Something to look forward to – Summer Shows!

I love live music. It’s like top 4 things I like to spend my money on. The others being food, races, savings/paying off bills, and mani/pedis. Best money spent in life (I feel like).

So when Beyonce happened to mention that she was launching dates for her Formation World Tour at Sunday’s really disappointing Super Bowl. Made less-disappointing by that fact that we had a bunch of friends over. But still. So Bey announced the tour in the most Bey way possible, by inciting a little controversy (which, I’m not here to argue about), and then running this commercial that looked like an ad for her new fragrance.

And this ceremoniously kicked off my personal tour de music for the warmer months. Which makes me hopeful because this cold weather is absolute trash and I really want nothing more to do with it.

Here’s what I’ve got so far!

April 8th – Gavin DeGraw at Red Hat – this will be my second time seeing him at this particular venue, and probably like my 5th time seeing him in real life.  Every time I’ve seen him has been awesome, and I stand by my confidence in the fact that he once called me pretty.  ::tosses hair::

May 3rd – Beyonce at Carter-Finley – this will be like my 4th or 5th time seeing her altogether.  Acquiring tickets may be tricky, so I’m going to go into this process with a really open mind and hope for the best.  But if I don’t get to see her, Bey, there’s always next time.

May 11th – Pentatonix – I have never seen this group live, but I’m so looking forward to this.  Can’t Sleep Love ended up being one of my standout faves from the album, and I desperately adore Mitch and Scott.  Avi is bae.  I would love to have dinner with these guys.  INTERVIEW THEM FOR THE BLOG?  Even though as I say that, I have no idea what the heck I would ask them, and would probably just creepily sit in the corner as they filmed Superfruit, laughing my head off.  Just a guess.

July 2nd – Demi Lovato – I saw her once before in Charlotte, and she was really awesome.  The show was full of tweens, but I think we’ve established that I really am not super affected by the audience.  She was really good.  I think my fave was Nightingale, because she through in a BANANAS key change after the bridge.  YAS!

July 6th – Justin Bieber – This will be my second show with the Biebs.  I actually just went back and listened to the singles off Believe, and I am so stoked for the show.  Love him or hate him, he put out some good stuff with Purpose and I’m here for all of it.

Wish List:  These are artists I’m really needing new music from/would love a tour from sometime this summer.

Allen Stone – he is at Bonnaroo this year.  Something tells me I won’t be making it to any festivals this year, so I’d love a small show.

Katy Perry – I’m ready for a tour AND new music.  I’m very much a Teenage Dream fan, so I’m ready for another album with FIVE hit singles on it.

And this is what I got!

What shows are you excited about seeing this summer?

What’s the most you’ve ever (you would) pay for a concert ticket?

Is this healthy?

I’m a part of a few closed Facebook groups where health and fitness are the main topics of discussion.  I love them because we bounce ideas off of one another, and it’s really cool to see newbies to health and wellness dip their toes in.

But one thing I’ve seen come up again and again and again is this.

Is [blank] healthy?

Is yogurt healthy?  Are almonds healthy?  Is quinoa healthy?  Is chicken healthy?

I’m genuinely baffled a lot of the time – and not because I’m a health expert, but at the ignorance that many of us have about common items.  Not only this, but the seeming unwillingness of folks to simply Google, or the lack of knowledge that information about a lot of these food items is readily available is pretty astounding.

But the biggest thing that I find somewhat problematic with this line of questioning is the question itself.

We are asking the wrong questions about our food.

Stay with me here.

“Is chicken healthy?”

Well, that is a really subjective question.  You can boil an appropriate portion size of chicken (about the size of a deck of cards), and eat it with steamed  veggies.  That’s a pretty balanced meal.

You also can fry a few pieces of chicken and eat it with mac and cheese and potato wedges sprinkled with old bay.  Not the most balanced meal.  Pretty good, but not balanced.

So I think when we throw out the question “is [blank] healthy” we miss the entire point.  A food, in its raw form isn’t inherently unhealthy.  The nutrition factor of the food is changed in a few instances.

