My Second Ever Quilt

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I never thought I wanted to tackle a quilt. However, after my first experience, I started gathering supplies for two more quilts before I was even finished binding up the first one.

This second ever quilt of mine is made with a vintage flower theme, mostly pinks and greens. I chose a fleece blanket for the lining instead of batting due to cost. I actually paid less for an actual fleece blanket than for as much batting as I would've needed, and I figured it would be really warm. See, Hubster doesn't mind the pinks as long as the blanket is warm. Win-win, people!

The backside is a queen-sized bed sheet I found at the thrift store.

The quilted side is made with squares of fabric mostly from the clearance section at JoAnn's and Walmart, cuz that's how I roll.

Quilt top/fleece blanket/bed sheet

My grandma, the very person who taught me to sew, was very tickled when she saw my project one night when she came over for dinner. I just told her to not look so closely at the seams. I'm a total mess when it comes to sewing perfectly straight and all professional-like.

Peanut's quilt is up next. His will be much more masculine, with fabric from several men's 3XL flannel shirts and remnants I found at the thrift store. The back will be a cuddly soft deer-themed fleece blanket that he just fell in love with. It's maybe a little too country for my taste, but it's not my tastes that matter when it comes to him.

While I was all motivated and stuff to sew, I also whipped up some other projects that I've been thinking about for awhile. You see, Peanut has two Build A Bear animals that needed some more wardrobe items to choose from, particularly pajamas. So, I found a few tutorials online and took Peanut to the fabric store to pick out his own fabric. He liked the sailor anchor theme for the pajamas and the checkered racing fleece for the sleeping bags.

Tiger and Mr. Fluffy

There's even a cutout for the tails! Be careful with the
tutorial though. The way you'll be sewing the shorts isn't 
quite what one might expect.

Roll-up sleeping bags, aren't these the cutest?

Sometimes I just really get on a roll with my sewing. I mentioned before that my Environment, particularly my home, is one of my biggest priorities in life (after God, family, that sort of thing). Home is the most important place on earth. I strive to do things that improve upon the comfort, serenity and security we feel at home. I tell ya, that quilt of mine is sure doing a number on my love for our bedroom. I just smile every day when I see it. Next up, I've been working on framing some pictures for behind our bed and DIY-ing a new jewelry shelf. You'll see...

What projects have you been working lately?

Oshkosh Sports and Fitness Expo

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On Saturday, I loaded my mom and Peanut up for a trip to the Sports and Fitness Expo in our city. I was really excited to go to my first fitness-related expo and already knew of a few booths that I wanted to scout out when I got there.

When we got there, I was a little taken aback by how small the expo really was. Now, don't take this wrong, because it was still super productive! But compared to something like Deerfest, it seemed pretty small. And unless I missed something, I didn't see any used sport or fitness equipment being sold, which was advertised. But I suspect that some of this has to do with the difficult website navigation--I had a hard time nailing down what was going on, especially the speaking schedules and such. Before we could even get inside though, we had to stop near the doors so Peanut could draw the camels and llamas, of course.

I had a great time talking to some of the representatives there, even if some of them were trying for a hard sell. I still learned a lot. If I had more disposable income I definitely would've hired the nutritionist I talked to, bought a year's supply of superfoods and vitamins, and signed up for a boot camp or six! I don't buy into the wraps and spinal scans and things like that. Sorry! But there are some real neat things that I can get behind.

I felt a little hesitant about bringing Peanut along, but Hubster was working and I knew we wouldn't be there that long. After we got inside though, he did just fine because there was full-face painting, real live animals, disc golf, and massage to keep him occupied. Yes, the masseuse from a local parlor was even gracious enough to give him a tiny bit of a back rub after me, which was the sweetest thing ever. He's definitely my kid, loving his massages. Peanut even got to ride a camel, because you know, it's always natural that there should be camel racing at a fitness expo! Ha!

Yes, his painted face is in that chair.

Eli the camel

Spidey showing off his moves

I picked up some single-serving packets of Vemma Bode meal replacement powder to try. It is a brand endorsed by Chris Powell and his wife. And, if you remember, my workout buddy and I did some of his workouts for quite awhile there. This meal replacement protein shake has mangosteen in it, which used to be illegal to import to the US. I always have a protein smoothie in the morning, so I'll try my regular berries + water + powder concoction with this and see how I like it.

I also picked up some essential oils from Doterra. I've been hearing about the brand for quite some time now through my cousin who sells it, but never actually tried it. I was fascinated with hearing about how Lemongrass Oil actually helped one of the consultant's friends heal her horse's hoof maladies. Sometimes it pays to go natural and give chemicals the heave-ho.

