She’s a BRICK Hooouse

I think the world would be a happier place if it was filled with more Saturdays and Sundays. At the very least, I would be happier, so that should count for something, right? I’m considering pitching this to Obama and seeing what he thinks.

Friday

After having a work week that I swear lasted a month instead of just 5 days, I was more than ready to have a date night with my favorite person come Friday night. Like the party animals that we are, we started date night off with a little trip to Trader Joe’s. Since we have our first Blue Apron delivery this week (3 dinners) as part of my anniversary gift, we didn’t need much in the way of groceries. Since we had a small week of grocery shopping, I decided to throw this cashew butter in the cart since it’s new and we’ve been wanting to try it for the past few weeks.
Cashew ButterVerdict? Amazing. According to Ed, it may even trump our beloved Maranatha Coconut Almond Butter.

After grocery shopping, we decided we were in the mood for some Korean food and headed over to our go-to spot for good Korean food. I love the intimate and relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant and the service is SUPER quick.
Galbi & BulgogiI went with the Galbi, while Ed ordered the Spicy Bulgogi. We ended the night with a (not pictured) trip to Cold Stone with the dog before falling asleep on the couch.

Saturday

My Saturday was filled with lots of family time since my Dad’s 52nd birthday was on Sunday! To celebrate, my sister and I took him out to lunch at one of his (and my) favorite spots, Border Café. The Mexican/Cajun food here is seriously incredible and the prices are SO cheap.
Dad & Me at BorderAfter demolishing the freshly baked tortilla chips and salsa, I ate my entrée of Blackened Chicken with cajun marmalade and a side of rice and black beans. Delicious!
Border Cafe
Once we were done with lunch, we headed back over to my house where we sang “Happy Birthday” to my dad and dug into this marble cake that my sister got from Whole Foods.
Dad's CakeIsn’t the cake gorgeous? They have the best bakery section.

Then my dad, sister, and I took the most beautiful picture:
Me, dad, & angI’d venture to say it’s one of the best we’ve ever been in together.

My mom, dad, and sister left shortly after we were done birthday festivities and Ed and I finished our night off by making our first Blue Apron meal and sipping on some wine that my sister brought us back from her trip to Virginia!
Black Dog WineSunday

I had grand plans on Sunday to do a brick workout. I’ve only done 1 or 2 other brick workouts aside from this one and, quite frankly, they scare the crap out of me. I mean, seriously, you expect me to run after I finish a 45 minute bike ride?! Chyeah, okay. On top of already being uneasy of my workout as it was, the weather decided it wanted to play a funny trick on me and make it pour rain during the workout.
Rain on horizonNot funny, Mother Nature, not funny. I considered skipping the workout altogether, but Ed convinced me I was being a baby so off we went – rain and all.
12.4 mile rideThe bike portion of our workout (12.4 miles followed by a 3.1 mile run – the distance of a sprint triathlon) was pretty brutal because, like always, with the rain comes strong wind and we spent most of the time fighting against the wind resistance.
Brick at Glasgow (2)Once we were done with the 12.4 mile bike ride (it took right around 46 minutes), we locked our bikes up and began our 3.1 mile run at Glasgow Park. Even though my legs felt like lead and I swore I was running in slow motion, I kept a pretty decent pace for the run and we ended up finishing the entire workout in 1:18:15.
Brick TimeWhew! Was I glad to be done with that.

Since we exhausted ourselves in the morning, we took the rest of our Sunday easy and made a trip to the Newark Farmer’s Market for some iced almond milk chai lattes from Java Puppy, then meal prepped for the week before plopping ourselves on the couch with our Netflix for the rest of the day.
Meal prep - cod, tomato sauce, rice, turkey meatballs, chicken sausage, pasta, broccoli mixAnd now, it’s back to the grind!

 

Did you do anything fun this weekend?
Do you call it quits on an outdoor workout if it’s raining or keep going?

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My First Pure Barre Experience

As you can probably tell from my weekly workout recaps, I’m a big fan of mixing up the workouts I do on a regular basis. Not only does mixing it up keep things fun, but it also means I consistently work different body parts and keep my body “confused” so I continue to see the benefits of my training.

In the past, I’ve tried pretty much every type of workout there is. Running, Crossfit, Spin, BodyPump, Zumba, Yoga, P90x, Step, Carmen Electra’s Striptease Workout (yeah, turns out I’m not that good at attempting to be sexy so this was a no go), etc. The point is, I’m down to try anything once to see if I like it.

For months and months now I’ve been hearing everyone and their mother talk about Pure Barre. After initially hearing what it consisted of, I’ll admit it didn’t immediately peak my interest. I’ve never much been into ballet or dance and my goal is not necessarily to have a “dancer’s body” or whatever that is. After looking into it more, I saw so many people raving about how it worked their body in an entirely new way and the concept of using isometric movements to fatigue your muscles intrigued me since it’s something I’ve never really tried in my own workouts.

