Birthday Weekend Celebrations

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Another year of birthday celebrations have come and gone. It’s always a little depressing when something you’ve been looking forward to is over, right? I had total post-party blues on Sunday. Womp, womp.

I started out my birthday weekend with a pancake breakfast- something I never do. My date made up a delicious batch of paleo pumpkin pancakes which were delicious! He also made me a smoothie- I could get used to that!

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I worked a bit and then headed to Brighton to get a much-needed manicure and pedicure. It was SO relaxing. I go to Queen Bee nails and absolutely love it. I got a shellac manicure (which includes a paraffin wax) for $25! They also gave me a bottle of lotion for my birthday- so sweet of them.

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Saturday morning my sister and I went to a class at Recycle Studio. We were supposed to go to Lindsay’s class, but I was an idiot and we missed it. Luckily there was a class right after it that Lindsay was taking, so they let us just take that class instead.

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That afternoon, my parents came down for lunch at Santarpio’s. Although a pizza lunch was probably not the best lunch to have before getting into a tight dress, I enjoyed every bite of it ;)

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We came back to my apartment to have bunny cake and open presents. My mom makes me this cake every year- isn’t it the cutest?

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I was so happy that my parents made the trip down here. We hadn’t seen them in a long time and I always like when they visit!

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Saturday night was my birthday celebration at the Liberty Hotel. So many of my friends came- I couldn’t believe it! I had home friends, college friends, gym friends and other Boston friends I’ve made over the years. It was so good to see everyone!

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Thank you so much to everyone for coming out!!

I spent Sunday lunching with my Shapleigh girls, grocery shopping, and checking out all my presents from the weekend. My gym friends Steph, Alice and Jen brought me the nicest present- wine, wine glasses, napkins and a mani/pedi gift cert! I can’t wait to go back and use it. My upstairs neighbor, Lauren, gave me a nice bottle of wine and my other upstairs neighbor, Lisa, gave me the most gorgeous plant! You girls are all the best!

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I ended my day with a nice, long walk throughout the parks in Eastie and along the water. It was nice to have some quiet time just for me to reflect on the past year.

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Lastly, Monday night, my date took me out to celebrate with me on my actual birthday. We started with cocktails at Trade. I went with a Cosmo and I was very happy with that decision!

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We had dinner reservations at Row 34, which I’ve been dying to try. It was a good thing he tried making reservations a week and a half in advance because they were already booked solid (on a Monday!). I called and pulled some birthday strings, though, and got us in. Everything from the atmosphere to the service to the food was outstanding and we thoroughly enjoyed every piece of the experience. I even tried oysters- and liked them! I had the Bucatini and it was SO good. I think he had the bluefish, but I can’t remember… I blame it on the Cosmo’s ;)

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We both agreed that we can’t wait to go back!

Thank you, again, to all my friends and family for making my birthday weekend so amazing!! Here’s to 29!

 

Wednesday Workout: Tabata Cardio & 9 Minute Ab Circuits

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Hi there! How are you guys doing today? I’ve got a fun workout for you today that left me sore for a day or two last week. I subbed the class before my UXF Burn class and had an AMRAP workout planned out until someone said they don’t usually use weights, but rather focus on plyometric cardio moves and core moves. I had done this workout back home in Maine when I went to a class and was looking for a time when I’d have a chance to teach it in one of my classes, so it worked out great!

I did change some of the moves, but for the most part, this was the workout we did in the class I took. If you’re looking for a shorter workout, feel free to cut back to just one or two rounds of the ab circuits.

Tabata Cardio & 9 Min. Ab Circuits

Since some of the moves may be new to you (or maybe I just call them something different), here are some explanations/videos:

