Switching Things Up

Routines are nice, but they can get boring after awhile. This is especially true for exercise routines. If you are bored, you are more likely to lack motivation and eventually start skipping workouts more frequently. Maybe even more frustrating than missing the exercises all-together is continuing to do them, but not seeing any results. Your body and it’s muscles get used to exercise through repetition, and if you don’t switch it up and push your limit once and awhile, you will be missing out on the many potential benefits that a well-rounded exercise program can offer (in addition to cardiovascular health, stress reduction and immune system boosting- we’re talking rock-hard abs and bulging biceps here.)

Well, running is my thing. I am not super fast and don’t usually run super far, so I could definitely start pushing myself more in one (or both) of those categories on a more regular basis. Today I had a plan to run a really fast 5K on the treadmill at the gym at work. Lo and behold, all 3 treadmills were taken when I walked in during my late lunch break (Carl- if you’re reading this, I blame you :)) . Lunch workouts are very time sensitive, so instead of waiting around for one to open up I made the decision to get on the Elliptical Machine.

Some people swear by this machine. These are also the same people who talk on their cellphones during their “workouts”. No, really, I’m sure it’s great. it’s kind on your joints and a great running alternative for anyone dealing with knee or foot pain. I. Just. Hate. It. It just seems like an unnatural motion, and I think it looks silly. I embraced it as a way for me to switch up my cardio routine though (I had lifted the day before, so that wasn’t really an option) and it did the job today. For one thing, after 30 minutes of upping the resistance I was sweating! I have mentioned this before on the blog, but I rarely sweat when I run anymore (hence needing to push myself) but I was drenched after the elliptical, not hot yoga sweaty but close.

Also, according to this machine I burned over 500 calories in 30 minutes.

I don’t think this is very accurate at all (maybe the elliptical just assumed I was a 400 pound man?) but the treadmill has never tried to sweet-talk me like that. I’ll take it.

I’m not planning on straying from my running. The workout today was a reminder of how good it can feel to switch things up though, and now I’m even more motivated to push myself with my running and to try incorporate new things more often.

How do you keep your workouts interesting, sweaty and effective?

We bought a CAR!!!!

We did it. We’ve been thinking and talking about it for awhile, and today we finally bit the bullet. It only took pretty much all day, and caused me quite a bit of stress. The 5 cups of free super sugary French Vanilla Cappuccinos probably didn’t help with my nerves, and neither did the lack of food.

My Mom (who was amazing for being so patient with us all day) and Ross and I actually had to leave in the middle of signing papers to go scarf down some Burger King. It had been hours since any of us had eaten anything, and we had all worked out in the morning. I got a BK cheeseburger kids meal with french fries and a root beer. It immediately killed my stomach, and has now left me with that awesome bloated/fat/hungry feeling that only fast food can do. I never hardly ever eat fast food, but I think it was created for days like this, and certainly served it’s purpose at the time.

We looked at several different kinds of cars, and test drove a bunch, but we both went in already in love with one car in particular and that’s what we left with (note: This is the same year/make/model and color, but I didn’t take this photo and it is not the actual car. We will pick up the car early this week, and then I’ll have some great photos of it with Mango modeling, because lets face it, it’s really his car after all)….

2007 Honda CR-V EX-L.

I am going to go watch some of the Oscars eat some vegetables and hopefully get some sleep and dream about not having to take the train to work everyday. It’s crazy to think that just last year I was watching the Oscars from my hospital room in San Jose. Needless to say, I’m very happy to be here right now 🙂

Playing catch up

It has been such a busy week! Things are starting to really pick up at my new job, which is great because I am so busy all day, learning so many new things and the time really flies by! I promised myself I myself I wouldn’t stop writing on here, and I’d like set an example of how it is possible to keep a full-time job, be healthy and creative, have fun and still have time to write about it all, but I haven’t been doing a great job at that (the writing about it part) so far.

So here goes: Tuesday: I worked, ran a 5K on the treadmill during my lunch break at work, then went to Symphony Hall after work. They played Ravel, Stravinsky and Shostakovich, it was beautiful. Do you know the BSO offers $20 dollar tickets for patrons under 40 years old?!? This is a great affordable experience to see one of the most renowned Orchestras in the world. Check out the 20 under 40 information HERE and then go get yourself some culture!

