Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review: Body By Bethenny - Unleashing My Inner Skinnygirl!

If you are a fan of The  Real Housewives of New York City, you know Bethenny Frankel. She is a straight shooting, no B.S., healthy food chef, reality star and author. Bethenny's enterprise also includes this workout DVD called Body By Bethenny. If you own this DVD or are interested in purchasing it, it is probably because you already know of Bethenny either from the Housewives or her newest show Bethenny Getting Married. She is not well-known for being a fitness expert, although she is well-known for being healthy and in-shape. This isn't like the Jane Fonda Workout, where Jane was the fitness guru who led and directed all of the workouts on her videos back in the day. Bethenny is essentially showing us, as she says on the DVD, what she does to get in shape. And that, my friends,  would be doing yoga with a qualified instructor.

In the introduction, Bethenny stresses that it is important for us to be realistic in our workout goals, and how it is important to just do what we can do and work with what we have. It really makes fitness out to be un-intimidating, which is nice. For 55 minutes, Bethenny works out with Kristin McGee, who is a certified personal trainer, Pilates master and yoga instructor. There are no other students in the room, its just Bethenny and Kristin. Their easy flow of conversation throughout the work out is not strictly teacher-pupil, its almost like two girlfriends working out together or the relationship you might have with your hairdresser where you become really close buds with the expert who makes you pretty. There is some banter back and forth and typical funny Bethenny comments - such as "Ugh, my hideous feet" when we are directed to reach down and grab our toes. And when we are doing  a forward bend she calls it the "boob-to-knee" pose and says "We should write to India and tell them to change the language."  Such a character!

This is definitely a good workout for a beginner yoga student to work up to. It's nice because the yoga portion is only 40 minutes, so its great if you don't have a lot of time, or if you are just starting to try to get in shape the duration of this workout won't kill you. But this is not a super easy work out, there were times when my arms were burning and the poses were hard to hold. I have a lot of work to do on my core strength, which will help me balance better. I noticed I was even better the second time I did the DVD, and the backs of my legs (hamstrings) were pretty sore. As they mention in the DVD, if you sit at a desk all day like I do, your hip flexor muscles get very tight and had a great stretch for that. I really felt that for me, this DVD was an excellent compliment to my running.

There were also 10 minutes of strength and toning, with light arm weights. The last 5 minutes were fun "booty blast" moves which consisted of leg lifts and squats. I felt like the 55 minutes flew by fast and because of that see this DVD and something I will be doing often. It's a realistic workout, just like Bethenny says. Being a busy mom of 2, I need to work out regularly but don't have 2 hours to commit to it every time. With this DVD, I don't even have to drive anywhere, just pop it in while the kids are playing, napping or even better yet before they wake up in the morning. Before you know it, you'll be done and you'll feel much better about yourself. You'll unleash your Skinnygirl in no time!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wannabe Crafty Mom

Ok, I'm not crafty. I wish I was. I think so many crafts look like they'd be so fun to make. I see entire blogs that are devoted to crafts, and it's apparent I am just missing that gene.

My son who is in preschool needed to do a Turkey project this month. No specific guidelines. Just a turkey that we create as a family. I saw this adorable clay project online and thought it looked like something I would enjoy. Not that this assignment was supposed to be "all about me", but I thought this assignment was a good excuse to explore my crafty side. For about $12, we made this clay turkey that now sits on our fireplace mantle for us to enjoy for as long as we'd like. Better yet, this clay doesn't harden or crack, so when we are tired of it my kids can turn it into anything they want. Pretty good deal.

Here is our finished product:

We put it in a box to transport to school. It wasn't hard to make at all and we had fun. My lil Monkey rolled the clay into two balls for the head and body and stuck on the eyes and inserted the feathers. I was just on hand for some fine tuning and did the toes and gobbler which required a bit more fine motor skills.

I can't take all the credit for coming up with the idea. I found it on this site called Kaboose. I'm pretty proud of me and my boy for pulling it off.  Have you made anything fun and easy with your kids for Thanksgiving? Gobble gobble!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Keep Your Lips Kissable This Winter

Dry, Peeling Lips are NOT Hot
Do you ever find your self biting your lips? Not because you're nervous but because they are dry and peeling? I can't stand it when I apply lipstick and my lips don't look smooth. Sometimes after I apply it,  I mush my lips together to spread the lipstick around and I can feel the skin on my lips peeling off. YUCK-O. In the past I have tried every lip balm you have ever heard of - and some you probably haven't heard of - to help keep my lips smooth and free of cracks. I have even tried things like using an extra toothbrush to "exfoliate" the skin on my lips. It was a tip I read in a magazine, and it did nothing for me at all.