My tootsies have had a very rough summer since I tend to wear flip-flops and sandals all summer. So, I stopped at the Avon booth for some super hydrating peppermint foot cream that I've been pampering my feet with every night since, right after a good pumice scrub. I've not been very nice to my feet and it's definitely something that I could improve on, especially since those are the extremities that keep my runs strong. I now keep a golf ball under my desk too to rub my feet with too. I've been doing some reading about Trigger Point Therapy to find out some more of the scientific basis and process behind these awesome foot rubs.

I mentioned that I got a chair massage, and that is like one of the greatest things in life! In fact, one of the things we discussed in marriage counseling with our pastor prior to getting married was my need for back rubs. I kid you not! The lady that did my quick 5-minute one said I was super tense, which I can definitely feel. Believe it or not, she was using Trigger Point Therapy on me (I asked!) and it felt like heaven! She said I could definitely use at least an hour on the table to loosen up my shoulders, and I couldn't agree more, whether she was trying to sell to me or not! If I could do an hour on the table every day of my life, I would be one happy little camper. Plus, my shoulders are pretty much chronically tight. I've had massages before and they always tell me about my tightness. Some of it can be attributed to the hardcore shoulder work I've been doing lately, but my shoulders just seem to be where my body holds most of its tension.

I also did lunges to get this sportpack and played some disc golf inside the building. This was another thing that Peanut really enjoyed trying. We even own some discs, but we still have yet to make it golfing.

I also tried some of these really good Juice Plus gummies that were so so amazing. I'm chewing on the price tag right now, but I think the concept is truly virtuous. They extract all the sugar, water and salt from dozens of fruits and vegetables and condense the fiber and antioxidants down into these little great-tasting chews. They're great for kids, especially ones that don't get enough fruits and vegetables in their diets, and they're highly clinically researched. The representative told us that it's even approved by the Olympic committee, which is a pretty tough line to cross. Always the skeptic, I decided I wanted to give these a little more research myself before handing over my credit card. So far, they seem legit.

Last night, when I got home, I found this beauty in the mail. I won a lift ticket to a ski resort in Michigan! Now, I just need to find a ski partner. I haven't gone skiing in forever. Any takers? :)

When I got home from the expo, I worked with my mom to put together a personal training plan for her. We did the YMCA step test and took her measurements. She's gracious enough to be my very first guinea pig and she seems like she's going to be very receptive to the training as she has some very powerful reasons for getting healthier. Of course, wanting what's best for my mom, I'm excited to give this a shot too. My ultimate vision and goal is to be able to share her success story on here.

Peanut asked if I could train him too, just like I'm training grandma. That kid cracks me up and warms my heart all at the same time. Love him! Even though he's a bit too young for weight training, it makes me so happy that fitness will be one of those things that just comes naturally for him. He'll never have to start from scratch, like many of us have had to.

So, what are some of the most phony "health" products you've seen out there? How do you avoid them?

It's OK to be a Runner and Not Race

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I posted this on Twitter this week and realized that I wanted to take this a little deeper. What was a passing thought quickly turned into an essay:

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It's OK to be a runner and not want to sign up for races.

As of right now, I have no real burning desire to run a marathon. I think marathons are amazing and people that finish them deserve accolades. And if you're an ultrarunner, you're my hero. But I have no burning desire to do so myself.

For one, it can be really expensive to pay all those race fees. Yes, they usually go to a good cause, but it can be expensive to budget for a small family. For another, I am not the most competitive person. I will compete with myself, and I'm sure the thrill of coming in first, second or third place would be phenomenal, but it just isn't me. The extra time on Saturdays that it took to train for my Half Marathon would be pretty brutal right now. But even though these are legitimate reasons, they seem like petty excuses in the bigger picture...

I want to run faster, I want to get stronger, I want to run with better form and I'm constantly researching ways to do so, but I don't feel like I need a race to prove it or to motivate me. I'm pretty strongly self-motivated most of the time, so I don't need a race to push me. And I don't need the ends to justify the means. I don't need a better race score to justify the time I'm putting into running better. Maybe I just want to run better. I want to stretch myself in my own way, not the competitive way.

I am a simple runner. I don't own any compression socks, nor do I regularly buy gel packs or fancy schmancy gear. I just have a pair of JC Penney running shoes and the road. It's not that I don't find value in that type of gear or that I'd never use them, I just prefer to do without them most of the time. I like to keep things simple. To just run and not think about it too much.

Everyone who becomes a runner seems to morph into a marathoner, doesn't it seem that way? But what if I don't want to? I just enjoy the thrill of the run, the distance and the experience of it. It doesn't make me any less of a runner that I don't have more medals hanging on my wall. I finished a Half Marathon once, and it was such a thrill to accomplish, but that's been enough for me. I think races are a great way to change your routine and set out to achieve new goals. I love the sound of thousands of feet on the pavement and the electric energy and camaraderie at races. But I don't think it's necessary to be considered a "real" runner only if you pound out race after race.