  • When you put a dressing on it.  A bare salad, or a salad that’s been dribbled on is wayyy different than a salad that has been doused in ranch, for examples.
  • The portion.  There’s a big difference in a half-cup of pasta, and four cups.
  • And finally, the way you prep it.  Did you fry it?  Pan sear it?  Rub some rub on it and bake it?  All of these things will change how nutritious this food is.

So, I think, before you ask “is this healthy,” consider reading up about the food.  Figure out a few good ways to prepare it that don’t involve dunking it in egg mixture and frying it in oil.  Find out what the serving size of the food is.  And get creative!

Photo Dump

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Hi!

I think it’s time for a photo dump, so you see where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing.  I’ve struggled a little bit with writing the past few days for the sole reason that I’ve been a little frustrated with some bits of my work and not necessarily like it’s okay to write about it.

One thing I’ve come to realize (that I think is okay to write about).  There are some people in life who truly feel that their lives and their problems eclipse yours and everyone else’s.  It’s astounding, and even more so when it comes from people who should be a lot more self-actualized than I am at my age.

Ok, so photo dump.

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I’ve taken on teaching Body Pump. I went through training (again) back in November. I submitted and passed my video, and have been teaching this particular format once or twice a week. The hardest thing is memorizing the choreo at the beginning of the release. I have had a few early mornings where choreography has completely flown out of my head, and I’ve had to make do. Lots of practice! And weight lifting has been really good for me!

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This is completely counter intuitive, but I went to the local doughnut shop after I taught my class last Thursday morning. I’d only been once since it opened since I don’t want to get into the habit of going there nonstop, but I went, and got a raspberry jelly and this hash browny thing. Really good. Can’t be a habit.

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Since the snowpocalypse, Austin and I have been really bad about, on weekends, staying in and watching Netflix and not really socializing. Not his fault at all. It’s all I’ve wanted to do. But I forced myself to go out and socialize over Pho. I should have gone here when I was suffering with a lingering cold a few weeks ago.

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We went to a nursery this weekend. A few weeks ago, before the snow, Austin built some raised garden beds, as he’s been really interested in growing peppers. I want to partake, so I bought some flowers, and we will do some flowers, some tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce. Some of the things we will start inside, and transplant after the last frost.  Which according to the groundhog, shouldn’t be too much longer, but I’m hearing something about a Polar Vortex again?  What is that?

What are you up to on this hump day?

Snow Day(s)!

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One really neat thing about North Carolina and southward.  When it snows (or ices) here, everyone (rightfully) freaks out, and sometimes, we get a snow day!

Let me back up.  If you’re one of those super obnoxious people who’s like “I live in New York and we don’t freak out over a few inches of ice/snow, I want to say this to you.

Congratulations.  You are better than people in the South.  You are smarter, and more wonderful, and your handling of snow and ice is absolutely more appropriate, making you superior to our kind.  Feel good?  Okay.  Annnd before you cuss me out in the comments, I’m a native New Yorker who very much enjoys my snow days.  I’ll take ’em!

Throughout last week, we got reports of a weather event by the end of the week, but we weren’t really sure what it was.   Every since Snowpocalypse ’14, where we actually did handle significant snowfall pretty poorly, resulting in folks be stranded on the roads for 6+ hours, I think we’ve done a better job of heeding predictions, and dismissing folks from school/work in a fashion that doesn’t put folks at risk for accidents and being stuck on the road on account of work or school.

So as the reports came in, we listened, and finally, on Thursday evening, I got up with my boss’s boss (boss was pushing off to go on vacation), and we agreed that she would contact us after the branch closed with some updates.  But by about 8pm, the area’s public school system had already called school, so that was a decent sign to us that we needed to assess for the morning.  We decided to close for at least the early morning.

When we woke up on Friday, there was a light dusting with a layer of ice over it, and it was pretty clear that it made no sense to, at least from my end, require instructors to come in when we could be putting them at risk.  We decided to close on Friday based on deteriorating conditions.

Wanna know what I did all day?

