Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

So most if you that are in the CrossFit world know about Hero WODs. For those that don't...
CrossFit is very big in honoring our heros. The whole premise behind CrossFit was for military, fire and police personel to have a quick workout that engaged their whole bodies. Since CrossFit began there have been many (too many) that have fallen in the line of duty and CrossFit recognizes these heros in the Hero WODs. Usually picking the persons favorite WOD and naming it for them. 

Since Monday was Veterans Day, it was a guarantee that there would be a Hero WOD.  'MURPH' named in memory of Navy Lt. Michael Murphy was the challenge that I faced for the day and it was a big one.

The WOD:
      1 mile Run
      100 Pull-ups
      200 Push-ups
      300 Squats
      1 mile Run
Since I am still somewhat of a beginner, my coach allowed me to scale back:
      1 mile Run
      50 Pull-ups
      100 Push-ups
      200 Squats
      1 mile Run

My time for 'MURPH' was 43:51 and the entire time I was WODing, all I could think of was who I was WODing for and what he had sacrificed to be recognized as a HERO.  I am thankful every day for what our military does to protect our freedom and will support all that put their life at risk for our safety.

Every time there is a HERO WOD, I will do my best to not complain and put forth the best effort that I can. And afterwords, I will research their story and put a face to a name as it is that much more meaningful to know who was lost.

Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy
United States Navy (SEAL)

May 7, 1976 - June 28, 2005
(Biography from the US Navy Medal of Honor website)
Navy Lt. Michael Murphy
Lt. Michael P. Murphy, fondly referred to by friends and family as “Murph,” was born May 7, 1976 in Smithtown, N.Y. and grew up in the New York City commuter town of Patchogue, N.Y. on Long Island.
Murphy grew up active in sports and attended Patchogue's Saxton Middle School. In high school, Murphy took a summer lifeguard job at the Brookhaven town beach in Lake Ronkonkoma -- a job he returned to each summer through his college years. Murphy graduated from Patchogue-Medford High School in 1994. 
Murphy attended Penn State University, where he was an exceptional all-around athlete and student, excelling at ice hockey and graduating with honors. He was an avid reader; his reading tastes ranged from the Greek historian Herodotus to Tolstoy's "War and Peace." Murphy's favorite book was Steven Pressfield’s “Gates of Fire,” about the Spartan stand at Thermopylae. In 1998, he graduated with a pair of Bachelor of Arts degrees from Penn State -- in political science and psychology.
Following graduation, he was accepted to several law schools, but instead he changed course.  Slightly built at 5 feet 10 inches, Murphy decided to attend SEAL mentoring sessions at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point with his sights on becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL. Murphy accepted an appointment to the Navy's Officer Candidate School at Pensacola, Fla., in September, 2000.
Murphy was commissioned as an ensign in the Navy on Dec. 13, 2000, and began Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, Calif., in January 2001, graduating with Class 236. BUD/S is a six-month training course and the first step to becoming a Navy SEAL.
Upon graduation from BUD/S, he attended the Army Jump School, SEAL Qualification Training and SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) school. Lt. Murphy earned his SEAL Trident and checked on board SDV Team (SDVT) 1 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in July of 2002. In October of 2002, he deployed with Foxtrot Platoon to Jordan as the liaison officer for Exercise Early Victor.
Following his tour with SDVT-1, Lt. Murphy was assigned to Special Operations Central Command in Florida and deployed to Qatar in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning from Qatar, Lt. Murphy was deployed to the Horn of Africa, Djibouti, to assist in the operational planning of future SDV missions.
In early 2005, Murphy was assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 as assistant officer in charge of ALFA Platoon and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. 
On June 28, 2005, Lt. Murphy was the officer-in-charge of a four-man SEAL element in support of Operation Red Wing tasked with finding key anti-coalition militia commander near Asadabad, Afghanistan. Shortly after inserting into the objective area, the SEALs were spotted by three goat herders who were initially detained and then released. It is believed the goat herders immediately reported the SEALs’ presence to Taliban fighters.
A fierce gun battle ensued on the steep face of the mountain between the SEALs and a much larger enemy force. Despite the intensity of the firefight and suffering grave gunshot wounds himself, Murphy is credited with risking his own life to save the lives of his teammates. Murphy, intent on making contact with headquarters, but realizing this would be impossible in the extreme terrain where they were fighting, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his own life moved into the open, where he could gain a better position to transmit a call to get help for his men.
Moving away from the protective mountain rocks, he knowingly exposed himself to increased enemy gunfire.  This deliberate and heroic act deprived him of cover and made him a target for the enemy.  While continuing to be fired upon, Murphy made contact with the SOF Quick Reaction Force at Bagram Air Base and requested assistance. He calmly provided his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force while requesting immediate support for his team. At one point, he was shot in the back causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in.  Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men and continued the battle.
As a result of Murphy’s call, an MH-47 Chinook helicopter, with eight additional SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers aboard, was sent in as part of the QRF to extract the four embattled SEALs. As the Chinook drew nearer to the fight, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the helicopter, causing it to crash and killing all 16 men aboard.
On the ground and nearly out of ammunition, the four SEALs, continued to fight.  By the end of a two-hour gunfight that careened through the hills and over cliffs, Murphy, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny Dietz and Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Axelson had fallen. An estimated 35 Taliban were also dead.  The fourth SEAL, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marcus Luttrell, was blasted over a ridge by a rocket-propelled grenade and knocked unconscious. Though severely wounded, the fourth SEAL and sole survivor, Luttrell, was able to evade the enemy for nearly a day; after which local nationals came to his aide, carrying him to a nearby village where they kept him for three more days. Luttrell was rescued by U.S. Forces on July 2, 2005.  
By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, Lt. Murphy was able to relay the position of his unit, an act that ultimately led to the rescue of Luttrell and the recovery of the remains of the three who were killed in the battle.
Lt. Murphy was buried at Calverton National Cemetery less than 20 miles from his childhood home. Lt. Murphy’s other personal awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Ribbon and National Defense Service Medal.
Lt. Murphy is survived by his mother Maureen Murphy; his father Dan Murphy; and his brother John Murphy. Dan and Maureen Murphy, who were divorced in 1999, remain close friends and continue to live in N.Y.  Their son John, 22, attends the New York Institute of Technology, and upon graduation will  pursue a career in criminal justice, having been accepted to the New York City Police Deparment.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Awakening: Do What You Love

We’re told to do what we love and that which we don’t care for to either withhold from grumbling or change it.  Yet the way our society is constructed we spend 40 hours a week doing things that don’t fulfill us.  So we spend 56 hours sleeping, 40 hours working, and 72 hours trying to balance family and the very personal.  Do we account for every minute? No. And are those 72 hours fulfilling? No. Because even with only 40 hours of work, we spend 2-4 hours outside of that each day prepping for that work day.  Which means we are actually spending an additional 10-20 hours a week commuting, packing lunches, eating lunch hastily before running back to the office, etc. No one accounts for that time. So what it comes down to is essentially 52 hours to the self.  And how do we spend that? Cleaning our clothes and home, shopping, driving kids to games or lessons, and somewhere in there we squeeze in our physical fitness routines, a book, a date with the partner, or taking lessons of our own.