And I always want running to be fun, not a chore that I have to accomplish four days per week with cross-training every other day. I want to decide to take a 13 mile run one day even if it has nothing to do with a training schedule. And I want to decide to take just a 3-miler when the sun is setting, just because. And I want to bodybuild just a little and try out Barre and so many other fitness methods without worrying about how it will affect my running pace or training schedule. I already know that I have the discipline to follow a running plan, because I've done that before. I don't feel the need to prove that again and again to myself or anyone else.

I am a fitness blogger and I'd love to be a running coach alongside being a personal trainer. But I think that the fact that I've only finished a handful of 5ks and a Half Marathon shouldn't strip me of my clout. I have a genuine desire to be a better runner and I want to make better runners or just plain runners out of others, and that should be enough. I just plain want to help.

I just love running for running's sake.

I am a runner.
I am not really a racer.
And that's enough.

Weekly Workout Rundown

Monday, September 23, 2013

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  • 15 min LiveFit back workout in the AM
  • 30 min AM run, 2.44 miles

  • 20 min LiveFit chest and abs in the AM
  • 30 min AM run, 2.55 miles
  • 25 min walk at lunch with mom
  • 20 min rest of LiveFit from Monday and Tuesday

  • 45 min LiveFit legs workout in the AM

  • 25 min LiveFit arms and abs in the AM
  • 30 min run, 2.55 miles
  • 30 min bike ride

  • 15 min LiveFit shoulders in the AM
  • 30 min AM run, 2.57 miles
  • 15 min FlashFit workout

  • 60 min LiveFit legs and more of Friday's shoulders

  • Rest

I am past the halfway point of the LiveFit Series, baby! Every day since I got to add cardio back into my routine, I've beat my past mileage by at least a smidge. It really helps to have that little personal competition to be ~Better Every Day. 

Today I feel like junk, so I'm not really that talkative. I was thisclose to leaving work early, but slugged my way through the day and actually got some things done. Can't quite pinpoint what is wrong, but I'm just not feeling up to snuff.

This past weekend, I went to the Sports and Fitness Expo in Oshkosh and had a great time. I'll share more about that hopefully tomorrow. I also started training my mom, who gets to be my first personal training guinea pig. I'm so excited about doing this! And I really hope she gets some great results, because she deserves to feel good about that. After that, I worked on a writing project while watching a Big Bang Theory marathon. #BigBangBinge I've been challenged to put together a 4-5 page document for my church, so I've been giving that some of my undivided attention. Well, sort of...

Sunday was just as busy with church, followed by a Donut Date with my Peanut (yes, I am human!) and then a living room screening of the Great Gatsby. That is one of my very favorite books of all time, so I love anything to do with the Great Gatsby. After that was Bible study and bedtime. Now, I'm dreaming of bedtime again. I just want to curl up and have someone sing Soft Kitty to me. Only my fellow Big Bangers will understand what that means:)

Donut date after-church tradition

Better Than Gold

Friday, September 20, 2013

Last night, as I pulled into the driveway, Hubster was pushing our bikes through the gate to go get air in the tires. He didn't tell me where we were going, he just loaded our bikes into the truck and whisked us away.

Hey, who am I to argue with a man who suddenly wants to do something active and spend some family time together doing it? Not me! I just kept wishing I knew where we were going. All those to-do lists I was talking about were bubbling around in my brain. Not that I didn't want to go...I just wanted to know where and for how long...Ok, I admit, I just wanted to be in control a little bit.

We pulled into one of Hubster's local hunting haunts and unloaded the bikes. The pretty nature trail leading out of the driveway was gravel. The sky was a threatening gray. But what an amazing ride! In the first stretch, we were greeted by dozens of frogs jumping across the trail. I even saw a snake slither into the marshy grass at one point!

A little farther down, we rode out onto a breaker wall. I didn't realize that the wall was even there, let alone that it did a huge loop through the lake and ended back at the parking lot. Amazing! We took a bike ride along this fabulous breaker wall, watching the sea gulls, ducks and carp do their thang. We even stopped at the pass-through gate for boats and watched the fish for awhile.

Once we got back to the truck, it finally started raining. As we were leaving, Peanut said "there's a deer!" He was pointing at a statue in someone's front yard. In the very next yard, I shouted out "no, there's a deer!" A real deer! One that was moving! We had a good little chuckle at that little coincidence.

I just marvel sometimes at how a simple little trip like this could turn into a full memorable event. We took one simple weeknight, a night that we easily could have dedicated to vegging in front of the tube or cleaning yet another mess and we tried something different. And it didn't cost anything. And it was so perfect.

I mean, we saw dozens of frogs, a snake, hundreds of ducks and other birds, jumping fish, wild turkeys and a deer. And we biked through the middle of a lake. All in one little weeknight. Wow!

Seriously, some things really are better than gold.

