A wonderful weekend

Hi everybody! *waves hello*

I hope you had a lovely weekend. I know I sure did! I’ve been catching up with the hustle bustle from the holidays, and have also started a new full-time social media job (working from home! score!). It’s been a very exciting past few weeks in my household. This weekend was a 3 day weekend for me, and I had a jam-packed few days full of fun. To start, me and my gym buddies all got pedicures. I spoil myself about once a month for a pedicure, and the expense is well worth the hour of relaxation. Don’t our toes look adorable?

IMG_0009

Then, on Saturday, Matt and I enjoyed being spoiled Southern Californians by heading to Malibu, where we frolicked in the surf and sunbathed. 80 degrees on January 18. Yep, that’s pretty spoiled. It was funny because about five feet from our beach sheet, there was a Land’s End catalog shoot going on. The models were wearing big, chunky sweaters over bikini bottoms, and you could tell they were going for the Cape Cod / Nantucket type feel. Not in LA, baby… our beach days here are nice and warm.

IMG_0010

We hiked up to a lookout point above the beach, where the clear sky was a breathtaking backdrop to the blue ocean. Isn’t the view amazing?

IMG_0012

I scuttled around this canyon type thing, and had fun doing some tricep dips as I crawled through. I’m trying to squeeze in exercise wherever I can!

IMG_0011

After the beach, we saw Her. I’m still wrapping my head around that movie; I liked it, sure, but what an odd concept. Sadly it’s a concept that I can see becoming true in the very near future. We already have Siri, how long until our operating systems become our best friends and confidantes and therapists and doctors? Crazy, right?! You should go see it and tell me what you think.

IMG_0013

Today, we woke up early and headed to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. Right now, avocados, oranges, kale, cabbage, onions, potatos, bok choy and different lettuces are the stars of the season. I bought some organic carrots, celery, heirloom tomatoes, and bacon avocados for meals this week. I also picked up a half gallon of raw milk, because I made my own cheese! My dad got me this Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Making Kit for Christmas, and I’d been impatiently waiting for a weekend day to make my own mozzerella. More about that in a minute, but first I have to show you the delicious brunch I had today with my friend Timmy, new friends Chris and Travis, and Matt. Our friend Tim’s roommate’s boyfriend (got that?) lives in a beautiful midcentury modern house in the LA hills, and we were invited over today for a super yummy brunch of mimosas, cornflake crusted french toast, hash browns, and red pepper eggs. It was deeeeelicious and was the perfect “cheat meal” to close out my weekend. After we ate, we played Cards Against Humanity (which I am so buying, like now. Damn! I can’t, it’s sold out) and had a grand time guffawing at the incredibly offensive word combinations we came up with. It was an awesome, low key Sunday with delicious food, belly laughs, and great company.

IMG_0014

Now, back to the cheese! A few people have asked me if I’m going to blog the “how to”, but to be honest, I don’t really know how other than to follow the instructions in the booklet that came with the kit. I was nervous about making it, but truthfully, it’s a pretty easy process as long as you measure the temperature of the whey and stick to the general time guidelines. We used raw milk, which is unpasteurized and made me feel all hippie-anarchist. I even drank a little bit…. tastes exactly like “normal” milk. Some people speculate that raw milk can help ease allergies — curious! I’m not a huge milk drinker in general, otherwise I might give that a try. So basically making mozzarella was pretty simple. Here’s a nifty little instagram video I did of it.

IMG_0015

The end result? YUM! It’s not as salty or as squeaky as store-bought cheese, but it has a very light, milky taste. I found it the perfect backdrop for our dinner of caprese salad — sliced heirloom tomatoes with cheese, basil olive oil, salt and pepper. Amazing. AND, one last wonderful thing about this weekend? I put on my previously too tight to button jeans, and while they’re still snug, they button. They’re wearable :) YAY!

