Seven Days of Thanks

Hello!

Today is one of those days where I wish I could say things like “OHMYGODIHAVEASTORYFORYOU.” But seeing as this is a blog and not a sleepover, I feel like that probably isn’t kosher, so I will resist the temptation to spill

This morning, I hit up my Total Body Conditioning class (which for some reason, DRAGGED by today). When I walked into the room, it was roughly 25 degrees. Apparently, someone left the windows open overnight and the result was a refrigerated workout session. The instructor kicked up the heater however and before long, hot air was blowing throughout the room and for a brief moment, I was convinced that I was in a Bikram Yoga class. Anyway, despite the seemingly never-budging clock and the wildly unregulated temperatures, TBC delivered a punch and a half (literally at some points, she incorporated a lot of martial arts-y/ kickboxing moves) and when I left the gym, my muscles felt just like jello! Three things that were highlighted in today’s class that will definitely be making appearances in my workouts were: new resistance band moves, a quick-feet/jab-cross combo and v-crunches on The Step. I am not entirely sure what the protocol/ copyright issue is with sharing workout combinations, but I plan to talk to my instructor and see how she feels about having some of her routines make an appearance on the blog. She has some killer moves that I’d love to share with y’all (<–where did that come from?).

Seven Days of Thanks: This evening, I was fortunate enough to talk to two of my wonderful friends who are currently busy law-schooling and New York City-ing. These two conversations left me feeling so incredibly lucky for my friends (even though they are strewn all across the eastern seaboard). So allow me to introduce the 5KCB 7 Days of Thanks. Between now and Thanksgiving, there will  be (and this calculation is barring any further internet malfunctions) seven posts. In each one, I will briefly talk about one “thing” that I am thankful for, because what better time to appreciate the good things we have going for ourselves than at the holidays?

So today’s “thanks” is for the continuance of my close friendships with my lovely long-distance friends despite the space. Tonight after talking about random things that have been nagging at me with Jordan and briefly catching up on our lives, I immediately felt better about all that had been irking me. In recent summers, Jordan and I would take walks throughout the village just about every night which was great for both the workout routine and also just for the fresh air and the talks that we would have.  As strange as it sounds, talking with her tonight brought that exact same relief. Next I talked with Katherine briefly and as soon as we hung up, I was thinking about how we have been great friends for the last twelve years and how bizarre that is. We have totally grown up together and I am so lucky to have her (and I use the phrase “grown up” very roughly as I am pretty sure that we are both still eleven years old at heart). Earlier this week, I also had phone conversations with two of my college friends who are living in far-away lands (also known as “states other than New York”) and despite the fact that we haven’t talked in months it was like nothing had changed.  As much as I miss all of these people, I feel incredibly lucky to know that they are still very much parts of my life. So today’s thanks goes out to friends. Both the local ones and not-so-local ones. 🙂

Sidenote: On second thought, perhaps today’s “thanks” should have gone to technology… gotta love social networking and that beautiful little thing known as a cellphone that made those conversations possible!

I will talk to you all tomorrow after NOT attending Saturday morning BodyPump!

HAPPY 24/7 CHRISTMAS MUSIC ON THE RADIO DAY!!!!!! (<— aka THE BEST DAY OF THE WHOLE FREAKING YEAR.)

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One Week Later…

Hello my faithful friends.

First of all, I can’t believe the cliffhanger that I left all of you with! For those of you who are avid 5KCB readers, I must apologize. I don’t know exactly what the problem is, but ever since the storm hit, we have been sans-internet in Brittany World! I am SO grateful that the internet is the only negative thing to have hit me from Sandy and my thoughts and prayers are with the victims who were hit in much more serious ways.

Now, that being said, I am still an entire WEEK behind on updates. I don’t know where to begin! Fortunately, I haven’t been up to anything too wild and crazy, so this post will be a hodgepodge of everything and with any luck, tomorrow things will be up and running fully again.

Today was a day off that was full of errands! (As usual.) I ran all over town collecting various applications for part-time employment (my store will be closing very soon!). It was endlessly stressful and even though I was able to score an application at virtually every store I stepped into. Hopefully something will work out.

I also got to hang out again with Katie today, early this morning, we met up at the gym for my favorite Total Body Conditioning class. The class was very different today from previous times and included a LOT of weight-lifting and some work with resistance-bands (<– I am in LOVE with these things. Who knew that they could be used in so many different ways!?) The class was fantastic and I definitely felt the burn.

Before class started, I hit up the elliptical (which is quickly becoming my favorite cardio machine!) and did a quick 20-minute interval workout that left me sweating even despite the short amount of time.

That is about all for today’s updates, but let me break down the rest of my week for you that you all missed out on!

Storm 

As I mentioned, I was very luck throughout the hurricane. Despite the terrifying weather advisories and the school cancellations that were happening left and right throughout my area, once the storm actually hit, we experienced nothing more than some bad wind and rain. Fortunately, everyone I care about was safe and even all of our trees remain standing!

