Tag Archives: Fitness

31 Flavours of August

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Tomorrow is the first of August! You know what that means…it’s time to discuss the plans for the month. Ah, it feels good to have some concrete goals, again!

I have three top-notch, fun and unique ideas to share with you.

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Goal #1: Be a girly-girl. I do love nail polish, and I wear make-up daily. But I’m no chic diva. Casual? Sporty? Très relaxed? Those adjectives are most appropriate to describe my personal style. I want to devote more time to self-care. By that, I mean giving more than a couple of slapdash moments to skincare, hairstyling, and clothing and accessorizing myself – a little pampering. Here’s how I plan to set myself up for success:

  • give myself extra time to get ready for the day/to go out. I think I could make efficient use of even 10 more minutes, at a time!
  • place lotion bottles strategically around the Condo Casa as visual reminders to moisturize several times, daily.

i bought hairspray! and there are some of my lotion options

  • [The problem is that I really dislike when hand and body lotions make me feel sticky and greasy. But I want softer skin. It’s only for a month – I’ll grin and bear the slimyness shininess!].
  • go back to quality facial cream. I’m giving a brand that’s an oldie-but-reputedly-goodie a shot:
  • i've never used olay! might as well try the cleanser, too....

  • make Mom and/or girlfriends go shopping with me for cheap yet pretty wardrobe pieces. I have hair accessories, earrings, bracelets, rings – I just need to wear them!

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Goal #2: Blog entirely in lower case letters. now, janetha practically has the copyright on this writing style. but, if you’ve ever corresponded with me via email, blog commenting, twitter or facebook, you know that for casual communication, i never use capitals. i’ve written like this for ages and ages – it’s fast and i think it looks hip. bien sûr, if i’m writing professional or formal correspondence, i’ll follow standard grammar and punctuation rules, but i really like the look and feel of all lower-case lettering. so, this month, blog posts will look…like this! eesh, i hope i don’t forget!

at the end of the month, i’ll decide which way we’re going to swing: will we go back to the conventional, or stick with the janetha?…

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Goal #3: Enjoy a different sweet treat every single day. Cuz it’s summer, and why the heck not.

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I actually did a project of this nature about two years ago, before I had the blog. At that time, my goal was to go 100 days with a treat-of-the-day taking place each and every day. If memory serves, I made it to about Day #67 before my sweet tooth conked out. So, 31 days should be no problem-o.

Here are some more details for this round of 31 Flavours!…

  • 31 days, 31 different treats, no repeats [I can tell you straight off what a few treats will be, for sure: a Starbucks pumpkin scone, a piece of coffee cake from Coffee Culture, a Tango Palace apple square and a DQ something. Tangent: I could never do 31 flavours of ice cream because I really only like chocolate chip or heavenly hash – can you believe chocolate ice cream is really not a favourite?!].
  • because I adore using the four-star rating system, each treat will get a ranking. I’ll show you the previous day’s choice and how it fared, every day, beginning on August 2nd.
  • yes, gluten-containing products will be consumed (see above). Due to the fact that farty-bum-bums will therefore spontaneously erupt naturally occur, I’ll make sure to consume these delicacies on days when I am not venturing out into public shortly thereafter.
  • I don’t plan on baking anything myself because baking’s not my scene I want to avoid multiple servings of the same product. Thirty-one choices, remember!

So, there you have it! No reading, knitting or grocery goals for August – been there, done that. It’s time to branch out. Stay tuned!

Sweet or salty – what do you prefer? I rarely feel the urge to munch on chips, pretzels or salted nuts…I inherited the family sweet tooth but good!

Buyer Be-Aware Monday: RockTape

I really get quite envious when I read other blogs and see that the blogger is the happy recipient of free goodies that x company has shipped to her to review. Part of the fun would be to test the product. The rest of the fun would be just being able to say that I received products for free and that my review and opinion are my own. (Did you know that there are actual bloggie rules  for when you review a product, received for free? True!)

Well, no one has sent me anything for free yet. Unlike Katie who received a cornucopia of nut butters! Then again, I’m also thankful I’m not Holly, whose request to review Bragg products was denied because the company felt her lifestyle wasn’t healthy enough! I tell ya, it’s a soap opera world in blogland some days!

But I digress. Today’s Buyer Be-Aware segment has been in the works for a couple of weeks! And it includes something I got for free!

When my manager at the store, Paul, showed me some samples of RockTape, I immediately had the brainwave to make B try them out.

Poor B – for over a year now, he has been plagued by nasty plantar fasciitis. It truly is the dickens to get over. Funny enough, B can hike up and down mountains, literally, all summer long, and not feel a thing; he returns to our concrete jungle, goes back to time on his feet teaching, and the old PF roars back to life. So when Paul told me about RockTape, I hoped that it could help B and his frustrating foot situation.

