info and then she showed me around a bit and told me where I could stash my belongings while I was in class.  They have a sweet little cubby area outside the main workout room to hold your shoes, phone, jacket etc:
 

 
She then showed me into the workout studio where there was already a spot set up for me with all the equipment I'd need for the class.  This included: a mat, yoga strap, stretch band, ball and 1 lb hand weights.  The studio was so open and airy - two walls were lined with ceiling to floor mirrors, and the back wall was completely lined with ceiling to floor windows.  There was delicate track lighting as well as a few overhead chrome lights and ceiling fans.  It was just a very refreshing, alive space.  Check it out:
 
 
 
Alrighty, on to the workout!  There were probably about 12-14 people in class (all women) so it was not too crowded.  The instructor turned on some high energy tunes (Top 40 radio stuff) and we got started right on time.  We got right into it with some dance moves, stretching out our arms and doing pliĆ© squats.  Sorry I do not know all the dance terms, nor do I remember what she called all of them, having never taken ballet as a child.  I do remember her often telling us to get into "second position" with our feet together but pointed out?  I think that's what it was anyway.  Former ballerinas please feel free to correct me here!  We did several balance positions where we were lunging and then picking one leg up and pulsing it out to the side and to the back.  I felt like I was lacking some grace here! HA  But man, it made me realize just how strong ballerinas are.  We then moved into arms.  We did several exercises circling and pulsing our arms while holding our hand weights.  We also used them for triceps exercises and also did some planking! Ahh, finally something I'm familiar with :)
 
In time, we moved from the center of the room, to a position on the perimeter of the room on the barre.  Here we did some more concentrated leg exercises, leaning against the bar and lunging and pulsing back with opposing legs.  Oh I felt like a real dancer pointing my toes and positioning myself along that barre.  Well, maybe not, but one can dream :)  We also used our elastic band (wrapped around our ankles) to sidestep and pulse with opposite legs while adding resistance.
 
After that, we moved our mats against the wall near our position on the barre and laid down for clam shell and other inner/outer thigh exercises.  All of these HURT!  In fact, last night I worked out at my regular gym and did the inner/outer thigh machine and I could definitely feel the soreness in those muscles!  We also did some core/ab work on the mat using the ball. 
 
Verdict:
The class was an hour long but the time flew by so quickly.  The instructor was fantastic and made sure to demonstrate every move, which was just lovely for a newbie like me.  I also had a lot of fun pretending to be a prima ballerina! HA  I love love love trying new kinds of workouts and this was  just so different from my usual gym sessions.  The class involved a lot of quick, repetitive toning moves, which I believe are great for strengthening and lengthening muscles.  But I also believe there is an element of cardio involved in the workout because we were constantly moving.  I wasn't sure how much I would 'feel' the workout the next day but my legs were definitely 'feeling' it later that night!  I'm pretty sure I targeted muscles I rarely touch in my regular gym sessions or when I'm running. 
 
I'm excited to see what the rest of my month-long Barre experiment yields and I'm really looking forward to my next class already.  It kinda makes me wish I had donned a tutu at some point in my childhood.  Oh well, I can live out my childhood fantasy now :)
 
If you want another look inside Xtend Barre, you can also check out this article I received in my Well + Good e-newsletter yesterday morning.  Apparently, an Xtend Barre just opened in NYC and the article has some great photos and descriptions of the workout as well. 
 
Just a note:  The studio I attended offers new clients their first class FREE.  So if you have an Xtend Barre in your city, check them out to see if you can try out a class for free as well!
 
 
Your turn!
 
Have you ever heard of Xtend Barre or taken a Barre workout class? 
 
Were you a dancer as a child, or are you now?!
 



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Just call me Susie Homemaker

Hello Friends and Happy Sunday to you!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  This weekend I had zero obligations, which was exactly what I needed.  I really wanted to relax and disconnect, and I'm so glad there was no place I had to be.  A strange thing happened on Friday though...I turned into a cleaning machine.  It's kind of unlike me to get this uncontrollable urge to clean but I literally couldn't stop.  It felt as though I was trying to gain some control in my life, since the past month has  been so crazy for me.  It also felt like I was symbolically ushering out January (rather vehemently) and throwing my open arms around February.  The amount of cleaning, purging and dejunking I did felt like spring cleaning, and it's only the second month of the year. 

It's all too easy to see that warm weather is on my mind.  However, I am aware that today is Groundhog Day and that snarky little fellow apparently saw his shadow.  I know I shouldn't be wishing time away, but this winter has felt really long already.  I'm sure many of us are feeling this way since there have been record breaking low temps and snowfall all over the US (Hello, polar vortex up here and snow in Atlanta, what?!). 

But even if it's not Spring outside just yet, inside my apartment is looking so fresh and so clean.  In addition to scrubbing everything I could get my hands on, I also may have gone a little Target crazy.  I got some much needed organizational items and also freshened up my living and bathroom spaces a bit.  I'll leave you with some pics showing the fruits of my labor over the past 48 hours.  I feel like this cleaning has helped me to 'declutter' my mind too and get ready for the new week ahead, the new month, and hopefully a new season that is not too far around the corner, despite what Punxsutawny Phil says.


I put this here shelf together with my BARE hands people (ok, and a screwdriver).  I hope you're impressed.  It's from Target and so is the little knit basket on top, which is currently holding all my protein bars. 
 
 
Re-covered my IKEA chair in stark white.  It had been covered with a navy blue slipcover and was just looking too dark and dreary for my mood this weekend.  I love how this brightens up my living room.  Found that cute little Valentine's pillow at Target too btw.
 
 
Probably my favorite find of the weekend! I love this new shower curtain I found at Target (here).  It was on sale, plus I used the new Cartwheel app on my phone for an additional coupon so I got it for a little over $13!  I felt like an extreme couponer, save for the fact that I was not purchasing 75 tubes of toothpaste and 200 cans of beans that no human will ever eat in his lifetime.  
 
 
 
This morning I also took my first Xtend Barre class.  I almost forgot I purchased a Living Social voucher ages ago for an unlimited month at this studio.  Thank goodness I finally had time to get my little booty there this weekend.  I'm going to do a full write up in the next day or two, but here's a spoiler:  I really liked it! 
 
Ok, I'm off.  I may or may not turn on the Super Bowl for a bit.  I'm heading into this week with a fresh, clean frame of mind and I'm feeling good :)
 
 
Your turn!
 
How did you spend your weekend?
 
Will you be watching the Super Bowl?
 
Have you ever taken a Barre workout class?