Tuesday, April 23, 2013

happy administrative professionals day!

Hey, so guess what I found at Hallmark the other day? An entire aisle devoted to Administrative Professionals Day! So you know what that means? It means it's real, and it's special, and anyone who has ever had to photocopy the contents of a thousand-page legislative document, fix an industrial sized paper jam, or answer two simultaneous phone lines while answering an email with their left shoulder gets to be treated like the superstar Admin that they are! Here are some ways you could treat yourself today, if you, too, have ever taken a taxi across town with seven of your managers' laptops:

1. Buy yourself a donut. Any donut. I'm not kidding, you can even have a fritter.
2. Come in 15 minutes late (but then stay 15 minutes late in the evening because someone probably set themselves on fire in the time you were away this morning.)
3. Buy a cup of really retardedly expensive coffee at Starbucks and do it while wearing sunglasses so people think you're the boss in The Devil Wears Prada. (Have I figured out the meaning of "Be your own boss"?)
4. Make a point of reclining in your seat whenever there's no one around. Bonus points if you can put your feet up. Maybe you can find an old ink cartridge box somewhere.
5. Put an Out of Office message on, but have it remind everyone what day it is.  Respond to their emails promptly, so as to avoid confusion.
6. Print a picture of David Hasselhoff, or any other hunk you can think of...in color...and put it up on your wall. You're allowed to look at him all day today, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. 
7. Call your mom. Oh wait, you do that every day anyway. Oh wait, just me. Okay, call your mom anyway though.
8. Confetti. Someone else's office. I'm just saying.
9. Eat chip wagon fries for lunch. Why? Because you won't let yourself do it on any other day. Today is different though- today is your day.
10. Bring a bottle of hand cream and moisturize your hands every hour.  That's what rich people do, probably.

Pick any of these options and you're bound to feel extra special today! And on a more fashion-y note, here are two of my favorite work outfits, with the latter being a little less appropriate due to skirt length, but still manageable if skirt length is monitored.  It's hard to tell (because my tripod is malfunctioning and having a bit of an administrative unprofessional moment), but the raspberry pink skirt is actually floor-length. I'm sure it'll make another appearance as the summer months roll in.

Have a beautiful day, regardless of what you do for a living!








sally's cereals: maple & brown sugar

This morning, unintentionally, I walked to work with the following playlist:

1. Toto - Africa
2. Toto - Africa
3. Toto - Africa
4. Toto - Africa
5. Toto - Africa
6. Toto - Africa
7. Toto - Africa
8. Toto - Africa
9. Toto - Africa


It was somewhere between #7 and #8 that I thought Damn, this album is just one hit after another.. and soon after, it had become clear to me that I was tired. Really tired. Just like every morning. Regardless of the time I go to bed. Because hearing people talk about their sleeping problems is basically the best way to cure your own, I'll skip over that and go right into the best part about it all: the morning. Or, to be more specific, breakfast.  One of my favorite things to eat for breakfast when I'm not frying up a bacon-crusted statue of Pegasus is oatmeal, so when I came across Sally's Cereals, I was pretty excited to check it out. What caught my eye is that Sally's cereal is made with natural ingredients, and contains flax, quinoa, and whole grain brown rice (among other super healthy stuff). You just don't see that kind of stuff in a sugary treat very often - especially not at Walmart, where I found it.




Let me just say it tastes AMAZING! I bought two flavours, and am really excited to report that the Maple & Brown Sugar is perfectly gooey, hearty, sweet, and maple-y (with the occasional little cranberry to surprise you!), and goes very, very well with your morning coffee. I haven't yet tried the other flavor (which I will unveil in the coming weeks - I know, gasp-a-tron), but I'm just gonna say this while I'm still here: this is my new absolute favorite instant oatmeal. The packaging is almost unbearably cute, and it comes in a pouch with a measuring line for your water, for when you don't have a measuring cup around and you just wanna make your oatmeal super quick and get back to reading about the rise and fall of Lindsay Lohan...you can microwave this stuff, and it doesn't explode! About $5.00 for 5 pouches of hot, sugary goodness, at 160 calories a pouch...go ahead and get a whole milk latte for your bad self.







Wednesday, April 17, 2013

shut up and keep dancing

Let’s be real here: clubbing/partying …can we all just admit that it’s kinda passé? No? Okay I’ll be the only one to admit it here. Fine, maybe I don’t drink enough to stop thinking about my prepubescent surroundings. Maybe my three-year old discounted Zara coat with the torn out pockets, soggy foreskin-esque sleeves, and missing faux-fur (that’s right, it’s not even real fur and it’s still missing cause I tore it off cause it was balding) collar is kind of a buzz kill:

Coat-check girl: "Describe your coat"

Me: "It’s the umm, Zara one."

Coat-check girl: "The one with the worn out elbows? The one missing its belt, with the filling spewing out of the loose stitching?"

Me: "Yes, that’s the one. Perfect, thanks."

Anyway, lately I just haven’t been feeling it. I can’t remember the last time I was "lost" in the "zone", letting the "music sway me", "drunk off the beat", with the "DJ" "saving me tonight". While most girls are getting all:





I'm mostly thinking:






That's right. Most of the time, when I'm at a club, I'm hungry.  Sometimes I think about what the people around me have eaten. Like, did those hoes on the riser eat a balanced meal? I just wonder. And then I think: okay, get through two more hours and you can have a Jos. Louis. Yeah, fine, you can have the jumbo size. Just shut up and keep dancing.

When I go out, I'm judgmental. I can't help but wonder who the women around me are trying to attract with that strip of tape connecting their genitalia to their nipples. I can't help but imagine what daytime job the gentleman mimicking felatio-with-reacharound occupies. Perhaps he works with children. But you know, at least that part is manageable with more booze. Three more shots of vodka and I'm all hahahahaha shut up you don't even omg. 

I never seem to get it right with the outfits. I don't do mesh, I don't do platforms, I basically don't wear anything that people would call 'sexy'.  What can I say I charm with my personality thank you everyone for reading this part.  I wear blazers, or silk tops, or a *gasp* mini dress (balanced out with full sleeves), or, sometimes, I'll go there and I'll just wear a full-on blouse.  Yeah.  So okay, maybe I shouldn't be judging genitalia nipple tape, but the point is: I just don't fit in aesthetically. At all. And I am reminded of that every time I go out.  One time I tried to do the headband hipster thing, and put some staples in my mouth for good measure. It looked like this. It didn't work out.



Listen man, I'm poor. I'm poor the way people who pay rent are poor. I'm poor like I eat dinner at home and pre-drink and pre-party and budget for a cab (as a very last resort) for a week.  I don't want a kumquat truffle bellini for eighty hundred million dollars, and I certainly won't be whipping out my hard-earned $20 bill to secure Smirnoff Ice bottle service.  Do you know what you can get with $20?? How about two trays of free-run chicken breasts?  How about kale, bananas, almond milk, and flax seeds? Let's take it to the sweeter side:  like pretty much five cupcakes, half a Starbucks latte (getitbecausetheyarepriceylol), how about PASTA FOR A WEEK COMPLETE WITH THE GOOD KIND OF CHEESE? How about I just stop because I'm pretty sure everyone in their right mind is thinking right now: my god, how could I have been so blind? You're welcome. So all that is to say, I don't mind partying when I am dragged out, but I'm not one of those "haha I lost $80 this weekend, whatever, I don't know" gals.  Give me my change, and here is your fifteen percent tip. Thank you.

When I'm boogying down, most of the time, I'm tired.  Running tires my legs out, and when the clock reaches that unnatural time of night when you should be like 40% into your REM cycle and instead I am grinding my pelvis into a railing, my eyes get a wittle sweepy.  Everyone around me is super psyched out and doing that super cool head-bopping thang and I have  to look away every five minutes because I'm yawning like a maniac and can't let anyone see, but then when everyone's watching I'm all "LET'S DO THIS IT IS SO AWESOME AND COOL THAT WE ARE HERE LET'S NOT EVER STOP but oh shoot soon it will be last call so if anyone is tired at all, I don't mind umm..leaving.."  Yes, that's right. I'm 26, and I'm tired. Perhaps if I were even remotely interested in any of the star-crossed suitors surrounding me on any particular night, I'd be energized by my hopes of having them beck at my bosom.  Alas, I don't give a shit, and I pretty much just want bacon.

And that's another thing: dancing isn't just about dancing anymore. It has now become an exercise of fear and manoeuvering my head so as to avoid making any eye contact with anyone of the opposite sex. Why? Because otherwise, I'm bound to feel someone's Cheetos-covered fingers gripping my wrist ten minutes into the first rendition of "Sweet Caroline".  So there I usually am, thrashing my head about like a misplaced raver, and hoping nobody takes my empty handedness as a sign of welcoming their sloppy approaches. Barf.
One of the worst things about a club is the washroom. The one thing more aggressive than the puke-and-diarrhea-covered stall jackpot I seem to stumble upon every single god-damn time (and I have yet to win the lottery so go figure) is the mirror.  The mirror: the only entity in the club that tells it like it is.  I, for one, enjoy being  unaware of my sweaty cowlick, but when I'm alone in that washroom and I see myself, and hear the music blasting through the door, I just think What are you doing here?  And then I look at the faucets and wonder who designed them, because I'd like to buy a new faucet sometime, and it would be good to see what's out there IRL, you know? 

Oh, and lastly, as if to hand you a final "thanks for comin' out" loot bag of shit, the clubbing experience always leaves me with a painful aftertaste in the form of photos. "Photos from last night..." shudder. I am not a party girl kind of poser. I find the whole thing awkward and pretty much like a stage production where we all act like we're having 400% more fun than we actually are, and really, at the end of the day, I always end up looking like this:


Awkward


Sick dance moves (with a fist, coming to beat me hopefully)



Okay so clubbing isn't the worst thing in the world if you can get your act together and not look around you too much.  If you are ever invited out and, like me, can't find the motivation to go hike your leg up over some random stranger's shoulder to Kid Cudi, just think of your post-clubbing reward: bacon. Bacon will never make you do things you don't want to do.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

treadmill love






started from the bottom now we're here





studying: a reminder

I was at Forever 21 with my mom yesterday, and found this funny little necklace.  My mom (who is very, very Russian) said: "Let's buy one for your sister. It's perfect. This necklace will remind her to go study."  

-"No, mom. It's steady. Going steady. As in.......never mind."

The necklace was promptly purchased, and studying will never again be foregone. 






Monday, April 15, 2013

Chicken Mango Salad With Tortilla Chips and Attitude

It's not uncommon for me to dream about what I'm going to eat next while I'm already eating, and last week, while eating a salad, I was fantasizing about tortilla chips.  Then I thought my salad could be more exciting if I added afore-fantasized-about tortilla chips. Then I thought about chicken. Then I went home and wrote in my diary about all of these feelings, and it all turned out looking like this:




Chicken Mango Salad With Tortilla Chips and Attitude

Okay, so what gives this salad attitude is not only the "sassy greens" used in the mix, but the tortilla-chip crunch that balances the softness of the chicken. "Listen up," mango says. "Don't get too cozy cause here comes tortilla." Stay out of my diary, mom.

Ingredients: (for 2 people)

Chicken:

2 Chicken Breasts (depending on how hungry you are)
2 Tsp Paprika
2 Tsp Black Pepper
2 Tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (plus extra for coating pan)

Salad:

2 Cups Spinach
2 Cups Colourful lettuce (the sassier the better)
1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into bite-size strips
1 Mango (not too ripe), cut into bite-size pieces
1 Handful of Baby Carrots, quartered length-wise
1 Handful of Tortilla Chips

Mango Dressing:

1/2 Cup Orange Juice
1 Mango, cut into chunks
1/2 Tbsp Black Pepper


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Coat your your pan with a bit of olive oil, and then coat your two chicken breasts with the paprika, pepper, and salt. Drizzle the chicken breasts with your tablespoon of olive oil, and put in the oven to bake for 40-50 minutes.  Check on the chicken periodically to make sure you don't overbake it, as oven intensity varies.

While the chicken is baking, prepare the dressing:

Throw your mango chunks into a food processor or blender, and process until smooth, then add the orange juice and pepper and let it combine until it reaches a thick liquid consistency. Set aside.

Combine the greens, red pepper, mango, and baby carrots.
Cut the cooked chicken into bite-size cubes (or diamonds or ovals or letters, or just rip it into pieces because you don't care about rules) and top your veggies.

Drizzle with mango dressing, then crush the tortilla chips haphazardly over the salad and dig in!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Butler Please

A few weeks ago, a girlfriend of mine introduced me to an uber-unnatural electric blue shade of nailpolish, which we discovered looks less preschool tempera when combined with gold and black accents. The nailpolish shade is by Essie and is called Butler Please (is Butler replacing another word, perhaps? Saucyyyyyy), and I would recommend having a teeny tiny bit of a tan before trying it out, lest you look like a 90s Wet N' Wild commercial. 



Monday, April 8, 2013

baker street café brunch

I heart brunch, and one of my favorite places to go for it is the Baker Street Café in Westboro. The line-up is usually very long, but somehow, defying what we've come to learn of traditional wait times, we're usually in fairly quickly. This past weekend, while waiting in line, we were given baby chocolate chip muffins, so really, I can't complain about the lines at all. 

Normally, what I lust after at the Baker Street Café is the poppyseed french toast. Can you even imagine? You won't have to, as I'll be back there soon for that.  This time, however, I opted for something savoury: their eggs benedict. Crispy, golden english muffins topped with peameal bacon, a perfectly poached egg, and hollandaise...just what a Sunday needs. Oh wait, it needs something more: peppered, grilled, fried, golden, crispy homefries. NBD. What sets Baker Street apart from it's mid-morning competitors is not the exceptionally explosive flavours embedded in their culinary creations, but the amount of care put into each meal.  Almost everything you order comes with a side of mixed fruit (and by fruit I don't mean single slice of dry orange but melons, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple...seriously, man), and should you opt for coffee, it just so happens to be fair-trade and...bottomless. I don't know about you but first thing in the morning, I don't want a bottom on anything.



running in santa clara

One thing that's really fun about running is that you can do it anywhere in the world (as opposed to, say, kickboxing or side-lunging). Running to discover a location lets you take a quick look around and even dodge large dogs and possibly men with knives and stuff (you can run away since you're already running and you're all warmed up as opposed to them).  Anyway, when running in Ottawa, I usually use the Nike+Running app on my iPhone, which is fantastic for tracking your distance with GPS, but when running in a far away place where you don't want to have your data on (required for the GPS), it's nice to have the Nike+iPod chip that goes in your shoe and connects wirelessly to the Nike+iPod app on your phone data-free. It tracks your runs and when you return to your warm, comfy, data-filled homeland, you can send your runs from the Nike+iPod app to the Nike+Running app and sync everything up so everything is still tracked. Pretty sweet!

On a recent trip to Santa Clara, Cuba, we covered what I'm pretty sure is the entire island from point to point.  It didn't look like it was very far, but it was quite the journey.  The sand was soft and the terrain was relatively flat, but still a little challenging with my feet sinking deep with each step.

One side of the island ended in rocks and the other in penises, and that was when we knew we had gone too far: nude beach, please announce yourself in advance. Thanks.



i run because i eat



Last winter, between bites of cheeseburgers or hot dogs or donuts, my friend Lindsay and I were talking about working out, and she informed me that she signed up to run in a race.  She invited me to join her and I took her up on the offer because really, how bad could 5 kilometres be to someone who has never run before, and then she said she's actually running 10 kilometres.

Ten.

Kilometres. 


Unfortunately, I usually can't resist a challenge, so, with sweaty, trembling cheeseburger hands, I registered too.  As I entered my information, I briefly thought back on the one time I decided to go running, ran for 3 minutes straight on the treadmill, and called it a day because it was the worst pain I had ever been in. Having let that memory materialize, I accepted the fact that training for a 10K run would be a challenge.



I started outside, first pushing myself for those familiar three minutes, then later pushing for five minutes, then eventually ten, thirty...and finally sixty minutes of running with breaks in between.  I made running playlists and made sure to always have my headphones in so as to never have to hear my feet hitting the pavement or even my breathing, because truthfully, I still don't know how I do it.  My body must sound like a steampunk furnace, heaving and gasping and raging as I pound out kilometre after kilometre.  I ran nearly every day for weeks, my endurance fueled by my fear of finishing last. I had nightmares of being carried to the finish line on a stretcher, or finishing four hours after everyone else, covered in my own...well it could be anything at that point. I ran further and further every day until one day someone told me I had been running nearly 9 kilometres without realizing it.  Back then I didn't have any running tools and measured my progress by how far I could go before I got exhausted.  Training for the race was a huge challenge, but in the process, I learned a lot about my body which was much cooler than any Degrassi special I've seen.  As it turns out, my legs become strong really, really quickly and I gain resilience to running basically on a daily basis. That is, I can run longer and longer distances with every run.  It's also pretty awesome how far my body can go before I get sick or something stupid like that. Kinda makes you feel like a team (take that, dodgeball jerks)
where you feel like your body wants to see you succeed and wants to help you any way it can. So cute.

Race Day was spectacular. There were more people than I thought inhabitated Ottawa, and there was a buzzing sort of energy amidst the runners- maybe nerves, or just the thrill of the crowds...a bit like boxing day, but less scary.  As we started running, I realized we were all being cheered on by the people on the sidelines.  I thought they were only cheering for their families, but then someone high fived me. And then someone else. And then someone gave me a thumbs up. And another person waved a poster at me that seemed to assume that "[I] can do it!". And then I saw about a thousand smiles. And then applause. I couldn't believe that all these people had sacrificed their time to make people like me feel special, to encourage us, to just be there to give us the strength to keep going. And then I felt tears forming in my eyes, and I fell in love with everyone, and just kept running, running, running. I finished the race in 0:58:23 and realized that then and there, I was addicted to running. 



A week later, I signed up for another race: the half-marathon.  I felt ready to try something bigger. I had three months to train for it, which was great. I ran in the rain, before sunrise, at sunset, in the heat, hungover, sick, you name it. The half-marathon was an even more terrifying endeavour, for obvious reasons involving oh I don't know TWENTY ONE KILOMETRES MAYBE.  So I took that pretty seriously, and the training beat the crap out of me, but I loved every minute of it.  I love the sight of the path behind me when I'm running, I love passing the morning trees, I love watching the sunrise as I take a walking break, I love that all the things I spend all day freaking out and stressing about are literally shaken out of my skull with every step.  I love running alone, and I love running with friends (Anais is an amazing runner!!).  The only thing I won't do is run without music. Eww.

So anyway, with a fantastic running plan, a ridiculous amount of drive (again, fueled by fear so I can't act all hardcore about that...I'm just very afraid of finishing last), and a few knee injuries in the process (you just can't train hard without hurting your knee, it seems), I.....*drumroll please*  *I said drumroll*  *okay do we not have a drumset here?* *Manny, you're on drums* *Manny* *Manny, drumroll* *Anyone got a couple of plates or something?* *Alright here we go...Manny you're fired..* *drumroll* 

I ran the half-marathon in 1:54:44!!! (!!!) 

And you know what, I hate to brag, but that's a damn good time.  The run was extremely long, despite my previous runs leading up to it being manageable, and I look really scary in my finish line pictures, but I did it!  As I was finishing that last kilometre (which I think was actually 15 kilometres bundled together) I told myself I would never run again, but I've already signed up for the next 10k coming up this May, and the half-marathon coming up at the end of September.  Kway kway.


The runners at the finish line. Someone yelled: "Do you guys realize we just ran the half marathon?!!" and everyone laughed and cheered.



So there you have it. I like to run. I never thought I'd get into it but somehow I can't stop. It might be just sheer luck, or maybe it's the fun Nikes I get to buy at every milestone, or maybe I just love it because that means I can eat all the cheeseburgers/hot dogs/donuts I want.  Whatever it is, I hope it never ends.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

just doing it: a synopsis

A few years ago, I decided to try 'fitness'.  I wasn't really sure what being fit meant or how much or what you had to do to be considered fit, and I hadn't really engaged in any physical activity since the elementary days of dodge-ball ("I guess our team will take uhh....uhh.....can we take the tree? No? Then fine, we'll take...Alisa. You're sure the tree can't play?") so I had no idea where to begin.  And since I had no idea what to do, I did almost everything.  It has been three years since I started, and throughout my journey I have amassed a wealth of knowledge that I can now generously impart on anyone who may be looking to start a fitness journey of their own.  Below, a synopsis of what you can expect of some of the most common fitness options in the world of people who Just Do It.  Or whatever. 

BOSU Ball: Bosu stands for BOth Sides Up, which describes the half-sphere tool you use to balance on while doing strength training exercises.  It'll tone you up a little if you're really committed and don't wuss out on the plank/ab exercises, but if you're the type to give yourself a break a lot, skip it as the results take a while to materialize.

Pole Fitness: I'm not even kidding - I was a pole dancer.  The beginner course emphasized basic pole dancing moves commonly observed at strip clubs (the cherry, the fire pole, the peter pan...) with a focus on working your upper body as you use it to balance, to pull your weight, and to (attempt to) look graceful.  I won't lie: it took me a really, really long time (two courses, actually) to finally be able to spin with grace, and before that, I looked like a soggy pair of long johns flailing from a clothesline on a moderately windy day.  Eventually I left the program, mainly because I felt it wasn't enough of a workout for the rest of my body.

Zumba: Do you want to dance comfortably? Are you afraid of sudden movements? If you've answered yes to both questions, Zumba (a Salsa-dancing inspired fitness 'craze' which I really hesitate to call 'craze' on account of the zzz factor of the repetitive and un-challenging movements) is for you. Seriously, lots of people love Zumba, but umm what is the opposite of breaking a sweat? That is what I experienced during each of the eight classes I signed up for.

Core Intervals: This involves a series of strength training exercises sometimes including weights or steppers. While I love overcoming fitness challenges, for some reason I always feel angry during these classes. There are some things I just don't like doing in large amounts, like tricep dips and bicycle workouts, for example.  But mostly, what I don't like about this type of workout is that it feels like all I'm doing is tearing my body up.  There's not enough cardio and not enough time to give your body a break between all the twisting and mangling. Sad face.

Boot Camp: You know those I <3 NY t-shirts? If I could get one for bootcamp, I would.  The format of the class varies depending on what gym you go to, but at my gym, they split us into groups of 3 or 4 and we go through a circuit of stations at which we perform a certain activity for a minute.  Every minute we're doing something different, and the exercises are a combination of cardio and strength training, so you're always either coaxing your body into that extra push-up or boosting your heart rate with sprints.  It's also a perfect combination of positive encouragement from the trainer and shame-induced drive (when you see an elderly person zipping through the push-ups, you pick it up a notch, 'na mean?) and just last week, in a fit of tested endurance and pain-fueled adrenaline, someone yelled out: "I have issues!"...what more could you want?

Belly Dancing:  Admittedly, I only took 4 classes, so maybe there's some explosion of fun and energy I missed out on, but once again, I didn't feel very physically challenged by the class. The instructor tied a coin-embroidered skirt around my waist and promised me visible abs by the time I was done the course, but the exercises (slow stomach rolls and hip shimmies) left a lot to be desired in the toning realm, so I hung up my skirt and called it quits.

Hooping: This class uses a weighted (optional) hoop and supposedly works your hips and waist as you stand there and...hoop. They teach you to weave the hoop from one arm to another, to keep the hoop moving on your legs, and even how to shimmy it up when it starts falling, which instantly makes you a bad-ass at family picnics. I left the first class eager and with a burning mid-section which, I discovered, turned into a bruise akin to an abstract painting with every shade of purple splattered on by canon of hatred.  Summer was just around the corner and I didn't feel like having to regularly assuage the concerns of family members and social workers alike, so I canceled the rest of my classes and that was that. 

Aerobics:  It takes way too long to memorize the patterns which they change every 82 seconds anyway so forget it.

Kickboxing:  Yes yes yes yes yes! If you have the right instructor- which I almost always do at my gym (the Y) -this is one awesome workout.  The instructor leads you through a merciless set of kicks, punches, on-the-spot running, jumping jacks, side jumps, and lunges (among billions of  sweat-beckoning drills) and you do it all. You do it all because you're not the wuss they said you were at dodge-ball. You do it all because afterwards you feel like Mike Tyson/Ali/Zeus (apparently my heroes..?). You do it all because you had a hamburger with a side of hamburger at lunch. Oh and just when you think you're done, they pull out the mats, and tell you to do planks and push-ups and bicycle twists. And you do it all, too. 

Hot Yoga: This one isn't my favorite, but I am well aware of its benefits.  It is what it is: it's yoga, in a hot room. You sweat a lot, you nearly faint, and afterwards your muscles are nicely stretched.  Highly recommended for runners.

Swimming:  Truthfully, if I had an appropriate bathing suit, I wouldn't mind swimming at all.  Currently, my options are a brown JLo-esque super low cut out Speedo, and any of my fruit-themed bikinis, all of which are super inappropriate for the kind of professional, serious swimming I see going on during Lane Swim.  My heart races as I complete lap after lap, not from the cardio but from the fear of being whistled at and removed from the water with a giant pool rake or whatever, forced to stand at the edge of the pool in my pineapple bikini while being scolded for being an aqua skank.  I swear I'm not an aqua skank, though, I just haven't found the right bathing suit, but I'm working on it!  That said, I think most people enjoy lane swimming, and so do I.  It's not stressful on your limbs (especially for people with foot problems) and you can sort of pretend you're on vacation when you're in the water.

So, there you go. Trying new fitness routines is a fun way to work off those burritos/chimichangas/taquitos (apparently my new favorite foods...?), but don't get stuck doing something that sucks.  Your time is way too precious to be flapping your arms slowly to the beat of La Isla Bonita, so don't you ever worry about quitting a class/activity that isn't fun.

In the coming months, I'm also challenging myself to try something I've always dreaded: cycling. Anais is an avid fan, so I'm really trusting her enthusiasm.  I'm also on a Dragonboat racing team, with only a few months of practice before us, as the Ottawa Dragonboat Festival is happening very soon. Lastly, I left out one exercise which I can't wait to write about in the next post. It has become very close to me over the past year and definitely deserves its own spot.