  • Seated ab hold with alternating cross jabs- find yourself in a seated position with your feet on the ground and knees bent. Lean back until you feel your core engaged. From there, perform alternating cross jabs. You can use LIGHT weights here if you want (read: don’t go over 5lbs), but 60 seconds in this position is a long time, just an fyi!
  • Standing knee to elbow crunch- for this one, start out with a weight in your right hand and extend it over your head. Balance on your left leg as you bring your right elbow to your right knee. Repeat for 30 seconds then switch sides. This is killer for the shoulder and obliques!
  • Pendulum lunge with weight pass- take a light-ish weight (5-10 lbs) and as you step forward into a lunge on the right side, pass the weight under your right knee. As you step your right leg back into a lunge, pass the weight under your left knee, which is now the bent knee. Go for 30 seconds and then switch sides. Make sure when you do this that you’re bending through the legs and getting those knees to a 90* angle rather than just bending over at the waist to get the weight through/under the bent knee.
  • Table top push-outs- lie on your back with your knees placed over your hips and bent at 90* (shins are parallel to the ground). Place the stability ball on top of your shins and slowly extend your legs out as far as you can while keeping them at the same height you started at. Work slowly here and you’ll really feel it in your lower abdominal area. Remember to keep your back pressed firmly against the mat.
  • Stability bridge w/ball chest pass- you can use a medicine ball or weight for this move. Get into bridge position with your shoulder blades on the stability ball and your hips pressed up to the ceiling (glutes and hamstrings should be engaged!). Take your ball or weight and pass from one arm/hand to the next. It’s like a 1 armed chest fly. Make sure you keep your core/glutes/hamstrings engaged the whole time!
  • Butterfly Sit Up

I think that should cover it, but if you want video demo’s of anything, just let me know! Have fun :)

Questions for you: Do you like going to classes where you just do cardio and core work? Or, do you prefer total body workouts?

 

Twenty-Nine

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Yikes. How am I just one year away from no longer being in my twenties? It’s really crazy to think about, actually. I spent some time on Sunday reflecting on the past year, and you know what? Twenty Eight was pretty awesome. Not only did I have the chance to do so many really great things and go on some fun trips, but I found a lot out about myself. I guess living alone will do that to you. I’ve realized that I should try and slow down, and although this is still very challenging for me, being aware of it is a step in the right direction. I’ve opened up and shared some deeper posts and have enjoyed connecting with those of you who read and comment here- your support really does mean the world to me.

Here are some of the highlights from the past year- I love that I have everything documented!

This list is really just a high-level glimpse into my year last year, but even if that’s all I did last year, I’d still think it was pretty fantastic. If 29 is anywhere near as great as 28, I’m in for a good ride. I hope you’ll stick with me during my journeys this year :)

This Week: Workouts, the big 2-9 and things I’m looking forward to

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Good morning! Happy Monday… and happy birthday to me (and my birthday buddies, Jess and Ashley! Hope you girls have a wonderful day! xo)! I cannot believe another year has come and gone and I am 29. I’ll post more on my birthday later, but let’s focus on the workouts first. When I told people I was teaching this morning, they thought I was crazy, but to be honest, starting my birthday with a workout is the best way to start it.

Last week’s workouts were good, but I just felt weak and drained during them. I think it’s a mix between fighting off a cold and just being run down from my crazy March. With that said, I rested on Friday and Sunday which was needed. Hoping my energy is back up this week!

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- Last week I did a strength session during my lunch break. Mostly upper body and core- it was good!
  • Tuesday- I got up before work and did 35 minutes of kickboxing and body weight lower body strength moves.
  • Wednesday- I taught my first double of the week. Although it makes sense for me to sub the 5:30 class before I teach my own, it’s not ideal for me. Teaching a double two days in a row is a lot! My new heart rate monitor came in which made me so happy!

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  • Thursday- Taught my 2nd double of the week. Boy was I happy after my second class was done!
  • Friday- Rest! As I stated, I just felt really weak during my workouts this week so a rest day on Friday was needed.
  • Saturday- I went to a class at Recycle Studio with my sister. We had all intentions of going to Lindsay’s class, but I was an idiot and we missed that class so we went to her roommate’s class after, which was equally as good!

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  • Sunday- I went for a nice, long walk. I walked for just under an hour- no clue on the distance, but I’m guessing almost 4 miles. It felt nice to be in the sunshine and spend time reflecting on the past year.

