Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Fitness in 2015

Training for Tuesday snuck up on me pretty quickly this month. That's what happens when I've been playing Santa, battling that holiday anxiety and trying really hard to prepare for our tropical vacation coming up in six short months. 

Since it's the end of the year, this post is fit to be dedicated to my fitness past from 2015. While I can look back and laugh that 2014 was the year of sweaty selfies, 2015 was the year of "look where I'm working out" and more recently "partner workouts gone undocumented". While some of my fitness goals went unconquered, there's a lot that I've learned about myself in the past twelve months.

January - June: ClassPass

It seems like all I could talk about in the first half of 2015 was this fairytale concept of ClassPass. Where with one monthly membership I gained access to over 120 studios in Portland that offered the best in group fitness. I was able to try so many new fitness classes that I had never dreamed of experiencing. A pumped up sweat party with drumsticks? A fear-testing fly with aerial yoga? The soothing meditation through visualization or those delicious restorative yoga sessions? All new to me and all very much missed and adored. I had even broke up with my gym for ClassPass.

Here's what I was able to try:

:: TRX
:: Pound!
:: Bootcamp
:: Yoga (aerial, vinyasa, hot, restorative, yin)
:: Meditation Therapy
:: Spin
:: Crossfit
:: Mobility training
:: Barre (ballet and cardio)
:: the Megaformer

July - August: Moving to Memphis

In the first month of the move, I was unemployed and seeking to fill the void that was created after ClassPass was no longer an option. I took to the Internet to see how I could avoid going cold turkey and to my delight I found a new barre studio that was offering free grand opening classes. I was then brave enough to meet new people early in the morning on a high school track all because I met my fitness hero in a Starbucks and I laughed at her joke. These are some of my warmest first memories of Memphis and made me realize that I could re-establish my previously known fitness culture if I just looked hard enough. Still on the "to try" list is Bendy Brewski ... or Yoga followed by a pint of beer.

August - December: Settling into Memphis

Once I became employed in August, the freedom of what I'd experienced in the first month was no longer possible and it was time for me to establish a schedule. No stranger to 'switching it up', I turned my attention to the gym. The one with the dudes at the weight racks and the one with the tanning beds and the one with the lightly used cardio equipment. It didn't feel like "my gym" where I was free to take up as much space I needed and use my 12-minute athlete interval app. It was the kind where my guy felt the most comfortable tucked away on an elliptical machine and in an effort to make gym dates 'ours', that's the world I fell into as well.

It wasn't long before I made some me-time to throw weights around, to sprint the stairs in our three-story apartment building and went back to some basics in my favorite workouts pre-studio life. Alyssa sent me some of her favorite YouTube flows and it finally convinced me to bring my mat in from the car to get some TLC.

When the new gym at work finally opened up in November, it gave me much more freedom for circuit training and the option to sweat in the middle of a work day. Now that we instituted a couple's workout tax when we have an unscheduled off day, sweating at work has been a great outlet to make time where previously I was looking for it. This added benefit of a gym at work is $0 and if all I have to do is bring my own towel and toiletries for the shower afterward, I have a feeling this gym will be the headliner of my 2016 fitness recap.

Also planned to be in the 2016 fitness recap will be how we used three key daily check-ins to each lose 10% of our body weight over a span of 6 months. It won't be rocket science and obviously nothing earth-shattering, but will show the importance of tweaking your lifestyle and making good choices that already have both of us 30% toward our goals.

Cheers to 2016 and a happy healthy new year!

I hope you're linking up with Alyssa and Tracy for the final Training for Tuesday of 2015!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Confessing Before Christmas

Santa knows if I've been Naughty or Nice this year, but confessing over the blog seems appropriate before Christmas morning. In case he can't find a way to get into the apartment, I want you to send me a lump of coal this year instead.

In reality, I've been a really good girl in 2015. I might have made some really adult decisions in the process by quitting my job, moving to follow my heart and becoming re-employed by the same company a few months later, but overall 'good' in a sense that my conscience can be proud of. I don't have my 2016 resolutions clearly defined, but I know that communicating with friends and family more often will keep my soul filled while we wait out the warmer Spring and Summer months ahead. 

I've been getting into the holiday spirit a little more this year now that we've got a real tree, parties to attend and traditions to create together. I've even been pulling a few tricks out of my back pocket that haven't seen the light of day in years... or ever. Like these paint sample gift tags. They've been patiently hiding on my pinterest boards for years and I finally got the urge to shamelessly grab samples from the Lowe's paint center just like I would grab the taquitos at Costco and cut them into these uniformly elegant ombre trees.

