Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween to all the ghosts and goblins in the blogosphere!  I hope you had a delightfully ghoulish day and an equally fantastic night.  I love the fun of Halloween.  At work, there are several people that go all out with amazing costumes and creations.  Unquestionably, I admire their creativity and bravery.  Not only do they dress up, but these guys go into character.  I mean, I can wear a costume, but it is tough to get into character.

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One of my co-workers, our marketing guru, goes hog wild for Halloween. Every year he pulls off a wildly different and authentic costume.  Last year, he was John Lennon.  This year, he was the Godfather.  As is the case every year, he absolutely nailed it!  His officer was awesomely decorate with all the accouterments one would expect from the Don on the day of his daughter’s wedding.  Twinkies, poker chips, beverages, music, playing cards and framed music.  Everything about the execution, pun intended, of his character and his office was absolutely pitch perfect.  Undoubtedly, he has inspired me and my leadership team to up our game next Halloween.

At Zumba, Halloween is always a fun week as I breakout Michael Jackon’s Thriller.  The girls and I love dancing to a little MJ.  It’s a nice change of pace from the usual Zumba music.  Not to mention, its a bit nostalgic.  I think we all remember when the Thriller video debuted.  It was incredible.  There’s nothing like it on MTV today, which is a shame.

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Meanwhile on the home front, Jake’s spending his Halloween at work.  Goalielocks went to a friend’s house for a party and trick or treating.  Lastly, the Mayor reluctantly went trick or treating.  I couldn’t believe he didn’t want to go!  I remember growing up we’d go as far as we could to get as much candy as possible.  It wasn’t always easy because the weather in Minnesota was bitterly cold and snowy.  Nevertheless, we’d make my mom take us miles and miles.  Halloween was all about getting the biggest candy hull possible.  Apparently, that isn’t the case with today’s kids.  If I were a kid now, I’d go to every house in my neighborhood not just our loop.

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Lastly, as the trick or treaters wind down, we’ll start binge watching the second season of Stranger Things.  Can I tell you how excited I am to be current on the “hot show?”  I mean, we just finished “Big Love” like a year ago and that’s been off the air for over six years.  Amazingly, the entire family is into this show.  The hubby and I love it because it reminds us of the movies of our youth.  It’s like the awesomeness of ET, Goonies, Stand By Me all in one.  Not to mention the soundtrack is amazing.  Moreover, the girl that plays Eleven is simply incredible.  It is some of the best acting you’ll see bar none.  She’s amazing!  I won’t post spoilers here because that will ruin the fun for others.  Meanwhile, I’m happy to be starting season 2 tonight.

Was there ever as doubt as to tonight’s music video?  I thought not… Enjoy MJ’s epic Thriller

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Winter Fluff

Winter Fluff

Winter fluff.  I’m not talking about the white stuff, but rather the extra pounds one tends to gain during the winter season.  Of course, this was normal living in Minnesota.  Activity waned for me as the weather got colder outdoor.   Fortunately, over-sized sweaters were the perfect way to cover up any extra weight.

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Unfortunately, living in South Florida our winter consists of dips into the 40s.  Most of the winter is comfortably warm and bikini season in unending.  There’s rarely sweater weather here, so there’s no covering up any extra winter fluff.  On the flip side, the weather here is perfect.  Consequently, we can enjoy the great outdoors year round.   Not surprisingly, running is a lot more pleasant when the temperatures are in the 70s not the high 90s.  Running in triple digit heat indices, as you can imagine, is not nearly as much fun as it sounds.

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The only the combination of lack of sweater weather and winter fluff are troublesome is around the holidays. Who wants to behave and eat well with all the holiday parties and dinners?  Thanks, but no thanks!  So how does on survive the holidays without putting on the fluff?  I’m glad you asked.  The key is moderation and exercise.  Sadly, diet is 80% of the equation with exercises only making up 20%.   This means you cannot completely correct all your food indiscretions with exercise.

Where does this leave you?  Comprising.  If you’re at a party, enjoy the food, but skip seconds.  If you’re drinking, opt for a drink (like a vodka soda) that is low in calories.  My drink of choice is a peach pear LaCroix with a shot of Peach Ciroc on the ice.  Its refreshing, its light and its low calorie.  Plus, Circoc is very smooth.  In addition, add in some extra workouts as this will help mitigate some of the extra calories.

