Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays from my Family to Yours

Photos by Scott Campbell Photography (this years xmas card)

From our family to yours, I hope you have an excellent Christmas and Happy New Year. We are gearing up for a fun one. This year it is just us 4 for Christmas Eve then my husband's parents are coming out for Christmas Day. We also get our annual date day and movie at Yardhouse on the 28th, to scarf up their holiday beers and relax. We intend to see some friends who are in town as well. Then we are off to Temecula to wine taste and relax at a house we rented. We will be joined by my sister in law and her husband and daughter Olivia. Finally I think they are at the same age where they can play together. So that should be really fun to watch.

Hopefully when we return there will be a major snowstorm so Claire can start some ski lessons. Any fun plans this week? Thanks to all who keep following along on my blog, I know I have been absent here and there as work was piling up. Ill just say my New Years resolution is to keep this going!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fitness Equipment to Help you Through the Holidays

So I have been super diligent about exercising and eating right (most of the time). Since this past summer I have lost about 5lbs and am slowly moving towards my goal. I decided to up the anty by joining the 6 month Transformation Diet on Basically you pay about $20 a month for 6 months. Whoever hits their goal at the end of 6 months wins a part of the pot. Right now my pot is at about $100k! Holy crap right?

Now there are monthly bets too if you just want to lose a small amount of weight. I want to lose 15lbs so I think that this will really help me hit that goal. I am already denying myself those extra wine calories during the week because of this bet.

Looking back I started to lose weight faster by giving up my hard core cardio routines. I am a cardio junkie and tend to gravitate towards kick-your-butt workouts that make you sweat a lot. Back in October I committed myself to going to The Bar Method 3-4 days a week and spend those two other days doing some sort of interval training. Now don't get me wrong The Bar Method kicks my butt big time but it is different. I find it harder obviously to participate in a class then it is doing a video at home mainly because I try to push myself as hard as others do in class. My legs shake and hurt so much during thigh work I have to stop for a second for fear my legs will give out. I have noticed some fabulous changes in my body. My stomach is much more flat and strong, I am seeing definition in my arms, and my legs have gotten smaller. All while not leaving class dripping in sweat. Its is a nice change and its great to change things up a bit.

With that said I will not be able to do much exercise through next week until New Years as we are going to Temecula with my husbands family. I do however have some ideas to do some quick moves here and there to hopefully keep my abs strong enough and my body feeling ok so I don't die when I return to class.

Here are some of my favorites, and wants:

1. I love doing abs on the Bar Method mat. There is something about the cushion that makes me really be able to focus on holding my abs in. Will be great to do along with the video.

2. A kettlebell. I love using these, they make you entirely out of breath and really help work your core. Here is a good routine: KettleBell Routine

3. Exercise Bands. I used these in a recent HIIT class and oh my lord did my legs and arms burn. Here is a good routine using the bands: Exercise Band Routine

4. And finally the Fit Bit Flex. I have this on my Christmas wish list and I really hope I get one. I love this because it tracks your sleep and calorie expenditure. I honestly don't think I get many nights of good sleep so it will be interesting to analyze and try to fix.

I hope everyone is excited for the holidays, I cannot believe it is next week! Are there any other at home devices you use to help keep your fitness on track through the holidays?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Elizabeth Street Feature

Elizabeth Street is one of my favorite online "mom" magazines. There are so many great articles for moms, kids, fashion, fitness, etc. I try to read it as often as I can.

Last month I was so excited that I was a chosen submission to be one of their featured moms. Not that I consider myself fashionable, but I do love clothing and accessories.  I have started to feel more comfortable in my clothing recently since having Tom 14 months ago and have started to dress like I did before I had kids. I can rock a pair of sweats like no one's business but to dress up or wear anything a little fitted made me self conscious (and still sometimes does but I am getting there). I have been working hard to get back to my old self and I am getting close so have begun to vary up my wardrobe, and I make sure I put together a nice outfit every day.

I am going back to work Monday-Wednesdays in January helping with my husband and parents firm. In addition I am continuing to help out with my old company on Thursdays, Fridays and weekends. Overall it will equate to a full time job. It will be an adjustment but I am ready. I miss working and the routine of it. I will miss being able to workout anytime I want and spending time with the kids but I will make out a new schedule, and spend extra fun time with the kids.

With that said I have been doing a little shopping lately as all my work attire is somewhat outdated. I will share some outfits in the future but for now just wanted to share this accomplishment.

Was it a hard transition for anyone going back to work after having some time off with the kids?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Disneyland Tips for First Timers with Small Children

My family and I just got back from a trip to Disneyland. I hadn't been since I was younger and a lot has changed. Claire had such a blast and Tom well he was a little indifferent but I would like to think he had fun.  Claire has been quite girly lately and so it was really cute to see her get excited to see the Disney princesses.

The fact that there are multiple areas to meet the disney characters is really amazing, and I don't recall them having that when I went years ago. The park itself really caters to people with children of all ages, especially strollers and babies. 

We stayed at the Grand Californian and it was conveniently located walking distance to the park which made things super easy when the kids needed their naps. The hotel had story time at night by the fireplace, christmas carolers, and Santa Claus!

Here are some things I learned that I will use next time we go to Disneyland, which I hope is often!! 

1. Obviously bring a stroller and a blanket. Thomas powered through the second day so I reclined his stroller and covered the opening with a blanket so he could relax. 

2. Take advantage of the PhotoPass. There are stations all over Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure Park, and the Grand Californian Hotel. You get a card and they scan it at every station and you can get great quality images at all your stops. Beats lugging around a large camera like I did. The photo of all of us in front of the Disneyland entrance, the Santa photo, and Claire with Tinker bell were all from Photopass.

3. Go during mid week if you can. We went on a Monday and a Tuesday and the parks were manageable, as in the longest line we waited in was 30 minutes.

4. Do the park hopper pass. We jumped from park to park and had a fabulous time.

5. Download the MouseWait app. It has a crowd index and wait times for each ride and restaurant and literally dictated which rides we went to. 

5. Use the switch passes if you have a baby that way your significant other, friend, or family member can go straight to the front of the line when you are done with the ride. 

6. Bring a backpack instead of a purse. I lugged my baby bag around and it was a pain the first day so we used my husbands backpack and it made a word of difference. 

7. If you really want to get your full day (s) I recommend skipping a dinner reservation and just grab food as you go. I made a reservation our first day and felt like we wasted precious ride time. 

8. If your daughter is into princesses see about purchasing them a princess dress to wear into the park. Claire wore hers all day long and loved admiring herself once she knew the princesses all wore gowns. (we just couldn't pry the thing off of her). Get to Fantasy Faire early as the line can be about an hour or longer wait. We went at 9am and waited 15 minutes. Also if your daughter is over 3 they do a whole princess makeover in the salon! The breakfast at Aerial's Grotto is a princess breakfast and Claire met all her favorites. You can make reservations here: Aerial's Grotto

9. The World of Disney store in Downtown Disney has a ton of items in one location so if you want you can save your shopping until you get to this store. 

10. My 14 month old son hated Pirates of the Caribbean. Yes its not an hardcore ride but the dark and the noises freaked him out so we stuck with the castle rides for him after this experience. Claire on the other hand loved everything and she is 3 in February.

11. Enjoy every minute. I wish we had done a 3 day park hopper but we took advantage of all we could in the 2 days we were there. 

12. Go during the holidays if you can, the park is so very festive and the weather is cool.

13. Finally, bring some serious hand sanitizer and wash your hands often. My entire family sans Claire and I ended up with either a cold or the stomach flu after our adventure.