Sunday, March 1, 2015

Welcome Back: Workouts of the Week!

After taking off what amounted to a solid 5 months from my "normal" gym routine, I was finally given clearance in January from my physical therapist to ease back into my workouts. For those of you who haven't been sitting at the cool table, I'd been having arm/neck/shoulder problems since the summer, which made use of my left arm pretty limited. Now that I'm feeling better, I've been going to the gym kind of a lot this past month - and hope to continue the habit so that I can start to feel like a real bad mamma jamma again.

So since the gym has come back into my life in full force, it seemed negligent not to start up my Workouts of the Week blog again. Note: This is not at all by popular demand. I don't care.

That said, here are all of my workouts from just this past week, including links to demos of each exercise in case you want to see any of them in action!

2/22 (cardio and core)
30 mins hiking on the treadmill
3x: 20 Russian get ups, holding 5 lbs
3x: 20 weighted v-sit twists, holding 15 lbs
3x: 30 cobras

2/23 (lower body)
5 mins elliptical
3x: 40 diamond clamshells each leg
3x: 40 calf raises, 15 lbs each hand
3x: 40 seated leg extensions each leg (no weight)
3x: 15 deadlifts, 15 lbs each hand
3x: 40 bridges
3x: 15 squats, holding 15 lbs

2/24 (cardio)
40 mins hiking on treadmill

2/25 (upper body)
5 mins elliptical
3x: 12 close grip chest press on exercise ball, 12.5 lbs each hand
3x: 12 seated rows, 37.5 lbs
3x: 12 chest press on exercise ball, 12.5 lbs each hand
3x: 12 bent over rows, 12.5 lbs each hand
3x: 13 deltoid raises, 5 lbs each hand
3x: 12 deltoid flys, 5 lbs each hand
3x: 24 alternating chest flys, 7.5 lbs each hand

2/26 (lower body)
5 mins elliptical
3x: 40 bridges
3x: 15 side plank with leg lift, each leg
3x: 15 squats, holding 15 lbs
3x: 40 diamond clamshells each leg
3x: 40 calf raises, 15 lbs each hand

2/28 (core)
5 mins elliptical
3x: 30 weighted v-sit twists, holding 15 lbs
3x: 20 Russian get ups, holding 5 lbs

3x: 20 dynamic side planks each side

When I go "hiking" on the treadmill, I adjust the intensity and/or incline every minute for the entire duration, making sure to go through the entire range of inclines available. It's kind of fun and works up a great sweat.

On a related note, I had that video shoot this afternoon for my company's YouTube channel. It went better than I expected, so hopefully the videos came out well. We filmed enough for 5 different short workout videos, so that's a good crop of material for the channel. Our videographer, Matt, posted an Instagram pic of the shoot in action, if you want to see it here!

Alright, I hope that this has inspired you in some way to keep working towards your own fitness goals. Do you have any online resources for workout ideas? Share them with me!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leopard Print and Navy Nails

This was not my original plan for today's nails, but while innocently scrolling through my Instagram feed yesterday, I spotted this outfit post from ASOS, which immediately inspired me to abandon all other plans and do a leopard/navy mani instead. See how spontaneous I am? So spontaneous.

Navy nails with leopard print accent
According to some (myself included), both leopard and navy are suitable to be considered neutrals. So g'wan then. Pair them with WHATEVERTHEHELL you want, ladies. It's your world.

Navy nails with leopard print accent, Essie Case Study

The blue I used was a generically titled "Navy" polish from Forever 21's Love & Beauty line. It's actually a really nice polish, despite what the $2.80 price tag might have you expecting. It's shiny, self-leveling, and is opaque in 2 coats. It's also shimmer-free, which gives it some class, I think.

Navy nails with leopard print accent

For the leopard accent nails:  the base is 2 coats of Essie's Case Study, the spots are a gorgeous silver-infused cocoa polish from Love & Beauty (aptly called Cocoa), and the darker brown accents are a suuuuuuper old Sally Hansen "New Lengths" polish called Mink Stole Creme.

Navy nails with leopard print accent, Love & Beauty navy nail polish

After cleaning up the edges with acetone, I topped everything with a coat of Seche Vite and gave my hands a nice dose of Aveeno Skin Relief hand cream. My poor hands have been so dry lately that they've been cracking and even bleeding a little. A sign that a) winter is a bitch, and b) I'm possibly dehydrated? Oops.

Navy nails with leopard print accent nails

Tonight I'm going to see one of my favorite comedians perform in Somerville! Ted Alexandro has been a fav amongst my siblings and I for over a decade now, and this will be the third time I've seen him live. Mayhaps you even remember the write-up I did about the time I saw him in Vancouver in 2013 - if not, here it is! I'm not sure yet if anyone else is coming with  me to the show, but whateva - big girls can get their laugh on by themselves if they need to.

In other weekend news, on Sunday afternoon I'm going to be doing something kind of scary: I'll be filming some short workout videos with a local fitness professional for my company's YouTube channel. The girl who was slated to demo the exercises in the shoot had to back out for scheduling reasons, so I volunteered to step in. It's a pretty well-known channel with kind of a lot of subscribers, so I'm nervous fo' sho, but I'm trying to be better about embracing the "if it doesn't scare you, it's not worth doing" mentality to step out of my comfort zone. Wish me luckkkk! And depending on how the videos turn out... maybe I will share them here on my blog ;)

On a related note, I've been going to the gym a lot lately and am thinking about starting back up my "Workouts of the Week" series this Sunday. Would that be of any interest to anyone? Let me know... but I might just do it anyway because it is my party, after all.

What are YOOOOU up to this weekend?
Doing anything outside of your comfort zone?
Whatcha got on dose nails doe?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Looking for a New Book?

WELL DAMN GIRL, you are in luck. My blogging buddy - the talented and endlessly sweet Joey from Hodges Podges - has released her self-published e-book, Yeah, Maybe, and it is on HELLA SALE this week!

Yeah, Maybe, is normally $7.99 but you can buy it this week for $1.99... and y'ought'a. Here's the blurb for the book:

For quiet, reserved, and focused 15 year old Annie Mackey, school was a sanctuary.  But when her bubbly and beautiful neighborhood best friend joins her at Willow Point High for freshmen year, her world is turned upside down.
Everything Annie could count on for stability is shattered, and she's left feeling more alone than ever before.

Just when she's about to lose all hope, someone unexpected swoops in and gives her a much needed lesson in perspective.

Yeah, Maybe, Joey Hodges, ebook

The book is available on Amazon here: (not an affiliate link)

If you are a lover of books and are looking for something new to read, why not spend just $2 to support a self-published writer with a heart of gold like Joey? DO IT.

Friday, February 20, 2015

50 Shades of Blue Nails

Nope, sorry that was a total lie. It's only 2 shades of blue. Just enough to do some diagonal color-blocking on my accent nails.

Two-toned color blocked blue nails
I used 3 coats of Essie's Lapiz of Luxury on all of my nails. Once those were dry, I placed a small strip of an Essence Nail Art sticker (shown here) across my ring and thumb nails on a diagonal, then painted above the sticker with Sally Hansen's Pacific Blue.

Light blue and bright blue nails

Before that dried, I quickly used a pair of tweezers to peel away the sticker and then topped everything with a coat of Seche Vite to smooth out all the lines.

Essie Lapiz of Luxury, Sally Hansen Pacific Blue nail polish

I was actually originally planning to do this two-tone mani with a kelly green and a turquoise, but my bottle of Turquoise & Caicos was SUPER gloopy when I removed the cap! Guess I'll need to replace that. Both Lapiz of Luxury and Turquoise & Caicos came from the same Resort Collection from Essie, and I featured them together in one of my more Pinterest-popular manis here.

Color blocked blue nails and cute coffee cup wire ring

Also - I'd love to draw your attention to the adorable rings in the picture above. I spotted the coffee cup ring on Pinterest and literally clicked right through to the Etsy page and bought it. For only $9 plus shipping, it was absolutely worth it. And to my delight, the seller, Lorelei, included a little hand-written note in the parcel, as well as a surprise extra midi ring!

