Health & Wellness Tuesday: Back to Basics

I have been struggling with keeping in shape since I am currently without a job and therefore without a gym membership.  But because I am without a job I have all the time in the world to fit in a work out.  BUT, I got used to having my elliptical machine and my weight machines and my body pump classes to make sure I was getting in my exercise.  So how do I stay in shape without a gym?  It’s easy.  Go back to the basics.  Sits ups, push ups and some cardio.  That’s all you really need to do to stay in shape.  Pilates machines and Precor machines and trainers are nice and they certainly help you attain a higher level of fitness but if you don’t have access to those luxuries… go back to the basics!  There’s NO EXCUSE for not fitting your sit ups and push ups in every day.  (I actually just took a break from writing this post to do 21 push ups and I feel much better).

Then, if you can just squeeze 4 days of cardio in per week you’re good.  This is what I struggle with though.  Despite the fact that I have all the time in the world to workout… I just don’t like to workout when it’s 100 degrees outside.  Call me crazy.  So without a cushy air-conditioned gym what am I supposed to do??

My solution is I bought a jump rope.  Got it for $14.99 at Target.  I go outside in the late afternoon when it’s not quite at hot and have at it.  After about 10 minutes I’m D.O.N.E.  If I can, I try to jump rope a couple times per day.  That doesn’t always workout though with social events and taking a shower, etc. but when it does work it’s great.  I feel like a kid again.  Then I get all confident and try to do the criss-cross thing but usually get tripped up and decide that sticking to the basics is best.

It’s all about molding a workout to your current lifestyle!

Art & Photography Monday: Henri Cartier-Bresson

If you’re in Chicago anytime from now until October 3rd you should check out the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibition of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work (organized by the MoMA in NYC).  With over 300 images, it’s the largest exhibition of his work in 30 years.  His work is some of the most influential in the history of photography.  If you’re not going to be in Chicago, then I suggest you take a few minutes today to check out his work here.  It’s nice to reflect on the work of the masters and be transported back to as early as the 1930′s before going back to typing on our iPads and reading from our Kindles.

Sunday Wrap Up: Boxed Wine & Apple Cobbler

Friday: Talked on the phone for about 2 hours with a friend who lives a 10 minute drive away.  Drank 4 glasses of Riesling from a box.  Ate late night hummus and quinoa.  Watched Part 1 of “The Sound of Music” and fell asleep.

Saturday: Popped ibuprofen to get rid of box wine hangover.  Hung out with same phone friend and her 2 kids all day.  Great quality time.  Went to a pool with a big SLIDE and proceeded to go down slide about 17 times (woo hoo!).  Some kids let me cut in line one time because I think they could tell I was chompin’ at the bit to go down.

Sunday: Volunteered at the Dragon Boat Races at Sloan’s Lake.  Met a couple interesting people.  Got sunburned.  Got a free coupon for a coffee at the McCafe at McDonald’s.  Went home.

Sunday night: Went to a bar to watch “Mad Men” premiere since I currently don’t own a TV.  Audio wasn’t very good so I need to see it again.  Ate too much apple cobbler and now I’m rolling around in bed trying to get comfortable but can’t and wish I could remove my stomach.  Just for tonight.  Will watch “Jerry Maguire” on Hulu.com until I go to sleep.

Tomorrow: I’m driving to Aspen to visit with family for a few days.  Can’t wait!

Free For All Friday: Color IQ and Double Rainbow Guy

Does everyone see color the same way?  Take this test to find out what you see vs. what is correct.  I scored an 11 which I think is decent but I wish I had done better.

Speaking of color, in case you’re curious what the “Double Rainbow” guy looks like check this out:

Travel Thursday: AAdvantage eShopping Mall

I receive so many credit card and rewards program offers via email and snail mail that I usually ignore them.  But I recently paid attention to one I received for my American Airlines AAdvantage Account and I wanted to share this deal with you all.

