Top 5: Work Out Accessories

Top 5 Work Out Accessories: Running
Top 5 Work Out Accessories: Running

Yesterday I snapped a photo of my sneakers and IG’d that I mostly work out for the gear. This made me start thinking about what my favorite exercise gear actually is. This of course led me to want to write about it. As I run outdoors and do high impact aerobic videos indoors, I decided to run down my Top 5 for each activity…because what fun is doing something if you can’t accessorize…kidding! (not really).

Top 5 Work Out Accessories for Running Outdoors:

1. Lululemon Inspire Crop II pants. Thanks to my sister Holly who gave me my first pair for a birthday, these are now all I will run in for most of the year (until it gets cold). I love/hate her for it because they are amazing i.e. comfortable and they have this lovely behind the knee mesh which sort of helps you stay cool. BUT I now have an addiction to $98 running pants.

2. Wrist bands with reflector fabric for running at dusk, which I try to do in the summer as it’s so hot here in Texas. Also convenient for wiping sweat and snot off of your face. I throw them in the wash with the rest of the clothes that are soaked in sweat.

3. iPod Nano. Once I bought the nano, I never went back to a big ipod again for running. So perfectly tiny and can be worn in a watch band or clipped onto your clothing. I was wearing it as a watch but the cord running up my arm and the speed that I drained the battery by using the timer made me buy #4 and clip the nano to my shoulder strap.

4. A marathon watch. I bought this little Timex from Amazon for under $15. It’s perfect. It has a timer for running intervals (my favorite thing to do) and I can sweat all over it and beat it up and not feel bad. Note that I never run more than 4 miles so we can call it a “marathon” watch from here on out.

5. Asics Gel Kayano Sneakers. I discovered these about a decade ago and love them. I usually buy a new pair once a year and make them my indoor, aerobics shoe and then the pair that they replace become my outdoor running sneakers. I have had countless pairs of these and cannot recommend them enough for both activities.

Top 5 Work Out Accessories: Videos
Top 5 Work Out Accessories: Videos

Top 5 Work Out Accessories for Videos Indoors:

1. My two current favorite work out instructors are Jillian Michaels (I have 10 of hers, they are all awesome) and Kelly Coffey-Meyer (I only have 4, but all are great). Their workouts are fast, 30-45 minutes, intermediate and/or advanced and almost all full body toning. If you like high intensity, athletic style, aggressive work outs, these ladies bring it. There are no dance moves and nothing zen like about any one of their workouts (thankfully).

2. In my arsenal, I  have both foam covered weights and these hex hand weights, I prefer the hex. They have a longer hand area which is also thinner than the foam version, they just feel better in your hand. If you know you’ll sweat a lot, you may want to wear leather weight gloves with these (which are different from #3 as they lack weight…this seems more confusing than it is).

3. Weighted gloves. Filled with sand, they add weight when you’re punching the air. Especially useful with Kelly Coffey-Meyer workouts. I bought these on Amazon and made sure to get a ladies pair as my hands are small.

4. Kettlebell. This one is 10lbs and from Reebok and I think I bought it at Target. I love kettlebell workouts, they’re fun! I do get nervous sometimes that I will accidentally fling the thing through the TV, but so far no casualties.

5. As I already talked about the sneakers, this time I will mention the inserts. Every time I buy a new pair of sneakers, I swap out the insoles for Sof Sole inserts, specifically, the Althlete ones (bright blue with yellow bottoms). They make my feet happy.

June ended up being a fantastic month!
June ended up being a fantastic month!

I have one last thing to note. I have issues with keeping myself motivated to work out, especially when my schedule shifts or a time change occurs. One of my biggest motivators is to give myself a red dot on the calendar that hangs in from of my computer for each day that I work out. It feels amazing when they start to add up and the way my brain works, I want to keep adding more!

What are your favorite work out accessories?

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Playing hooky

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We’re in the last few days of June, summer is officially here and it’s hot in Texas. It’s also about to be my slowest month of the year with Manic Trout. So when Adam begged that at 4pm today, I take a break for a few hours and go to Twin Falls, which part of the Green Belt here in Austin, I didn’t have to think that hard about it. It’s been rare that he has had a sunny day off with all the rain we’ve been having, so we both jumped at the chance to go for a swim with friends.  I’m so happy we did as it was a beautiful hike to the falls and back, the water was perfect, it wasn’t too crowded and thanks to all that rain, both little falls were flowing beautifully!