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This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- By the time this post goes up, I will have taught my Muscle Work class and hopefully have done some cardio- I’m thinking 2.9 miles to celebrate my 29th birthday??
  • Tuesday- I’m not sure. I might run after work? Rest? We will see.
  • Wednesday- Some light cardio before teaching UXF Burn.
  • Thursday- Teaching my SHRED and Kickboxing classes.
  • Friday- Rest! I have the day off, but am getting a massage (I think), hair cut and doing a “day of fun” with my date since I have the day off for Good Friday.
  • Saturday- Teaching kickboxing at the YMCA.
  • Sunday- I’ll be home in Maine for Easter so I’ll probably do something there.

Things I’m Looking Forward To

I’m looking forward to so many things that I think I need to list them out!

  • My birthday- duh! It’s week 2 of the celebrations, which is always a good thing ;)
  • The 80* weather forecast projected for today.
  • Birthday dinner at Row 34 with my date… and possible drinks outside somewhere beforehand since it’s supposed to be so nice.
  • Day off on Friday, which will include a possible massage, hair cut, sushi lunch and “day of fun” with the guy.
  • My sister got me tickets to go see Pat Green on Friday night at the House of Blues- such a thoughtful and FUN gift. I can’t wait!
  • Going home to Maine for Easter weekend!

Questions for you: Do you ever have weeks where you just feel weak with your workouts? What was the best part of your week last week? What are you looking forward to this week? Do you have Good Friday off?

Vegas State of Mind

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Did you know that April is National Stress Awareness Month? In an effort to help promote this awareness, I was contacted by the content director at Vegas.com asking me if I’d like to participate in their “Let Loose” campaign, which encourages people to turn to events/activities/hobbies/etc. to let loose and unwind. As soon as I heard about this, I was all in! With my crazy schedule, I can always use a reminder of ways let loose, unwind and have fun.

Obviously I’d love to GO to Vegas to unwind, but since that’s not an option at the moment, I’m just going to share my favorite ways to unwind (That don’t include a vacation) with you here on this little blog. My hopes is that it will encourage YOU to think about what helps you unwind… and then maybe even motivate you to do it :)

Have a glass of wine… with or without friends…

It’s no surprise that I love wine, but more than just loving the taste, I love the way it helps me relax. There’s something just so wonderful about sipping a glass of wine after a long day or to celebrate the weekend (or celebrate anything, really)… and doing it with friends is an added bonus ;)

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Go to the beach

Although this is a limited form of relaxation when living in New England since we only have a few short months to do this, it’s one of the best for me! I’m not usually very good at sitting and doing nothing, but there’s something about being at the beach that makes doing that VERY easy. I don’t even need a book! As long as I have a towel, sunscreen and water, I’m a happy camper.

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Get a manicure and/or pedicure

This somewhat forces me to unwind because I’m confined to the small, fantastic massaging chair, but hey- it works! It’s also a time to catch up on all the trashy magazines that they always have laying around the nail salon. A lot of places offer mani/pedi deals when done together so make sure to ask about that if you’re trying to save a little money.

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Read a book

I don’t do this nearly enough, but every time I do I’m reminded of how relaxing it is. Note to self: start a new book.

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Go for a walk

While working out at my normal intensity (read: high intensity, high impact, fast-paced, etc.) is not “unwinding” in and of itself, going for a walk is. It’s time to slow down, look around and appreciate having the ability to do that. I especially like going for walks with friends or my mom and sister. It’s a great time to catch up on life AND gain benefits of physical activity.

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Cooking

Being in the kitchen, with a glass of wine in hand and a good Pandora station on in the background, is one of my favorite things to do (outside of the gym!). This often takes up a good part of my Sunday afternoon since I like to spend time prepping lunches and snacks for the week and I like to make a nice meal that’s a bit more labor and time intensive than my weeknight meals.

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… if I were to go to Vegas, then my choice ways of unwinding and enjoying myself would be laying poolside at a fancy pool, treating myself to a massage or some other spa service, going to a show at night and indulging in all of the amazing foods that the restaurants have to offer. I haven’t been to Vegas in 5 or 6 years, but all this recent talk of it makes me want to go back!

Now it’s your turn- What’s your favorite way to unwind? Do you like to do an activity or relax by reading or having a glass of wine? What’s your favorite destination to retreat to when you’re looking to unwind? Have you been to Vegas? If so, what’s your favorite Vegas activity? Feel free to share your favorite ways to “let loose” on Twitter and use the hashtag #letloose2014!

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