  • Sent a few emails.
  • Slept.
  • Showered.
  • Went to Food Lion to pick up a few things that we could eat for dinner.
  • Watched Bob’s Burgers on Netflix.
  • Did not run :( (which I was kind of bummed about)

Saturday was very much of the same except the ice layer was thicker. We had a few guests since power was out at my brother’s and we sort of hunkered down while the lights and heat flickered.

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Some freeze on a bush in front of our house.  Very pretty, but a little scary once ice gets high up, weighs down trees, and shuts down power.  

Again, I didn’t get a chance to work out, and I’m really bummed about that. I’m hoping to sneak into the gym for a little while for a short run followed by some time on the bike so my body doesn’t forget what fitness is, and I don’t die when I teach my classes next week. Eesh!

So, what’s the weather at your house like?  Let me know if it’s warm, cold, freezing, and tell me if you’re enjoying any time off of work!

A day in the life!

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I’ve talked about it here, what I do for work.  My work as Group Fitness Director is awesome.  I think one of the coolest things about the work, besides getting to teach a ton of group fitness classes…

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Me, after an early morning class.

…is that no two days are the same. And I think when I “became an adult,” a phrase I really use loosely, one of my biggest fears was that I would get sucked into a profession, where I was doing the same thing every single day. The thought of doing something that wouldn’t allow me to be on my feet or would be the same drudgery day in and day out really scared me, and thinking back, it’s something that has scared me since childhood. I distinctly remember being in high school, where the most variety we had was A-day B-Day scheduling, being terrified that this was what real life might be like. Thankfully, years later, the Y presented itself as an amazing opportunity, and it was clear that no two days were the same.

Which is mostly really cool.

Mostly.

Tonight, I closed the building, which all directors do once a week. I don’t mind, and usually, instead of sitting in front of my laptop the entire night, I run around, doing little projects or putting out little fires. So tonight was no different. I set up the prenatal yoga class, tore it down, visited the Zumba, Vinyasa, and Cycle classes, and checked on the kid downstairs who came in last minute for us.

Close to closing though, we ran into a rather large snafu. Somewhere along the way, someone gave a member the wrong keys, and the member took the keys home, leaving another member with the wrong keys.

Launch full-blown investigation.

From the wrong keys, I was able to gather  that the member was actually a member of a Y in Greater Charlotte.  I called the Siskey YMCA and begged for them to call the members emergency contact based on the info I gave them.  They did.  His parents confirmed that those were their son’s keys, and gave me their blessing to call him.  I called, we figured out that he had the wrong keys, and in a snap-decision judgement, I took off, went to the members home, and swapped out the keys.

To say that today wasn’t dull is the understatement of the entire century.  Here’s to tomorrow being the most boring, mundane, and dull day January 2016 has ever seen.

What do YOU do for work?  

What does your day consist of?

Sick

This weekend was not as wild and crazy l as I would hope for it to have been, considering I’m still young and fun. 

And I realize that there are some things too sacred for the blog, such as horrid pictures of me laid up with pimple cream betwixt my eyebrows where my body is rejecting winter/being an adult. 

Thursday, I had a little familiar tickle in my throat, matched with some gnarly fatigue. Friday, it was a little worse, and by Friday night, there was no denying that I had a full-blown cold.

Congested on one side. Sore throat. Couldn’t really taste a whole bunch. And the distinct feeling that though things could be worse, that I really wasn’t interested in finding out what that was like. 

After coming home from a birthday celebration, we headed straight home where we laid on the couch and watched a little Netflix. 

Saturday morning, I was positive I was going to die when I woke up. Crusty face, I was slow-moving, and of course, I had a class to teach. It was one of the few days in my life, including the day I passed out in front of a full Zumba class, that I considered the possibility of not being able to show up for this class. I swallowed a mouthful of Trop 50, and made it through just fine. 