It’s very simple.  Download their AAdvantage Toolbar which will be added to your internet browser (option #6 right now in the skybox in the middle of the page) and enroll in their AAdvantage eShopping program.  It’s free and only takes a couple of minutes to download.  And I haven’t received any junk email from them.  By doing this you earn 1,000 miles (I’m sure it takes about 8-10 weeks for them to show up in your account but they’ll eventually show up).  Then, by using their search function that’s now in your toolbar instead of searching via Google you earn 1 mile for every 3 searches.  Google is definitely a superior search engine BUT most of the items I am searching for are pretty standard and so far the AAdvantage Toolbar hasn’t let me down.  In just a few days, I have earned 11 miles and it will just keep adding up!  Their goal in having you add their toolbar is to have you use it to go shopping and take advantage of their “exclusive offers”.  I could care less about that aspect of the deal but if you do a lot of online shopping that could be another way to add some miles to your account by doing something you would normally do via another means.

Just wanted to put this out there in case anyone has an AAdvantage Account but didn’t realize this offer was available!  I realize it will take 75,000 internet searches for us to earn a ticket but perhaps by using their search function we’ll earn those few thousand extra miles we need to put us over the 25,000 mile marker that we earned by actually flying with them.  Might as well try, right?!

Motivation Wednesday: Guys on Romance

At first glance the topic of “Guys on Romance” might not seem to fit into the “Motivation” category but after reading this article on MSN I certainly felt motivated to go out on a date!  Even if you’ve already found that special someone this article could prove to be helpful because there might be one situation in there that makes you say, “Ahaaaa.  That makes sense!” which helps you going forward in your relationship.  You might be able to avoid a reoccurring argument or spending too much money on perfume (that statement will make sense after reading the article).  And as we know people, knowledge is power and feeling powerful is motivating!

I’m not a huge fan of grouping all men into categories and making assumptions that they all do this or that but if you’re already with someone then you know him well and will recognize if any of these situations apply to him.  And if you’re single and dating then you will be armed with the information once these situations arise as you get to know your new man.  I’ve seen articles like this before but I like the framework of this one by Ky Henderson.  He breaks it down into what’s overrated vs. underrated.  Below is an example:

Overrated: Humoring him by watching the game
Underrated: Doing your own thing while he watches the game.  If you truly enjoy drinking beer while watching sports, that’s great. But if you’re doing it solely for his sake, there’s no need to bother — he knows that you’re a girl. And he likes that.

Henderson covers a total of 10 of these situations and I think it’s worth a read for women but also for men just to see if they agree or disagree.  Let me know what you think!

Health & Wellness Tuesday: Meatless Monday


Have you all heard of this movement?!  I think it is a FANTASTIC idea!  I always thought that I’d have to be a full-on vegetarian to truly derive it’s benefits but I recently learned that is not true.  Just ONE day a week without meat can have a positive effect on your health – hence the Meatless Monday movement.

The most important thing to me is to be provided with recipes to help me remain satisfied the whole day and their website provides plenty for you!  Breakfast and lunch are easy but once dinner hits… that’s where I need help and I would imagine most of you do as well.

I saw a segment on 60 minutes a few months ago which featured Chef Jose Andres’ new restaurant (if you can call it that as their are only 6 seats) called “minibar” located in Washington D.C.  He’s quite a personality and I found that his opinion about the taste of meat made a lot of sense.  He said, “Well, meat to me, it’s slightly boring. Hold on, I love meat too but only once in a while. You get a piece of meat and you put it in your mouth, you chew, the first five seconds, all the juices flow around your mouth, they’re gone, and then you are 20 more seconds chewing something that is tasteless at this point. Something like this doesn’t happen with a pineapple, an asparagus, or a green pea.”  You can read the whole article and watch the full segment here.

Chris Elam is the Program Director for Meatless Monday and he has posted several interesting blogs on his page at The Huffington Post.  I suggest checking them out if you are at all interested in trying this because he has some very convincing points about the subject and provides additional recipes.

Given that it’s Tuesday and I had a big, juicy hamburger for dinner last night, I’ll have to start my Meatless Mondays NEXT week but I look forward to giving this a try!  Let me know if any of you attempt it and how it goes for you!