Beautiful views

And learning opportunities. We went on a little bone hunt
and talked about what animals they might be from.
Obvs this one is from a crawfish

A little island. Hubster says it holds an aviary hatchery.

Make me a promise, and do something a little bit different tonight.
What are your favorite on-a-whim memories?

Lately I've Been...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

  • Sewing Build-A-Bear accessories for my Peanut's stuffed animals. Those clothes get expensive and I found the perfect DIY projects online.
  • Fixing a workout bra that I somehow melted in the dryer. Didn't even know that the fabric store carried bra hooks until I went looking for fabric for the above project. All I had to do was cut down the strap to the right size, burn the raw edges down with a lighter and sew the new piece on. So glad to have saved that one, since it fit really well. I'm mighty proud of my re-purposing skills on this one.
  • Re-seaming a thrift store T-shirt I found in college that I still like and has been sitting with pins in it for like 7 years. Ha!
  • Thrifting some necessary household items like 16" x 20" frames and some supplies for a jewelry storage makeover I plan on doing.
  • Spray-painting that thrifted shelving unit for my jewelry. I believe the wooden shelf I bought was once a spoon holder for collectors. Oh, you just wait and see what I did to it. I even went to the hardware store all by myself to DIY this one.
  • Hanging a collage wall in my dining room. I see these art displays in all my favorite home tours and decided to tackle one all by myself. It turned out sooo cute. I found this adorable $.50 vintage 3D picture that totally makes the wall. I'll be sharing pictures soon.
  • Trying to keep my house from turning into a bachelor pad/frat house. Roomie just bought a beer brewing kid and a Soda Stream to add to my already cluttered counter space. Thinking of reworking the space a bit. This stuff doesn't blend well with my vintage-chic aesthetic, as you might imagine.
  • Putting together bags of stuff to take to the thrift store. It feels good to get rid of more than we're bringing in sometimes, especially when things start accumulating beyond my comfort level.
  • Registering for an EIN number with the IRS. I am now a registered business owner!
  • Eating soup alone at home while Hubster, Peanut and my Daddy-O go hunting. I'm really relishing this time alone.
  • Cleaning (finally!) one of the dreaded spots in my home. We have some high windows that accumulate spiders and webs and dust and ick. Whenever I clean it, I feel like the whole house is somehow much cleaner.
  • Making my bed with the brand-new quilt that I sewed. Can't wait to share pictures of it on here soon. Just looking at it makes me happy.
  • Starting a new e-book project that I hope to launch on here in a few months. It's in the baby stages right now, so I don't want to share too much.
  • Buying tickets to the Sports and Fitness Expo being held in my town this weekend. Can't wait!
  • Trying so hard to figure out how to connect my camcorder to my computer. I have a new cord on its way after a Radio Shack one didn't work. I really want to add some workout videos for y'all. I may have to bite the bullet and buy a new, more laptop-compatible camcorder.
  • Dreaming up another trip "up-north" in October or November. I want to make this a regular tradition if we can swing it and Hubster can successfully get off of work. We stayed in Crivitz last year.
  • Writing up a job posting for the open pastoral position at my church. Since one of the committee members knew I was a writer, he thought I'd be the perfect person for the job. I like to help where I can.
  • Adjusting to having a child in all-day Kindergarten. Paying for hot lunches, meeting teachers, already dealing with bullying, packing snacks, collecting Box Tops, etc etc etc. I already get up at 5:30 to work out, run, and get ready, but we've somehow been running late anyway. This school thing is like a whole new world for me. However, I just love looking through the Scholastic Books order forms with him. I get all giddy like I did in school when those pamphlets come out. My wallet is never more open than it is for a Peanut who gets excited about reading and learning.

I think Chalene's book was just the kick in the back end I needed to make myself even more productive than a Type-A person like me already is. I can't believe all the things I've checked off my to-do list already. I use Wunderlist on my phone and it's a true lifesaver and life improver, plus just seeing all the check marks I've accumulated already makes me happy. I have my to-dos broken down into "Today," "This Week," and "Soon." Every day I try to do one thing to tackle one aspect of my priority list. For example, my home environment is one of my priorities. Therefore, many of the above listed items are helping make my environment more desirable from cleaning to small space makeovers. Another goal is setting up more of a solid personal training side business, so I am planning on networking at the Sports and Fitness Expo I signed up for and I finally signed up for an official EIN number (so simple to do, it's pathetic). I'm taking steps each day to make this dream more of a reality. It's really quite simple once you break it down into steps.

There's something about fall that makes me feel like nesting. The little bit of chill in the air outside makes me want the inside to be the most cozy place my family could ever enjoy. Listening to the sound of Feist and blowing trees while tackling all these projects is just making my heart swell. I've decided that fall is officially my favorite season.

What have you been up to?