In honor of the start of the holiday season, let’s kick it back to 2001 with Pink’s Get the Party Started

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Cicero.  I drove to the rink to watch my youngest play to hockey games today with a heart full of gratitude.  First of all, the game was at home – a total godsend.  Secondly, there’s nothing better than watching your kid play the game they love.  No  matter how we hockey parents feel, we’re still gonna show up at the rink to watch our kids.  It didn’t hurt, of course, that they won both games.  Excitedly, the Mayor had the game wining goal in the 2nd game.

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Yesterday, during the torrential rains of Tropical Storm Philippe, Goalielocks and I went to Dick’s and PetSmart.  While driving to the store, we started talking about the current state of youth sports.  For instance, when I was growing up most kids played multiple sports.  In contrast, today’s kids are specializing in one sport by age 12.  Moreover, the cost to play for today’s kids has become astronomical.  In order to stay competitive, many kids play on tournament teams, attend clinics, take private lessons and go to camps.   This, however, comes with an extremely colossal price tag that puts youth sports out of reach for many.   This was mind blowing to Goalielocks.  As we drove home last night, I think Goalielocks understood how lucky he’s been having played travel hockey since 2011.

My heart is full with gratitude for the boys’ opportunity to play hockey.  Our boys have been playing travel hockey since 2011.  In the year since, we’ve had incredible experiences with their teams.  Moreover, the boys had the fantastic opportunity to travel with their teams to Boston, Minnesota, Ottawa, Washington D.C., and Quebec.  This season we will be travelling to Chicago, Atlanta and Boston.  Needless to say my boys’ are extremely excited for these trips.

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There are many things that fill my heart with gratitude, but none more than the incredible people in my life.  From my parents and in-laws, to my brothers, my hockey family, my friends and my work squad, I am lucky to be surrounded by incredible people that make my heart sing.

To Fly or Not To Fly

To Fly or Not to Fly

To fly or not to fly that is the question.  For the 2nd Saturday in a row, thank you hockey schedule, I was able to take my circuit burn class followed by aerial yoga this morning.  This was my 3rd aerial yoga class. One of the questions, I’ve been asked most often since starting aerial yoga is which practice do I prefer.  Do I prefer aerial or vinyasa?

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The answer isn’t so easy because both the aerial and vinyasa practices feed each other.  There are aspects of aerial yoga that will translate into a better practice on the mat.  For example, the inversions in aerial yoga are much easier because the swing supports you and provides balance.  Consequently, since the inversions are aided in a sense, it allows you to work on strength and alignment.   As an added bonus, you can hold the pose for a significantly longer time.  I guess the answer is that I prefer both.

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Aerial yoga takes a significant amount of trust and letting go of fear.  You have to trust yourself and the swing knowing that it will prevent you from falling and hurting yourself.  Moreover, you have to let go of fear.  Admittedly, the first aerial yoga class I took was intimidating.  My teacher Monica, who is incredible, encouraged all of us to let go of our fear.  Additionally, she also showed us how to position our bodies to prevent a fall and assisted us with the poses.  As a consequence, I felt comfortable in the fabric by the end of my first class.

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Aside from the fear of getting hurt or embarrassing oneself by falling, the fear of not being able to keep up is omnipresent that first class.   If you find yourself in an aerial yoga class discouraged by your ability, do like Elsa and “let it go.”  Today in class, there was someone completely new to aerial.  Almost half way through the class, she became discouraged and was ready to leave because she couldn’t keep up.  Fortunately, between our teacher’s encouragement and her fellow classmates’ encouragement, she decided to stick it out.  While she may have struggled that first half of class, she absolutely slayed the second half.

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I think the turning point was realizing that: a) nobody was judging her b) everyone progresses at their own speed c) her practice is her own.   In my opinion, there is no better teacher of humility than a good yoga practice.  I’m a highly competitive person.  Yoga has helped me put that aside.  I’ve learned to accept that my practice is my own own and I’m in competition with nobody.  In addition, I learned that I loved savasana in aerial yoga even more than on the mat.  I know, I didn’t know it was even possible.  In the aerial class, you encase yourself in the yoga silk, which becomes akin to a hammock.  It sways ever so gently during the pose, which is okay with me.  By the end of the savasana, I feel like I’ve just woken up from the best night’s sleep. I freaking love it.

