Thursday, May 26, 2011

Danceable

In case you missed this video, Beyonce did a 'Let's Move' Move your Body music video. It's part of the campaign to inspire kids to get up and have fun with movement.



I like that they have the bigger kid start it off, but I wish they'd had him in more scenes and more diversity of sizes over all.

It did get me moving a little. What do you think?

Sorry, not too much to post at the moment. I'm in a bit of an post-Oprah funk. I'll be back soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Extreme couponing does not make you feel hot

But it does make you feel sweaty, nervous, excited, and a bit anxious. Not necessarily in that order. And yet, in spite of that range of emotions. I. just. can't. stop.
After watching way too many episodes of "Extreme Couponing", then cutting, organizing and reorganizing my own little coupon stash, I entered the store ready to roll. I'd made a detailed list and eaten lunch (you know the adage 'never grocery shop hungry').

Despite my careful planning I found myself 2 hours in, frantically calling Autumn for a recharge. "Must stop shopping!" I gasped into phone. It'd been two hours and it was now rapidly approaching rush hour (the time I was trying to not be in the store). Since this was the first time I'd tried using more than 2 coupons, I should have left myself more time to match products and scan the aisles.

"It's okay to walk away from a deal." Wise words Autumn, wise words.
A deal I did not walk away from was corn, 10 ears for $2. I'll admit right here that I had never cooked fresh corn before. I'd used corn in the can, and even grilled corn on the cob once or twice; but never cooked an ear of corn with the intention to cut kernels and use them in another dish. It felt like the real official cooking I'm still a rookie at.

After navigating the aisles and filling my basket to the brim, I made my way to the check out. I picked an empty check stand, but since the store was filling up, people were coming behind me to check out. I didn't want to hold up the line so I kept telling them that I had a lot of coupons. That worked for a while but then one couple decided to wait behind me and then others followed suit. I wasn't trying to monopolize the check stand, I just didn't want people to have to wait while the coupon rookie checked out her groceries. But alas, that's what happened. And that's also when the sweating started because I was getting nervous.

As the clerk checked out the groceries, I saw the total rise higher and higher. It reached $294 and that's about when I panicked. But I knew that coupons awaited.
I used my store rewards card to knock off almost a hundred dollars. And then she scanned my pile of coupons. But the total was still almost $200. Oh dear. I knew I wouldn't get it down to $0.50 like they do on the show, but I did think it would get close to $100.00 total. Especially since I was buying groceries for multiple weeks. My budget couldn't handle almost $200.

After double checking a few items, we found a $3 discrepancy which the clerk handed me in cash. She said if I found any others I should check with customer service.

I thanked her, took my receipt, and decided to look it over before I left the store. I found about a dozen more items that were priced wrong. Oh man. I went over to customer service, and long story even longer.... I realized I just needed to do the order all over. Oh man oh man. So we went over to the check stand, and I waited in line. Then they closed the line and we went through the whole order over again.

Turns out there was a $45 discrepancy!! Worth it right? And even though I was nervous I stayed calm, collected, (and relatively cool despite the sweating).
Here's a pic of some of my haul. My favorite cereal for $1.44 a box. Frozen veggies for $0.99. Free toothbrushes. Yummy yogurt for $0.36 each. Free pasta. Nice!

Definitely enough eats to encourage my goal of preparing and eating food at home! A must to help me move towards my goal of slimmin and trimmin my budget as well as my waistline.I also admit that I had fun. (Not the sweating and navigating wrong receipts part) but the saving and matching part. Kind of like a detective. But like anything, I need to keep it in moderation. I'm going back tomorrow (no more cereal or pasta) but bagged salad is on sale, plus I have a coupon. Worth a trip.

Have any of you tried extreme couponing? Does the show seem a little scary to anyone else? I keep hearing people calling it organized hoarding. I'll admit I bought 8 boxes of cereal, but at $1.44 it was worth it. Is that how it all starts....?

For those of you who want to start, there's a great site here and here.

And here's a clip of one of my most favorite and reasonable couponers from the TLC show.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Who you calling chicken?

Oh me, that's who.
More like an ostrich-- only instead of burying my head in the sand, I was pulling the covers tightly over my head and ignoring the running shoes that I'd placed neatly by my bed the night before.