How to Stay Fit on Vacation

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Our family has taken several trips this past summer, including one that was an entire week long. Like almost every trip I take, I never put my health and fitness on vacation. No, it's not because I'm crazy; it's because it makes me a better, healthier person. Keeping up my running habit not only energizes me for a day of sightseeing, it also keeps me centered and happy.

How to Stay Fit and Active on Vacation

1. Bring a few supplies: and by supplies, I mean as simple as sneakers, workout clothes, a jump rope and resistance tubing. I don't want you to haul all your dumbbells and fancy schmancy equipment along. Keep it simple and packable. If you're bringing resistance tubing, you'll want to find some easy resistance workouts that you can do anywhere. For cardio, a good pair of running shoes and/or a $1 jump rope is all you need to get in a good sweat session. You can even add 1 minute of jump roping between each resistance tube move to knock strength and cardio out at the same time.

2. Get up early: and by early, I mean earlier than 10am. No need to get up at 5am like you do at home (unless you want to), but earlier than your travel companions. Then, sneak in a workout before you even get started with your day. It will be much easier to tackle if you get it out of the way first. You won't want to go for a run after a long day of sightseeing. Knock it out right away and feel that great feeling all day!

3. Scout out the trails, running routes and hotel equipment. Although hotel equipment can be pretty unpredictable (every treadmill is "out of order"), it can be a great option when it's storming or cold outside. Many hotels nowadays have a workout room at your disposal. Do some research beforehand to find out what's available and check customer comments about the conditions of the equipment. Even if you don't have equipment at your disposal, you can always run outside. Use the user-created running routes on Map My Run to see where the locals are kicking up dust. Or check out American Trails to locate nature trails in your vicinity. I found a running trail when we were staying in Port Washington that now is part of one of my most cherished memories ever. I saw two deer and shared the magic of lightning bugs with my son for the first time ever. It was beautiful.

4. Build active activities into your itinerary. Obviously, Mackinac Island is navigable by foot, bike or horse only. We did a ton of walking out of necessity, just like on our Crivitz trip last year where we walked miles of trails to see all the waterfalls. But we also like to kayak, hike, swim, snorkel, and so many other active things. We naturally build many of these things into our vacation days. Take a walking tour, rent a bike, take para-sailing lessons, swim in the local lakes, just get out there! Vacations should naturally have an element of fitness to them already, so take advantage.

5. Eat out only once or twice. In a previous post, I discussed travelling on a budget. One way our family does that is by bringing or buying most of our food from local grocery stores. Not only do we save cash this way, but we also save our waistlines. It is much healthier to eat this way. Yes, splurge while you're away from home, but only a few times, not for every single meal. Keep healthy snacks like bananas, trail mix and dry cereal with you everywhere you go so you're less likely to binge when you're suddenly stricken by severe hunger between meals.

6. Use what you have: in the Resources section below, I offer a link to a hotel room workout. It's possible to get a sufficient workout in with only a chair, a wall, a stick and/or your body weight. Put together or search for a workout before you leave that involves the "equipment" that you have available to you. There is no shortage of workouts tailored to these types of conditions.

7. Borrow your kid's portable DVD player: Peanut has a DVD player that I used in Chicago to do the Tracy Anderson workout that I picked up there. All I needed to work out was a chair! This is one super portable way to bring your home fitness DVD collection to good use out on the road. If you're lucky enough to have a DVD player in your hotel room or cabin, you could trim even more from your luggage. If you're bringing your laptop and it can play videos, you have yet another option.

Taking in sites on-foot is one of the best ways to navigate your destination. When you run through local parts of town, you will see parts of the city that you never would've noticed in a car. In Mackinaw City, I found some neat footpaths, took in gorgeous sunrises and learned the layout of the land much better during my runs. The trail below is one such path that I discovered while running. The city workers use it to get to their day jobs, but it made for such an amazing scenic running route. Peanut even went for a "run" with me on this trail. We had to stop a lot to track chipmunks;) Another beautiful memory.

It's hard to resist views like this on a run (Lake Huron, Mackinaw City):

I hope that these tips have made it easier for you to fit in fitness out on the road. It definitely is more than possible! Once you can find ways to eliminate the excuses for exercising, you can stay fit for life.

A few resources:

  1. I did this killer workout on YouTube while staying in Mackinaw City, MI. We brought our Google Nexus tablet and had free Wifi, so it worked out pretty swell. You could just do a search for "hotel room workouts," and get thousands of hits like this.
  2. I always use the Runkeeper app to track my outdoor runs, including time, pace and distance.
  3. I also use the Spotify app while I'm running to listen to tunes, if I'm not surrounded by the lovely sound of waves and birds.
  4. Rubber tubing routines abound on the internet if you do some searching, like this great do-anwhere routine. I also like this Chady Dunmore one from a recent issue of Fitness RX. If the bodybuilders are using it, then it must be good, right?