Herein lies our lesson: That society is structured in such a way that we are not allowed to create our own schedules or invest our own energies how we wish. But that is just society’s order and needn’t be our own.  It is possible to rise with the morning sun without fear of running late or to fall asleep at the witching hour without anxiety of how we fill our time.
These changes may not occur over night, but they can occur.  Just like it took several decades to learn (and learn to loathe) the schedule we have created, similarly, it may take time to develop this new schedule.  Routines, ruts, and addictions of old will have to be replaced with something new.  In this new schedule, we are given freedom of our own time creation. Chances are, it will not all be solely individualized time and herein lies the beauty: For whatever space you are existing will be out of conscientious choice, not dutiful obligation. Having said that, the latter is true of even now.  So perhaps you sit slinking in your cubicle chair and want this, but cannot risk a drastic leap. Then set the new goal, make a deadline and set actionable realistic items. Then the cubicle chair is no longer a binding chain, but rather a lifeline to create for the self a life worth living.  So how do you want to life?  If you are only given those 52 hours of personal space, how do you fill it?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

CrossFit, Yoga and Mud Runs - Oh MY!

It's been a while. My apologies. Sometimes my life just gets in my own damn way! But, I am here today to catch you up a bit.

After a week of a nasty cold and the following week being laid up with horrible muscle spasms in my back and a doctor's note (which pretty much excused me from life for a week), I was finally able to get back to CrossFit. In that two week time, I was having the worst withdrawals. I felt horrible, sluggish and was so inactive. Meanwhile I'm watching people from my box posting on Facebook about how they smashed their PRs, finally got that HSPU (Handstand Push Up) or shaved 9 minutes off their baseline. This is wonderful news! But I was sitting at home, so jealous that my goals were taking a backseat to health issues I had zero control over. Needless to say, it felt amazing to finally be back.

The bad news: My "welcome back" WOD was 150 push-ups. You read that right, ONE HUNDRED FIFTY PUSH-UPS!!! If you took a pause from your push-ups, you had to go take a run. This was a horrible WOD! I'm so proud I was able to finish, BUT my arms felt like they were going to fall off....for an entire week following!! This made my other WODs that week almost insufferable. It was rough.

So, what do you do the day after you (somehow) bust out 150 push-ups? Well, the sensible person rests and recovers. This crazy girl decides to try Hot Yoga. That's right, I took my noodle arms and met a friend for Hot Yoga; for the first time. Ever.

I know zero about yoga. A few simple poses and to remind myself to breathe is the extent of my yoga knowledge. I have an amazing best friend who is so mindful of her own body/mind/spirit and who is currently exploring yoga more in depth. (Some of you may know her as Wednesday Blogger: Zo.) Every time I hear her speak of yoga I feel enlightened! It has encouraged me to dip my toes in the water a bit. The best way for me to learn is to do. So, a friend of mine and I bought a Groupon for ten sessions of Hot Yoga. We went for the first time, the day after push-up-hell-WOD, and it was the most intense workout experience I have EVER endured. I have never sweat so much in my entire life. I mean, wring-your-towel-out-when-you're-done kind of sweat. It was amazing. To think of all the toxins I was able to rid my body of is incredible. The state I was able to take my mind to was ineffable!  It really was an enlightening experience and I can't wait to use my other nine sessions.

All of this hard work, besides benefiting my overall health and wellbeing, is in preparation for our next mud run. Hub and I, along with two fun friends, are going to tackle the Rugged Maniac at the end of November. My first mud run (Warrior Dash back in April) was so fun but one obstacle defeated me. I refuse to allow that to happen again! So, I'm going to be busting my butt during the month of November to prep for the Rugged Maniac.

That's my recent haps. What goals are you currently working towards? What new fun activities have you tried lately? Would you do them again?

See you at the finish line!


Monday, October 28, 2013

PUMPKIN!

It's FALL and the weather is starting to finally feel like the season.  There is a slight chill in the air and it makes me want to BAKE! Cold weather and baking go hand and hand, and there's nothing like the smell of fresh baked SOMETHING in my house!

That SOMETHING lately has been pumpkin and lots of it.  I'm in search of the perfect Paleo Pumpkin muffin/bread and have subjected my friends to be my Guinea Pigs taste testers.

The first one I tried was Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins from PaleOMG
These turned out pretty good but I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin and chocolate together. I was hoping for something very pumpkin-y and these didn't quite hit the spot

 I tried these again without the chocolate chips and I think they taste much better, however still not enough pumpkin.

The second recipe that I tried was Pumpkin Spice Bread from The Barefoot Cook.  These had a lot more pumpkin in them but the spices were overwhelming.  The lingering taste was Allspice and it masked the flavor of the pumpkin.  I plan to modify the recipe so that it has less spice and more pumpkin.

Do you have a favorite Paleo treat?  If so send me your recipes and I will test them out!


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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

10 (Mostly Selfish) Reasons to Do Yoga

1.  Because breathing is suddenly easier. (And ladies, if you loosen up/remove the bra it's AWESOME.)

2.  Because it feels like drugs, but costs less and lasts longer.

3.  Have you seen how your ass looks in those pants? Yum!

4.  Because not everyone *is* a good dancer, but on the mat you feel like a good dancer.

5.  Because even chanting is an ab workout. (Try it. Aim for at least 5 minutes right now.)

6.  Because every twist and inversion is one step closer to the most incredible, cleansing bowel movement ever.  (You'll thank me/your yoga teacher later. Trust me.)

(This is a real image from a real product with a really great mission.  Check them out here.)

7. Because it is the most kindest and forgiving and eye-opening experience.  Every time you engage in yoga, on or off the mat, you are humbled and enriched.

8.  Because your favorite pose is your best friend and your most hated pose is your best teacher.

9.  Because post-yoga sex is incredibly delicious. All that oxygen to the cells and blood rushing healthily to the happy points... O!

10.  Because yoga is for everyone, but not all yoga is for every body. Find a style that suits you best. And don't be surprised if and when that changes, because yoga understands the dynamic and ever-changing body; cancer, pre-natal, arthritic, sedentary, nervous disordered, fit and healthy...it really is for everyone!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

No, I'm Not Young Yet & I May Not Change My Mind.

My co-worker just stared at me, dumb-founded.  Maybe he hadn't heard me? So I said it again:

"I don't want to have my own kids."

"Ever!?" He looked lost and sad, like I had told him that world was indeed flat which, guessing by his reaction, was pretty much what I did.

"Yeah.  I'll adopt someday, but I just don't want to carry."

"Really?" Same expression.

Another co-worker chimed in. "You'll change your mind."

"Yeah, you're young yet."

This conversation has happened MANY times and by every side of the binary: friends/coworkers/family, male/female, young/old, married/single.  Often (and unfortunately), this takes place after I share that I have step-kids.   "Don't you want to have kids of your own?" Ugh.  This question is problematic as it suggests: 1. My step-kids are mere fixtures or hurdles in my life, and 2. My being a step-mom is a fixture in their life.

I love my step-kids as if they were my own. Do I wish I could have do-over moments? Well, duh, what parent doesn't?  But to suggest that our alternative family should need a do-over, a (their words) "real" kid, to address that is incredibly insulting.  Or that their love for me is somehow lesser because my genetic make-up is different than theirs.  Family is what you pour into it, what you share, and what you take.  Our bloodlines may be different, but it's all warm and red (or blue if it's not yet oxygenated) so it's not that different, is it?