Wednesday: Work, Work work and then a little play! I went to the Top of the Hub with my Swedish friend to show her how beautiful this city really is! We initially had plans to go to the BU Observatory, but they were closed due to cloudy weather, so we thought if we couldn’t look up at the stars, we’d look down from them (or at least look down a little closer to them, from the 52nd floor) 🙂 The food here is pricy, but the drinks costs the same as at any ol’ bar, and some nights there are free jazz! Oh and the view isn’t too shabby:

Thursday: Work, gym at lunch for some weight lifting, then home to spend some qt with Mango and enjoy a hot date with Ben & Jerry’s (Imagine Whirled Peace, so good!).

Friday: Work, 10pm show at Sculler’s jazz club to see Grace Kelly. She is an incredible 19 year old sax player and vocalist. I loved everything about the show, Grace and her band were great, and her new song ‘Ready, set, stay’ might be my new favorite. As soon as I can find it on CD/Online I’m sharing this song.

Today (Saturday): Dog park with the boys in the morning, 5 Mile run, Wholefoods, yoga class at North End Yoga and now: getting ready for a date night in Harvard Square with Ross! We are going to dinner somewhere TBD (I’m hoping for some spicy Indian though) and then going to see yet another show! We have tickets to see Dwight & Nicole at the Regattabar. I’ve loved these two since my Cambridge days when I would go see them once a week at Atwoods Tavern. They have since moved to NYC and become famous, but I’m happy we’ll get a chance to see them again tonight!

I hope you have an exciting Saturday night, whether you have a big night out on the town planned, or watching a movie from your couch (if it’s the latter, I would strongly recommend inviting Ben and Jerry to join you).

Baby You Can Drive My (Zip) Car

While y’all were sleeping in and enjoying your long weekend, I was up at 6AM getting ready for work. Since I don’t have a car, I commute by train from North Station to Waltham everyday. While I was busy with my usual pre-work morning ie chomping on my cereal and browsing Twitter, I happened to overhear on the news that the Commuter Rail would be running on a holiday schedule. When you rely on a reverse commute schedule like I do, less train times = bad news.

I obviously did the rational thing, and completely panicked. I went running in the bedroom to wake Ross up (at 6:30AM on his day off) and started bombarding him with 4 letter words about the MBTA and presidents. When he finally was awake/coherent enough to figure out what was going on, he reserved a zipcar and drove me to work. Not only was I on time, I was early and got to spend a glorious 30 minutes in a car with Ross enjoying the early morning sunshine, sipping coffee and listening to NPR.

If you don’t have a car in the city, I definitely recommend getting a zipcar membership.

The rates are much more affordable than standard rental cars or cabs, and we have had no trouble reserving a car whenver we need one, even last minute like this morning.

This being said, my everyday commute is weighing on me a lot already (and it’s only officially week 2) so I think I’m going to have to seriously consider getting a car again. Although I’ve enjoyed being car-less for the past 4 years or so, it would be great to have one for the new job outside of the city, and also for weekend trips and vacations with Mango. Any car suggestions are much appreciated!

Ross also picked me up after work, and took me to Trader Joes! He definitely won the best boyfriend of Presidents Day award. Seriously, sometimes I don’t know what I would do without him.

So, Ross thank you for saving me again! To show my appreciation I am dedicating the following song to you ❤ :



I’ve spent a good part of this morning watching free 90s movies on my On Demand (think Hugh Grant with the same hair-style as this season’s bachelor):

The movies are so bad, but in a very entertaining way. How did I miss these? I guess it was because I spent most of the 90s under the age of 13. It’s been a great way to relax and have a good laugh (mostly at the cinematographer’s expense, not so much at the corny punchlines).

I do plan on getting off my couch as some point and getting out in the sunshine with the pup. Then 5pm yoga is on the agenda! I’ve been letting myself take time to adjust to the new work schedule, but it’s time to start getting serious about planning my weekly workouts. I have a few races coming up to train for (and it would be nice if my clothes still fit me) over the next few months. Writing it down in my planner really helps me narrow down and stick to my fitness goals. If I miss a day, it’s no big deal, but it’s good to keep track of those missed days too.

Speaking of PG13, SOMEBODY got caught reading his Dad’s Maxium Magazine. I don’t want to hear that it’s all about the articles Mango, I know you can’t read!

Ever curious about how films get rated? I highly recommend the documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated. Then again, I think I may have just recommended bad 1990s Hugh Grant movies, so don’t take my word for it.

I have to work tomorrow, but for all of you who don’t, enjoy your long weekend 🙂

Pet Owners and/or Pet Lovers: PLEASE READ! Pet Deaths on Delta Airlines

My sister pointed out this article to me today. Please take a moment to read it. http://shine.yahoo.com/pets/more-pets-died-delta-flights-2011-why-211100693.html. See my explanation below.

Normally, I don’t take these articles too seriously. I don’t like how they try to play around with facts and dramatize statistics just to make headlines. From reading this article alone, I would gather that flying with a pet is a risk and maybe Delta had some bad luck last year with weather, medical issues, and pet owners making poor decisions.

I am not judging Delta’s animal practices just from this article though, I am basing it on my own experience flying home with our puppy from Costa Rica this past December 2011. I referenced it briefly in this post when we first got back, but honestly I just haven’t been in the right frame of mind to write a post about our flying experience. It was traumatic for all of us (to say the least). I didn’t want to come out and bash Delta (that’s not what this blog is about), but really, after reflecting on the experience for 2 months, I can confidently say they were awful.

We did a lot of research before flying home and really liked what we read about Delta’s pet program. We thought Mango might be too big to fly under the seat (he was still growing when we booked the tickets several months in advance) so we flew him as checked baggage instead of in the cabin to avoid getting stuck in Costa Rica. And Delta treated him like checked baggage, or probably worse.

Everything went smoothly leaving Costa Rica, we had all the necessary documentation and health verifications (including an arrow sticker saying “this side up” on his crate- that should have been our first indication that something wasn’t right…) It was surprisingly not in Costa Rica that our flight problems started but rather our layover in Atlanta that was a mess (we couldn’t find a direct flight from San Jose-Boston so the layover somewhere couldn’t be avoided).

I’ll be happy to share our whole story with anyone interested, but to spare you all the details here now, I’ll keep it short as possible. Basically, they lost our dog in Atlanta. Twice. I was in over-tired, over-whelmed and in tears. Delta gave us several free drink tickets (should you even drink that much on a flight?), then threatened to call security on me if I didn’t calm down. One women (Gail) even said “ma’am, please sit down. You’ve been dealt with”. Really? I’ve been dealt with? Because my dog is still missing and no one can confirm that he is even okay.

They didn’t take Mango out to go to the bathroom during the layover, as promised (because he was lost) and so he was locked in his crate from 2AM in Costa Rica until 9PM in Logan Airport. 19 hours. Locked in a crate.

Also, they “found” him in Atlanta right before our original flight was set to take off. We were so relieved and all ready to board, when we were called to the front desk. I thought we were going to get bumped up to first class for all our trouble, but no! They called us up to tell us the heater in the baggage area (where the dog would be flying) was broken, so it would be freezing there. They asked if we wanted to fly without him, or wait for another flight with him. Seeing as though we paid hundreds of dollars to fly with our dog (about the cost of another passenger ticket), we opted to wait a few more hours to get home (even though we were coming home after a year away and had many friends and family eagerly waiting our arrival. Our luggage was left on this freezing flight with no heat, and many of our souvenirs got broken/ruined in the cold, but that’s beside the point).

During this additional layover, Mango still didn’t get taken out and they wouldn’t let us see him.

It. Was. Awful.

Basically Delta treated our dog, a living animal, in a manner that would be insulting to a suitcase. And they didn’t treat us (their paying customers) much better. I will probably never fly Delta again because of how deceiving their pet program was, and how disrespectful they were to us. If you decide to still fly with them after this, let me know, because I still have some of those drink tickets they gave me in exchange for my dog’s safety and my sanity. I am happy to report that Mango made it to Boston happy and healthy, but that happy and healthy part is no thanks to Delta. As proof that he’s okay, I have included a picture of him cuddling with my friend Ashley tonight:

It’s still hard for me to write about this, but after seeing that article tonight I felt it was my duty to share my story. I wish I had read something like this before I choose to fly with my animal on Delta.