So there’s my weekend in a nutshell. I feel so lucky to get the things I get to do — spend time with awesome people, play in sunny So Cal’s awesome beaches, make and enjoy delicious food. I hope you had an equally excellent weekend. So tell me, what did you do this weekend? What was the highlight?

Gettin’ Fit with CrossFit

Have you guys heard about Crossfit? I posted about it in my last blog and prior to this weekend, I thought it was a place where only the super athletic went to lift humvees, jump on giant boxes and discuss the newest trends in eating like a cave man. (Remember when I tried the Paleo diet? That didn’t work out so well for me, but then again, neither did anything and know we now it was my craycray hormones. Yay for lab tests!) However, FitBloggin’ did me a solid in that I finally mustered up the courage to try crossfit as I knew I’d be surrounded by crossfit pals like Steve, Alan, Martinus, Erin and Dre. I’m not gonna lie, I was slightly terrified about joining the crossfit cult, but I made it through my hazing and I may now officially be a crossfitter.

Nervous and excited for my first crossfit! Photo by Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

Nervous and excited for my first crossfit! Photo by Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

What happened in CrossFit surprised me, because we only did about 15 minutes of actual exercise with the warm up and actual workout. I know, weird, right?! We started off learning a little bit about how crossfit works from friendly Reebok Crossfit coaches. Crossfit is defined as constantly varied functional movement performed at a high intensity, which means that every time you see the acronym WOD it means workout of the day, and it will always be different. We started warming up with jumping jacks, and then we learned the various types of moves we’d be doing – sit ups, push ups and AIR SQUATS. Now, I can drop it like a squat with the best of ‘em, ‘cuz having a big old ghetto booty works well for squat-pros like me. However, I had never done an air squat, and that’s basically where instead of squatting down half way, you kind of drop your butt cheeks all the way to the floor and squat way, way down, using your arms to propel you. HOLY QUADS. I must never work my quads because everytime I sat on the toilet after the class (TMI, but that’s how I roll), I wanted to immediately stand back up. Burning, burning quads! Thank you air squats for awakening muscles that have been sleeping for years.

Steve demonstrating a perfect air squat with Alyssa following behind. Photo thanks to Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

Steve demonstrating a perfect air squat with Alyssa following behind. Photo thanks to Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

After we learned the moves, we were ready for our WOD – just four minutes of 9 push ups, 7 sit ups and 5 squats. You basically go as fast as you can while focusing on form. I was feeling pretty good because despite my lack of weight loss, I can definitely feel that I’m more physically fit. I think I made it through about five full sets by the time our coach blew the whistle, and by then I had worked up a pretty killer sweat. I stood up, knees shaking, ready for the next part of the workout… and then the coach announced we were done. Whaaaat? The workout was high intensity which was great, but I’m not so sure a 4-minute workout is going to cut it for me. According to my polar I burned about 76 calories, which is great for four minutes, but not great considering my usual boxing or bootcamp torches between 450 to 600 on a good day. I’m trying to keep in mind that this was just an example class so it’s probably unlikely to always be only a four minute workout, but at the same time, cool – crossfit might be great for busier days when you don’t have a full hour to devote to working out.  I know Alan and I were both like “Four minutes?! I wanted more!” Change is possible, folks — the girl who dreaded parking at the edge of the grocery store lot is asking for more cardio. Amazing!

My four minute taste was enough to get me intrigued, so in a few weeks, I’m going to check out Golden State Crossfit with my local fitbloggin’ friend Paula. She lives only 15 minutes away from me! Until then, tell me — what have you heard about crossfit? Would you try it? If you have tried it, do you like it?

 

 

Starting Over: A Clean Slate

Today, I struggled with a feeling that often surfaces — I saw a friend who’s lost an amazing amount of weight, and I instantly thought, “Why haven’t I done that?” I’m THRILLED for my friend, but it reminded me once again that I absolutely cannot compare myself to other people – as everybody is walking a completely different path in completely different shoes. However, recognizing other people’s success is always a good reminder of, “How I can try harder?” Here are the things I need to do to try harder: be kinder to myself, stop beating myself up in my head about my weight, drink more water, stop avoiding the scale, and curb the overeating.