Due to my work and hockey schedule,  I haven’t been able to go to a Vinyasa class for a couple of weeks.  I cannot, however, wait to see how I’ve progressed on my mat since starting my aerial practice.  As for my aerial practice, I look forward to seeing how it evolves from week to week.  Significantly, I’ve noticed with each class a step function in ability and comfort.  Last week I was able to do a flip, while today I was able to do plow and a shoulder stand.  It was pretty awesome stuff.   Tomorrow it’s Xtend Barre in the morning followed by hockey games in the afternoon.   At some point tomorrow, I’ll try to tackle the household chores. I’ll  probably try to get some laundry done and maybe even take a nap.

Tonight’s song comes courtesy of Tom Petty in honor of Aerial Yoga: Learning to Fly

First Snow

First Snow of the Season

As South Florida enjoyed its first cool front of the fall, my parents and family in Minnesota were enjoying the first snow of the season.  I fondly remember enjoying the first snow as a child.  Sometimes it would come as early as September.  Other years it would come in October, and often early November. Naturally, as I got older and had to drive in the snow, my appreciation for the season’s first snow began to wane.  Emphatically this was especially true when I was working as an auto claims adjuster.

Now living in S. Florida, our weather drama is made up of hurricanes, the rainy season and season. Snowbirds, fleeing from the North, are the cause for S. Florida’s traffic slowdown.   In contrast to Minnesota, where a poorly time snowfall makes for an incredibly miserable commute.  While I can’t say that I enjoy snowbirds, I’ll take them over black ice and driving through blizzards any day.  If I’m being honest by the end of season, I may prefer black ice to snowbirds.  Most, at least on the East Coast, are superbly rude, drive incredibly slow and have predilection for turning left from the far right lane.

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Unquestionably there’s something serenely beautiful about freshly fallen snow.   This is especially true as I admire it from afar.  Now instead of enjoying the beauty of freshly fallen snow, I delight in the beauty that Florida’s sunrises and sunsets offer.  Almost everyday, we are able to enjoy an incredible sunset.  I’m sure the same is true of sunrises.  Generally, unless I’m running in 5k that starts at 7:00 am, I am not seeing the sunrise.

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As the sun begins to set in the sky, the sky is filled with brilliant blue, pink, orange, red and sometimes purple hues.  I remember running right after Hurricane Matthew to an incredibly brilliant sky that night.  Interestingly, there’s an old adage that states that “red skies at night, sailors delight.”  The night before the hurricane was to have hit our coast, the sunset was almost colorless.  There was only the sun with none of the usual brilliant hues.   Whether or not the old adage holds true, I don’t know.

Importantly I should clarify that a cold front in S. Florida means it dipped below 80 degrees.   Truly the brief respite from the heat and humidity has been a godsend.  I even got to wear one of my great workout sweaters to Barre Wednesday night without overheating horrifically.  Unfortunately, our brief respite is supposed to end this weekend as tropical moisture pushes up from the Gulf of Mexico.  Of course, by tropical moisture, I do mean an area of low pressure forecasted to be a tropical storm just off our coast.  Good times!  While Minnesota enjoys its first snow fall of the season, a busy hurricane season is trying to squeeze in one more storm, for Florida, before the season ends November 1st.

Tonight’s song comes to us courtesy of the Cure: Friday I’m in Love

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Surreal

We’re living the surreal life as we transition from life with little kids to life with teens and gulp and adult.  It’s almost surreal that Jake’s in college, Goalielocks is looking at high schools and the Mayor just completed his first quarter of middle school.  In many way, Jake’s graduation from high school still feels quite surreal.  Obviously, I’m not old enough to have a college freshmen and no kids left in elementary.   While my boys are getting older, the hubby and I haven’t aged a bit.  Its truly a thing of wonder.

As I drive to work each morning, passing by the elementary school my kids attended for nine years without having to drop off a kid feels both odd and strangely liberating.  Life’s transitions, are tough, rewarding and ever evolving.  Last spring in my Zumba class I was commiserating over my son’s forthcoming graduation and adulthood with my class. When one of my Zumba girls so poignantly reminded me that graduation is one of life’s many transitions into new and exciting stages.  Wow, I hadn’t thought about it like that before.  It was eye opening and a bit liberating.   Although admittedly adult or not, Jake will always be my sweet,  little, blue-eyed boy.