Saturday was a long run that actually sounded fun. The group was running across the Golden Gate bridge and into Sausalito and then catching the ferry back across to the city. How lovely right? But I was freaked out! I was nervous I wouldn't be able to keep up and that I would hold people back and that I wasn't strong enough and that I was dehydrated and that I didn't have a banana or something to eat before the run-- whew! That's a lot to combat at 7am in the morning when you're not quite awake.

I had been feeling so brave with all of my new exercises: snowshoeing and biking and yoga'ing. But this run had me terrified.
I was being mega consistent with my runs and since I got de-railed I just haven't had that.... umph. I need to stop looking for it outside of myself and instead decide I'm going to run and do it. Even if I am slow (and much slower than I was before when I was running consistently).
The race is still 2 1/2 months away and I still have a choice to be participate in the race stronger and more present than I am now.

As I'm writing this post I feel a dejavu moment where I've been in this place before. All derailed and discouraged. But I suppose that is just part of the process, right? If it was in a straight line with no speedbumps or potholes, I promise I'd follow it.

Hmmm is it that easy? And it's me that's making the speedbumps and potholes?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

6th times the charm

I often bemoan the SF cold. Mostly, I get frustrated at my lack of preparedness for it. That fine art of layering does not come naturally to me. Lately though, the weather has been so warm. Clear blue skies and warm breezes. Exercising outdoors should be a natural next step when the sun is out, but I still have to practice making it a habit.

April was bursting with new movement. And what better way to start May than with the exercise that has been eluding me. Biking in the city. My oft neglected bicycle sits there as a constant reminder of my goal to bike through Golden Gate park. I've biked around my house, but never across the city. On Sundays, the park is closed to cars and it becomes pedestrian paradise. Bicycles and rollerskates are welcome too.

A new friend of mine is an avid bicyclist-- as in rode her bike from San Francisco to San Diego kind of avid. So when we planned a biking meet up instead of meeting for a beer, I was way intimidated at the thought of it. Luckily, she is the least intimidating biker I've ever met. Super patient and generous, but also tough enough to shout at me to keep going when I wanted to give up on the hills.
We met about a mile from my house and biked through the city towards the panhandle, a flat park area that cuts through the city and leads you into Golden Gate park. The first 2o minutes of our ride were utterly miserable. How could I be hurting so much and we're on flat ground? Turns out my wheels were woefully flat and so after swinging by a bike shop to pump up the tires, we were back in business.
View from my bicycle!

The park was full of people strolling and sunbathing. We stopped near the Conservatory of Flowers to check out the sea of blooms and then biked past the museums and even a waterfall.
Who knew there was a waterfall in Golden Gate park?

After an hour or so in the park we decided to head back to our starting spot and part ways. My friend echoed my thoughts when we were done with our ride, "You did it! You did it!" I was thinking the same thing, though my thoughts were more like, "I did it? I did it?!?" I was still a bit in disbelief.
I have not been going to my half marathon training runs (must lace up and get back out there). In the meantime I'm considering these exercises my cross-training.

Close to 2 hours of biking left my booty sore for the next 3 days; but my sense of confidence after trying these new exercises soaring. I was so not graceful on the bicycle, but I had so much fun!

Monday, May 2, 2011

B gets moving and then moving some more

I feel so ready for May! A long month full of possibilities. But before I dive into this month, I wanted to share a bit about April and the five new types of exercises I tried this month (6 if you count my workout yesterday which was technically already May).

I didn't start the month anticipating I'd be an adventurer, but it just kind of happened. And I love it because for me it's a sign of getting stronger and being braver about moving my body.

1) Snowshoeing.
Yup, you read that right. I went snowshoeing. In Tahoe.


I'd never been to Tahoe and so I had no idea what to expect. But when a friend invited me to join her a little getaway, I was thrilled to take her up on it. I thought the snowshoes would look like tennis rackets, but I guess that's the old fashioned kind of snowshoe.

My friend was a cross country skier so she was often whizzing ahead of me.

It was absolutely gorgeous. I've never been a snow bunny, so I was certainly wary about the trip. But it was incredible to be out in nature with almost no sounds but the crunch of the snow under my shoes.

I loved climbing in the shoes. There's a little grip on the bottom and so I was able to stick to the side of the hill like a pro!