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Deep Thoughts From The Past Week

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At Lenoir in Austin, TX

1. Peeping through windows in fences is fun! It also prompts lots of poses…I should really peep though more fence windows.

2. I really like having short hair in theory. But in practice, I didn’t like it 90% of the time as for me it was much more high maintenance than really long hair is. I think this is due to my fine curly hair…it need attention to look good short. 

3. The bond that you have with people you attended boarding school with is like no other.

4. Volunteering does for my heart what exercise does for my head. I have been figuring out what to do next for too long since stepping down from my last board position and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I finally started again. Service is good for the soul.

5. Having two dogs in bed with you is not conducive to a solid nights sleep. I don’t think I’ve had one night of uninterrupted sleep since Mora moved in. And its almost always Faye who is disruptive.

6. Which brings me to my next deep thought, that Rat Terriers are incredibly food motivated and get worse when there are multiple of them. Are they egging each other on?

7. I’m pretty sure that I only eat fro-yo as an excuse to eat candy. Which by the way, I have been really good about besides a handful of fro yo splurges in the last 6 weeks!

8. People in the South, and Texas is included in this, move slow on many levels. Shipping seems to be included in this. There is no sense of urgency here!

9. Running in 100 degree temps is brutal, but it’s also a little extra satisfying when you’re done and you know you survived it.

10. This one is more of a question…is it necessary to drink water in the middle of a 40 minute run when it is 90-95 degrees out? Somedays I’m ok, but other days I think that I should have one of those little water bottle belts when it’s this hot. I would prefer not to have to wear one or carry water though, so if I’m fine not having water until after I’d like to wait.

 

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Salad Season

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A medley of salads from past summers. Thank you IG for giving me a reason to record these.

As soon as the weather starts heating up, I seem unable to eat hot food at home. I crave the occasional ramen, but for the most part, I am eating salads. This is a pretty loose terms that means mostly raw veggies and a protein. So maybe I should say “salads”. For the most part, I start with a bed of greens…in the past I was almost always reaching for baby spinach, but this summer I have been favoring green leaf lettuce. I then add handfuls of colorful raw veggies, sometimes a fruit such as mango or strawberries and every so often olives, nuts, seeds, pickles or capers. I add a protein and as I do eat meat, it’s usually chicken, prosciutto or tuna. I did go through a crab phase that was pretty epic a few years ago…I should revisit that. I currently have been buying frozen cooked shrimp and that’s been awesome, I will keep that going. Eating paleo, I have not eaten beans in awhile, but this summer, I brought hummus back into my routine because it’s just so good, I can’t stay away. For dressing I prefer naked salads with a little Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt or if I want a bit more oomph, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I also have been making my own mayo, so I started using it with tuna again, and that counts as a dressing sometimes. One summer I was making a lot of dijon tarragon dressing, but I prefer naked veggies so I stopped. This year I have been having “salads” usually twice a day, so the second one tends to be more utilitarian and not as pretty. Here are my recent creations and thank you again to IG for encouraging me to photograph them.

 

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Green Leaf Lettuce, Prosciutto, Cucumber, Tomato, Red Peppers, Mango and Balsamic Vinegar
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Green Leaf Lettuce, Chicken, Cucumber, Tomato, Avocado, Black Olives and Balsamic Vinegar
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Green Leaf Lettuce, Shrimp, Cucumber, Tomato, Red Peppers and Sugar Snap Peas
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Green Leaf Lettuce, Hummus, Cucumber, Carrots, Red Peppers and Mango
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Green Leaf Lettuce, Tuna with Pickles and Homemade Mayo, Cucumber and Tomatoes
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Deconstructed Gyro: Green Leaf Lettuce, Lamb, Cucumber, Tomato, Olives and Tzatziki Sauce

 

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Making Friends as Adults

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I’ve read a few things over the years about how the majority of the good friends you make in your life are made before you leave college. When you think about it, you will never spend as much time with friends as you do before say, 25. Especially if you live with them be it in a dorm or an apartment. I’ll be the first to admit that the bonds I made with friends I went to boarding school with for four years will never be duplicated. I don’t think I even have spent that much time with people I’ve been in long term relationships with since then. But anyway, even if you don’t live on campus for high school and/or college, you still spend a great deal of time together in the student years. After college it becomes harder to redefine how you make friends. So you most likely have close work friends but are for the most part are still bonded to those friends from high school and college.