Saturday afternoon was a blur of me drifting into and out of of a disturbed sleep, while Bravo chirped in the background. I told Austin to enjoy a playoff game since I was so sick, and I watched Sex & The City, the first movie, for the millionth time.  I ventured out only for some egg drop soup and some cleaning supplies from Target.  Plot change: I skipped the cleaning and opted for a shower with a few drops of eucalyptus oil and some essential oil shampoo. I twisted (my locs) as well since I was gonna be stuck in bed for the night again. 

Sunday, I, once again, woke up so sick, that when Austin took me to brunch, I couldn’t finish my food. I COULDN’T FINISH MY FOOD. 
I haven’t been sick like this in a while, so here are a few of my tips for you active chciks when the germs for you down. 

  • Water water water. Warm, cold, indifferent. Drink up. I had a hard time with this one because my stuffy nose made me feel like I was drowning, but I did my best. Alcohol is not your friend in this case.
  • Essential oils. For congestion and headache, a few drops of eucalyptus in the shower or in a pot of boiling water that you breathe in is so awesome at temporarily unclogging your nose. 
  • Your humidifier.  I don’t have a super nice humidifier, but the $30 Austin bought me when I got sick a few years ago does it fine. It has a spot where you can put a few more drops of essential oils. It’ll sort of clear your nose and keep you from getting that horrible dry feeling in your nose and throat. 

And finally….especially for you active folks. 

  • Rest. I didn’t work out at all this weekend. It wasn’t intentional, but I was sleeping a bunch, and I felt so crappy that I had flashbacks of when Kourney fainted on the beach when she was overdoing it after Mason came. It happened.

I’m feeling better tonight, and I think I should be back to life by the time work and meetings hits full force on Tuesday. 

What are some of your sick day tips? 

“Time is Money”

Time for a little story.  I’m sort of trying to become a morning person for the sole fact that I’m like…an adult, and I keep reading all of these articles that say like the main successful people in the world wake with the sun and make sure they get breakfast and a workout in before they do anything else.

Honestly, the times I’ve been waking up early, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I have missed the part about waking up early where you actually have to go to bed at a reasonable hour the night before.  In part because both Austin and I always get into projects around 10, sweeping the floor, writing posts, or throwing in a load of laundry, and in part because I flip on Bob’s Burgers and get caught up looking at emails and texting friends.  Totally my fault.  I know it’s doable to go to bed early, but I need to make concessions for it.

But anyways, I’ve been waking up on Thursdays early, around 5am, to teach a class.  I took the class on because I thought it would be an impetus for me to get up and try to get in bed early.  I’m working on it.  So this morning, I woke up at 5:20, managed to pull on clothes with my eyes closed, and was out of the house by 5:30pm, with enough time to turn on lights and get set up for class.

Of course, an instructor’s worst nightmare happened, and I went to flip on the stereo, and I could not get the dang thing to turn on!  I ended up having to grab someone from the front desk to help me (which I’m sure they loved at 5:45am), and I ran out to the car to grab some backup speakers I just happened to have.

Anyways, in the midst of all of this happening, someone, presumably, who wanted to participate in the class, came and started to set her station up.  I explained that we were running only a few minutes behind due to the stereo issues, but that I would get them their full workout and still manage to get them out on time.

She seemed pissed.

“Time is money,” she said.  And she continued on, being aggravated.  Which I get, I mean, I wasn’t super thrilled about waking up to faulty equipment.

A minute or two later, we started class with the other participants, and she’d left her station set up, and was working out outside of the room.

I can’t say I was super disappointed, more a little lost as to why this really slight delay would completely sideline someone’s workout.  I am glad however, that she very obviously didn’t allow the hiccup to allow her to leave the gym and say “better luck next time!”

I’ll chalk that “time is money” up to the fact that she was annoyed to be up at nearly 6am.

I know I was.

What I Would do with my Lottery Earnings.

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Hullo!

I am really sore.  Like ridiculously sore.  12512311_10100697279453363_6901348544062139_n

I taught a Body Pump class first thing in the morning so I could do my “video” for Les Mills. We all call it “videos” despite the fact that that language alone makes you a strong candidate to be old, but apparently, none of us really seem to mind that a whole heck of a lot. Anyhoo, I did that class at 6am, and I’m really trying this whole morning thing out. The hard thing with that is that I’m still not getting to bed at a great time, so I’m also trying to get in bed at decent hours. I got in bed last night before midnight and am not yet falling asleep at my desk, so maybe this is a win?