My latest instagram photos have been majorly filtered but also majorly well-lit. Has anyone noticed that I've posted much more lately, and the photos look a little more instagram professional? It's because after 5 and a half months of living in a yellow-lighting apartment and a yellow-lighting work environment I've found my natural lighting sanctuary. It's not pretty and requires props like bath towels, hand towels and blankets, but it creates a photo that shows just enough of my filtered life to make it to the Internet.

I already know a few of my Christmas gifts thanks to Amazon's 5 emails per item ordered and a few text messages included in there too. One was even spoiled because he didn't thnk the Amazon box was his since it was ordered from Ebay, but turns out I unboxed my own gift and had to place it under the tree like I never noticed. Next year, or at least next gift-giving holiday, we're going to have to figure out a solution for household Amazon-sharing protocol, including putting nicknames on the packages so we really know which package belongs to which giver.

That's all I can write today, looking forward to seeing what you're confessing! 

Linking up with KathyNadineSarahLauraLaurenAlanna and .... ???

Friday, December 18, 2015


We officially have one more week to stress, shop and buy presents be present before Christmas morning sneaks up on us once again. This will be my first Christmas away from the family.... ever ... and it's a little weird to believe that this year I'll be the one on the FaceTime screen while they huddle around the tree and play with the golden sisters.

It really got real when we received a huge package from Portland with mom's best wrapping job for us to have some merry cheer beneath the tree in our two bedroom apartment. There were even a few treats included in the box that we binged after 11pm last night, which I'll explain in the coming weeks why that was a good choice.

Since it's Friday, I'll let you off easy with some light reading and link-up fun with a few of my Friday Favorites:

Have you seen Amazon's new "Dash Button"? It's a little ridiculous but also fairly amazing. They're $4.99 and it's a button that you can press from anywhere and it orders whatever the button is set up to re-order. Think pet supplies, laundry detergent, gum. Look, there's even have a button that orders Kraft macaroni and cheese. 

Stressed like the rest of us? Then Why Don't You... learn a few ways to quell that feeling. Or, why don't you watch this breathtaking video of Oregon? Because I did and now I miss it so dearly.

This homemade lunch, thanks to the guy's passion for grilling and Costco's supply of frozen broccoli:

Also, Sriracha.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Confessions About Nothing

While this is without a doubt the busiest season of the year for everyone, it's also now a record-setting month of blogs posted since I've relocated to Tennessee. What do I have to thank for my more frequent appearances here? That lovely 25-minute time-harnesser called the Pomodoro Technique that Alyssa shared with us on the very first day of December. It's helped me with work, workouts, blogging, reading, Christmas-ing and cleaning. Has it helped you with any of your daily must-do's?

While you're pondering what can be improved in your life by segmenting it into chewable 25-minute increments, take four minutes to be amused by this week's confessions about nothing.

:: "Confessions about nothing"? Well, we've been filling up our DVR with the TBS reruns of Seinfeld and have been binge-watching this "show about nothing" for a month. There's still over 140 episodes remaining on our watchlist. Meanwhile, we're left unable to record anything else but with a reward at the end. Now I can finally play the Seinfeld trivia game that's collecting dust in our coat closet.

:: Southern confession. I don't exactly understand these wildly adorned Christmas trees and can't say that I'll ever decorate a tree like they do down here. If you're unfamiliar, they look like this and not like the trees I've grown up with my whole life. Some even have woodland creatures peeking out from the... branches... ribbons...? I don't know.

:: Monday I pinned this to my Wedding board and freaked. There's no ring nor wedding bells in sight, but as a girl who pins things for future events including weddings and children I've made it a secret board to avoid any social media fueled speculations about either aforementioned life-event.  

:: Instagram unfollowers, I see you. Does anyone else have an app that tracks your unfollowers? It was a long-time mystery to me when the followers category would fluctuate, but now I see that it's those Portland fitness studios who don't see my face anymore and those obvious spammers that were never a real account anyway. But, it does make me a little sad when I see that my own extended family dropped my name off their list after scrolling by a cute puppy photo. sigh.

Have any confessions for us this week?

Link up all over blog-land:  KathyNadineSarahLauraLaurenAlanna and .... ???

Monday, December 14, 2015

Do Nothing, Do Everything Weekend

This was the one final weekend of "nothing" before things get busy and full of hustle and bustle for the holidays. While we originally had grand plans of a road trip to New Orleans or Nashville, we were proud to make the days into a wonderful combination of do-nothing and do-everything. 

Last weekend we bought our 8' tree and decorated it throughout the week. Waking up to the white glow and the fresh pine scent Saturday morning was a comforting reminder of the holidays, pajamas and full mugs of coffee.