The only studio in the entire state of Delaware is located in Greenville (about 5 minutes from where I work), so on Wednesday night I decided to give the 5:30pm class a try after work after seeing that they offer a new client special of $10 for your first class (the subsequent classes aren’t cheap at a whopping $23 per drop-in class).
Pure Barre EntranceEven though I looked at a couple of videos online and have read some reviews, I didn’t really know what to expect when I walked in. I must say, the studio was gorgeous (but Greenville is a ritzy area so I’d expect nothing less).
Pure Barre StudioAs far as dress code goes, they advise wearing leggings (not shorts), you can’t have your midriff showing, and you should bring a pair of non-slip socks (I picked up a pair of yoga socks from Walmart for $7 since I didn’t have time to find Barre socks):
Yoga SocksThe ladies at the front desk were nice and showed me everything I would need for the class which included a light pair of dumbbells, a resistance band, and a small stability ball.

I would estimate that there were probably around 20 people in the class since the room was filled to capacity. Truthfully, I think this was way too many people for the studio to hold. There were times during class where I had to move or look where I was extending my legs/arms in order to make sure I didn’t hit someone. Also, it made it impossible for me to see the instructor sitting in the front and center of the room since I was seated on the left side in the back (this was the only area to sit in by the time I made it into the room). Not being able to see the instructor made it really difficult to understand what I was supposed to be doing since I wasn’t familiar with a lot of the cues or what to expect next. I found myself glancing around the room a lot of the time to see what other people were doing so I could follow suit.

Other than that issue, I really liked the format of the class. We did some ab/arm work in the center of the room before moving on to ab/leg work on the barre and mat. All of this was set to energetic and current music, which I really loved. Like I said, a lot of the class focused on isometric movements, so you’re expected to hold the positions for an extended period of time and/or pulse slightly until your body parts feel a burn and quivers like you’ve never seen before!

I found myself having to come out of the positions a few times because my legs or arms would be burning or shaking uncontrollably – like during the part where we had to hold a plie squat in the lowest position we could on our tiptoes while pulsing. Yeah, that one burned! As painful as it was at times, that’s part of the reason I enjoyed it! The instructor was good about explaining what to do in certain positions and came over a few times to show me how to perform the moves.

So all-in-all, I really enjoyed the class. It was entertaining and made my muscles burn in an entirely new way that weightlifting or running/cycling never has. In fact, my abs, butt, and calves are extremely sore today still! I think this class is a great way to strength train and tone especially for those who are scared that heavy weightlifting will make them “bulky” (not true, but that’s neither here nor there). I think it’d be a great complement to the strength training and cardio that I currently do, so I’ll definitely be back (albeit, not terribly often since my wallet just can’t afford that).

Have you guys ever tried Pure Barre before?

What’s the weirdest/most unique workout you’ve tried?

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The Happiness Project

I first attempted to read The Happiness Project a few years ago after checking it out of my local library. I read the first chapter or two, but couldn’t really get into it for some reason. While I found the concept to be interesting, I found the book itself to be somewhat boring. I think I felt this way mainly because I couldn’t really relate to the author, Gretchen Rubin. She is a married 30-something year old living in New York City with 2 children and, at the time, I was a 22 year old recent college graduate with no kids living in Delaware with my boyfriend. At the time, I thought there was very little I could learn from her happiness project because we were such different people living in different areas with vastly different goals.
Happiness ProjectAfter hearing many good things about the book over the years and how much people have learned from it, I decided to give it another go (this time in audio version so I could listen to it at work and during my workouts). I pressed on past the first few chapters I had previously read and, in hindsight, I’m so glad I decided to give it another go! While in many ways I don’t directly relate to the author herself, I found that I am, in fact, similar to her in a lot of other ways.

In the book, she discusses daily habits of hers that take away from not only her happiness, but from the happiness of those around her and the people she loves. She talks about how she holds grudges, takes things too seriously sometimes, allows clutter to surround her despite the stress it puts on her, and doesn’t practice gratitude as much as she should. On a regular basis, I find myself doing all of these things in addition to a lot of the other habits she details in the book. I live in the past or the future instead of the now, I don’t focus enough on my happiness in the present, and I don’t take enough time to show those around me how much I care about them.
William Edward Hartpole Lecky QuoteDon’t get me wrong, I would consider myself to be a generally happy person, but I think in so many ways I could definitely be happier on a regular basis. Happiness is so important to mental and overall health in ways we can’t even begin to quantify or imagine. The whole point of Gretchen’s book isn’t to necessarily overhaul your life and who you are, but to do small changes based on who you are on a regular basis that over time greatly affect your happiness.

As you can tell, I felt quite inspired after reading (i.e. listening) to the book and have started to make small changes to the way I react to things over the past few weeks. Instead of letting dishes pile up in the sink and become a stressful mess that no one wants to deal with, I’ll take the 5-10 minutes to load them up in the dishwasher right away. I try to take a breath and put things into perspective before I give snarky remark to something that angers me. And I try to be more productive with my time on a regular basis, so I don’t worry about all the stuff I have to do later on.

Gretchen Rubin Quotesource

Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means perfect at doing ANY of these tasks yet, but I’m working on seeing the negative behaviors I need to let go of and the positive ones I need to do more of and that’s the important part.

Over the next few weeks, I plan on implementing more of a “system” if you will for monitoring myself on the things I want to change or do to increase my happiness. I don’t want it to be a major thing on the blog or anything, but let me know if you guys want to me to check in with you and let you know how it goes/how I plan on monitoring myself/things I find that have helped me to be happier!

Have any of you guys read The Happiness Project? What did you think?

Do you do any practices on a regular basis to increase your happiness like meditating or keeping a gratitude journal?

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