Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Munchkin The Teddy Bear Gets Her Cardio On!

This video makes me so happy inside.

1. Dogs
2. Exercise
3. Teddy Bears

Some of my favorite things all rolled up into one. Don't tell me this doesn't make you smile!

Mini-Roundup: Gains, Serial, Sweeteners, Acne, Doctor Scales & Thanksgiving

This is going to be a bit of a mashup post, but in the past 24 hours there's been a few different topics that have come to mind that I want to write about. Rather than do a bunch of posts, this will be more of a mini-roundup split up into five parts.


This must see YouTube video. A friend relayed this find to me and said she thought I'd "appreciate it." If you're unable to see the YouTube video directly embedded below depending on  your screen, click here instead: "All About That Bass" - Meghan Trainor - "All About Those Gains" PARODY.

I sure do.

As of this morning it's been viewed nearly 14k times since being uploaded Nov. 12, but I have a feeling this fun parody will get many more after the fierce masses of "girls who lift" get a hold of it.


Podcasts. I continue to bring them up in blog posts here and there because they are so valuable and great for people on-the-go with busy schedules (which most of us have today). To be able to listen to great content (informational, inspiring, entertaining, etc.) and not have to pay for something like an audiobook is amazing. I've given Stitcher Radio a shout many times, too, because I love this free app and it's something I use every single day. It is a Pandora for podcasts basically with very minimal advertising which is great, too.

If you haven't heard of the Serial podcast, you will likely hear about it multiple times after this because it's on your radar now. You know how as soon as you hear about something, it comes into your life a dozen more times in the next month because you're aware of it? Yep... that'll likely happen with Serial. That particular show has been sweeping the nation furiously and simply want to recommend you check it out, too. Or leave a comment if you geek out over this show already, too! It is a mystery based on a true story and plays out similar to a t.v. show. Anyway people are going crazy over it and after listening to all 8 episodes in the first 24 hours of my first listen, I can attest, it's great. This part has nothing to do with fitness, but just want to scream out a recommendation from the rooftops because it's so interesting.


A part about a podcast that does have to do with fitness and health, though, is a Jillian Michaels podcast I listened to this morning (Episode "Getting Your Claws Out"). The beginning of the episode is a bit out there, but if you fast-forward to around the 27 minute mark, there's highly valuable information about artificial sweeteners. I have significantly cut down on artificial sweetener use over the last few years, but do still find myself getting into the habit of using once in a while (sounds like a drug, huh?). For example, I've slipped into having a packet of Splenda in my Starbucks coffee each day for the last couple weeks. Each time, though, I do feel a bit of guilt because I know it's bad, but habits can be so hard to break. Having this reminder and blunt honesty from Jillian and hearing the info about how it impacts gut bacteria really shook the truth into me. Let's just say I WON'T be having artificial sweeteners in my coffee tomorrow. If it's a must-have, try buying your own Stevia packets as Jillian notes these natural sweeteners from plants are much better. It's unfortunate that main-stream places aren't including those as options yet, but maybe someday it will hapepen. Sometimes little reminders really do help and if you're in need of one. Be sure to check it out at the link up above and let me know your thoughts on it.


So in my new world of freelancing, I'm having some really random job experiences lately. Of course, I need to make money as I continue building up my own business to simply pay for bills (rent, student loans, health insurance, car payment... on and on and on it seems). So far I've gotten pretty lucky landing gigs here and there the last couple of months from online ads. Most recently, I signed on to do a study for the first time. The study is for acne and I couldn't be more excited about it. It's not a TON of money but it's still pretty good, especially because I hope to benefit from the product itself, anyway. I haven't ever written about this because it's a bit embarrassing but especially in the last year and a half or so, I've been suffering with adult acne. It has been really strange because the type of acne changed from how it was growing up. Basically it has turned a it more "cystic" (sorry to be gross--skip to part 5 if you wish LOL) and popping up in places it never had before (e.g., my jaw line and neck, in particular). I have been trying everything without actually going to the dermatologist. Of course, Mr. Google has sort of helped me figure out that this is likely hormonal acne. Even in the past month, I cut out EGGS in hopes of this being a cure. In the past couple of years, I started eating SOOOOO many eggs and realized that could quite possibly be causing it. Though I love eggs and egg whites (even getting up to a dozen in a day to be honest), I knew if I could get rid of this acne it's worth giving it a try. So anyway, the study officially started yesterday and I have a 2 out 3 shot at getting the treatment. Praying that I don't end up with the placebo. I should know in about 5 days if I got the real stuff because it will be very drying. Our wedding is in exactly 6 months so gotta get this under control ASAP but am hopeful based on the product reviews.