With a pile of laundry to take care of and a house full of boxes, we made some major progress with cleaning, organization and simplification. All of this playing around with freshly washed wardrobes inspired us to each go through our belongings and select twenty pieces to donate to Goodwill. Piles later, we identified 65 things we could absolutely part with. We dedicated the next round of sorting to be focused toward what we won't wear before we move in March to a much more hip part of town. 

Between both activities, we cleared close to 150 items, leaving space in drawers and newly-available hangers. Nothing like a clothing purge to make you realize that you don't want anything tangible for Christmas. Staying within the theme of clearing out, we pulled close to fifteen pounds of frozen meats out of the freezer and the grill-master went to work in our unseasonable 70-degree weather. 

FaceTime with my parents on Sunday and getting many of our holiday cards in the mail warmed our hearts while the grilled cheese cookoff in our kitchen warmed our bodies. We were supposed to attend the Memphis Grilled Cheese Festival, but with rain in the forecast we opted to go buy our own award-winning ingredients to challenge each other in surprisingly not our cheesiest competition ever. Mine was a spicy & crunchy nacho grilled cheese while his was a bacon-swiss-mushroom delicious yummy thing. Spicy crunchy nacho won for flavor and Brian's won for structure & presentation. Cheers to cheese!

Finally, we made it to the gym Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a great sweat and burn each time. We're getting ahead of the New Year's Resolution crowd at the gym and getting into our own healthy routine with 179 days until our summer tropical vacation to the D.R. and hopefully something sooner than that with the whole family. 

How was your weekend?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Adventures of: Parents in the South

Way back in September when there were still days in the high 80's, I got the amazing news that my parents had been scheming a trip to Memphis for their first time for my 28th birthday. Originally it was a twisted plot conceived between my mom and my guy in a Words with Friends chat session, but before booking the flights it was cleared through me to make sure I was down for a ten night visit. C'mon down y'all. The more, the merrier!

Quickly November arrived. So did the air mattress, the cold weather, and my parents. Our mission while they were in town? Convince them that it's a really awesome, fun, safe and comfortable place. We knew we couldn't keep their eyes from seeing everything about the town since we'd have to still go to work during their visit, but when we did have a say in the agenda we opted for live music, Southern comfort food and occasionally a cozy night in.

The first four days flew by as Brian and I had to quietly sneak around in the mornings, go to work in one car and wait for one another to be done with the workday before returning home for a few big hugs. Those evenings held exciting moments like parents meeting parents and my grillmaster offering up our favorite steak and sweet potatoes meal. During the day while we were working the parents took some test drives in the Prius to see the noteworthy neighborhoods and found quiet spots to picnic overlooking the Mississippi.

Friday night was where the fun really began. Amazingly, the Portland Trail Blazers were in town to play the Grizzlies.  It was a home game we couldn't pass up. Since "go to a Blazer game in 2015" was a Christmas gift I gave my dad last year, we made sure to get seats close to the court so we could really battle back and forth about who was better. They wore red, we wore blue. We had playful banter the entire night and even bet that the loser would buy the post-defeat beers. Grizzlies won in the final play of the game keeping us all on our feet, and we washed the night down with some music and soul food on Beale Street. 

Now here's a ridiculous fact: I didn't get to see my parents in the daylight until Saturday. By that time they'd been in Tennessee for five nights and had already done more exploring than I've done in five months. Saturday was packed with adventure. Brian's sister's soccer game, parents socialize with parents meal, downtown to a pop-up bar in an old fire station, cornhole, Bass Pro Shop in the Pyramid, delicious pizza and finished off the night by crossing into Arkansas to show them one of our favorite silly adventures. Dog racing. 
When we were at the fire station bar, the family gave me the Birthday surprise I'd been anxious about during their entire visit. They finally let me in on their big-time schemed plan and how we were going to make it happen. The first surprise was a simple note that said "New Orleans!". Awesome, but hey it's Saturday afternoon and I have to go to work Monday. That's when I got wind of the second and third surprises. Brian got Monday and Tuesday off for the both of us and I wouldn't have to spend another minute of my time at work while my parents were with us in the South. 

Sunday we woke up with our sense of adventure and made the six-hour drive down to New Orleans where hand-grenades and hurricaines - both drinks - waited for our arrival. We had two rooms at a lovely hotel in the French Quarter with a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street. My dad was the first of us to get beads on the street from ladies above who needed to see some flashing on a Sunday night, and the rest of us just held up our hands and didn't need to show any skin for our collection. 

The time we spent in New Orleans went by quicker than you can imagine. We played, we danced, we drank, we ate, we celebrated and we made plans for how quickly we could make it back. Between the three hours it takes to get to Nashville, the three hours it takes to get to the lake house and the six hours it takes to get to N'awlins, I'm not sure which one is our hands-down favorite. 