I didn't yet own any midi rings so this was pretty exciting for me. Bonus point to you, Lorelei! #FistBump. And just FYI, she had no way of knowing that I have a blog or that I was going to shout out her shop, so this isn't at all sponsored. But if you are as charmed by these delicate and affordable rings as I am, you should prolllllllllllly head over to her Etsy shop - My Rings and Things - and support some hand-made craftsmanship. Tell her I sent you, for good measure ;)

In other news entirely, this has been a week of dental issues and acupuncture... separately, not at once. (Though maybe the acupuncture could relieve the gum pain I'm having.) I've got a wisdom tooth coming in that's not treating its host very kindly right now. It's growing in at an atrocious angle and digging into my cheek, so I had to get a consultation today with an oral surgeon to see what I should do about it. Perhaps you remember the tale of getting my first wisdom tooth removed (if not, you should go check it out - it's even illustrated). Well I should probably have gotten all four of them extracted back when I was living in Canada with affordable dental insurance... but the first one just hurt SO MUCH that I couldn't really bare the thought of getting the others removed. Especially because none of them were even erupted yet - they were all still chilling deep under my gums.

Anyway, now it'll probably cost me quite a bit to get them removed, so.... to everyone who told me to just bite the bullet and get that shit taken care of when I was in Canada... you were right, you sonsofbitches. I was wrong. HAPPY NOW?

As for the acupuncture - that was just a random thing for me to try out, because I figured with all of the emotional and physical turmoil I've been through over the last 6 months or so... it couldn't hurt to try. My friend Kara has been going to an acupuncture place in Cambridge, so I headed there on Wednesday to check it out. The place I went to - Acupuncture Together - has you sit in a comfortable chair in a room of others who are doing the same, and you just kick off your socks/shoes, roll up your pant legs... and relax while they stick you with needles. The needles - shockingly - don't hurt as they go in. I know, you probably don't believe it. They do feel a little itchy/burny if you move the wrong way while they're in you, but it's nothing as bad as what I'd been anticipating. And no, I didn't feel any differently after my first session, but Kara and I are going back there together tomorrow morning for another round!

Alright I've clearly rambled enough for now... I hope you have a great weekend!

Anyone else dealing with unruly wisdom teeth or have any tips about relieving teething pain?
Have you ever tried acupuncture?
What are you rocking on your nails today?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Last 10 iTunes Downloads

There's something delightfully voyeuristic about peeking into another person's iTunes account, isn't there? Seeing what they've been downloading and which songs have the most plays. Having recently received $50 worth of iTunes gift cards, I allowed myself to go on a bit of a mini music binge and thought it would be fun to share my most recent 10 music downloads with you here.

Let me know if you're loving any of these jams as well!

7/11 - Beyoncé

Habits - Tove Lo

Love Never Felt So Good - Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake

Understanding - XScape

One Wish - Ray J

Dangerous - Busta Rhymes

Break Ya Neck - Busta Rhymes

Pendulum - FKA Twigs

I'm frequently guilty of only downloading single songs, rather than entire albums... but prior to these ten, I'd downloaded the entire Kaleidoscope Dream album from Miguel. He is one of my favorite current R&B singers - and I say "current" because normally my R&B selections lean very heavily towards the 90s and early 2000s. But Miguel's songs often remind me of 90s jams, so it's not really surprising that I enjoy them so much.

Next on my list of to-download: a Childish Gambino album and a Kendrick Lamar album. I currently own nothing at all from either artist, but am very interested in remedying that. If you have any favorite songs/albums by either of those artists, leave me a comment to let me know what it is!

Now - what are YOU downloading? Share your most recent iTunes download with me below!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Craft Club #4: Creating Collages

I've attempted to write this blog at least five times, but it just keeps getting knocked off the table, so to speak. How's about we do this thing now, hmm? LEGGO!

On the last Sunday in January, it was my turn to host Craft Club! For our fourth meeting of the crafty minds, we spent a few hours making collages and nibbling on apps and pizza.

Before Stephanie, Kate, Kim, Lauren and Abby arrived, I set up a table in my living room and covered it with the craft supplies for the day's collaging:
  • magazines
  • rulers
  • cutting boards
  • x-acto knives
  • scissors
  • glue sticks
  • rubber cement
Around the perimeter of the living room, I also set out several framed collages that I've made over the years. These were for both inspiration and decoration, since my place was pretty bare at the time.

Once everyone arrived, I gave the girls a rundown on the techniques that I typically use when making my own collages. Then we all just dug in and began poking through all of our magazines, pulling out pages and figuring out what kind of collage each of us wanted to make.

Craft Club: Making collages with friends in the living room

Craft Club: Magazine pags laid out for collages

Craft Club: Sorting through magazines and glueing collages

Craft Club: Cutting magazine pages for her collage

Craft Club: Glueing down scraps for collage

As usual, it was awesome to see how differently everyone's projects turned out.