Weekly Workout Rundown

Monday, September 16, 2013

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  • 30 min LiveFit chest and abs in the AM
  • 30 min AM run, 2.22 miles
  • 20 min casual walk at lunch with mom


  • 30 min LiveFit arms and abs in the AM
  • 30 min AM run, 2.4 miles

  • 20 min LiveFit shoulders
  • 30 min AM run, 2.45 mi
  • 15 min FlashFit workout at lunch

  • 90 min LiveFit legs, triceps and abs

  • Rest

On weekday mornings, I only have a set amount of time that I can dedicate to my workouts. When 6:45 rolls around, I have to hit the shower or Peanut will be late for school. That's my cut-off and there's no compromising it. So what happens when I hit snooze an extra time and don't complete a full workout? I save the moves for a day when I have more time or for after work. This happened on Thursday. I didn't get to my triceps and abs, so I did them on Saturday with legs. It worked out pretty well because my arms weren't too tired by Saturday. Plus, I had time to spare on some really good stretching and self myofascial release while watching the amazing Veria channel.

I can't even tell you how sweet it is that I can run again!!! I betcha in heaven, there will be running involved. I feel like myself again, only a bit stronger version of myself since starting the LiveFit series. I play little games with myself, trying to eek out just a little extra mileage every day in my 30 minute runs. I always warm up and cool down for three minutes each, so I try to play with that other 24 minutes. I'm nearly halfway through Phase 2 and can't wait to see what Phase 3 does to me when HIIT runs and hypertrophy training are involved. I can already notice a difference in my strength level. I was pulling down our garage door a few days ago, and it felt like such a smooth simple move that I even had to stop and make sure nothing was wrong. Ha! Nothing was wrong...with my muscles!

I found a pull-up bar at a local second-hand sporting good store, so I can finally perform a real pull-up. I was modifying my workout at home by just doing extra pull-downs with my stretch tubing. Then, whenever I took Peanut to the park, I would practice pull-ups on the monkey bars. Now I can do the workout properly. The only door frame that the pull-up bar fits around is Peanut's door though, so I have to wait until he's awake to eke those bad boys out, one measly pull-up at a time. I'm loving the convenience of the bar though. I'm planning a full post on how to do some of the LiveFit moves at home, since it seems to be a recurring question. You can be really clever and resourceful and do all the moves just fine at home. I'll show you how soon.

Going strong so far! See you next week.

Free Workout Roundup

Thursday, September 12, 2013

pin it party Pin It Party 3

Lindsay over at the Lean Green Bean offered a challenge today to share five of our feature blog posts. We're challenged to meet new bloggers, give our favorite bloggers more exposure and increase the feeling of community through this challenge. Hey, I can get on-board with that! And it's quick enough to whip together on one's lunch break. In that vein, here are five free workouts from Boun-See that you don't want to miss:

1. 30-20-10 Printable Running Plan: Scientifically proven to improve race times, this interval running plan is great to mix in your race training plan.

2. FlashFit Workout #1: To challenge my lunch workout buddy and I, I started putting these strength and cardio circuits together to get the most out of our short time at the gym. They feature combo moves that hit all the major muscle groups and cardio bursts to keep the fat-burning furnace on high. I've got many more of these put together in a notebook for a class I hope to teach that will eventually migrate here to Boun-See.

3. Broomstick Stretch Workout: A simple broomstick can sometimes give you a better stretch than your body alone.

stick stretches workout

4. Broomstick Full-Body Workout #1: Likewise, this common household item can also give you great full-body fitness benefits. Throw in 1 minute of cardio between each move and you've got yourself a pretty comprehensive training circuit.

5. Broomstick Full-Body Workout #2: Part two of the above. Work every major muscle group from different angles using something as simple as a stick!

Thanks for the challenge, Lindsay! I hope to see some new faces around here and meet some new fitnessistas myself. The blogging community is so inspiring, isn't it?

My goal this week has been to get some video set up of some of my workouts that I may post on YouTube. I got the wrong cord for my camcorder from Radio Shack, so I'm trying to source the right one on Amazon. After I figure out all the logistics of all this video stuff, I might just start putting together an exercise library. How cool would that be? Sign up for updates from Boun-see in my sidebar so you won't miss any!

I've made all of the images above easily Pin-able, so feel free to share the love. I appreciate it!

Broomstick Full-Body Workout #2

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Here is your third and final installment in my broomstick workout series. It is another full-body circuit that hits every major muscle group. You can also turn this into more of an interval workout, which I explain below. Or, combine the two stick workouts on days when you have more time for a real scorcher.