The reason to write any of this at all is because I had to get weighed at the doctor yesterday before starting the study. As soon as they said it, dread came over me. As someone who used to be scale-obsessed, I've transitioned away from weighing myself. This was a super difficult habit to break and I'm fearful to fall back into that trap. The scale is not always bad for people to use as a tool.... it can be very good. But for me, mentally, it's just not worth it. So anyway, I knew it was unavoidable. I wish they could just take your word for your height and weight and be done with it. Anyway, getting on the scale was just as bad as I thought it would be. You see, in recent months I've definitely gained weight since my show. I know I need to because my stage weight is SOOOOO low for my height and it doesn't really look like it because my muscle definition is not super great. I need more MUSCLE for my body to improve. This has been requiring a bulk of sorts and I'm trying to mentally accept it and enjoy the process (not always easy but trying my best). Anyway, at my regular doctor a few months back I asked the lady if I could close my eyes when she weighed me because I was in the middle of actively not wanting to weigh myself. The lady yesterday I had only met once and didn't feel comfortable saying that. I sucked it up and got on the scale. Anyway yeah, the feeling of dread was real and AUTOMATIC. It literally brought me down and gave me this internal stress. About 10 minutes after the situation, something was really bothering me. I didn't know what was bothering me so I had to recall everything that happened that day. Sure enough, it was because of the scale. For anyone reading this who doesn't have a messed up relationship with the scale in the past, this will sound crazy. But for those who do or who have.... you're probably feeling this post right now!

So anyway... I talked myself down and tried putting on my "personal trainer/fitness blogger" hat and telling myself what I would tell someone else in the situation. Weight is not everything. You are putting on muscle. You need to bulk up right now anyway. You aren't competing. You are still a completely HEALTHY weight. You have clothes on. It's mid-day. Doctor scales have always been way "off" from the home scale in the past anyway.  

While driving home, I started thinking about all these funny memes I could make on this topic because there have to be people who dread the doctor scale even more than regular scale, too, right? I told my fiancé my idea and this was his reaction............

With the strong possibility of NOT BEING FUNNY AT ALL... Here are my first memes ever made all about getting on the scale at the doctor's office. 

"We're going to go take your height and weight."

Spent way too long trying to find a picture of
someone taking off shoes or jeans furiously.
This one was my last resort.

That expression, though.

When the nurse keeps moving the slider to the right.

When the nurse says your weight out loud.

Well, that made me feel better, at least. Hopefully I don't embarrass Erik too much with these. ;-)


Thanksgiving is coming up FAST. We're only a couple days away and I'm working on a post that will be published tomorrow with some real takeaway tips you can utilize on Thursday. What are your plans for the day? I'll be having a "Friendsgiving" up in LA with Erik, our dogs and good friends from Ithaca College. We did the same two years ago at the same spot. It was a great time, so really looking forward to it. This holiday wasn't always that way for me. I used to get really bad anxiety about it because of food, but not anymore. But more will be said about that in the post tomorrow, as well. Hope you'll come back and check it out. :-)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend Recap: Trip to Julian & Vegan BBQ

It's Monday and off to a productive start this morning. Woke up and hit the gym for some fasted cardio (except for coffee on the way) and listened to one of my favorite podcasts--Entrepreneur on Fire. The guest on the show was full of energy and motivating advice so it's got me ready to go for the week ahead.

Now that I don't have a regular full time Monday through Friday job in an office, weekends just seem a bit different these last couple of months. However, this weekend definitely seemed like a "weekend" as it was full of activities (and some work, of course).

Saturday morning I woke up, hit the gym and then picked up my friend Jill so we could take a trip to Julian. Julian is a little town about an hour and 15 minutes from San Diego. It's been on my "list" to go see ever since moving here. It's famous for apple pie and though I'm not the biggest pie fan (with exception of pumpkin), it's still a little local tourist destination that must be seen.

Heading out to Julian!