As we age however, we do not all follow the same paths in life. Some people have kids, some go hard career wise and some flounder for a bit and hold on to their lifestyle from their younger years. If you are like me and attended boarding school and college where everyone you know is from all over the globe, you most likely don’t live near each other. Social media has helped many of us over a certain age reconnect and those younger than us stay in touch, but our lives still evolve and sometimes you find your self in a situation where you need to make some friends.

I felt this especially when I moved to Texas from New York four years ago. I was fortunate to be dating someone who lived in Austin, and I of course had the internet and phone so I could talk to my sisters and friends as often as I liked, but I still needed to find new friends to hang out with, go to lunch with and actually see in person. Some of you may not need that, but I do. It was interesting being in my mid 30’s and moving to a new city where I would not really have a forced connection to people. As I was self employed, am someone who prefers solitary exercise, has no kids, has a dog who does not like dog parks, am not a member of a spiritual group or really having any connection to stick me in the middle of like minded people, I had to be proactive about making friends.

Facebook was great as I was talking about moving to Austin all the time, so I connected with anyone I knew who lived here before I even arrived. That was only a small of handful of people though and I knew I would have to actually put myself out there to meet people, I also knew that it would not happen over night. Luckily, I am naturally outgoing, so I joined a local group of hand made artists and applied to be in markets in a popular part of the city to make “work friends”. I volunteered, I got involved in anything I could and I attended everything I could in the way of networking events. At all of these things I would basically ask any one I felt there was a friend “spark” with out to lunch or coffee. Sometimes I would meet them and then weeks later email them and ask them to meet up. Making friends is really like dating, you basically have to work at finding the perfect people you want to have a relationship with. As there’s never the added stress of also wanting to make sure you want to have sex/babies/marriage with new friends, its much less stressful too. However, also like dating, sometimes you never go out on a second or third date, you just have to accept that.

Four years later, as I look back on who I have met since moving here, I am blown away by the wonderful new friends I have made who have become such large parts of my life. Now when I attend events, I am no longer as aggressive in my quest to meet new people, but I definitely still do. I have also noticed that in the past 2 years, a very interesting thing has started happening thanks to social media. More and more, I am meeting people I have connected with via instagram or facebook in real life. Some are people who I may have emailed with for work at some point due to being in related fields and we ended up connecting everywhere, some are just people who we have reached out to each other as we live in the same city and are obviously into the same things. I met my friend Jessi (she is in the photo with me above) after we connected on LinkedIn. She sent me a message asking me out for coffee and the rest is history!

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Homemade Mayo

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As so many of my friends have asked if I really make my own mayo and why, I thought I’d share my thoughts on homemade mayonnaise today. Truthfully, mayonnaise has never been a staple in my fridge. For years I made tuna with hummus and preferred mustard for sandwiches. Then one night I was making dinner and there was a dressing called for that required a mayonnaise base. The recipe for it was right there in the same cook book (Well Fed) so I whipped up a batch. As the magic of the emulsion happened, I tasted a bit and I felt like I had never tasted mayo like this before. Silky, smooth and with a tiny tang (thanks to mustard powder and fresh lemon juice), it was amazing! Have you made mayo before? Its nothing like what you buy in the store and has about half the ingredients. Making it is super simple, the longest part of the process is waiting for everything to get to room temp before you start. As I prefer to not just copy another woman’s recipe, I will point you to the one I use: it’s a paleo olive oil recipe and highly recommend it.

Look at that beautiful texture!
Look at that beautiful texture!

Once made, the mayo lasts a week or two in the fridge, and I don’t make it all the time, but when I do, I try and plan a few different ways to use it during the week. I have been eating a large amount of salads and raw veggies lately and my first go to is making it with tuna which I mix with mayo, s+p and cut up pickles. The second is to cut up chicken and mix it with mayo, curry powder, sea salt and either cut up grapes or mango. Both are so good!

If I still haven’t convinced you to try your hand at homemade mayo, take a look at this Deconstructed Gyro Salad. It was the dressing in this that I first made the mayo for am so happy I did so!

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Beyond the 10 for $1 Ramen

Beautiful Forbidden Rice Ramen in it's uncooked form
Beautiful Forbidden Rice Ramen in it’s uncooked form

Cheap ramen noodles are the devil! No not really, I was just channeling Bobby Boucher’s mama. But anyway, the delicious ramen noodles that most of us ate copious amounts of in our late teens and early 20’s have zero nutritional value. Which is fine, they are so cheap you don’t expect them to, but they’re not something I have any interest in putting in my body in my late 30’s. My jaw is still not feeling back to normal after the whole wisdom tooth ordeal though, and the past couple of months have been filled with soft food. I’m beyond eating them all the time, but food you don’t think of as hard, such as lettuce still hurts sometimes, so every few days I really am wanting soft comfort food…that isn’t horrible for me.

