A Restart

What’s up, friends.

So, after I somewhat unceremoniously ditched you all almost a month ago now, I think I’m finally in a place where I can get back into this, at least for the moment. A fair amount of my life is still in flux (actually, in an almost-hit-my-actual-breaking-point turn of events, my life is in even more flux now than it was when I left off), but the flux feels ever-so-slightly under control. If nothing else, I think I can dedicate time to this again for right now, so here goes.

I’ve done things of varying degrees of interest over the past three weeks, including:

marathontrials

Watching the Olympic Marathon Trials, which basically felt like Christmas to me. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would enjoy watching people run for 2+ hours, but the Trials were so fun to watch. I love watching Boston, but this was so much better, knowing Americans would definitely win, and having at least basic familiarity with most of the main contenders prior to the event.

dimos

Ordering pizza from Dimo’s. I realize this seems like it isn’t all that eventful of an occasion, but this was only the second time in my entire life I’ve ordered delivery, and the first time said delivery included pizza. Plus it was basically the only exciting thing that happened to me all of Valentine’s Day weekend, which makes for a sad but true commentary on my life.

soulcycle

Taking three SoulCycle classes. Speaking of things I never dreamed I’d enjoy, right before I took my blog break, Target x SoulCycle stopped in Chicago, bringing with it free SoulCycle classes. I went to one of the Sunday classes and received a comp class at the new SoulCycle Southport location that just opened a month or so ago. When I redeemed my free class, the SoulCycle staff gave me another voucher for another free class, since it was my first time riding, at least in an official setting. I honestly really enjoyed all three classes. I suppose I’ve sort of been in the right emotional mindset to get a lot out of something like SoulCycle recently, but I was shocked by how much I liked all three classes. I’ve taken spin twice before and never cared for it, and even though there were aspects of the spinning at SoulCycle I didn’t like (namely, that I found the seats to be quite uncomfortable and always had a sore butt for days after), there were FAR more aspects that I did like. I never felt bored, which was always my #1 complaint in other spin classes. In fact, I always felt like the 45 minutes flew by. But I think what I liked the most was the choreography. Considering that I’ve chosen to take dance time and time again for three and a half years, I guess it really shouldn’t be that surprising that I loved that a fair portion of the class involved pedaling and moving to the beat of the (deafeningly loud) music. I had a lot of preconceived notions about SoulCycle based on my previous studio fitness experiences, and was happy to find out I was wrong. Of course, this isn’t something I’ll probably keep up, at least not regularly (unless there are a bunch of you out there interested in making routine $30 donations to the Bethany Enjoys SoulCycle Fund), but I’m glad I got to go three times.

I spontaneously decided to take a cross-country train trip.

cityofneworleanstrain

This is at least two blog posts in and of itself, but when one of my Stuffs turned sour, I said, “Fine then! I’m going on vacation!” I had wanted to visit my sister in Jackson, Mississippi for a while, and decided last year that I needed to take a February vacation to escape the soul-crushing perma-grey and cold that is late winter in Chicago. So south I went, to the land of warmth and sunshine! I spent slightly less than 24 hours in New Orleans, then headed up to Jackson for two days before returning to Chicago.

That’s the highlight reel of my life lately. I’m back to work today (boo 😦 ), but look forward to telling you all about my trip very soon, and catching up on your blogs 🙂

Friday Things

1. Lest I mislead any of you into thinking that one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to blog every day, I’ve moved this week’s Thursday Things to Friday. Either that, or I spent too much of my computer time on Wednesday researching shampoos that will combat the perma-dirtiness that comes with what I’ve concluded is hard water in my apartment to write a blog post. My BFF Google helped has confirmed my suspicion that we’re plagued with hard water, especially after reading this:

Screen shot 2013-01-03 at 3.42.16 PM

Story of my LIFE.

After spending almost two full weeks at home with our beautifully soft water, I couldn’t get over how nice my hair looked, felt, and acted compared to what I’m used to. Since buying a probably-expensive shampoo seems to be more cost-effective than going home every weekend for the exclusive purpose of washing my hair, I’m now on a quest to find something that will let me wash my hair without dreading the outcome: a quest that proved time-consuming enough to keep me from having time to write a blog post for Thursday. My bad.