Halloween 

Halloween was very laid-back this year. I’m never really sure what will be happening at work, sometimes the whole crew dresses up and other times, no one really gets into it! This year, I decided to go with an old standby costume of mine that is very easy to make and is always a crowd pleaser, it was an old-fashioned box of popcorn costume! My mom did this costume for me back when I was a kid and all of these years later, I decided to bring the idea back. All it took was some fresh-popped popcorn, a red marker and two sheets of poster board. After I colored the boards in with red stripes, I used a hot glue gun to glue pieces of popcorn to the top of it. Definitely a quick and easy costume to make! (I’ll try to get a picture up eventually…)

Haircut from Hell 

In case you haven’t noticed from the pictures of myself that I have included in previous posts, I have EXTREMELY curly hair. It took me the better part of the first 18 years of my life to figure out what I could do with it that didn’t involve an extremely boring, unflattering pony tail. Eventually, it calmed itself down and earlier this year, I decided to get it cut shorter than I typically do. I was very nervous, but in the end I LOVED it. It framed my face and was flattering and fun and different. It should be noted that the person who cut my hair that time was the same person who has cut my hair for the past SIX years and also the person who made me look like an untamed lion last week.

I am not entirely sure what went wrong, but for some strange reason, after years and years of cutting my hair, my stylist decided that now would be a good time to layer and thin my hair. For those of you who have little experience with these things, just take my word for it: don’t ever layer OR thin extremely curly hair. Ever. Basically it made everything stand on end and fly in every which way. She cut it about 4 inches shorter than I wanted her to and also didn’t do a single thing that I DID ask her to do. It was a disaster. That night, as I saw my dreams of a cute and sassy holiday hairstyle swirl down the drain, there were many tears involved, but after a return to the salon (grrrr.) an angry customer call (I never do that…) and about $4,500 spent on conditioners and styling agents, I have everything under control. This new ‘do (even though it’s about a foot shorter than I wanted it to be) is starting to grow on me.

Ugh.

Well I hope you all had a wonderful week and I won’t leave you in the lurch for a FULL SEVEN DAYS ever again! (I hope! 🙂 ) Tomorrow I will be sharing an extremely tasty, wildly simple, fall-inspired recipe with you. Stay tuned!

Goodbye for now!

 

 

Armageddon??

Hello friends!

So this happens at least once a year. Every news program is overrun by reports of an extreme storm that is headed in our direction. Oftentimes, at some point in the winter, Western New York is threatened by some major “NorEaster” storm that promises to dump 5,000 inches of snow in less than an hour. Usually, they end up downgrading the storm and nothing significant ever happens. I don’t usually get caught up in this sort of stormy hype, but I must say, this FrankenStorm feels different. Everyone who knows anything seems to be in total disaster-preparedness mode! Even at work, people who are normally very leery of overzealous weather reports were preparing for the very worst.  Earlier today, I made my way to the grocery store and not only were the managers in complete panic mode, but nearly every “staple shelf” was empty! The bottled water was sold out, the bread was gone, the stock of canned goods was nearly annihilated! I don’t know what is going to come of this, but let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be anything too monstrous. Stay safe everyone!

This morning was definitely a sleep-in sort of morning, but Katie and I had made rough plans to hit the gym this morning and I remembered that my favorite Total Body Conditioning class is on Mondays. Since I’ve missed the gym for the last two days, I figured I might as well go. Also, staying in and hibernating all day today was out of the question anyway as I had a dentist appointment at noon!

Prior to TBC, I hit the elliptical for an interval workout that ended up totaling around 2.3 miles (and according to the calculator on the screen, scorched nearly 300 calories in just 25 minutes!). Even though my legs felt a little like Jello afterwards, TBC was a lot of fun and was filled with new moves that the instructor hasn’t really used before. It was also great to have Katie there as I usually attend those classes all by my lonesome.

Next I made my way to the dentist (is it just me, or does it seem that every Monday post I am talking about a dentist appointment?!) Today we were discussing a plan to fix a tooth that has been uneven for as long as I can remember and is a rather prominent spot. He did a composite “mock up” of what it will look like when he is all done and I am thrilled. So fortunately, no drilling today, unlike last time. 😉

Today’s lunch consisted of a bowl of my new favorite soup: Progresso’s Reduced Sodium Tomato Parmesan.

Tomato Parmesan Soup Progresso

It wasn’t until VERY recently that I decided that I am a soup-lover. I have always hated any and all soups (aside from maybe one or two of my mom’s homemade varieties), but other than that, I just couldn’t get behind it. Apparently I have chand my mind 100% and jumped right on board because now I can’t get enough of it. It’s the perfect lunch and if you choose wisely, it can be a pretty healthy option as well! Today I broke up half of a small dinner roll into the bowl and it was as tasty as could be. It is also nice that this particular variety is reduced sodium. I’m generally not too worried about sodium (unless we’re talking Chinese take-out or Ramen Noodles), but I do try to make myself aware of my intake. I once did a 10-day, VERY low-sodium “diet” around New Year’s. I lost about quite a bit of weight in less than two weeks. It was certainly a good New Year’s resolution jumpstart, but overall, that turned out to be not-so-helpful. I gained the weight back immediately after I started eating normally again (it was almost all water weight from the salt), but it definitely served to show me that sodium may be a good thing to at least be conscious of! Since then, I’ve read several articles suggesting that it is unnecessary to be too much of a sodium-stickler at my age if you are in good health and maintain a healthy lifestyle/ eat well otherwise, so I have definitely loosened the reins on that rule.

As it turns out, today has been the perfect combination of activity and hibernation. I really don’t like staying in all day anyway, but now it’s time to hunker down with a dog, a blanket, and a book and wait out this storm!

Stay safe, my friends! I will see you again tomorrow.

Happy October!

October is here and fall is in the air! Today was yet another beautiful fall day. October has always been one of my favorite months between the weather and the seasonal fun. I love that from now until December there is an exciting and seasonal holiday every month!

This morning, I (once again) managed to crawl out of bed in time (barely) to make it to my conditioning class at the gym. I actually considered heading out a little early so that I could hit up the treadmill before class, but that didn’t happen. I also decided to cut out the RPM class that is scheduled just before conditioning as I didn’t find it particularly inspiring or energizing last week.

One thing that I really like about this class is that it could easily be replicated at home (that is, if I could ever remember a single move for the life of me). The routines are very easy to follow even with limited space. This is what the set-up for a typical class looks like:

 

(I don’t think you actually need two sets of dumbbells… the instructor always differentiates by saying “pick up your lighter set of dumbbells”… I use an 8 lb. set and a 5 lb. set and I am pretty sure that I could use the 8s for all of the moves). Also, a random side note: do you see that resistance band? That thing tried to attack me last week. It SNAPPED on my KNUCKLE and hurt like crazy for the remainder of the class. I still have a teeny tiny little cut there :’-( )

I really like that this class hits every major “problem” area within an hour and by the end of a set, your muscles are pretty much screaming.

We also used a tight resistance band around the ankles to target the thighs (it worked. Too well.)

 

Source

Try 64 reps of that move on EACH LEG. Oh my goodness. Ouch!

I definitely liked the combination of sets that the instructor used last week better than this week, but it was still tough and enjoyable!

After the gym, it was time to run a few errands which included stopping at a new bank to open a new account. The conversation with the banker began like this:

“Do you work yet?”

“Yes.”

“Ok. Does your employer have direct deposit?”

“No, they actually don’t.”

“Ok. Well, what I was going to say is that if you have a parent who is able to go ahead and sign on along with you, you could get a CHECKING ACCOUNT!!!!!”

….silence. Dirty look. Deep breath.

“I’m twenty-two years old.”

“OHMYGOODNESS! I’m so sorry! I thought you were sixteen!”

There are a few things wrong with this. A) It was 12:30. If I were sixteen, shouldn’t I have been in school on a Monday at 12:30? B) I know I may not look 22, but I’m almost 100% positive that I don’t look so young that I haven’t had a solo bank account yet. I am also 100% positive that I don’t look 16. C) You should never, ever. And I mean NEVER. EVER. assume that anyone who looks to be under the age of thirty is a teenager without very good reason. Especially a customer. Especially me. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

After I managed to convince the woman that I am a big girl who has not only graduated from college and purchased their own car, but that I have also had both a job AND my very own bank account for seven years now, it was time to meet Katie for an afternoon outing!

First we hit up one of my very favorite local restaurants for lunch. I love the breakfast options at this place and they serve it until 5:00 so I couldn’t resist my favorite breakfast combo.

Next it was time for a froyo treat! And much to my excitement, they were featuring two new flavors: Pumpkin Spice and also “Pumpkin Roll” which was a combination of cheesecake-flavored yogurt and the pumpkin spice one! You know how I love fall-flavored treats and I couldn’t pass this one up! Plus, there were only 120 calories in a serving. After circling around the topping tables about 2,000 times, I finally settled on graham cracker crumbs and dark chocolate curls.

 

Tasty and under 200 calories! Also, I might point out that I made it out of that store for only $3.09 this time! I think the first time I tried it, my dish came to over $10. It’s a pay-by-weight thing and with a zillion toppings to choose from and over a dozen flavors of yogurt, it is way too easy to get carried away. I was quite proud of myself today. 😉

We also took a walk outside in the beautiful weather. At one point, I also stopped and demonstrated a proper “burpee” for Katie in the middle of the walkway. The onlookers probably thought that I had lost my mind. Or that I had a sudden urge to breakdance. Heh.

Our last stop for the afternoon was the bookstore where we wandered around for quite some time. Katie and I both decided that it was time for us to start reading more avidly once again now that we’re done with school and I still had a gift certificate for the bookstore from my graduation. After perusing many different books, I finally decided to cave and follow along with the rest of America. I purchased Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Since it is a bestseller, it was 30% off so I figured this was a good time to go for it.

 

This book has been on just about every “must-read” list that has cropped up recently. It has been on the New York Times Bestseller list forever. It has been the choice book for countless book clubs and reading groups. After Katie told me that both she and her mother finished reading it in less than two days because they couldn’t put it down, I was sold. I will let you know what I think of it. I am finally almost finished with Defending Jacob.  I was reading that one on a Kindle and as much as I love the Kindle, I definitely enjoy reading an old-fashioned book every now and again. It’s just completely different!