If you missed them, check out the other parts of this fitness series:
1. Workout stick DIY
2. Full-body broomstick stretch workout
3. Full-body workout #1

  1. Stir the pot: (a) Kneel with the stick out in front of you. (b) Push the stick out and around in a circle pattern, leaning your torso into it with control. Do 12 clockwise rotations and 12 counterclockwise rotations.
  2. Reverse crunch with curl: (a) On your back, legs up in tabletop, (b) perform a reverse crunch and bicep curl at the same time. Do 15-20 crunches.
  3. Curtsy lunge: (a) Stand with right knee and arms raised out in front of you. (b) Bring right foot back behind you and to the left into a lunge. Return to knee-up position. Do 12 reps per leg.
  4. Shoulder rotation: (a) Hold stick in right hand out to side, palm facing forward. (b) Rotate arm and stick until palm faces backward. Perform 25 reps per arm. You should really feel this one!
  5. Stick jacks: Perform 15 regular jumping jack with the stick in your hands.
  6. Inner thigh sweep: Stand on mat, holding stick vertical near the right thigh. Sweep the right leg across the body to the left, kicking the stick up with your foot. Perform 12 reps per leg.
  7. Deep squats: Holding the stick in front of you for balance, feet shoulder's width apart, drop your butt down into a deep squat. Return to standing, squeezing your glutes as you come up. Do 15 squats.
  8. V-step: With your stick laying vertically on the ground, perform a V-step, stepping over the stick. Feel free to put a little jump into your step:)

Remember to do a good stretch after this workout. You can even use your stick to do so with my Broomstick Stretch Workout. To turn this workout into even more of a fat burner, you can pull out the Stick Jacks and perform 25 of them in between each strength move.

I hope this workout series has inspired you to work out a little differently. You can get quite an effective workout using simple household objects, or even just your own body weight.

I will continue adding FlashFit workouts and other series as I design them, so I hope this is the third workout in a long series to come! 

For more free workouts, sign up for updates in my sidebar. Either sign up by email, through Bloglovin' or through Feedly (or another feed burner).

Disclaimer: I am an NASM-certified personal trainer, however I cannot be with you in person to assess, check your form or guide you, so please remember that these workouts are done at your own risk. As always, check with your doctor before beginning this or any other exercise program and always honor your body's abilities and limitations.

Weekly Workout Rundown

Monday, September 9, 2013

 photo 0e340d3e-62ba-4e55-9f4a-7258f16cd99a_zps3484b587.jpg

  • 40 min LiveFit legs in the AM
  • 25 min incline interval run in the AM

  • 30 min LiveFit back and biceps in the AM
  • 25 min moderate walk at lunch

  • 35 min LiveFit chest and triceps in the AM
  • 30 min moderate walk at lunch

  • 40 min LiveFit legs in the AM
  • 30 min moderate walk at lunch

  • 30 min LiveFit shoulders and abs in the AM
  • 25 min run at lunch, 2 miles


  • Active rest (jet skiing)

  • Rest

I am now 1/3 of the way through the LiveFit series, entering Phase 2. Even though I threw a few runs in during the past four weeks, I am excited to get back into my full-on running habit in Phase 2. I finally get to run 4 days per week! The younger me never thought the older me would be making such a statement, ha. This morning was the first allowable run and it felt great!

Our jet skiing adventure on Saturday worked out my lung muscles more than anything. Hubster is quite the beast on a toy like that, and I swear, the screaming that I did was completely instinctive and unintentional. When you feel like you're going to flip, you just scream. And I was flipped off three times at lower speeds, so the worry was not unfounded. Oh boys! Peanut was even braver than I was, laughing through the scariest moves. I was just happy to be dropped off at a public sandy beach while the boys went crazy.

Other than that, not much to report this week. I haven't yet seen the results on the LiveFit plan that I'm sure will come, especially with the addition of cardio again. I have lost a few inches, but the scale seems to be creeping up, which can only mean that I am gaining muscle, and I'm happy about that. I'll keep you posted!

Jillian Michaels Hard Body Review

Saturday, September 7, 2013

I was killing some time at a two-story Target in Chicago, waiting for Hubster to pick me up after my NASM workshop. I perused the workout section and was a little hesitant to pick up this video. I have three of Jillian's videos already, and sometimes they can be a bit repetitive. But it was only $10, so what difference does it really make, right? Plus, Hubster had bought himself something from me for our anniversary, so I decided to buy something for myself from him. Old married people, I tell ya. I put this DVD and Tracy Anderson's Mat Workout (the only thing related to her that sells for $10!) in my cart. I have to say I'm pretty happy about this purchase, because Jillian really mixes things up in this series.

Let's break this down:

The video consists of two levels, 45 minutes each.