So, I’m sure you’ve heard and heard and heard again how intense this Powerball thing is getting here.  The winnings are estimated at up over a billion dollars, and it makes it tempting to play.  I mean, even celebrities are getting in on it, which I sort of resent, but whatever.  I

I  haven’t played, and not sure if I will, but in my off time, I’ve sort of fantasized about what it might be like if I won, right?  And it really isn’t an interesting or particularly noble list, it’s practical.  Maybe that’s selfish.

I’d pay off my student loans.  Probably pay off my sister’s and pay off a few friends.  If you were to sit with us over drinks or coffee, eventually, student loans would come up.  “Hey guys, I better head out.  I’m watching the budget – these loans!”  It would be nice to hang out with friends my age and not have this thing just hanging over our heads.

I’d put $2-$3 million away for our retirement.  Sounds lofty now, but totally manageable if you win the powerball right?  Then we don’t have to worry about outliving our retirement like our parents kind of have to cause they live long af.

Housecleaner.  I am a terrible housekeeper.  I would LOVE some help.  Maybe that makes me a brat, but if I had the money this very individual second, I would totally do it.

Chef.  I would love a chef whose special talent was to make my favorite terrible foods healthy.  And all my favorite healthy foods in their proper portions so I only had to do it (cook) for enjoyment and not for sustenance or making sure I had lunch for the next day.  The biggies for me would be big elaborate salads, soups, and sushi.  I would LOVE to always have sushi on tap.

What would you do if you won the Powerball?

The case for wearables.

I got a Fitbit after I registered me and Austin for one as a wedding present.

Correction: I did not register for anything.  I owe my life to Chelsie, my bridesmaid, who, when I was overwhelmed registering, went to Target and she registered me for everything I needed, with a few requests from me.

So once I got the Fitbit, the Fitbit Flex, I was absolutely hooked to that thing.  At $99, it wasn’t a huge investment, but it really shifted the way I did things.  I synced it to my computer and my phone, and immediately started adding friends on their network.  Though I was already pretty active, I was able to actually visualize how much movement I was getting throughout the day.  I could figure out when were peak times for me, and what tough times were for me (Sundays when I didn’t meet my running friends and wanted to watch Bravo all day.)  I started getting really competitive with my friends and was really impressed with how good the customer service was when I lost my Fitbit drunk twice.  Once at my sister’s wedding afterparty, and once at Elon Homecoming.  Hence the sober month I’m taking right now.

After my time with the Flex, I upgraded to the Surge.  I felt like it was sort of weird to wear my Flex at the same time I was wearing my Garmin – like I just had too much on.  The Flex boasted GPS as well as step tracking, so once I got it, and witnessed personally how quickly the Surge hooked up to satellites, it really rendered my Garmin pretty obsolete.

The Fitbit Surge. Great as your everyday wearable, but also awesome for runs and cross training.
The Fitbit Surge. Great as your everyday wearable, but also awesome for runs and cross training.

The case for wearables/should I get one?

I’m already active.  But a Fitbit, or similar products (Garmin has ’em, Pebble, and Jawbone are some of the big players in the game), really, to me increases your awareness.  You may think you’re active, when in reality, you get one 25-minute run in a day, and sit at your desk the rest of the day.  While your run is excellent, it’s not going to cut it always, and you have to keep moving around to meet your daily minimums.  These tools are awesome for figuring out where you are, and where you might need to go.

So are you a person that loves apps?  Do you love data?  Do numbers really speak to you?  Then a “wearable” is for you.  If that stuff isn’t really your jam, I always encourage figuring out what your “love language” is as it pertains to working out and keeping yourself on track and accountable.  But for me, counting, visualizing, and competing works.

Do you use a wearable?  Wear a Fitbit?  

How long have you been wearing one?  

What do you like/dislike about it?