With that, I’ve made a decision to start over. Here’s what I’m going to do: I’m restarting My Fitness Pal, at my current weight. I’ve been yo-yoing the past couple months, and who knows what from – muscle building, eating junk food, water retention, hormones, stress…. who knows! I’d been avoiding updating the weigh-in graph on the app, and for what? Because the number would bother me? Who cares – life goes on. I will start over. I’m starting fresh, with a clean slate, and it doesn’t matter how much weight I lost six months ago, or what weight I’m at today – what counts is that as of today, a new page has been turned. I need to track EVERYTHING on MyFitnessPal. Your support has been huge – I totally love seeing all of you stopping by the blog, writing comments to me, “liking” my updates. It really means a lot, and helps motivate me to keep trying. It’s also been awesome having April join in on the blog, because it reminds me that I’m never, ever alone, and someone with the very same blood and DNA as me shares the exact same struggles!

In addition, I’m going to start adding weekly weigh-ins again. We all know the scale and I have a mostly hateful relationship. However, I recognize that I need it to keep me in check. My first weigh in update will be posted on Friday, and I’m going to try reaaaaally hard to keep it up, because I need some more transparency about that number. I can’t disregard the amazing progress I’ve made so far, in particular, I’m thrilled at my transformation from out-of-shape to somewhat-fit. I look forward to getting stronger, better and faster, and am loving the new support system I have with my workout buddies Susannah, Merrie and Sally.

When you’re trying to change bad habits, do you ever find yourself just wanting to start over? It doesn’t need to be cold turkey, but it needs to be a marked point for me, where I say, “Ok, I’m starting over. I’m going to forget the past and just live in the present and focus on making a better future.”

Now – help me with my first starting over challenge. Next Thursday, I’m going to Mexico for a five day vacation. How do I log my food when I won’t have internet access? Should I go old-school and use a pen and paper, or try and trust myself without logging? Should I enjoy my vacay and eat what I want, but in moderation?

Weekend Recap – Enchiladas, Hiking and SNAKES!

Hello everybody! I hope you had a lovely weekend. I know I did! On Friday, Matt had the day off and so did I, so we were lucky enough to spend a day together with our dear friends Jason and Juan. We headed to their ‘hood, in west Los Angeles, where we ate a picnic lunch on the beach and then wandered into a restaurant store where I picked up a couple things that I’ll show off on the blog soon. The real treat of the day was when Juan made us homemade enchiladas for dinner. Now, according to Juan, enchiladas are only “Authentic” when the sauce is made from scratch, by boiling dried chilies and then pureeing them. Here we are tag teaming in the kitchen – me frying the tortillas, and Juan rolling them up.

Me and Juan rockin' enchiladas

Me and Juan rockin’ enchiladas

Here’s the end result – and HOLY GUACAMOLE, these enchiladas were amazing – I’d venture to say the best I’ve ever had in my life. The cheese oozed out of the middle and the bottoms of the tortillas were crunchy and salty against the perfect, slightly spicy red sauce. I wish smell-o-vision was real so I could have you scratch and sniff your screen to get a whiff of these babies. I love spending time with friends, and spending time with friends and delicious food is like heaven!

Amazing homemade cheese enchiladas

Amazing homemade cheese enchiladas

The next morning, I felt the need to burn off some of that amazing cheesey goodness, so Matt and I headed to a local hiking spot about 15 minutes from our house called the Victory Trailhead. It was a beautiful clear day, and despite the pollen polluting the air, you could see the blue sky for miles and miles against the rolling green hills.

Victory Trailhead

Victory Trailhead

The great part about this place is you can choose if you want a difficult hike, a moderate hike, or an easy hike. We went with moderate, opting for some steep hills to get the views, but took the nice flat path on the way back. We ended up hiking for about two hours total, and according to my Polar, I burned 700 calories!

Feelin' Fit

Feelin’ Fit

This hike felt good because while I was out of breath going up the hills, I felt pretty “in shape” compared to the last hike I did. I definitely started pooping out near the end, when my pace slowed down and I was draggin’. Good thing my head was down as I climbed the trail, because it helped me avoid stepping on this little guy!

ssssssnake

ssssssnake

While I’m always leery of snakes on grass trails, especially in rattler country, I didn’t expect to see one smack dab in the middle of the beaten path. He was a laidback little snake and posed for pictures before calmly winding his way back into the grass. According to Google, he’s a harmless grass snake and exclusively eats lizards and frogs. I was a lot less scared of him than the giant grasshopper that decided to jump on my thigh mid-hike. Matt had to flick him off me as I screamed “Get it off! Get it off!” in a shrill voice. I don’t do well with grasshoppers… some day I’ll blog about that, but I think that would only tempt the universe to make them flock to me even more. *shudder*

Anyways, it was a lovely long weekend – a great productive one to make up for next weekend, when I won’t be able to do much since I’ll be recovering from my first lipo surgery! I got a groupon for some targeted bicep and tricep liposuction, and I can’t wait to suck the fat right out of my guns.  …

APRIL FOOL’s, of course. As tempting as it sounds to just suck the fat from my body, I don’t have the funds or the guts to go under the knife. Anyways! Lipo, snakes and enchiladas aside, how was your weekend? Did you have a long one? Are you off today?

 

 

 

 

 

Running in Rainbows: The Color Run

color run packets

Running in rainbows leaves a beautiful mess after the Color Run LA!

One of my goals in life that I hope comes across on the blog is to always have fun. Exercise is something that I usually don’t view as fun – because it’s WORK. The huffing, the puffing, the sweating, the panting, the “Am I done yet?”, the cramps in your leg if you don’t sweat, the expensive shoes, the mid-workout wedgie… I could go, but I won’t.  It was kind of a big deal when I found exercise I actually enjoyed, like zumba, boxing and hiking, and realized that burning calories didn’t have to mean torture. Last year, I saw The Color Run on Skinny Emmie‘s blog and I knew I had to go. I’m a big fan of color in general, and getting pelted with it in all white sounded awesome!

White and bright before the run.

White and bright before the run.

I set up a team and was joined by 9 lovely people – some I have known for a very long time and some I had just met. We were named the ChromatiKids, and began our adventure pristine and clean in fresh white.

start

blue

While I had originally hoped to run this 5K, I knew I wasn’t prepared enough to run, so I opted for a steady walk with most members of my group. (There’s another event coming up in March I think I might try to run! Woohoo!) We had a great time gabbing as we ascended the hills around Dodger Stadium and approached our first color- BLUE! The course was set up so that you would go a distance uncolored, and then as you came upon a landmark, say, 1 mile, you entered the color “zone”.

orange

Next, we came upon orange, where I was pelted with a rather large color bomb on the top of my head. For the first time, I lived a day in the life of a ginger. It was kind of fun, but I don’t think you’ll see me cheating on my beloved Ms. Clairol.

color run la

Next, I hit up yellow, where I took on a mustard-like hue thanks to my personal color-chef, pictured here. Don’t I look sunny?

pink

Pink was our very last color zone, and that called for a jumping celebration! I was feeling really good at this point because I felt strong and somewhat in shape through out the whole 5k. I even ran a couple parts of it and then doubled back to join my team. It’s awesome to actually feel your efforts adding up!

MATTANDI

Color Run Team ChromatiKids After the Run!

Color Run Team ChromatiKids After the Run!

My only advice to those of you participating in a color run is to CLOSE YOUR MOUTH during the color zones. Because I’m sometimes not the brightest, I giggled my way through the first zone and ended up sputtering on a big old ball of colorful cornstarch. I learned my lesson and kept my lips zipped, but that was the only little “oops” I had during this awesome event.

color run finish line

Color Runners Rock!

I had so much fun at the Color Run and it was an awesome way to spend time with friends, get some fresh air, burn a ton of calories, and enjoy something totally unusual. I’ll have memories of being pelted with color for a long, long time! So bloggies, what do you think – would you do the color run or do you prefer to stay un-pelted with color?

 

 

 

2012 Turkey Trot – My First 10k

April and I about a mile in.

Hello! Yes, blog friends, I have FINALLY received the card reader I complained about not having several times this week. Which means… PICTURES! VOILA! (Did you know that word is “Wah-lah!” For the longest time I just wrote wahlah. Had no idea it was Voila. Anyways, random is me.) So! All week I had been pumping myself up to do the third annual Petaluma Turkey Trot. Sure, I’d need to wake up earlier than I do for work, and sure, it’d be 44 degrees when we started, and sure, a large portion of the trail was up a steep, rocky hill. But, SURE, I could do it!

I arrived in Petaluma the night before and my sister and I spent the night awake and giggling like we have too many times. Finally, we knocked out around 1:45 AM, and I awoke the next morning to the blaring alarm clock set 14 minutes too fast (I guess delinquency runs in the family). My sister had an ailment that could have prevented her from going, but I’ll let her tell you all about that tomorrow. (She’s a trooper! Go April!) We got dressed, got in the car, and were on our way!

We showed up at the park at 8:38, where everyone was supposed to be meeting at 8:30. There were no turkey trotters in sight. Plenty of cars, but no people. Had we missed the turkey trot? Indeed we had! But, since we are super hardcore and were determined to come home with the glow of pre-feast fitness victory, we relied on our pal Melody’s trusty sense of navigation (and her phone) and created our own route. We were initially going to do the 5k track, but as we got going, catching up and BSing about life, the Sonoma Aroma filled our lungs and we were filled with motivation and inspiration, fueled by perspiration. We trudged forward, stopping to check out cows and compare manicures.

Reached the top of Helen Putnam Park without going into cardiac arrest. YAY!

Right before this picture was taken, I was sitting on a bench, breathing heavily, half wondering if I had overdone it on the huge, steep hill leading up to the nature trail called Helen Putnam Park. I had pushed myself forward, but it was a long, steep climb and all of a sudden I felt really out of breath and could tell I was having a pollen reaction, combined with hauling 50 extra pounds up a huge hill. (Long story short – when you have crazy allergies like I do, if you suddenly take in a lot of pollen or an inhalant, your body gets a little… fuzzy feeling. This can happen even with allergy meds ,and it sucks – it’s kind of like feeling super super tired all of a sudden yet panicky at the same time. It’s a big fat fail.) I sat on the bench, feeling frustrated and wondering why this all had to be so damn hard. Hadn’t I just said I was feeling more in shape? I said this aloud to my friend Melody (who has lost 70 pounds – SUPER STAR! She’s amazing!) – and she provided even more weight loss wisdom. “It’s hard, but you have to push through it. Just keep going. Just. keep. going.” She enunciated the last three words, and I realized, she’s right. Everything I’ve ever done that’s been worth doing has been HARD. Victory and success doesn’t come without major perseverance. I got off the bench… and I kept going.

The beautiful Petaluma, California

The rest of the trail was awesome, as we got on top of these hills which then took us through a beautiful wooded area, dappled with morning light and gently rolling fog. Once I made it past that hill, the rest of the hike was gravy. We were jolly and laughing the whole way down, proud that we had done something so good for ourselves on a day that’s usually good for the soul but bad for the arteries. By the time we got back to where we started, we had clocked 6.9 miles – just over a 10k, and according to MyFitnessPal, a 910 calorie burn. I think I need to make this a new Thanksgiving day tradition, because it made the rest of the day feel so rewarding. I felt great after my workout and I’m proud to say now that I can walk a 10k.

April, Melody and I after our Turkey Trot.

Have you or would you ever participate in a “turkey trot”?