As the article states, please only fly with your pets if it’s an absolute necessity, and if it is, don’t fly them on Delta.

Emergency Travel Alert: Don’t Transport Pets By Air!
Airlines Show Little Regard For Animals’ Safety

35 Pets Died On Airplanes Last Year, Over Half On Delta

Over Half the Pets That Died On Airplanes Last Year Flew Delta

In the name of love

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines Day yesterday! It was seriously all I could ask for and more, with flowers, candies, surprises, presents, a fantastic homemade dinner (martini included) and cards from BOTH my boys (Ross and Mango). I feel so incredibly lucky.

Oh, and you should feel lucky too, because one of those presents I mentioned above is a brand new CAMERA!!! Say ‘cheese’ (or, if you’re in Costa Rica, say ‘whiskey’. I have no idea why they say ‘Whiskey’. I have even less of an idea of why we say ‘cheese’.) This means the blog will once again have daily pictures. I’m still figuring it out, but here are a few from last night:

My favorite things about Ross’ gifts to me were the thought he put into them. Sometimes it’s not the ‘what’ that counts but they ‘why’ behind it. We had a really challenging year last year, and I think it has definitely made us stronger. It has certainly helped us to recognize what’s really important, and what isn’t.

I’ll stop with the Valentines Day love-fest now, but I seriously had the best time. I know you ‘should’ tell and show those you love just how much you love, care and appreciate them everyday and not need a commercial holiday to remind you. Other things you should do:

-Sleep 8 hours
-Save for retirement
-Wait 10 minutes after eating before you swim

You get the point.

Beers and Tears

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend! I’m not quite sure what happened to the big snowstorm we were expecting, but since my weekend snowman-making plans were out, we had to go for plan B this Saturday, which included going to see the movie ‘The Vow’.

I’ll admit it, I love a good sappy love story once in awhile, I own the movie ‘The Notebook’ and I have girl-crush on Rachel McAdams (and Channing Tatum isn’t too bad to look at either….)

You’re welcome.

My thoughts on the movie? It didn’t disappoint. It was a little cheesy in parts (which is to be expected), and I felt like the plot was a little dragged out at times, but it was also incredibly romantic, and a great story (based on true events). I’m sure the reviews will be mixed, and movies that come out with so much hype tend to get hit the hardest by critics but overall I would say it was well worth seeing and definitely a great way to get in the Valentines Day spirit.

I have had mixed feelings about Valentines Day before, and while I hate the commercialism of it, I can’t blame that on the holiday itself (if I did, there would be no holidays I wouldn’t hate). I like the idea of a day that’s all about telling and showing the people you love how much they mean to you (whether is be a significant other, a best friend, or a pet). Sure, you can buy fancy presents and flowers and chocolates, but just taking a moment to share some festive cupcakes and a few glasses of wine, or making a homemade Valentines day card does the trick just as well.

That being said, my Valentine to-be was not as excited about seeing ‘The Vow’ as I was. We found a great compromise at the Somerville Theater in Davis Square though. You see, at this theater, they have a bar at the concession stand and they sell BEER! (and wine) So I offered to buy my sweetheart beer if he would come see the movie with me = Everybody wins!

The theater is very cool and while it’s not as big and fancy as the gargantuan Loews downtown, it’s also less crowded and a lot less expensive (tickets are only $7, $5 for matinees. It’s also only $5 for beer, I think Loews sells water for more than that these days). There is also an old-timey feel in the theater, with red curtains and fireplaces, that I really like. So Ross drank his beer while I enjoyed crying over a sappy love story and a glass of red. Yes, that is in fact my idea of a good time 🙂

After a long walk and dog park session with Mango, we are off to finish up this weekend with a little shopping downtown.

What are your thoughts on Valentines Day? Love it? Hate it? Couldn’t really care less?

Tag, I’m it! 11 Random things about me.

My friend Rachel from www.healthy-chicks.com tagged me in this Blogger activity. Here are the rules:

1. Post these rules. (check)

2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.

3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.

4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.

5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.

6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

11 Random Things About Me: Here we go…

1. While I might not always wash my make-up off after a long night out, I floss my teeth every night before bed, no exceptions (I brush them too of course).