Make Your Lips "Apeeling"
My pretties, the best and the ONLY product that has worked for me is Lip Apeel from Beauticontrol. You apply a white mask to your lips and let it dry (I put it on and let it dry while I am blow-drying my hair). Once it's dry you take a damp wash cloth and wipe off the mask off your lips, along with all the peeling skin! Then, this nifty little container has a separate compartment on the top that contains some lovely conditioning lip balm that has good staying power without being greasy at all. You apply that and you are good to go!  With the harsh elements nearly upon us, and my cold morning runs - I can guarantee I will be leaning on my Lip Apeel quite a bit this season!

Buy It - Don't Wait
If you are interested in purchasing some, let me know and I can hook you up. It's $19.50, and will last forever and is worth every cent! Contact me at hungrigyrl at yahoo dot com.

Smooch smooch!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How To Make A Plan And Stick With It!

Photo courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt
Eliminate the Obstacles
It has been a week since I decided to embark on the only crazy fitness plan I could commit to, which is dragging my disoriented, sleepy body out of bed while it is still dark out to run before I go to work. I have always liked exercise (which I know isn't for everyone) and working out to be physically fit as opposed to dieting (which I hate). I believe regular exercise,  healthy eating and drinking in moderation is the best thing for me. Anything that you make too difficult, such as a ridiculously hard fitness regimen or a deprivation diet, will be too hard to stick to and only set you up for failure. My only major problem with all this has been finding time to exercise. So as I wrote about last week, I decided enough is enough - I am not going to let my job, my kids, or husband interfere with my workouts anymore. While none of it is intentional, sometimes coordinating with the aforementioned parties just makes getting out for a run difficult! The best plan for me was to get up before everyone else, and get it out of the way before someone needs me for something. So far so good.

Boost in Self-Esteem
In the last 7 days I have run 5 days, and done 1 interval training on my treadmill. I feel fantastic. I can already see a difference in my body. My legs are stronger and more defined, and my core is tightening up. I am totally in a great mood at the start of my day because by the time I get to work I have already accomplished something major (including sitting in traffic, but that's a whole other story). I have a steady stream of energy until the afternoon, but that is a work in progress. I've had a hard time sleeping on the nights before I get up to run before work because I think deep down I am worried my alarm won't wake me. I think that over time, I will get more comfortable and maybe will become so exhausted that I will pass out when I hit the pillow the way I used to.

Crying Babies Won't Stand in My Way
So far I have only had one minor snafu. This morning my 2 year-old woke up at 4 a.m. for some reason and was crying. I let it go for a while and was hoping he would stop, but he didn't. I tried to take him to bed with me, and although he stopped crying he didn't want to sleep. I turned on the TV so I could get a little half-hearted sleep but before I knew it my alarm was going off at 5:30 a.m. I had to change and meet my running buddy. My little Pork Chop (a.k.a. Buddha) cried when I tried to leave him in the bed with my hubby who was getting pretty irritated at this point. I could have turned and walked out but I felt bad for him. So I grabbed a jacket, a hat, and a blanket and plopped him in the jogging stroller and away we went. I wasn't going to look for any excuse to get out of running - I was looking for ways to make sure I went.

My parting words this evening - you can make it happen if really want to. For months I kept telling myself that there was just no good time to exercise. But I just needed to make  a good time. Choose an attainable goal - even if its just to get moving for 30 minutes a day to start off with. Make it one of your priorities like brushing your teeth. You'll be glad you did!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Crazy Get After It Running Plan

I have a good friend that I have known for over 25 years. Yes I am that old, but thank goodness I don't look it! She and I love to get together for our "girl time" which is when we run, and talk. It's great for us to catch up and discuss the economy, finances, political and social issues, wine, food and chick stuff. I have always been motivated by my running buddy. The last year or so our running time has taken a hit as both of us have had some changes in our schedule which makes it difficult to run together as much as we'd like. She works a shift job so her schedule changes every 6 months, and I have a husband with a shift job that impacts my schedule, and I have 2 little ones under 5 that I have to work around also. It's no wonder I am looking and feeling a bit heavier than normal.