These were my stats for Level One:
Heart Rate: I averaged 130bpm and stayed inside my target heart rate zone for 21 minutes.
Calories: 527 (based on my body weight, exertion level and heart rate)


  • In each circuit, there are three versions of most of the moves. One model shows the basic move, one model shows the intermediate move, and Jillian sometimes chooses one model to take it up to the advanced level. Given the three levels of the moves within the two levels of the workout, there is plenty of room for growth.
  • The moves are mostly compound moves, hitting multiple muscle groups at once. For instance, there's one move where you perform a sumo squat with a calf raise and shoulder press for a total-body hit. You get a really effective workout in a short-ish amount of time because you're targeting more at once. I never once felt like I wasn't getting anything out of a move.
  • Like the back panel states, Jillian finally uses some fresh new moves, even some that I've never seen before. Such a relief! This coming from a person who gets bored with workouts quite quickly.
  • Jillian is always great about giving proper exercise form cues. She stops to point out different aspects of the exercise on her models, which is really helpful especially when working out at home.


  • The only drawback I really saw with this video is the scant amount of stretching at the end of the workout. I would suggest doing quite a few more stretches after these workouts, holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds. 
  • I would also be hesitant to suggest this video for beginners. You can modify most of the moves, but it might be a bit too much for someone who is just dipping their foot in the fitness-spiked water. Something like Barefoot Cardio would be a much better option for a beginner.

Bottom line: If the 30 Day Shred feels tough to you, this will feel tougher.

My favorite motivational sentiment from Jillian in this video is her encouragement to dig deep, to think about what you're doing this all for. She says to think about why you're here and let that motivate you. It really is important to reflect on that to keep your athletic spirit from waning. 

Thanks Hubster for the Anniversary gift. You're the best:)

Tracy Anderson's mat workout is up next. I hope to share a post about that too, just as soon as I can.

*This post is based only on my opinions and results. I was in no way compensated for this post, I just thought it was a great DVD to share.

Recent Thrifting Adventures

Friday, September 6, 2013

I set out on a mission: to dress up for Thrift Shop Day at work. I mean, how could a thriftaholic like me turn down a challenge like that?

So, I made my way to a local thrift shop that has a dedicated dollar section where they hold all of gems. I was easily able to pull together an outfit for $5 and cracked up doing so.

I found some awesome stretchy electric blue leggings, a polyester house shirt with pockets, a gaudy orange knit shawl and a fabulous retro flower purse. Accessories were a $1 pair of shoes, orange and blue beaded necklaces, and a vintage head scarf. It's difficult to distinguish all the patterns and everything that's going on in this picture, but you get the point.

I guess it wasn't quite as "out there" as I thought. Several people just thought that was what I was wearing that day, forgetting it was thrift shop day. Haha! I'll let you know though, the purse, the shoes and the scarf will definitely be going into my regular rotation. I totally dig the retro purse.

On the same trip though, I was able to pick up some amazing "normal" items as well. I got Peanut some more button-down plaid shirts (his go-to look) and Hubster some brand new-looking jeans.

For myself, I snagged the following:

The cutest purple tank top. Upon examination, it even appears to be homemade. I love handmade any day of the week. I'm so glad I get to give this hand-crafted shirt a good home.

A cute tank by Canadian designer Point Zero that makes for a super-cute workout shirt

And my favorite find of all. I spotted this cute little clutch purse, buried in a bin, under a pile of wallets. I saw the tag on the side right away and thought, this must've been made by some cute little creative girl on Etsy or something. It had a ruffle down the front and was just so so cute. Once home, I had to look up the designer on the tag, Lisa Lill Studios. Check it out for yourself. This little clutch retails for $99. Um... SCORE!

I swear, thrift shopping is like treasure hunting for me! What is your favorite secondhand score?

Labor Day Weekend

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Our weekend was spent giving the last bit of summer vacation our full attention. We did a little shopping for material since I found some new patterns online for my Peanut that I want to try. I got some more weights for my dumbbells from Play it Again Sports. My heaviest weights are 15lbs, and the LiveFit Trainer is pushing me well past the 15lb threshold. 

We also had a pen tattoo party, walking around with our art for most of the day. I'm pretty sure I got that flower/sun design from my sister. Thanks J!

On Sunday, Hubster's workplace put on a picnic at the Milwaukee Zoo where we spent most of the day. We were treated to a cookout, all the drinks we wanted, parking and two inside attractions. We did this last year too, so it will probably become a tradition.

Peanut embracing the world

Peanut and his grandpa on the train

Chilling in the picnic shelter

Feeding the goats

Sleeping S-shaped pink flamingo

Peanut even got to pet a stingray for the first time! He was terrified, but he did it.

Peanut found a feather and stuck it in his new cap.

After the zoo, we made our way to a friends' house 
for a cookout, complete with S'mores.

Monday was spent at another family picnic followed by meal prepping for the 4-day week. My gym was actually open too, so I got to do a LiveFit workout at the gym, where it was meant to be done, without being bothered. 

We also got this sweet boy ready for his first day of Kindergarten. It was kind of a great weekend.

What did you do for your holiday weekend?