When we arrived, I thought the town was adorable. It was a place my mom also wanted to visit when her and my dad have come to see me in the past but we never made it into the itinerary. The entire time I kept thinking she would have loved seeing this little place. The main area is only a few blocks filled with random shops full of trinkets and of course, pie.

The cherry-apple crumb cake for the BBQ.

We went into Mom's because Jill said it's supposed to be one of the best spots for pie in the town. We walked into what was one of the THE BEST SMELLS EVER! It seriously smelled amazing. It pretty much turned me into a pie-fan there without even having a taste. Luckily, this past week I've been struck with hearty cravings rather than sweet so I didn't have the stomach to dive into anything right that moment but did have a bite of the apple dumpling Jill ordered. I wanted to hold off a bit, too, because Erik and I had a BBQ to go to when I returned. I bought a cherry-apple pie to bring to the party, so wanted to save my treat for that.

It didn't take too long to make our way through the few blocks of Julian. I was glad to have finally experienced it after wanting to for the past three years of living here. It seems like it'd be a fun place to do a little weekend camping trip at. They have a few wineries and other activities that we could have enjoyed more if we were able to stick around. Regardless, even just walking around with the beginning of holiday decor was fun.

After getting back home, Erik and I went to that BBQ. This was kind of a strange feeling because A) it's almost the end of November and we are going to an outdoor BBQ (gotta love San Diego), and B) the last time we went to this house for a BBQ was back in the beginning of June, I believe. It was about two weeks before my NPC bikini show. It felt so nice to be going to a BBQ this time without those feelings hanging over my head that I couldn't relax and enjoy a bit. They had carne asada tacos on the menu and I did enjoy a slice of that cherry-apple pie from Julian. It seriously did not disappoint (again, not much of a pie person compared to other desserts, but this one was GOOD).

Then Sunday rolled around and I worked an event at the Chargers game. I've gotten pretty lucky these last couple of months finding gigs online and one of them has worked out particularly well the last few weeks. As I'm growing my own business, I love being able to pick up jobs here and there....because, well, the bills don't stop as you know! Having the extra flexibility is super nice, though, so that way if anything comes up, I can stop and take it. I'm really enjoying that part. It is fun working in the tailgate area and boy does it smell good. People go all out for it. By the time my shift was over, I headed home and Erik's other coworker was hosting a party to watch football.

When we got there, I found out his wife went Vegan about a year ago. I was so impressed with her line up of food. I was a little confused, though. They had tostados, veggie pizzas...and then pulled pork. So I really just thought, ok, she's Vegan but must still cook some meat for other people or her husband or that kind of thing as many families do. The pulled pork looked awesome as did everything else. But again, I was confused because she seemed super Vegan from the other arrangement of foods. Well, turns out even after eating it, I thought I had pulled pork. In reality, though, it was a FRUIT type of BBQ so it was completely Vegan. It's called Jack Fruit. Anyway, it was bomb.com and she even gave us some leftovers. I could eat that stuff every day.

The Vegan BBQ. When I saw Chef Chloe's book,
I knew this food would be good! 

The "pulled pork" made out of jack fruit.
I had never heard of jack fruit until yesterday! 

I love being able to bring our dogs places.
They love parties and people...and backyards!
Leroy & Avery now have an Instagram if you
want to follow them it's @LeroyandAvery.

I love learning about why people make certain food choices. For her, it was about the animals and cruelty. For others, it is not for that reason. For a long time, I ate mostly vegetarian. This was simply because I thought it would make me skinner. This was mostly throughout high school and college when I really did not like my body composition at all and got sick a lot. It was not until the last couple of years that I really started eating a lot more meat and now it is a part of my daily diet. For me, it makes my body function a lot better, but I'm still experimenting every day with what works best. Each person is different and I give Vegans a lot of respect, especially when it's done right. I am very intrigued by the recipes (especially the truly healthy ones) and think there are some great aspects to it. It's all about finding what works for you, personally, but it was definitely a cool experience to go into one's home and see what an incredible lineup of food could be created that's all Vegan-friendly, yet totally satisfying for meat-lovers, too. It definitely can be done.

And that was the activity-filled weekend. Most of my weekends aren't that social so I don't do these types of recaps, but hopefully I will be able to do more like this throughout the holiday season. :-) Hope you had a great weekend, too!


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