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We’ve settled into a new routing of sorts, with Jake at class 4 out of 5 days per week.  He already registered himself for the next semester.  Jake also paid for his first semester himself (proud mama moment.)  While Jake finds his way at college, the Mayor is hitting his stride in Middle School.  I was so worried about him starting middle school, but those worries were for naught.  He’s absolutely loving his culinary academy and so are we.  Particularly, I love when I come home from Zumba to dinner courtesy of the Mayor.  Honestly, he’s a phenomenal cook.  The Mayor always saves me sauteed onions and sets protein aside (if I’m watching my carbs) me.

Goalielocks, meanwhile, is raising a veritable zoo in our house, but hey it’s better than video games.  He continues to confound his teachers by neglecting homework and acing all his tests.  Subsequently, I’m sure you can guess the source of my high blood pressure and angst.  With high school coming next year, we’re really working hard to get his home work and study habits in line.  For all you parents with strong willed children, I know you understand what were up against.

One thing I do miss from last year, is the opportunity to run with Jake.  His work and school schedule have made it almost impossible for us to train together.  I can’t tell you how much running with him improved my time and cardio capacity!  I’m hoping as his semester and my Zumba class wind down for winter break that we’ll be able to get back into the habit of running together.  Otherwise,  it will be an ugly run for me at the Purple Stride event on November 19th!

Tonight’s song of choice: Keane “Everybody’s Changing”

Lose Yourself

Lose Yourself

Is it my or when you see the phrase lose yourself do you start singing Eminem’s driving anthem.  The song is just as current today as when it was released 15 years ago.  I wrote last night about trademark, which goes hand in hand with our identity.  In Eminem’s song he talks about losing yourself in a music and giving it all you got.  In life, we must give it all we got – we owe ourselves that-, but we can’t lose ourselves in the craziness.

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Life’s circumstances can make it hard to stay true to ourselves, but we have to persevere through the challenges.  If you’re like me, life has thrown you more than a couple of curve balls. In fact, if your 2017 has been like mine, I’m sure your wondering why the hell the curve balls won’t stop!?!?!  Am I right?  I think we’ve all been gifted more lemons this year than available vodka resulting in an unfavorable lemon to lemon drop ratio.  It’s a sad state of affairs when that happens and it needs to change. 2018 do you hear me?

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As we march towards 2018, 2017 has shaken many of us to our core – myself included.  Grief, stress and disappointment are not the most fun combination in the world.  Yes, I know captain obvious here…  Grief, as I’ve found, can surprise you and completely envelop you if you let it.  It creeps up when you least expect it amplifying other negative emotions.

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Consequently, I was writing my blog last night when it dawned on me.  I’ve drifted away from who I am as a person.  I had to started to give in to the bulls%#t allowing others to define how I feel about myself and the world.  Fuck that shit (sorry mom!)  It was a liberating experiencing last night and left me feeling empowered.  Truly, sometimes knowing is half the balance.  When I realized that I had started to let the trials of life and people in it impact my trademark and my identity, I knew exactly how it fix it.  You gotta love those Eureka moments!

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Undoubtedly, writing is cathartic for the soul.  While this blog started as a means of coping with grief after losing Debbie in March, I’ve learned a lot more about myself than I had ever anticipated.  Meanwhile, here we are seven months later and I sill cannot bring myself to write about the experience of losing her.  Unquestionably, it is a gradual journey and someday I’ll be able to share those experiences here.  Nonetheless, here is what I do know.  Life is too short to wallow in the weeds letting life or others impact our positive outlook.  At the end of the day, we own our mindset as much as we own our identity.  Don’t let anyone take that away from you ever no matter how tired you may be.   Only you can protect your identity (and prevent forest fires.)

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Your Trademark

What’s your trademark?  Is it the way you smile? Is it the cup on Dunkin in your hand?  The way you dress?  Or maybe it is the way you make people laugh.  Each of us has unique gifts, a unique look, unique ideas.  Either way your trademark is uniquely yours, so own it.

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I get it, trust me I do, its tough to own your fabulousness while fighting through the minutia (aka brave sierra) of the 9-5:00.  One of my favorite movies is Office Space.  As our protagonist became miserable in his job, he lost himself for a minute.  It wasn’t until he decided to make a change that he was invigorated again.  In the end, he defrauded the company and ended up in a construction job.  Obviously,  I’m not advocating defrauding you company, but I am advocating finding and following your passion.