Similarly, is the idea of adoption.  I just haven't had the intentional desire to carry a baby.  I certainly have had urges, but those urges left as quickly as they came.  Someone tried to explain that that urge was actually the voice of God.  Hmm, well if I indulged every urge of mine the voice of God, I would either be: a strung-out Suicide Girl, morbidly obese from chocolate cupcakes, or a dog hoarder (I'm pretty sure God doesn't use her/his/their voice to condone any of this). You know what has never left me though?  The concept of having a family through the means of adoption.

I'm not sure why this is a point of contention.  It seems unthinkable to some.  I've been accused of being immature or selfish or a femi-Nazi.  My being those things might be true, but this decision is not its result.  I have the ability to choose and my choice is solely my own based on my thoughts, perceptions and intentional desires for my life.

I've used that term "intentional desire" twice now, and I want to expand a little on that thought.  There are desires (fleeting indulgences) and then there are intentional desires:  pleasurable, yearned for pursuits which may flitter or flicker but whose flame never die out. Serious, hardcore intentional desires of mine have included: getting a B.A., getting a Masters, creation and publication of my art and others' art, falling (and staying) in love with my life partner, getting a PhD, and having children.  And I can say that I have seen through to completion all but one of my intentional desires--still no PhD.  As you can see, I count stepchildren as equivalent to adoption as equivalent to pushing a baby out of my vagina and keeping it.

The issue of birthing, raising, and having children is as personal as politics and religion. That doesn't mean it can't be discussed and ideas can't be shared, but please do not presume to know what makes for a "real" family or that my age or personality somehow weighs into this.  No, it is not a waste of my eggs nor is it an abomination to my gender/biological makeup and no, no, no! Your story of your cousin who said she didn't want to have kids of her own then ended up with four will not be my story nor change my mind.  It is simply that: her story.

My choice isn't as strange as it seems, but even if it does seem strange to you, I'm happy to discuss it--just mind your manners, and check your catch-phrases (along with any scriptures, pamphlets, and soapbox testimonies) at the door.

Monday, September 30, 2013

PALEO Challenge!

So my box is having a 60 day Paleo Challenge and I'm uber excited!

My first thought was holy shit 60 days?!?, but then thinking about it a bit, I realized that I am about 52 days away from my Cancun vacation, so a 60 challenge will get my butt ready for the beach and a bikini!

So here are the details:
  • Cost: $100 $85 for 2 dunks, remaining $15 goes into the "Paleo Pot".
  • When: October10th- Dec 9th (60 Days)
  • Details: Fitness Wave will be coming out to our box and dunking us before and after.  Winner will be determined based on the following 3 criteria:
    1. body fat percentage
    2. PR percentage increase on 4 lifts. (Front Squat, Dead Lift, Cleans, Snatch)
    3. Before and after pics
  •   Winner takes all.  There's a minimum of 20 so that's at least $300 for the winner

I'm really excited to do the dunk as I talked about Fitness Wave in a previous post about Weight being just a number.  I will get to find out how much of my weight is fat and muscle! 

I have meal plans figured out already thanks to eMeals (amazing recipes and weekly grocery lists) and my amazing coach Michelle will push me and keep me on track at the box!

This is exactly what I need to kick my butt in gear!  I will be posting often to keep you all updated and to share my recipes!

Do any of our AMAZING followers have any tips or tricks to keep me motivated and on track for this challenge? PLEASE SHARE!!!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Authenticity" or "The Retraction Post" or "Part 2: Goal Setting & Re-Assessing & Wide Open Spaces"

(This is a part two to a blog I wrote several weeks ago.  Visit it here if you haven't read it already.)


I came *this* close to signing up for Yoga Teacher Training….



And I did.



Here’s what happened:



I had focused too much on the teaching aspect.  That is, the stand in front of the room and present my truth so everyone can get to their truth and ultimately the Truth.  This isn’t necessarily bad, but my hard-wired fear-based loop-feed refused to quit and it spun me into circles of not being bendy enough, not knowing enough, not devouring enough, and worse yet…not being authentic enough.



My fear of not being authentic has driven much of my action since I was a small child.  It is the reason that I avoided calling myself a Poet until more recent years. ( I claim that title with honor and great privilege now.)



If you ask a person what it is (s)he does, (s)he will often reply with what (s)he does as a job/career.  I do not make a sustainable income as a Poet, Editor, Freelance Writer, nor a would-be Yogi (see how I still trip up over the language here?).  Because my job history averages 8-9 hour days administrating it in one form or another, I had long-held the similar habit of answering, “I’m a Legal Administrator" or  "I’m an Administrative Assistant.”   Never have I once answered, “I’m a multi-passionate human being simply be-ing.”



What would happen if I said that?  Would it make her/him uncomfortable? Wouldn’t their response be, “Well yes but what do you do for a living?”  Isn’t simply be-ing what we do for a livingNo one ever asks a cat what it does; it is simply a cat.



Money drives our culture and society; easily arguable, the world over.  There is no escaping the need for it as we’ve collectively agreed to impress on it a value that moves  and drives each of us in specific ways, good or bad.  But why should my be-ing root from my method of currency?

THAT feels inauthentic to me.



And having finally recognized where I feel most inauthentic, where I struggle feeling ok with my be-ing as equivocal to my income, is where I can finally interrupt that fear-based loop-feed with honesty and even brand new reason to fear, and say,” Fuck fear.”  Fuck it, because it won’t go away until you’ve seen it through to its end.  Fuck it (literally), because once you’ve intimately and sexually known someone isn’t it more relaxing and fun the next time around?  And Fuck it, because there will always be something uncomfortable and scary.



Again, my authenticity is in my be-ing, not in my do-ing because so long as I am be-ing with intention and conscientiousness, then I cannot help but do.



And that is why I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training through Big Bear Yoga.  And I am still in pursuit of working under Sri Siri Dharma Galliano, my Kundalini teacher.  And, if you remember from my last post, I can already feel the wide open spaces of the universe stretching themselves for me as I am stretching myself for Universe.  See, I am already be-ing, thus I am already do-ing.  I'll leave it to you to figure out what that “really” means.  If you want.


 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I'm back & I bring you cookies!


Hello Friends! 

I know, it's been way too long since I have graced this blog. Forgive me & please! Go make these cookies!!! 

I was tinkering with a recipe I found online trying to omit the chocolate. I made a few minor adjustments & stumbled upon this gem! I call them paleo oatmeal cookies, because that's exactly what it taste like to me! 

I'm confident that if you're not a raisin person & prefer to use chocolate, dark chocolate chips would also taste amazing! As always, I encourage you to tinker with my recipes and come up with the next amazing thing ;) 

Melissa's Paleo Oatmeal(less) Cookies

1 cup almond butter
1/4 cup raw honey
1 med/large very ripe banana (smashed)
1egg
1 heaping tbsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla
Salt to taste (pinch or two)
1-1.5 handful of raisins
1-1.5 handful of chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350. Mix everything but raisins & pecans in bowl. Be sure banana is smashed up well. Add in pecans & raisins. Dollop tsp size mounds onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet & bake for 12 minutes. ENJOY!! 



Thursday, September 12, 2013

CHANGING Lives!

Ok, not me. I'm talking about Crossfit! I officially drank the kool-aid. Best. Decision. EVER!

My local box offered a six week "Jump Start" program. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to get my feet wet. I was a little hesitant to start Crossfit because everyone I know who does it is super athletic and in terrific shape; this is not me! So, this "Jump Start" program is just that, a jump start to fitness. It's also women only, which I think was better for me, personally, as a starting point. This program offers a limited class size, as well, so there is a lot of personal attention.