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I have been avoiding eating ramen since the painkillers wore off, but it seems it’s sometimes all I can think about. I however cannot justify straying from paleo AND eating such processed food. I tried to feed the craving by going to Ramen Tatsu-Ya on South Lamar one night for real ramen, but I still have been wanting it at home when my jaw hurts and nothing else sounds good. So I set out on a mission. I first searched Whole Foods for healthier alternatives and that’s where I bought these, but there is also a pretty decent selection at HEB, just not in the soup aisle, in the Asian foods section (this is where they are at WF too). I read over all of the ingredients, considered the options and decided to try two brands. The first for the “wow, that’s cool!” factor and the second because it seemed like an all natural and preservative free alternative that would be similar enough to satisfy the craving.

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Ok, I’ll admit the first one was purely because I was intrigued. Forbidden Rice Ramen that is PURPLE! Made from the very nutritious forbidden rice which is organic heirloom black wheat. It’s also a gluten free version if that’s your need. My favorite part of this ramen was of course how it looked. I was obsessed with it in its block form, just beautiful! It’s a low sodium product and on its own pretty bland, but you could easily doctor it to be tastier. However, it did not fill the craving that well.

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But that’s ok because Annie Chun’s Spicy Chicken Ramen did and is delicious! It takes a few more steps to cook (I prepared both on the stovetop) as you first cook the noodles…which are packaged soft! Then you prepare the broth and pour it over the drained noodles. It is a natural, preservative free, no msg alternative to the ramen we all know and love. It’s also under $2, so still a really cheap version as well! All in all, a successful mission and a tasty one.

Are there any ramen versions you love that I should I try?

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X Games Austin 2015 AKA: Where to find all the hot skater boys

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In the booth with the Street Skate park behind us.

Thinking back on all the biggest crushes of my life, I would have to say that most of them have been skate board proficient. My first crush, my first kiss, my first boyfriend (you know, when it consists of holding hand and sharing a soda), my first love…all wonderfully glorious skater boys. I later branched out to jocks in general, but those hot little trouble makers still caught my eye like no other. I really think it was no small coincidence that the great love of my life happens to be an ex pro snow boarder and excellent skate boarder. Life came full circle and I knew it was meant to be, ha!

Adam Fujawa and Steve Caballero at X Games Austin 2015
Adam with Steve Caballero

Last year when we found out that the summer X Games were coming to Austin, and on the weekend of Adam’s birthday, I’m not sure who was more excited to go. We didn’t even have to talk about if it was worth sacrificing most other events to get great seats for the Street Skate finals and were equally enthralled with the entire experience. I was on the fence for about 2 minutes on deciding between X Games 2015 or my 20 year high school reunion. It again was falling on Adams birthday and we were both pumped. Then the dates of his annual work retreat were announced. Oh it was a sad, sad day and for a few weeks, we both were worried that we wouldn’t be able to go. Luckily the skate gods were smiling down on us because at the last minute he was able to free up Sunday and we spent his actual birthday out at the Circuit of The Americas sweating profusely.

Adam Fujawa and Danny Way at X Games Austin 2015
Adam with Danny Way

We also lucked out as we were gifted amazing passes by Adams friend Mike, who he grew up with in Aspen with and is now the official X Games DJ. This meant we no longer had to secure open admission seats early, so we were able to catch the inaugural Skate and BMX Big Air Doubles event before we camped out at Street Skate. It was great, Big Air always is (well, except the bad fall we saw, that was not great) but we were on a mission.

Tony Hawk
Tony Hawk

There was about 45 minutes before Street Skate began and with our snazzy passes we were able to enter the closed off area in the middle of the 2 skate boarding events and go up into the Street Skate tower where the athletes, brand owners and media are shaded from the sun for the event. It was amazing. We ended up staying up there for the afternoon as the VIP bleachers were in the direct 100 degree sun.

One of the many, many photos I took in stealth mode
One of the many, many photos I took, that is Adams elbow on the right…I was sooooo close!