The final night was to celebrate mom's birthday since we are two days apart, but the fun was cut short by the heaviest rainstorm I've seen in this city. We still had a great time showing them our future neighborhood once we move in the Spring, and still made it home to all cuddle up and watch the latest zombie drama on The Walking Dead. I drove them to the airport the next morning and had a tough time letting them walk through security on their way back home, but understood their excitement because they had two golden sisters to go rescue.

Hopefully our next hugs will be sooner than the family vacation we're planning for the Spring!

It's okay if many of you didn't make it to this part of the post or that this was possibly was the only part you did read. Just know it was a wonderful ten nights in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana with the parents that I love and miss so much along with the guy I'm hoping to adventure through the ups and downs of life with. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Five Months in Memphis

Tomorrow will be the five-month milestone since I moved from Portland, Oregon to Memphis, Tennessee. This summer I made the committed decision to follow a path I'd been anxious to walk for a long time during our long distance relationship. You've read about how I'm settling into this new home, how I'm making it mine and how we are still soaking in the excitement of adventure and newness.

In the past two months, we've hosted my parents for their first visit, we've shopped real estate for our upcoming move in the Spring and we've spent some important holidays and birthdays together. We're continuing to build our foundation of togetherness and teamwork that we've always dreamed of while still having the playful attitude to bet on ridiculous things and dance in the kitchen during meal prep. We've got everything. We've got us.

Here are my five favorites for the five months I'm proud to have under my belt.

+ Obviously the Pomodoro Technique that Alyssa and I will discuss over a FaceTune date tomorrow.
+ This beautiful bluegrass cover of Iris I found thanks to a lead by Melissa.
+ My new winter/love inspired desktop background.
This Etsy shop and sharing the Christmas gift I couldn't wait to let my guy unwrap.
+ Our plans to go tree shopping this weekend and our 5-day gym + water + willpower streak.

Happy weekend! Are you linking up with Amanda today? 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Hello, Pomodoro Mood

I've put myself in this confessions-only blogger rut a few times in my writing past, but it's always what seems to spark some inspiration and give you a real look into what's going on in my world these days. 

What really sparked this post today was the consistent magic offered by Alyssa in her productivity post titled "How to Actually Get Sh*t Done". The first point about the Pomodoro Technique made me a master of my time after just one use. The "distraction pad" is the cure my wandering attention tendencies while her remarks about being in the mood help to prioritize. 

I've Pomodoro'd four times since reading that productivity post and I've found a new thing to get addicted to. Fun to say, easy to do once distractions are removed and highly transferable to any activity. Think work, cleaning, sweating, intimacy, morning routine. It's all yours. 

This was blogged while pomodoro-ing and listening to a 25-minute playlist I created with multiple versions of "Hello". Mainly because I can't decide if I really like the song, the words, the vibe or if the lyrics could easily be replaced with a ballad about me apologizing to my thighs for the decisions I made in November with food and exercise.  At least I can say that I tried. 

Let the confessions begin. 

:: Cyber Monday was really just selfish Monday where I bought one real Christmas gift, two pairs of booties, a Living Social deal I can use at some point over the next four years, and a ton of Old Navy goodness because sitewide was 50% off with a few other redemption codes I'd been saving up for my next big buy. 

:: Cyber Monday was also a little light on the gift side because the guy found the perfect way to treat each other that we're going to have to be patient about. The paradise all-inclusive sun-soaked adults-only resort vacation is booked and paid for, but it's not until mid-June of 2016! I'm so eager that I already tried to request vacation days at work, but it's systematically too far in advance. We've been chatting about a trip in the Spring with the family, too.

:: The big surprise of the week was when we retrieved actual mail from our overflowing mailbox and found two perfectly timely birthday cards with sweet greetings and wishes for my 28th year on this planet. Both greetings were from women I met over the Internet, a fact I enjoy sharing with anyone who doesn't need to know. A text to each and some social media real estate served as my apologies, but I'll continue to make up for it with some adorable holiday cards of my own that will be mailed this week.

:: This weekend my guy finally got a taste of what it's like for a girl to walk into Target during the holidays. We got in, got exactly what we needed and then I informed him that I needed to look around a little more. We avoided the clothes and shoes, but there was a point where I had to send his hovering-self away to do his own thing while I browsed the holiday decor and picked up soup ingredients. Do your men understand what it's like to walk into Target with a basket to fill?

And this. 

Adele. When you're ghosted, you're ghosted. Or I suppose if you were the ghost then you stick with it, girl. 


Linking all over the internet: KathyNadineSarahLauraLaurenAlanna and .... ???