Here's Kim's - her collage has some ornate gilded age details to it:

Kim's collage, red, black, white, gold
.  kim's  .
I loved Lauren's woodsy, animal- and nature-inspired collage:

Lauren's woodsy, nature, animal collage
.  lauren's  .

Steph's was filled with just the right amount of crafty angst:
Stephanie's Brave angst collage
.  steph's  .
Abby's was pretty and peaceful and seemed to fit her personality perfectly:
Abby's beautiful garden collage
.  abigail's  .

Mine was just nowhere near finished by the time my guests left, because I apparently take days longer to make collages than anyone else does! Here's what I was playing around with on my canvas... and hopefully it will be completed someday.

My first attempt at a pink and blue collage

And apparently I didn't get a picture of Kate's because it's nowhere to be found. OOPS! Sorry Kate, I'm sure yours was beautiful.

Of course, Craft Club would be a sad affair if there was no food involved, so for munchies we had:
  • vanilla frosted mini-cupcakes
  • carrots/cherry tomatoes/hummus
  • crackers
  • pizza
  • soda
Kim has offered to host our next one, when she's going to show us some of her favorite tips for putting together floral arrangements. That's going to be a fantastically useful craft to learn, for sure. Can't wait to share that with you!

What sorts of crafty projects have you been getting into lately?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Boston Snow, Pretty Valentine's Nails... and Annie Lennox

Happy Friday the 13th y'alllllllllll!

Don't mind my lack of posts this week. I'm somehow going to blame it on the snow. We've got lots of that up here in Boston these days. Apparently it's a record amount of snowfall in a 30-day period, and the city is kind of losing its shit. They don't know where to put all this snow, so streets have become narrower, snowbanks have gotten higher, and malcontent has juuuuust about reached its saturation point. Personally, I take my life into my hands each time I creep my car - inch by inch - out of my building's parking lot, because the snowbanks are so high that there's absolutely no way to know if there's a car coming or not. It's a real gamble every time - one that may soon cause me to experience either a car accident or a heart attack. I'm hoping for neither... wish me luck.

Obligatory weather-talk aside, guess what else I've been doing like a champ this week that's kept me from blogging...

Working out! HEYO! #BetterFasterStronger.

It's been so long since I've been able to have a normal-ish gym routine, thanks to the many aches, pains, ailments, troubles, et ceteras that I've been bitching about since the summer. With physical therapy now in my rear view and the numbness gone from my arm, I'm back to taking advantage of my Gold's Gym membership. It feels amazing, and I can't wait to see myself tone up again! It's been hard to eat whatever the hell I want and maintain my girlish figure at the same time these last few months. ;)

Anycrap. [Insert normal segue.] I know last week's nail polish blog was rife with grumpiness about Valentine's Day, but something inside me insisted upon an official VDay mani after all. Whatever. Shut up. Here it is:

Valentine's Day nails

No hearts though. Eff that.

Valentine's Day nails, Essie A List, red, silver, black and white polka dots

The red is A List from Essie, silver is Diamond Texture from Revlon, and the middle finger is Snow Me White by Sinful Colors topped with Clearly Spotted from Maybelline.

Red nails with silver accent and black and white accent

The red nails all required 3 coats, and they're still not totally opaque. The formula of A List is really beautiful... but it's thin. Much like Giuliana Rancic.

Valentine's Day Nails, red, silver, black and white

Speaking of her and that (hey look, a relevant segue!), I didn't watch the Grammys last week because I don't have cable, but I have watched some of the highlights online. Two damn words y'all:  Annie. Lennox. Two more words: SHE TOOK ME TO CHURCH 'N PUT A SPELL ON ME, FOR REALSIES. If you don't know what I'm talking about, please behold:

Mmmmmmhmm. Spectacular.

This weekend I'm going home to Pittsfield to visit my family - seemed like a nice way to spend Valentine's Day, plus it's my little sister's 23rd birthday. Yeah, my baby sister is turning 23. Time, AMIRIGHT? Shit marches on.

Wish me luck in my travels this weekend because there is another round of snow/blizzard coming our way. I have a feeling the 2.5-hour drive from Pittsfield back to Boston may be closer to a 5-hour drive through the snow on Sunday! Eesh.