This blog post is long overdue because I am actually heading in to my last week of the program! But, I am happy to announce that I am officially addicted. I will be switching over to normal Crossfit classes very soon. Our current class is much like regular Crossfit classes, with one exception; there is probably more instruction in the beginning. Other than that, we end up doing the same WODs (workout of the day) the other classes are doing.

We have an AH-mazing coach, Katie, who has been so wonderful for me. She knows we are stronger than we think and she makes us see just that. She's always smiling, always positive and is always believing in us. She relates to us: "When I first started, I had the same problem" or "mine didn't bend that way either at first". This has made such a difference in my journey thus far. I was sad to learn that she will be leaving us shortly. Her hubby's job is causing them to move. I will miss her and all she has done for me (and the other girls) but I am forever greatful!

Crossfit is the PERFECT atmosphere for me. There is so much motivation, mass amounts of comradery, and plenty of competition. They tell us it's not a competition, but I am a very competitive person so I am going to make make everything into a competition! Just for personal motivation, of course.

I've met some amazing people and have pushed myself further than I ever thought I could go. I greatly look forward to the things I will accomplish and the barriers I will obliterate.


See you at the Box!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Goal-Setting & Reassessing & Wide Open Spaces

I was *THIS* close to signing up for Yoga Teacher Training.  [ ] <---this close, I mean

But I didn't.

Let me back up.  I have always felt it in me to teach, but what that setting looks like (and what the subject matter might be) often eludes me.   My MFA in Poetry allows me to teach at the collegiate level, but I'm disillusioned by the adjunct process (I won't go into that long story now).

Enter the realization that a very excellent yoga certification school is right around the corner from me.  Yoga + teaching? Could it be?

I was on the list ready to go.  I felt the pull and voice of something else saying, Do this.  It is right.

Except something happened.

Nothing.

Literally, nothing happened.

My schedule changed and my practice fell short for over 3 weeks.  Life happens and things I'd rather not be doing monopolized the time I'd rather spend doing that which I love.  Guilt wears heavy on my shoulders; I'd argue heavier than most since I wear all my tension in my head, neck, and shoulders. And it was all there, weighing heavy in all the tight tense spots on my body.

But this was the best thing that could happen to me.

I have never wanted to be a teacher of something I wasn't LIVING.  I can't simply instruct and go through motions.  I have always worn my emotion-full (not to be confused with emotional) throbbing heart on my tattoo sleeves.  So to begin to teach something I wasn't breathing seemed fraudulent.

Remember that one teacher or that one friend who just GLOWED when they talked about history/cars/physics/Kerouac/opera/____enter subject here____? That is a real Teacher.  Anyone can stand in front of a room/studio and spout form and rule and concept, but we learn best from those who live it best.

This little break with Yoga was the  best thing that could happen to me.

I realized: I'm not ready to learn to teach others when I wasn't encouraging teaching in myself.

I remembered: My first and richest goals have always been to deepen my own practice and understand Yoga as it truly is--a full immersion of yoking & union, not just the postures on the mat.

And like a serendipitous Angel, there she stood. Sri Siri Dharma Galliano.

Well, she stood as a name on a list of possible classes to take at the Big Bear Yoga Festival.  And the class?  Kundalini Yoga.

I almost cried.  A class that held no reservation about incorporating all the limbs of Yoga and not just the mainstream (P.C. or "safe") ones. 

I took the class, and I felt real and raw.  I was me, tremors and weak atrophied muscles and head noise and bright spirit and emotion-full heart. And I was me, a little awestruck to find out she lives about 5 minutes from me, and would be willing to take me on as a student.  A door blown wide open.

That was over a week ago and we have met once since then, sharing ideas on how to work together and what we could bring to the table for each other, then letting it stew in the mind to later cement details.  How wonderful and realistic.

At the Big Bear Yoga Festival, I rededicated myself to those goals of deepening my own practice in the way I want it to be, not the way a Gaiam video suggests.  That, coupled with moving my body as a vessel of service for the Festival itself, really lent itself to opening up those doors that I might have otherwise been afraid to open.  I tend to shy away from chatting up with teachers after class, but here I was meeting so many wonderful people including two different shaman (one who worked on releasing kundalini on me with no expectation in return and the other a local who would like to meet for tea and discuss writing!).  (Btw, what is the plural of shaman!? Shamans? Shamens?)

Something in the re-dedication process, the acceptance of the body's tightness, moving towards servitude, and the flexibility of decision created all this space inside so fear was third rate to reality and possibility.  I sometimes meditate on images of how I desire  my body-heart to feel: a large rambling farm or expansive beach with nothing but sound and sky and smell and SPACE.  If you've ever felt that space you know what I'm talking about: it comes after meditation, a deep massage, a good run, an orgasm felt on the cellular level.

And there it is, the reassessment: To deepen the practice and create wide open space in myself and around myself. And as other students seek out and explore those spaces, we will inevitably meet and teach each other.

Funny how avoidance can be a beautiful Teacher, too, eh?

 Namaste & Sat Nam, Yoga Junkies <3

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

OMG its a Tuesday Blog....and its a Yummy One

Why hello there, it's been a little while. No hell hasn't frozen over and, well, I may have seen a pig fly earlier today across my yard trying to escape the sudden downpour of rain. (Yes I have a pig, no she is not for eating!!)

I have seriously just found the time to write a little something, and I've missed all of you and wanted to say hello. 

Anyway, here is a YUMMY recipe I stumbled upon on PaleOMG via Facebook. If you haven't liked their page yet, well go do it now! You will NOT be sorry!

Here is the WONDERFUL recipe I made today:

PALEO CHOCOLATE CHIA PUDDING

Ohhhhhhh this stuff is to die for. Seriously I want to eat the WHOLE 8 servings I made.....but I have to be good and try to just eat one serving at a time. Yes, it's torture.

I made a few changes and I quadrupled the original recipe so that I could just use up the whole can of Coconut Milk.... and even if you are not a Coconut Milk fan....the chocolate and coffee flavors totally overpower any coconut taste at all.
What you will need........

1 Cup of brewed coffee (Chilled)
I full can of Full FAT Coconut Milk
4 heaping tablespoons of Almond Butter
3 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract (I used a little bit of butter extract and almond extract I was all out of vanilla)
Two scoops of Protein Powder (mine was banana smoothie by 
2 tablespoons of Agave or Maple Syrup (I skipped this and I just added a little agave as needed)
4 tablespoons of Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
1 cup of Chia Seeds

So all you do is combine all the ingredients above except the Chia Seeds in a blender and blend until smooth. Then in a big container (I used a big mason jar) put in the liquid chocolate mixture and the cup of Chia seeds and shake until combined. 

Refrigerate for 3 hours and enjoy!!!!!! It is so yummy, add a little bit more agave or sweetener of your choice, I like doing that just so I can control my sugar and I find adding Protein Powder usually sweetens things for me enough without adding more. 

I hope all of you enjoy this tasty little treat. Thank you, Paleo Gods!!






Monday, September 2, 2013

Weight is just a number!!!

How many of you are OBSESSED with the number that you see on the scale?  I know I have a hard time realizing that the number on the scale is just that, a number.  There are so many factors to consider when analyzing that number, such as how tall you are and how much muscle mass you have.  Below is a great picture of what the difference in height can do to that number you see staring back at you.

Now lets dissect this a little more and compare fat to muscle.  Although one pound of muscle and one pound of fat weigh exactly the same, one pound of fat takes up more space in your body.  So when you get disappointed over only losing ONE POUND, think of how significant that ONE POUND is.
As you work out, you may not be losing weight.  Don't judge your success by the number on a scale, but by how much fat you are losing compared to how much muscle mass you have gained.

If you want to know your actual percentage of fat compared to muscle and want a more accurate method than calculating your BMI, you can have a Hydrostatic Underwater Weighing done that will give you the precise number you are looking for.  There are many companies that provide this service all over the country and some even have mobile testing labs that will come to your gym if enough people sign up.  If you are interested in this service Fitness Wave provides this service for under $60 in the Orange County, CA area. 

So when you look at the scale tomorrow morning and you've only lost one pound, CELEBRATE!!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

PR Week at my box!!!

For those of you who are into CrossFit (like me and the majority of my friends), you know how it feels when you PR (personal record) something at the box.  This week at my box, CrossFit Structured, is TEST week.  Basically this means that throughout the week we will be lifting heavy and trying to find our PR.

At my box, they have a PR bell that you ring whenever you do something exceptional.  Every time I lift anything, it is usually a PR as I've never really lifted heavy weight before in my life. However, the bell will be ringing nonstop this week as my fellow CrossFitter's will be working on their goals and setting a higher standard for themselves.

What are your PR's??  Share with us you most memorable lift, the way it made you feel, the dance you did when you accomplished your amazing feat.

I share with you this video of my amazing coach Michelle Mascoto snatching 140#.  In 13 seconds, you can see the utter delight of her accomplishment as well as her dedication to working on her own PR's that will encourage those that she coaches!  She is a huge inspiration in my life and love the hard work that she puts into coaching and improving those around her!
video

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Drool Inducing, Crock-pot Pulled Pork

I know I posted a recipe last week, and I had planned on writing a snippet about my Crossfit experience, but after yesterday's lunch I have to spread the love with this new recipe I tried out! (I may or may not have had it for dinner, as well.)

So my Crossfit coach, Katie, was telling a couple of us about an easy crock-pot recipe that only consisted of two ingredients: pork roast and bacon. Wrapping pork in more pork??? Yes please!

I love pork! I grew up not caring for it so much. Looking back, it was because the only way I had ever experienced pork was smothered in Shake-n-Bake, baked to oblivion and then dipped in ketchup. It was like chewing on a shoe, dipped in ketchup. Just thinking about it makes me throw up a little in my mouth. I had never tasted the deliciousness that is a pork loin roast.

Since making this discovery, I have made many a pork roast in my crock-pot. Today was no exception. I took the recipe my coach told me about, combined it with the seasoning from another recipe, added a twist of my own and it came out AH-Mazing! I will write the recipe just as I made it, but you could most definitely half it if you want less pork or have a small crock-pot. Here goes:


Crock-Pot Pulled Pork

Ingredients:
4lbs Pork Roast (I happened to use pork butt, but shoulder or loin would work beautifully)
Bacon (as much as you'd like)
3 Tbsp Spice Rub (see recipe below)
1 20oz Can of Crushed Pineapple

Spice Rub** Recipe:
1 Tbsp Paprika (I used sweet, the recipe called for smoked, you can use whatever you have)
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Crushed Chipotle Pepper
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1/2 Tbsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp Pepper (I used white, original recipe calls for black)

Combine all spices and mix thoroughly.

Pulled Pork Directions:
1. Either spray your crock-pot well with non-stick spray or line with one of those fancy crock-pot liners (I've never used one but I hear they work wonders).

2. Cover the bottom of crock-pot with a layer of bacon. Sprinkle one side of roast with 1 1/2 tablespoons of spice mix (or to taste), lightly rub into pork. Place spiced side down on top of bacon. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons spice mix (or to taste) onto other side of roast and lightly rub in. After roast is seasoned, cover with another layer of bacon. This is where you could put more or less bacon, depending on your obsession with bacon.

3. Dump crushed pineapple over the top of roast and bacon. Cover crock-pot with lid and set on low for 10 hours.

4. After 10 hours pass, take forks or tongs and shred pork. Stir around in the juices so everything is nicely combined.

5. (This step is optional). Let shredded roast sit mixed in the juices for at least a half hour. (I left it for 2 hours, but I was super busy doing other things. The longer it sits in the juices, the better it gets.)

If you use four pounds it makes a LOT of pork. I made that much because we always make meals ahead of time to have for the week. After 10 hours in the crock-pot the meat just fell apart with my tongs. It was glorious. This was SO good, I WILL be making it again in the not-so-distance future.

I have a feeling this would be equally delectable with a beef roast!

Eat. Drink. Squat.

**The spice rub recipe is from the book Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo.




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Yoga Festival!

If there is one thing you do this summer, you must go to the Big Bear Yoga Festival. Whether you're new to yoga or been on the mat for years, their line up us amazing! The classes are incredible, offering Kundalini (you know I'll be in there!), Christian-based, Hiking, and dance-included to name a few. And the musical line up is tremendous (I'll be volunteering over there, of course!). 

For more information, visit http://www.bigbearyogafestival.com . Tickets are still available, including single day passes. Come say hi if you see me!

This festival marks the end of my summer hiatus from regular blogging, but don't be surprised when all my posts are yoga-based.  I know I'm in for an inspirational weekend!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts

I am (not-so) new to Paleo.  I recently joined Crossfit (more on that at a later date) and am jumping back into a Paleo diet. The hub and I ate Paleo for about four months before we embarked on our year long vegan adventure. We loved it! We found quite a few recipes that were stupendous. (One of those being the crockpot green chili pork I blogged about before.) The transition from vegan to paleo has been smooth for us. Plus, I'm a happy camper since I can now eat eggs :)

I have such a horrible, nagging sweet tooth. It tortures me day and night. Eating a delicious, sweet piece of fruit just doesn't cut it. Although a wonderful alternative, it just doesn't do it for me. I like to play around with baking which is great but also not a good idea if you don't want all the yummy baked goods lying around the house. If they are there, I WILL eat them! Simplest solution to that: bake wonderful yummies, eat one or two, quickly give the rest away. It's win-win-win, right??

Here is a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that is also paleo! Make them. Eat them. Enjoy them.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Summertime Blues

Summertime and its joys of laughter and sunshine are coming to an end for many of us!  For some of the writers here at MM&M, kids will be heading back to school soon, making way for more hours available in the gym for the stay at home moms, for others the end of summer means returning to work as dedicated teachers and finding less time for themselves.

As for me, I really have no excuse not to make it to my box as my hours are the same regardless of the time of year.  I have the same job at the same company that I have had for the last 7 1/2 years, however I can't figure out where my time goes!

Time management is one of my biggest downfalls, especially since graduating in December.  I have no more homework and after work I have a tendency to not want to do anything unless it involves hanging out with my hubby!  This week my time has been sitting on the couch doing absolutely nothing trying to get rid of the migraine I have had since Saturday.  But what about next week?

What do you do to keep you motivated and on track with your workouts? 

On a side note, I am making progress at my box and am appreciative of the dedication that my coach has to push me as hard as possible.  I went out with friends last week in a dress that I would never have worn before.  I felt great!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer Alcohol

I never thought I'd be a beer chick, but this summer has brought on a whole new level of consumption.

The man-candy and I have spent much of our summer together working around the house: building the veggie beds, rebuilding and staining our deck, and doing a second run through spring cleaning (involving lots of yard-selling, speaking of which, I have an excellent elliptical and 2 punching bags up for sale...).   

As the temps rise (relatively speaking: we've actually hit 90 this summer when we typically average about 78 degrees; and yes, this is noteworthy.), I notice I drink more beer than wine (and I LOVE my red wine.) Hell, I'm craving it more than water. 

I've never really been a beer person and started off with the lighter brews (Budweiser) but hated it and jumped to Heineken and Heffeweizen. In more recent years, I'm nuts over Firestone (Double IPA or Union Jack) and Sierra Nevada (Rockin' Rye or Torpedo) on a hot-sun-beating-on-my-back kind of day. White wine has never been my thing, lemon water just isn't cutting it, and I'm not really into soda pop or juices. 

But what's a woman to do when she loves a strong beer without the belly?!  Help me save my gut and share with me your summer choices; extra points if they're healthier options than beer and still have that strong, bitter taste. 


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lobster Stuffed Mushrooms...Oh Yum!

In the oven
Ok sooooo I found a recipe for Crab cakes and it looked really good but I thought to myself what if I stuffed some yummy mushrooms with this mixture and added Lobster (I actually cheated and used Imitation Lobster and seriously I couldn't tell the difference so that is a cheaper option) instead of Crab.....Yea it turned out amazing. I'm sure you can add any sea food meat of your choice to the base of this crab cake recipe and stuff any kind of Mushroom with it.
Here is the link to Allrecipes.com (thank you allrecipes for this amazing recipe)
 http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Paleo-Maryland-Crab-Cakes/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Thumb&e11=paleo%20maryland%20crab%20cakes&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page

Use whatever cooked seafood your heart desires and Stuff some mushrooms. Place in a baking dish with some olive oil and bake at 350 for about an half hour or so.....Until the mushrooms are cooked and the filling is popping out of the top of the mushroom.
Make a side salad, I made a spinach salad with toasted sesame dressing and cranberries to accompany this yummy dish. I hope you guys enjoy this one

Finished yummy meal

Monday, July 22, 2013

Paleo Chocolate Truffles

I made these over the weekend for a BBQ at my box.  They turned out pretty good!  I used coffee, orange, peppermint, vanilla and raspberry extract and I have to say my favorite was the coffee!  The orange one was pretty good too and tasted like the chocolate oranges that you get around Christmas.

The most difficult part of making these was forming them into the balls as it is very messy, especially if you roll them by hand.  I think the coconut oil gives them a lower melting point, so if you make them for a party, keep them in the fridge or freezer until it's time for dessert!


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Monday, July 15, 2013

T-Rex Arms

So typing right now isn't the easiest of things so this won't be a super long post.





On Saturday I had the WOD from hell and I'm still paying for it. 

"The 100's" - Partner WOD

100x Pull-ups
KB Rack and Hold

100x Wall Balls
KB Rack and Hold

100x Cal Row
KB Rack And Hold

100x Burpees
KB Rack and Hold

1 Mile Farmer carry

My partner and I divided everything in half and did sets of 10's.  While one person was doing their set, the other had to rack and hold 2 Kettle Bells. 

This my friends was the first WOD that I've ever thrown up on, and the one that has left me with the most pain. I'm dealing with T-Rex arms!  I can't straighten either arm completely and my left is far worse than my right.  I believe in technical terms it is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and will go away (hopefully) with some rest and ice.

This is the frustrating part of Exercising!  I want to go more frequently, but my body is rejecting the thought!  Hopefully I will get over this quickly so I can get back to my WOD's.

Have you ever suffered from T-Rex arms??  What is the best method to get the pain down and get back to exercising?

Monday, July 8, 2013

No surgery.....YET

So after seeing the podiatrist, he has decided to try every non surgical option to my bunionettes. YAY!!!!!

I will be turning into an old lady and wearing orthotics in my shoes to try and correct the issue. If that doesn't work, we will try physical therapy and cortisone shots. And last resort is surgery. 

I will be trying every bunion alleviation I can find. I found these little bunion gel cushions that I'm hoping will help when I WOD.

So now back to WODing on a more regular basis. Hopefully I can manage the pain and irritation and push through to be a better crossfitter. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pampering the Mind, Body and Spirit

My last day off was a TRUE day off! These types of days don't come around often. I literally did nothing (except a load of laundry and a load of dishes through the dishwasher). It was amazing! So, after a day of glorious nothingness, I decided to pamper myself a little (or a lot) before I went to bed. Here is what my "spa evening" consisted of:

* Relaxing Yoga
* Detox Bath
* Coconut Oil Hair Mask
* Exfoliating Facial
* Aroma Therapy

Jealous??? You should be. This would cost you like a billion dollars in a spa! Here's how the night when down.

6:15pm - 30 minute gentle yoga sesh with extra time at the end spent in Savasana (corpse pose). This is my favorite pose EVER! It's the easiest pose physically, you basically lay on the ground like a dead body, hence to name. But I think it's one of the tougher poses mentally. For me, anyway, it's hard to REALLY and HONESTLY clear my head. I've been able to do this more and more by practicing Savasana.

7:00pm - Mixed together my detox bath. The recipe for this was:

  • 2 Cups Epsom Salts
  • 1 Cup Baking Soda
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Ginger
  • 25 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
  • Lots of Hot Water
7:10pm - While my bath was filling, I applied my coconut oil hair mask. It is just as it sounds! Coconut oil, in a liquid state, slathered allllllll over my hair. I paid special attention to my ends. I dye my hair like crazy and have been since 8th grade (stop doing the math!!) so my hair just soaked up the oil. It was very thirsty. After it was applied everywhere and combed through, I wrapped my whole head with saran wrap. Don't laugh, I don't own a shower cap so I had to improvise. I let this sit in my hair throughout my whole bath.

7:20pm - My bath was ready! First, I lit some candles. Then I sloshed everything around, making sure it was nice and mixed. The recommendations for soaking was 40 minutes. This initially sounded like an eternity. Apparently the first 20 minutes is to detox and the second 20 minutes is for your body to really absorb all of the minerals. So, I turned Pandora on to a Meditation station and just sat. 40 minutes flew by! The Meditation station was amazing. I was able to return to my meditative (possibly vegetative) state. It was ineffable!  I've never been so clear minded. My only complaint was the very intrusive commercials on Pandora. That really killed the mood. Luckily I was able to slip back in quickly once they were over. 
The lavender oil was so yummy to my olfactory and relaxing to my soul. 
** Note to self - Next time,  pick something more appropriate to break out of meditation than the Marimba ring tone on your phone.

8:00pm - Times up! I slowly got out of my bath, hopped in the shower for a quick rinse off and washed the coconut oil out of my hair. 

8:10pm - Put on some super comfy clothes and did a little facial exfoliation. This one, you're going to love: baking soda and water. Yup, that's it! Nothing too fancy but it makes your skin feel so soft. You just use a tablespoon or two of baking soda and just enough water to make a thick paste. Lightly rub it on your face using circular motion and rinse off. So quick, so easy.

9:30pm - Sprayed my pillows with some Lemongrass and Cardamon pillow mist in preparation for a wonderful, peaceful sleep. I slept like a rock, FYI.

I wish this could be a nightly thing (yeah RIGHT) or even a weekly ritual, but alas, this isn't realistic in my world. But, I enjoy it immensely when I get to squeeze it in.