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Nobody in Hollywood today or yesteryear, could compete with the awesome persona that was Mae West.  Without a doubt , her trademark blonde hair and acerbic wit were and still are absolutely legendary.  I love the quote from her below.  It’s not what you do or what you say, but how you say it.  Say things in your voice.  Do things in your own way.  Be true to your identity.

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As I wrote at the beginning, each of us has things that are uniquely ours.  This along with the way we make people feel is our trademark.  As I look at my own kids, each has a trademark of their own.  Jake’s trademark is his dimples and passion for music.  Goalielocks’ trademark without question is his flowing blonde hair and brilliant, inquisitive mind.  The Mayor’s is well he’s the Mayor – that’s his trademark.  Everywhere we go, people know the Mayor.  Certainly. his cute dimples and personality don’t hurt.    No matter the pressure, no matter what happens, don’t let life’s up and downs impact you amazingness.

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Tonight’s song:  Queen Ft. David Bowie Under Pressure

 

Be the Reason

Be The Reason

Be the reason someone smiles today! Regardless of how you feel, choose to rise above the fray.  Indeed, choose to be kind, choose to be sincere, and choose to champion the beautiful people in your life.  Lastly, wishing the blogosphere a very Happy (and sinus infection free) Tuesday!

Jus Cleanse Bandwagon

Jus Cleanse Bandwagon

I admit it, after much consternation I jumped on the Jus cleanse bandwagon.  After struggling to lose both the Norway and Hurricane Irma weight, I figured why not try it.  I researched several cleanses.  I quickly realized that I would need a cleanse with more than just juice if i was going to be successful.  Fortunately, I found a cleanse on Groupon from a reputable company with tons of good reviews.  It was reassuring to see numerous people write that they didn’t feel hungry or fatigued while on the cleanse.

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Consequently, I bought a 3 day cleanse from Jus By Julie.  The cleanse itself was came with nine juice and nine soups.  The juices were Sweet Spin Juice (kale, spinach, pineapple, rice milk and mango), Spicy Pomegranate (think master cleanse with pomegranate), and Berry Chia.   I enjoyed each of the juices including the Spicy Pomegranate.  These juices are blended not cold pressed, so there is considerable pulp in some of them.  I don’t mind pulp, but if you’re not a pulp person these juices probably aren’t for you.

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In addition to the juices, the cleanse came with 9 different soups.  There’s too many to name here, but some of my favorites were: split pea, carrot ginger, red lentil, coconut pumpkin bisque and the detox broth.  Each of the soups, like the juices, is vegan, gluten free, kosher, non-GMO and dairy free.  If you have sensitivities to any of the aforementioned items, this cleanse will be perfect for you.  While the soups have no dairy, gluten or animal products, what they do have is a lot of good flavor.  I was honestly impressed with the quality and flavor of all nine of the soups.

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Was I hungry on the cleanse?  Absolutely, but I’m always hungry.  I could eat sixty four Thanksgiving dinners still be hungry.   At the end of each night, I was hungry, but I wasn’t dying from hunger.  In fact, I had expected to be much hungrier at the end of the day.  From a calories perspective, it wasn’t super low calorie, which is good.   I felt it kept my calories at a safe level without being too high or too low.  Unquestionably, the most surprising aspect of the cleanse was how I felt on the cleanse.  Surprisingly,  the cleanse left me feeling energetic and amazing.  While teaching Zumba on the cleanse, I felt great and full of energy.  This was a truly pleasant surprise.

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Confession time.  The cleanse directions state that  you’ are to give up solid foods and coffee creamer while on the program.  I have no problem with the food, but admittedly I couldn’t give up my Dunkin.  Nonetheless, the cleanse was still effective for me even as I continued to drink my cream laden coffee.   I know there’s a cacophony of differing opinions on cleanses, which makes it difficult to truly evaluate their worth.    However, at the end of the three days, I was down four pounds and feeling fantastic.  It is definitely something I will buy again and something I’d recommend trying.

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Where can you buy it?  The best option is via Groupon as it sells it for $57 vs. the list price of $125 on Jus By Julie’s website.  They ship the juices and soup to you frozen at a cost of $20.  Jus By Juile packs their products into a Styrofoam cooler with a generous amount of ice packs.  I was impressed that the cleanse survived being delivered to sunny South Florida in the early October heat.

Groupon: click here
Jus by Julie: click here