2. I can run 10 miles and not break a sweat. It’s not normal.

3. I feel guilty about everything, all the time.

4. I don’t own a smart phone. Yet.

5. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from my University

6. I like the idea of skiing (and the apres ski part) way more than I actually like to ski.

7. I love to travel, but I HATE to fly.

8. Aromatherapy scented candles and incense work wonders for my mood.

9. I could eat roasted brussel sprouts for 3 meals a day and be happy.

10. Painting and reading are two things I love that I never seem to make time for.

11. A few years ago, I worked with Whoopi Goldburg at a restaurant in Gloucester. I was a waitress and she was a bartender.

And now (if you’re still awake) my 11 Questions from Rachel:

1. Who’s your #1 role model and why? I have a lot of people who inspire me and whom I admire immensely. In order to avoid picking a favorite person out of so many favorite people, I’m going to say my #1 role model is my puppy Mango. He wakes up so happy every morning, he explores, exercises and makes new friends everyday and he is completely content just BEING.

2. If you were planning a dinner party TONIGHT, what would you prepare for your guests? Tonight? Woah! Luckily I just stocked up at Trader Joes (big Friday night out). I would serve some brie with fig jam and a baguette for a quick n’ easy app, and the main course would be a few different flatbread pizzas (one pesto vegetable and one caramelized onion with Gruyere cheese and ham). Both paired with a side green salad. Dessert would be a small dish of ice cream topped with a dark chocolate peanut butter cups. And lots of wine of course!

3. What’s your sign and do you believe in zodiac/horoscope kinda stuff? I’m a Scorpio, and I take my daily horoscope in the Metro very seriously. Okay, I usually only take it seriously if it says good things 🙂

4. What is a deal-breaker for you when it comes to relationships or dating? Deal-breakers? There are a lot of em, I’m kind of picky. I guess being too self-involved/ignorant would be a deal-breaker for me. Not only self-involved/ignorant in the relationship sense, but also in the bigger life picture.

5. Are you reading any good books right now? If so, what? If not, what’s the last GREATEST book you’ve read? I’m not, but that’s on my list! I always went to Borders for my reading inspiration, I miss it there! Last GREATEST book: Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Read this book!

6. What’s something strange you simply can’t live without – – be it a beauty product, a food you crave, etc.? Coffee. I don’t think I could live without coffee, and even if I could, I’m not sure I would want to.

7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now? I see myself as being almost 40! Actually no, I can’t see that, it seems too unreal. 🙂 I honestly have not idea at this point where I’ll be/ what I’ll be doing in 10 years (or even 10 minutes), but I hope whatever/wherever that is it’ll be with Ross and our 11 year old Mango and that we’ll all be happy ❤

8. If you could travel anywhere in the world for a week, where would you go? For just a week? I’d have to say Croatia. I’ve heard wonderful things, and it’s close enough to make it a feasible week-long trip (the African Serengeti safari I’m dreaming of would require at least 2 weeks!)

9. What’s your favorite hobby, aside from blogging? Running and yoga! Mostly running these days, but it goes back and forth. Then there is also that painting and reading I keep talking about that I need to do more. Anything active and/or creative is a great way to spend your free time, in my opinion.

10. Are you shy when you first meet people or bubbly, social butterfly? First meeting people? I would say shy. Give me 5 minutes though, it passes quickly.

11. Best way to blow off stress = A long run. A restorative yoga class. A hour long massage followed by a dirty martini. Stress? What is that anyway? Sounds terrible.

And lastly (yes, it’s almost over!) My questions for the next victims lucky bloggers:

1. What is your favorite spa treatment?

2. What is your morning ritual?

3. Favorite nail polish color (bonus points if you list some witty OPI color name)?

4. Best childhood memory?

5. Which countries have you visited?

6. Which do you deem more important, time or money? Why?

7. Favorite quick go-to meal at home?

8. Favorite meal out?

9. Current health goal/s? (scale number, toning, road races, lifting comps, clothing size, etc)

10. Describe your ideal date

11. Valentines Day, love it or hate it?

Tag!You’re it:

Rebecca @ www.roseyrebecca.com

Chrissy @ http://thenavyyard.wordpress.com/

Zoe @ http://themisszoe.wordpress.com/

Steff @ http://stephaniegh.wordpress.com