If you decide to try this detox bath, or any detox bath for that matter, please remember to drink LOTS of cold water. And if you start feeling too hot, let some cold water run into the bath. The last thing I want is any of you passing out.
Also, try not to get your hair in the water. The salts are very drying.

Now go pamper yourself!



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Leg Day...who needs it?

Some of you may know that this summer I've taken on several projects.  After finishing the veggie bed two weeks ago, the man-candy & I jumped right into the next (& much longer project) of re-doing our ENTIRE deck.

We spent all of last week staining & Monday & Tuesday of this week placing boards just on the front leg of our deck.  My ass & thighs are insanely sore from bending, stooping & squatting.

Instead of just bending at the waist, I thought I'd work my legs & ass by engaging those muscles, as well as tightening my core, when needing to rip out old screws (which believe it or not is the HARDEST part given that the screws are old, sunk, & stuck in 30 year old swollen boards), set in new boards, & screw those in place.   The result is the most productive ass & leg work out I'd ever imagined.

The problem of course lies in the lack of range of leg & ass exercises (since it's mostly squats, dead lifts, & the skip-a-step lunges on the stairs since the deck is on the second floor).  BUT since I'm using real life scenarios (muscles being engaged all over the body), I don't feel entirely lacking just yet. 

It made me think about how I sometimes would carry my groceries from the car into the house in one trip while lifting them like dumbbells, how I would walking lunges while vacuuming, or ass & thigh clenches during my crazy long commute in grad school.  How do you incorporate "exercise" into your daily routine?  Share your tips below!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My Starbucks Favorite Healthy Drink

Hi everyone :)
I apologize I have totally neglected my Tuesday blog here at MMM...but like Connie said we have been having some FUN this summer. So just a quick post for you all since I had one of these yummy drinks today visiting with some amazing friends at our local Starbucks...and yes you can order something healthy there....so here it is. Go get one and LOVE IT!

Ok so when your order this is what you get:
Grande Green Tea Frappchino Non-fat
2 scoops of Chocolate Chips
2 Scoops of Protein Powder
2 Pumps of Mint
NO Whip (whip is very very bad lol)

Seriously you will have an amazing healthy antioxidant filled drink that tastes like mint chocolate chip ice cream...no need to thank me....just ENJOY 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Feet?

Are your feet happy?  Mine, not so much...

First off I have to say, I love shoes!  I'm a shoe-aholic and have a closet dedicated to them.. Gorgeous heels, cowboy boots, Converse, Vans and my Nanos for my WOD's.  My closet is insanely organized and it is depressing as I hardly get to wear all of the shoes that I love.

The issue that I have (although only self diagnosed at the moment) is called a tailors bunion or a bunionette.  This is basically a bunion but on the outside of the foot by the pinky toe. Lately these little bunionettes (oh yeah I have them on both feet) have been causing me lots of pain.  Usually it's discomfort while wearing heels, but now it's pain and inflammation while WODing.

These are shots of my little piggy's. I know I need a pedi! As you can see the area on both my feet just below my pinky toe bulges out a bit.  The left foot is worse than the right. Ehhh!
I had X-rays taken last week and have an appointment with a podiatrist on Wednesday to see what the verdict is.  I'm hoping there are some non-surgical methods of reducing the pain and/or reversing the condition if it isn't too far advanced (fingers crossed!!) BUT, after doing a ton of research online and finding normal x-rays compared to my f'd up feet, I think I may be in for a long road of ...dare I say it...Surgery?!?!?

The x-rays above show my lovely feet.  In technical terms there is prominence of the 5th metatarsal head (yellow arrows) and increased angulation between the 4th and 5th metatarsals (black arrows). There is also slight lateral bowing of the shaft of the 5th metatarsal (red arrows).  
Basically the long bone (metatarsal) that is attached to my pinky toe is bowing, creating a gap between the next metatarsal, causing the pinking toe to point in towards the rest of my foot, resulting in a bulge called a bunionette.  Make sense??

This my friends is a normal foot.  As you can see, the 5th metatarsal is in perfect alignment with the rest of the bones.
No Gap.
No Bowing.
No Bunionette.

Do you deal with any foot pain or issues?  Tell me the plight of your feet!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Lovin'

It's summer & most of us are finding ways to get the most out of the long days & warm sun....I know I sure as hell am!!

Since the end of May I have been to Havasu, the Grand Canyon, Laughlin, the beach & currently back in Laughlin for another week of boating fun!! I know, it's a tough life, but I'm not complaining. Fall will be here soon enough and I will be back to taming the beasts (otherwise known as your children). 

I have missed my fair share of WODs but at least I have been staying active. Lots of walking, hiking, water sports and such. It's the food that can be the kiss of death!! 

I made a conscience decision to travel with as much Paleo friendly food as possible. I made my own beef jerky, which turned out amazing (the second time). I brought nuts & Lara bars to the Grand Canyon. I still ate at more than enough buffets but at least I had good snacks to help keep me satisfied during the day so I didn't need to gorge myself at dinner. 

For my time out here in Laughlin I was able to bring fresh fruit, lunch meat, avocado and chicken salad. Dinner has still mostly been fast food...GASP! But again, I wasn't starving & kept my intake of crap relatively low. 

What are your favorite travel foods that help keep you on the heathy track?? 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bitchin' Fresh Perfect for Summer Salad Too Delish to Provide a Photo

What is it about summer that makes us forget which day is which?

We here at Muscles, Madness, & Martinis not only work hard but PLAY HARD, too.  

And since it's summer, we're all playing twice as hard (and thus blowing off our blog posts). Stef is biking around and being a sexy new wife. Melissa is soaking up rays and rocking her hot CrossFit bod at the river. Kat, the beautiful seductress, is escaping the heat by beating her best run times in the morning and cooking delish new recipes. Andrea is coolly enjoying the temps by mermaiding it like a stunning little water nymph in her pool, but still maintaining her regular fitness routine.

Me?

If I'm not tearing at the man-candy's clothes (brings new meaning to playing hard, wink wink), I'm outdoors working in new veggies into our new backyard garden and now, the latest enterprise, re-doing our entire deck.  It's a 600+ square foot deck in an L-shaped formation on the second story of our house.  The wood (after several years of inadequate sealing & snow-shoveling & dogs scratching & thumping along the wall) so we're replacing it almost board-for-board.

What does this have to do with a "Bitchin' Fresh Perfect-for-Summer-Salad Too Delish to Provide a Photo"?

Well, a long day in the sun means I am NOT cooking.  Oven/stove will NOT go on.  Besides, my body craves water-dense foods.  Thus, I present:

The Bitchin' Fresh Perfect-for-Summer-Salad Too Delish to Provide a Photo

Directions:

1/2 Big Ass Bowl of Cut Romaine Lettuce
1/2 Big Ass Bowl of Baby Spinach
Handful of Blueberries
1/2 Apple, diced
Small Handful of Walnuts, chopped or halved
1/5 Avocado (depending on the amount of walnuts; healthy fats in moderation!)
2 Smatterings (teaspoon or tablespoon depending on the size of your big ass bowl) of Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Smatterings (teaspoon or tablespoon depending on the size of your big ass bowl) of Olive Oil

You can top with cold slices of leftover steak or chunks of chicken--any leftover, really.  There is something about the creaminess of avocado with the walnuts and blueberries that sends my tastebuds over the edge.

Note: I ate this too quickly to take a photo (the title of this blog makes sense now, eh?), plus I didn't want to be accused of being a hipster since I Instagrammed my lunch yesterday.