In recent blogs I have mentioned that I have never been a morning person, but somehow have been managing recently out of desperation to get up and exercise before work. Well I am even kicking it up a notch. My running buddy and I are pledging to run together in the morning, so early that it doesn't interfere with anyone's schedule. Which means sometimes on my day off I will be getting up to run at 6am, and she will do the same. Then a couple times during the week, we will run before she has to be at work...and since she starts at 6am, we will be running at 4:15. OMG. I can't believe I was even crazy enough to suggest this to her, but I think we are both serious about being fit and making changes in our lives.

I told my husband our plan and he gave me a funny look. I know he doesn't want to say it, but is thinking, "Yeah, right." Well it makes me want to prove to him as well as myself that we can do this! Yes, I will be tired. Yes, I will be freezing. Yes, it will be dark. But what choice do I have? It's so easy to make excuses. And as my buddy said, there will be less flaking at that time of the morning. We won't have anything interfering with our ability to run but ourselves. I can't blame my husband, my kids, a dr. appointment, birthday party, or anything else. Hell, the Giant's just won the World Series. I can, and WILL run before dawn. I will keep you posted on my progress!

Happy Fitness! A great weekend to all!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hearty, Spicy Beef Stew in the Crock Pot!

I wish I had a picture of my stew! It was made, eaten and enjoyed before I could take any photos. Well take my word for it, it looks very tasty, smells amazing and is quite yummy. I had fun shopping for the veggies at my Saturday Farmer's Market, my weekly family tradition. Pefect hearty stew for a cold day, and you can go out and enjoy your Saturday or Sunday and come home to a nice warm meal if you make it in the crock pot.

This recipe should feed 4 hungry people if served over rice or noodles.  If you have leftovers, even better - this stew tastes even better the next day.

1-1/2 tablespoons oil
2 lbs stew meat cut into 1 inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 carrots chopped
2 medium onions chopped
1 small can diced green chiles
1 can Mexican style stewed tomatoes
1/2 can beef broth
1/2 cup sliced green pimento stuffed olives
1 potato cut into 1 inch pieces (more can be added if you desire)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin

In a large pan on medium heat, heat half the oil and brown half the meat with 2 of the garlic cloves. Remove. I like to put the meat in the crockpot to wait for the rest of the ingredients. Brown the rest of the meat with the remaining oil 2 garlic cloves. Remove remaining meat and saute the vegetables in the same pan for about 5 minutes or so until they start to soften.
Put the meat into the crockpot if its not already there, then vegetables. Add the remaining ingredients - chiles, tomatoes, broth, olives and potato. Add your spices and combine with vegetables and meat with a large spoon. Turn your crock pot on high for 6 hours. Happy eating!

Try it, and let me know what you think. I would enjoy this with a nice glass of full bodied red wine. TGIF!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

San Francisco Giants Win the World Series!

I have been MIA since I have been obsessed with the San Francisco Giants. Last night was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, as they took the World Series from the Texas Rangers. I have had a funny little crush on Tim Lincecum (aka "The Freak") who is this skinny 24-year old pitcher with long hair. There is just something cute about him. Anyway, that is not why I have been watching the play off games and the World Series. I am from the Bay Area and have been going to Giants games for as long as I can remember and am a FAN. They came here from New York in 1958 and for the first time in California have won the championship. I am proud.

I  found myself drinking a beer or two while watching the games. Definitely not good for my fitness plan. I set my alarm early so I could run before work , but I was too tired...not from the game last night as I did manage to crash out early...but a culmination of a number of nights in a row previously that I didn't get enough sleep due to unexplained insomnia. Possibly too much sugar/Halloween candy? I have a weekness for Reese's peanut butter cups, Kit Kat's, and M & M's. We also had a crew over for Halloween so there was a lot of food around. Again, not beneficial to my fitness plan. I am going to try to spend some time on the treadmill tonight and definitely  tomorrow morning. Looking forward to meeting up with my running buddy this weekend. We've both had things going on the last few weeks and have not managed to sync up and run together.  Need to get back on track!

Did you fall off the wagon around Halloween? How are you getting yourself back on track?

Happy Fitness! 22 Days til Turkey Day!