I had no idea the lake would be so huge. Once we went down by the water it was seriously freezing cold. The wind actually hurt as it blew on you.

We dipped into Nevada to check out the casino. I lost at the Wheel of Fortune machine but won a bit at craps. I had never played, but it was just like the movies with us on the side cheering and people blowing on the dice.

2) Yoga 2/3
I mentioned this class in my Friday post. But it's on the list since I was so nervous to go to an advanced class, and so happy when I didn't pass out in the middle of it.

3) Carnaval burlesque Dance.
Yes, you also read that right.
My friend Katie and I had a running date scheduled in March, but I had to cancel when I got my nasty cold. We were going to reschedule a run, but instead since it was Dance week here in the Bay Area she invited me to come check out a class with her. It's a perfect time to try out new styles of dance since all the classes are free! Sadly, no pics to show you. I know I would have been so nervous if someone had been snapping pics of my booty shaking, so I figured I'd better offer the same consideration and keep my camera tucked away. But the description of the class pretty much sums it up.
Hot Pink Feathers
Carnaval Burlesque Technique

Learn saucy movements from the crossroads of World Carnaval Dance and Cabaret & Burlesque from Carnaval SF 08 Queen Kellita! Feel delicious in a community of delightful women as we articulate our bodies to best express our delectable spirits with isolations of hips and chest, and long gorgeous lines!
Yowsa right!?
The room was packed and so it was a little less intimidating than I thought. We did a whole lot of shimmying and shaking. The instructor was about 4'11" tall, but her personality was 8' tall. She did a great job of making us feel comfortable and her moves made it clear she was a shimmying pro.

4) and 5) were on the same day. Thanks to a free ticket from my friend Coleen, I checked out the Self Magazine workout in the park here in SF. The celebrity guest host was Alison Sweeney, from the Biggest Loser.
Not sure why, but I totally thought I was gonna get to meet her and talk to her and ask her all of my Biggest Loser questions. But she left right after she talked to the crowd. I think she did participate in one of the classes before I got there though.

The event felt a bit like a vendor fair with tons of booths shoving samples at you and trying to get you to sign up for various sweepstakes.

By far my favorite moment, and the 4th new workout of the month, the Masala Bhangra class! The instructor Serina Jain was fierce and fabulous and had us laughing, dancing and moving. I've never done Bhangra dance and it was a blast!

My 5th new workout of the month was also part of the Self workout in the Park. It was this class called BodyArt, which sounded pretty great, but was actually just this odd mash up of yoga, and undulations that left me a little dizzy.

Least favorite moment of the day: a guy was handing out Nivea samples (big full size bottles). I took one thinking it was lotion, and then when I saw it was cellulite cream I said "oh no thank you." He looked shocked! "But it's free!" I said no thank you again. I wanted to tell him I thought even the idea of "instant removal cellulite cream" was gross and that there have been so many studies showing that it doesn't work, but I didn't say any of this to him.

2nd least favorite moment: They had a Garnier facial tent. I've never had a facial, so a free 10 minute mini facial sounded divine. It was actually lovely and refreshing. I laughed at the end because they hand you a mirror while you're lying there to show the effects of the facial and their products. But we were lying down! Everyone looks more youthful and smooth faced when you're lying down. I pointed this out to the woman who gave me the facial, but I don't think she wanted to hear it. I thought it was funny. Actually, the only thing that lands the facial on the least favorite moment list was when they wiped off my SPF 70 sunscreen during the facial and put on this moisturizer with a SPF of 15, so I got sunburned.

Am I just cynical? I was so not impressed by the event. Maybe it's because I went by myself. Maybe if I'd been with girlfriends it would have been more exciting? I did love that Bhangra class so I suppose that made it all worth it. But overall it felt like 'Commercial in the park', more than the day o' empowerment I'd been expecting. I did love that there were women of all sizes and shapes there. I was worried it would just be a sea of tiny women a la the cover of every issue of Self. It was nice to see real women out there strutting their stuff in the Saturday sunshine.


Whoo! I'm tired just thinking about all of this moving and shaking!

I am now officially:
1) sore
2) a little braver
3) 4 pounds heavier (muscle gain? my lapse in calorie counting?)

Any new workouts you've tried? Anyone else tried Masala Bhangra?

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