So, this is what my summer tastes like--what about yours?


Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Constant Battle

Routine vs Change

I'm in a constant battle with my workouts. The two contenders in this duel are routine and change: Do I stick to a solid routine or do I constantly change it up so I don't get bored?

I love both of these concepts. I love getting REALLY good at something while constantly growing stronger and pushing myself to beat my personal bests. It feels good to blast through goals and push yourself farther than you thought possible. I've followed a couple workout plans, doing the same exercises week after week. Leg day consists of the same exercises every week. Arms day, back day, etc, always the same. This is good for me. I can get into a workout and not have to reference anything on what my next move is or how many reps to do. This is also good for me because (when I keep a workout journal) I can see, week from week, how far I've come and how strong I've gotten. It's exciting to see that I'm squatting double what I started with weeks ago or blew last weeks reps out of the water. A routine also keeps me on track. I know X is leg day and Y is back and triceps. There's no guessing and it becomes just like brushing your teeth; it's just what you do.

Then there is change. I embrace change. I hate getting bored and I get bored easily! This probably has something to do with my only-child-syndrome or my slight, self-diagnosed-ADD-ism. Whatever the reason may be, it's fun to try new things and keep it interesting. Keeping your muscles confused and even finding new muscles you didn't know you had!

My problem with change is that if I don't have a workout scheduled, and I have to find a new workout day to day, it's easier for me to brush the workout off entirely. I know this is only cheating myself, but it's different (in my brain) to skip leg day than it is to skip a non-planned workout. I feel more like I'm "cheating" if I skip out on a plan rather than fail to find a workout for the day. It's a lot easier to get busy and not make time for an unplanned workout. But skipping my leg day* is like skipping breakfast or not brushing your teeth; you just wouldn't do that, would you???

So what does one do? I don't want to get bored but a routine is more likely to set me up for success. I want both! (Again, only-child-syndrome.)

On a side note: We use Roku for our television viewing. If you are unfamiliar with Roku, it's a little box that you hook up to your t.v. and you can stream channels such as Netflix and Hulu.  That being said, there is a channel (free!!) on Roku called Daily Burn. The hubby discovered this one day while searching through the available channels. It wasn't until recently that we actually checked it out. It's GLORIOUS! There are tons of FREE workouts to choose from, on demand (like Netflix but for workouts). There are some great kettle bell workouts, peaceful yoga workouts, fun dancing workouts and much more. I've followed a couple of them and it's so much fun. I can't believe this is free! This new found outlet is an excellent tool for changing up my workouts. If you have Roku, please check this out!

What's your take on Routine or Change? What keeps you going?



* I constantly reference "leg day" because it is my favorite. Squats and deadlifts engender horrible albeit magnificent pain!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Moment of Madness & Hippy Self-love Speak

Right now I'm sneaking a break between a massive overhaul of cleaning the house.  We're having family come stay a few days with us to celebrate my stepson's graduating high school (I CANNOT believe it's happening already!), and spaces that are already clean somehow don't look clean enough (of course).

On a wonderful note, dusting and scrubbing is a bitch because I pounded out an arm work-out from hell yesterday and the guns are banging (or some better metaphor like that).  I love to complain (brag) when my body is sore.

The man-candy is amazing, gripping a bottle of bleach in one hand and a Swiffer duster in the other. In our house, there are no gender roles regarding chores, just "I'll trade you mopping and I'll clean the toilet" and other forms of bartering.  I hate mopping. HATE it. Thus, enter the chore bartering and of course obligatory Bloody Marys to lessen the pain. 

What is it about company, particularly family, that stresses us to put our homes on best behavior?  It makes me wonder: What am I hiding? What am I afraid of? At this exact moment, I'm not wearing deodorant (you all remember that post, right?) and the man-candy still gropes me as we pass along the stairs.  So what am I really worried about?

To which I answer, nothing (except getting eating by carnivorous dust bunnies hiding under the sofa), because admitting to myself that I am worried that family might find me dirty or not good enough is embarrassing to admit (even to myself). 

There's a lot to be said about putting your best self forward, but what if your best self is the self you are everyday, with all its grit and failure and quirk?  What if we stopped hyper-cleaning these spaces for other people and clean them well enough for ourselves? 

I have dusted already this morning and even now (in the early afternoon) there is a thick layer of bright yellow pollen settling on all my furniture.  It is the season for merciless shedding of pine pollen and no amount of dusting (twice a day) makes it stop.

I've done my part, I've cleaned and Nature will still have her feisty way with me. Fine then, I'll surrender to being less than perfect, if sterile furniture is somehow a litmus for perfection.  Chances are, my family will still love me even if the veneer of pollen sticks to the tables and sills, or if the shower doors aren't scrubbed quite clear enough or if my dog Juno lets out a tart, ripe fart while we share a cup of coffee.  The reality is, I need to love myself enough that those things won't block me from my enjoying the present moment of being with family.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Third times a charm!

I think I've found my Box! I've researched every CrossFit location in North Orange County, tried Groupon and Living Social deals and have driven miles and miles hoping to find a home and finally found one - practically in my own backyard (Ok it's 2 1/2 miles away but that's pretty damn close). 
From the moment I met the owners of CrossFit Structured in Fullerton, Freddie Moore and his wife Michelle, I knew I had found my niche. 

I decided to start fresh, I've gone through their 101 courses and although I am struggling and learning what my body is capable of (and especially what it's not), I'm dedicated to making the changes that I need to in order to have the body and health that I want. 

In my wod today I thought I was going to die; I'm still getting dizzy and light headed, hoping that it's just from not being super active or because I have so much compression around my chest to harness in my ginormous girls.
I got super frustrated with myself as I felt like I should have been able to do more today than I did. Freddie noticed this frustration and reminded me of something that I thought was meant only for the hard bodies: check your ego at the door. This is great advice for me as I have a tendency to be very hard on myself and to get frustrated and intimidated by things I have no control over. All of that sh*t needs to be left outside.  I need to concentrate on doing the wod to the best of my ability and not stress about the things I have no control over. 

I am determined to put everything I can into my new box. I think I will have the encouragement I need to succeed and the heart and dedication to make it my home!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Quick, Week Night, Go-To Dinner. . .

. . . Or any night of the week for that matter.

For the most part, we like to eat fresh (and I'm not talkin' Subway) and hardly use canned or packaged items. We generally try to stick to the rule of thumb of shopping on the outer edges of the grocery store. Heck, most of the time we don't even make it past the produce aisle! But, there are a few staple items we always keep in the pantry. We love Costco and when you venture into our pantry you will ALWAYS find the following:


  • Brown Rice
  • Canned Black Beans
  • Canned Corn
  • Some sort of Canned Tomatoes

These items have come in handy on many nights, mostly when I don't feel like cooking. With a little imagination and some excellent spice choices, it's easy to whip up something yummy, fast!

The following recipe is an original from The Abs Diet. What I love most about it is, it's very versatile! You can sub the ground turkey for your meat of choice (or nix it completely). You can sub the black beans for any bean really, I've personally used kidney beans and it's just as delicious. You could throw in any veggies you wanted; it would be a great way to use up the last of those bell peppers/zucchini/tomatoes/etc. left behind in your fridge. And the best part (for me): it's wonderful on a lazy day because, besides the meat, you can just open a few cans and toss 'em in a pot! Easy peasy. 


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