2. An added benefit of buying a hard water shampoo: most of the ones I’ve found are also recommended for swimmers. I haven’t been lap swimming since last April, but I really want to get back in the pool as soon as possible. I’ve got my sights set on an indoor triathlon this winter (a much more reasonable option than an outdoor triathlon for this bike-less girl), but I think attempting an indoor tri with no swimming base to speak of could be disastrous. I also really enjoy swimming for fitness as a way of breaking up my usual running/elliptical/stat bike cardio routine, so win win. Now I just need to muster up the confidence to actually get myself to a pool. I have an irrational fear of going to a pool where I’ve never been before because I don’t know the standard code of conduct, and I hate feeling like a newbie. That’s probably not a good enough reason to not swim, though, especially since I want to do an indoor tri.

3. I’ve made a couple of interesting food discoveries in the past couple of days. I had to go bare-bones grocery shopping when I got back to the city to hold me over until I had time to do my usual grocery shopping, and I really wanted clementines. My Jewel didn’t have any, though, so on a whim I bought cara cara oranges, figuring they’d be just like any other orange I had ever tried. Imagine my surprise, then, when I peeled my first orange on Wednesday and discovered that they look like this:

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Who knew?

I’ve also recently toyed with the idea of reducing dairy in my diet. I’ve had pretty awful acne since I was a preteen, and over Thanksgiving my dermatologist put me back on an antibiotic I used to take. I’m reeeeeeeally not into antibiotics, but I’ve tried just about everything to help my face, and the antibiotics are the only things that make a difference. However, I noticed recently that my stomach would get all sorts of grumpy when I took the antibiotic after having dairy at breakfast. My dermatologist has also been all over my case for a long time for drinking milk as often as I do, since the hormones in dairy don’t do acne any favors. Those two things, in combination with the fact that all the milk at Jewel had an outdate of January 2 when I went shopping on January 1, convinced me to give almond milk a shot this week. And I kid you not: my first thought after taking of sip of almond milk was, “Wow, this isn’t as bad as I thought it might be. It actually tastes kind of nutty.”

Well DUH. It’s made from almonds. Of course it tastes nutty! Not one of my brighter moments.

Any exciting weekend plans?
Have you made any unexpected or interesting food discoveries lately?

Best Body Bootcamp Week 2: Same but Harder

Week Two of Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp is officially in the books!

Week Two followed the exact same workout plan as Week One but added more reps on the strength training portion of things. The upped reps proved to be a bit of a challenge for me. I’m very limited in the equipment department–as in, I have two 10 lb. dumbbells, and that’s it–which made sets that involved 15 reps a little beyond me. I pushed through them, but rep #15 definitely did not look as pretty or go as far as rep #1 for me on a lot of the exercises we had to do.

I also started taking a hip hop class this week–I mean, obviously. I’m sure if you asked anyone who has ever met me to describe me in one word, the first word that would come to almost everyone’s mind is, “Swag-tastic.” Hahaha. Nottttt at all. Despite my distinct lack of swag and my even greater lack of dance training, I loved my first class. Everyone else in my class has taken dance classes before, but even though I’m the only complete rookie, I felt like I held my own relatively well. I also got an awesome cardio workout that was approximately 9329384 times more exciting than the elliptical or stationary bike. So, in summary: hip hop is all-around awesome, and my cool factor is definitely on the up and up 😉

On the goal front…well, yeah. Haha. I actually completely forgot to stretch on Thursday (see: yesterday’s post and the reference to teary workouts. Sometimes emotions get in the way of goal memory), but other than that I continued stretching. Healthy eating away from home, once again, could have been better (darn co-worker who brought in leftover cake from his daughter’s bat mitzvah…), but it also could have been worse, so there’s that. I am going to have MORE than enough chances to continue working on this as boot camp goes on.

Phase Two of boot camp starts next week, and my general reaction to seeing the workouts was one of sheer terror. Haha. The next couple of weeks are definitely going to be rough and push me even harder than the first two. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes!