Mixing Up Your Workouts

mixing up workoutI’m still having issues with the outside of my knees so I’ve been taking it easy on running.  Right now I’m only running 1-2 days a week max, so I’ve been trying out some other forms of exercise. It’s important to mix up your workouts anyways to keep from plateauing and to avoid boredom. My recent workout options have been anything but boring.

My mom recently starting taking Zumba and couldn’t stop raving about how fun it is. So when my friend Lauren mentioned taking black light Zumba, I couldn’t resist. Ignight Dance Studio seriously brings the heat and some serious dance moves that will have you burning hundreds of calories in no time. Seriously, you burn like 700-800 calories in one class. Don’t worry if you’re uncoordinated, the dark studio provides a safe haven to stumble away.  60 minutes of latin and hip hop songs pass quickly, and by the end, you’ll swear you’re as good a dancer as the instructors.  The best part, these classes are only $5! If you live or work close to Sterling, Virginia, I highly recommend giving it a try. You can try your first class for free.

Mixing up your workoutsSource: St. Luke’s Medical Center

I highly recommend checking out Groupon and Living Social for workout deals, which has helped me find several of my work out mix-ups while saving a few bucks.

My other recent work out obsession is yoga at Core Power Yoga. I never regret taking a yoga class. I always feel renewed after an hour long session of stretching and toning. Core Power Yoga provides heated yoga classes, but also has yoga classes with weights and fusion classes that mix in plymoteric moves with yoga. I’ve been going to these yoga classes for the past month,  they’ve really helped with my knees, and have helped to whip me back into shape.  I go to the one in Georgetown, but they also have a location in Glover Park and I believe they’re opening one in Falls Church very soon.  You can try your first week for free and I bought a Groupon to try a month for $67.

Next week I’m planning to start a boot camp at High Level Training. I bought a Living Social Deal to test out the boot camp classes for two month for $55 and with workout partner, VB, I know I’ll be in great shape in no time.

How do you mix up your workouts?

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Authentically Austin

I’ve been lucky enough to visit this vibrant city two times now, so I thought I would share my love. If you know me, I just love small town charm and although Austin is large in size with it’s many individually owned businesses and start up mentality, it still manages to keep the hometown feel but with the energy of a big city.  Austin’s vibe is a unforgettable, its food mouth watering, and its creativity contagious. Walking around enjoying the sunshine, you just want to stop and take everything in. It’s an Instagrammers’s dream.  Here’s a few things I just loved!
post card mural austin texas

    • Visit Rainey Street and stop in one of the once-house-now-converted-restaurants.
    • Try fall off the bone BBQ at La Barbecue while hanging out by the pool.
    • Dance the night away at Barbarella.
    • Eat breakfast taco’s at Torchey’s Tacos or at my best friend Jenny’s apartment.
    • Try on cowboy boots at Allen’s Boots.
    • Take a photo at the famous “Greetings from Austin” postcard mural.
    • Boot scoot at Rebels and try not to drool too much over the line dancing cowboys.
    • Hang out at the patio at Little Woodrow’s.
    • Cheer on UT at a football game. Hook ‘em! Texas Football Game
    • Eat along Lake Austin and say hi to kayakers galore.
    • Hike up Mt. Bonnell and enjoy a beautiful aerial view of the city. mt bonnell
    • Walk down the dirty 6 at night and revel in the mayhem.
    • Tour the UT campus, pretend you’re a student, and have lunch on the South Mall lawn. Learn more about UT and it’s history here.
    • Shop along South Congress. Stop and grab food at one of the many food trucks. south congress austin texas
    • Grab coffee at Joe’s.
    • Take a pickle shot at Kung Fu Saloon.
    • Stay outside as much as possible. I highly recommend scooting around the city with your best friend.

Just writing about this makes me want to go back. After one visit, I’m sure you’ll be ready to pack up your bags and move to Austin…at least I did.

Here are some other posts about Austin worth checking out:

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It’s a mad map world

Brian and I are close to embarking on our next adventure to Roatan, Honduras so I thought I would post a DIY project we worked on a while ago. We love displaying travel momentos including photos, artisan crafts and figures, and thought a map would be a great addition to further display our adventures. After searching around and looking at some maps online, I of course decided we should make our own.

Here’s what you’ll need to craft your own:

  • Map-Bought mine at Barnes & Nobles
  • Canvas-You can use ones all the same size like here or mix and match like I did
  • Acrylic paint to cover the edges of the canvas
  • Mod Podge
  • Brush to paint on Mod Podge
  • Pencil
  • Ruler or we used a spare piece of wood from another project. Just need something so you can trace a straight line.
  • Razor blade to cut the map quickly
  • Pins to pin where you have been or maybe where you wanna go
  • Optional: Curtain hanger from Ikea to display your photos and post cards
  • Optional but highly recommended for any DIY project: Friend or Fiance’ to help you with the project

Total Cost: Estimated $60-$65 including the curtain hanger

We started by buying some different sized canvases from Michaels. I purchased ones that were on sale and used coupons as well. They sell them in packs like these, so it helps with the cost. We mostly had all the other materials for an assortment of art/diy projects.

map-project

Next I painted the canvases blue to match the deep blue ocean. Then Brian laid out the canvases, traced, and then cut the maps so it just covered the tops of the canvas. He used the piece of wood to line up with the traced marks and then quickly cut with a razor blade. You can also do this with scissors though.  We did slightly cut off parts of countries (Sorry Greenland and tiny islands in the Pacific), but for the most part were able to capture most of the world.

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Next we covered the canvases with Mod Podge and  laid the map pieces on top. We waited for the maps to dry over night and then placed a top coat  to further seal the map and give it a glossy sheen.

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Lastly we hung the map on the wall and enjoyed pinning all the places we’ve been! We also bought this curtain wire from Ikea to hang all of post cards we’ve collected.

map-project6I often find myself staring up at our creation thinking of the many wonderful places we’ve traveled together and the many places we have yet to see.

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Check out some of our other DIY creations here!

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Creating with the Stars 2014

creating with the starsOne of my favorite DIY blogs, East Coast Creative, hosts an awesome contest each year called Creating with the Stars.  Hundreds of bloggers submit their DIY projects for a chance to collaborate with some amazing blog stars.  11 contestants are chosen by the blog stars and one contestant with the most votes also wins a lucky spot. I’m hoping to win one of the coveted 12 spots, so please take a second to vote for my project!

Just click here and then click on the thumbnail for project #132, “Stirring up some art”. The more you click, the more votes I get!

Here’s the project I submitted. You can view how I made it here.

coffee stirrer art

My project didn’t win a spot last year, but I’m proud of Brian and my work. You can view how we made it  here.
diy built in closetThanks for your support!!!

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Basketball, Baby, and Brooklyn

ROAD TRIP, BASKETBALL and BABY: Michigan v. West Virginia & Imogen in Brooklyn, NY

Guest Post from Sunshine!

michigan canadian flag

As you can guess from most of the posts on this blog, Becca and I love to travel, even if it’s just a weekend trip 4 hours away from home.  So normally, it doesn’t take much to get our butts moving and out the door.  Well, back in December 2012 (sorry for the delay on this, but better late than never, right) we had TWO great reasons for taking a road trip up to NYC.  The University of Michigan men’s basketball was 10-0 on the season and headed to Brooklyn to play West Virginia at the Barclays Center, and my niece, Imogen, was in need of a visit from her aunt and uncle.  Imogen, along with her parents, my sister Claire and brother-in-law Seth, just so happen to live in Brooklyn, NY within walking distance of the Barclays Center.  When things get this convenient, you just can’t say no to a quick trip up north. 

So on Friday, December 14th, Becca and I headed to NYC on a Bolt Bus, or a DC2NY Bus, or some other bus line.  It was almost a year ago now, and I can’t remember all the details.  The ride flew by with little of note and we got in to NYC in time to meet the family, play with Imogen and see some friends that night.

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Saturday was game day.  As it turned out, Princeton was playing an earlier basketball game at the Barclays Center that day.  Seth went to Princeton, so he went to the earlier game with Claire and Imogen, while Becca and I took in some of the city. 

Come game time, Becca and I got kitted out in our Michigan best and met up with Claire and Seth for the game.  Just to make things a little more fun, Becca and I decided that Michigan shooting guard Nik Stauskas, a Canadian, was our new favorite player.  To broadcast our fondness for the 3-pt sniper, we made Canadian flags in maize and blue, rather than the standard red and white.  Becca deserves most of the credit, as she did the hard work of getting the flags made and encouraging me to make and bring some sort of sign/flag in the first place. The flags turned out great and we were pumped to let Nik know just how much he meant to us. 

When we got to the Barclays Center, we discovered that Seth had gotten us great seats in the lower level behind one of the baskets about 30 or so rows up from the court.  It was a perfect spot to flash our maize and blue Canadian flags where Nik would see them.  Obviously, we were certain Nik would be inspired by our creative show of support.  I was personally counting on Nik to respond with 90-100 points, and probably swing by our seats at halftime to buy me a Molson and French fries with gravy.

Our plans were almost immediately wrecked, when our section attendant informed us that the Barclays Center does not allow fans to hold up signs, posters, or flags.  This policy is absurd.  Especially when applying it to people like us who were in seats with no one behind us and then an 8 foot high wall that lifts up the next section behind us.  Our flags could literally not block a single person’s view.  Other than this silly application of a fun-limiting rule, the Barclays Center is a pretty great venue for a basketball game.  I highly recommend it.

Luckily, before we got shot down by the section attendant, we did get to flash our flags long enough for my buddy Jeremy to snag a few photos of Becca and me from across the area.  Sadly, we suspect our brief flag waiving was not long enough for Nik to spot us. He merely had a good game, scoring 10 with 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal.  A solid stat line, but far short of the expected 90-100 points.  Despite this much lower scoring output, Michigan won the game 81 to 66.  A win’s a win, and I’ll take it with out without extensive maize and blue Canadian flag waving. 

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Even with our limited flag exposure, we latter learned that we inspired some folks back in Ann Arbor, as a larger and quite awesome maize and blue Canadian flag was produced by a Michigan fan and displayed frequently at Crisler Arena during the second half of the Michigan basketball season.  Excellent move Ann Arbor living Michigan Fan, I support your actions.  Bonus support to the staff at Crisler Arena for letting fans actually display signs, posters, and flags at games.

All in all, it was a great weekend trip to New York.  I highly recommend it, especially if you have a 1 year old niece to play with and your favorite college team is playing in town.

Update:  The University of Michigan basketball team liked their trip to NYC and the Barclays Center so much, they are going back this season (I was unable to confirm that they scheduled this second trip because they though our flags were pretty awesome, but I suspect it played a factor). The wolverines will be taking on Stanford on Saturday, December 21st.  Coincidentally, I also have a new niece, Beatrix, up in Brooklyn as well.  Obviously, Becca and I will be making a return trip that weekend.  As a bonus we got tickets to go to the top of the Statue of Liberty.  Look for an informative blog post recap of the weekend sometime in the future.  Hopefully, I’ll get it done in less than the 10 months it took me to write this one, but no promises.

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