Adam met both Steve Caballero and Danny Way while I hyperventilated when I looked up and Tony Hawk was standing right in front of me. He was my very first celeb crush back in the 80’s and it was thrilling to see him so close. He left to go the announcers booth though, which was good as I was able to turn all of my attention to Ryan Sheckler. So about that…last year, I was gazing at him from afar and admiring how hot he was in person. Some say he’s douchy, some say he’s the skater version of Justin Bieber, but I say, hey, he’s philanthropic with his fame and success and easy on the eyes and only looking better with age. Plus, have seen the guy skate??? This year, I was less than 2 feet away from him except when he was skating and I could pay attention to nothing else. All of the photos I took were of him…all of the videos I took were of his runs. It was a very mypoic day, but if you were there next to me, especially when he took his shirt off for 5 minutes, you would have agreed with what I was doing. Adam has been teasing me about it ever since, I was crushing that hard.

So you can enjoy him in all his full topless glory.
So you can enjoy him in all his topless glory. Photo credit: Peta.

My only regret is that I didn’t go up to him and take a photo with him, it was tough though…he was either skating, recovering from skating in the heat or running to accept his medal, so there really wasn’t an appropriate time. Oh well, there’s always next year, because you know we’ll be there!

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Let’s talk about soup

Hearts of Palm Soup

This winter I wanted soup. It was cold and damp, basically the kind of weather that just begs for it. I also was feeling too lazy to make it from scratch. I however have been eating Paleo for a good amount of time and was having issues finding canned soup that is legume, dairy, grain, potato and corn free. Well besides tomato soup which I strongly dislike. It was sad. Then I stumbled upon this amazing hearts of palm soup and it was like the skies opened and you could hear angels sing! I love the one with spinach so much that I never got around to trying the one with sweet potato…but imagine thats good too. Thank you, Costa Rica!

Cold Soup

Fast forward to recent times and my wisdom tooth surgery. I wanted to stock up on soup but for some reason my HEB had not stocked the hearts of palm soup in ages and I had already eaten what they did have. The first week I gave in and ate ramen as I could eat so little food that I needed the carbohydrates and it was so soft and lump free. However, by the second week, I was back to normal except for the continued mouth pain, so although wanted soft foods, I was back to wanting what I normally eat. I was mainly lacking in vegetables and as my diet is normally about 85% vegetables, this was making me feel not so great. Adam picked up a box of the heb brand orange soup that can be served warm or cold and thought it could be the answer. He was almost right, except we both missed the dairy ingredient and it did not agree with me. But that made me think that looking into cold soups might be a good idea. As we’re in Austin, Texas, it’s hot most of the year, so we therefore have a large section of cold soups at the local heb. Which gave me such hope, until I discovered that sadly almost all contain one of the ingredients I avoid. I did however find a few cold fruit soups which were delicious but a bit more on the dessert spectrum and these amazing Cold Soups pictured above. They are a little chunky (which was a teeny problimatic after dental surgery, but not an issue normally), are each a serving of veggies and are paleo. I even like the tomato! They’re perfect for when I’m in the middle of something in the studio and don’t have time to prep or eat a meal, but need fuel.

I haven’t checked out the selection at Whole Foods or Central Market yet as I have not had time to grocery shop at two places, but I suspect they may have more options in this direction. If not, I’m not really bothered as I now have both hot and cold options that I love. What are your favorite soups? Are you a fan of cold soup?

 

p.s. I am still eating paleo about 90% of the time and really happy with it. The other 10% is due to Adam and I making a pact that if we go out to eat, I cannot be obnoxious with dietary restrictions and he cannot be picky.

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5 things that make me so happy, yet I avoid doing

The state of my desk pile on Friday afternoon.
The chaotic state of my desk pile on Friday afternoon.

I have been thinking today about how there are very few things in life that make me instantly happy, take less that 30 minutes to do and cost nothing (because I always already have everything). Yet these are the things that I put off until I cringing from not doing them. Here are my top 5 and a vow to try and do them more ofter:

1. Painting my toenails. Just a simple color change at home makes me bizarrely happy and it’s just not done enough.

2. Changing the sheets. Clean sheet night is my favorite night of the week. Now that we have 2 dogs instead of 1, I’m thinking it may need to happen twice a week. Because dog hair.

3. Vacuuming. My most procrastinated task…and yet its such a good feeling after it’s done. Due to all the rain and therefore mud, I have been doing it more frequently and feel that it just makes life more pleasant.

4. Running. I actually wrote a paper for a philosophy class in college about why I deny myself something that brings me so much happiness. Here I am, so many years later…still doing it.

5. Cleaning off the pile on my desk. It takes minutes to go through the pile of notes and papers that accumulate. I instantly feel more pulled together and should do it daily…yet there it sits.

What are the simple little things that bring you instant happiness…that you really should do more often?

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