So full disclosure: the samples of RockTape I used were free to me. The opinions and findings, though, are 100% my own. (Oooo, that was fun to type!)

the product

So what is this stuff? Our sample included the free tape, above, and full instructions. RockTape is a form of supportive tape, more or less. Our instruction sheet showed how to apply RockTape to provide extra support for issues athletes face with: the IT Band, the thigh, the shoulder, the achilles tendon, the shins, the groin, the lower back, the calf, the neck, the sciatic nerve area and the knee – and of course to the feet, for plantar faschiitis.

i'm really impressed by the detailed instructions included!

So late Saturday afternoon, we got to work RockTaping B (I know, rockin’ good times at our Condo Casa on Saturday nights!)

is that a plea for rocktape or a plea to get out of being my victim?!

 I followed the diagram provided…

it's not brain surgery, but i wanted to apply the stuff correctly!

missed my calling: shoulda been a physio!

According to the directions, we were to attach the tape from B’s heel to the base of the toes. It says NOT to stretch the tape, but if we do this again, we are going to stretch it slightly as B hasn’t yet felt any support from these longitudinal attachments. The second step involved taping around B’s arch. B reported that he DID notice the additional support in this mid-region of his foot.

the tape applies easily; it's also not too sticky or tricky to work with

Ta da!

just look at that application!

let's cover all angles...

Sunday: B walked on the treadmill in the morning. Reported no difference in his feet before/during/after this workout. In the afternoon, we went on our usual Sunday Long Walk (about 1.5 hours) – now while he didn’t notice a difference while walking, B did report afterwards that his foot was less stiff than usual. All right!

Monday Morning: The RockTape has now been through the shower two times:

uh oh...

Yup – the tape is peeling off the bottom of B’s foot. It’s supposed to last through about five days of wear and tear…

...and it's coming loose on the top of the foot! oh dear!

The final trial: a day at the college, walking around on the concrete floors for several hours…

B’s comments: “The stuff [that would be the thin strips] underneath is a waste. The wrap around the middle actually might be working.” 

My questions: Would you pay money for this product? “No.” which then changed to “I’m undecided. Here’s the thing: I didn’t have a shower this morning. If I had a shower, came out of the shower, how would I dry it? I’d put my sock on, put my shoe on, I’d have a wet foot. And why is this any better than athletic tape? I could buy a whole frickin’ role of athletic tape for less money. So I would say no.”

Would you try it again? “Yes. I would try it again, I just wouldn’t pay the money for it.”

Did you feel any benefit at all over the 48+ hours that you wore the RockTape? “Maybe my foot has not gotten worse. But I can’t say it’s gotten better. Maybe it’s prevented a decline.”

My conclusions? After examining the diagrams, I am impressed by the versatility of this product. The promo materials state that this tape works for swimmers, runners, cyclists…I’d love to see how it works with someone with another athletic ailment.

I would bet that this tape would help in a race situation or as a temporary “quick fix.” I would hesitate to suggest it to someone, like B, who is dealing with a chronic situation. Other forms of rehab are likely more effective.

RockTape retails at my store  for $19.99.

Thanks for being my guinea pig, B! And thanks, RockTape, for the free sample!

ETA: After shower #3 on Monday eve, the RockTape COMPLETELY came away from B’s foot…so the claim that it will last five days is a bit of a stretch…unless you shower less than daily!

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In other news that is neither here nor there…

Remember the stash of ORBIT gum that B brought back for me from the States? I chewed my last piece today. 😦

back to nom-nomming on Extra...although i have some STRIDE and a REACT 5 to try now, too!

I finished a baby blanket last eve:

i love brights for babies; i shy away from traditional pastels

I’m semi-pleased with this final product: I love the feel of the yarn, love the colours. NOT SO HAPPY with the blotchy patterning that emerged, as you can see in the photo. This was actually really hard yarn to work with in terms of finding a pattern that looked good with the bright variegation in colours. I ripped out multiple possibilities before settling on this lace pattern!

a pretty simple 4-row repeating pattern - was fun to do!

After several attempts to watch this season’s Mad Men episodes (that would be Season Four) that I have stockpiled on PVR, I give up. The show is just not doing anything for me this time ’round, despite the eye candy stellar acting of a certain Don Draper. It’s so incredibly BORING! (Even more boring than “The American!” Click here if you missed my review…)

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 Or is that Dick Whitman?? Maybe I’ll just read the episode recaps online…

What I AM finding tres fun is Top Chef!! Go Angelo!!! No, it does not inspire me to cook, sorry.

Buyer Be-Aware Monday: Alternative Therapies

Over my years of enjoying running and other physical pursuits, I have had reason to see alternative caregivers, sometimes numerous practioners in each discipline! Comes with the territory: if you push your body, it’s going to rebel at times.

So how do you go about choosing an alternative health care practitioner? Unlike the shortage of medical doctors, the supply of chirpractors, massage therapists, naturopaths, ART practitioners, pedorthists (I’ve seen at least one person in each of these disciplines!) more than meets demand. But simply opening the Yellow Pages, and blindly choosing a name could likely lead to disappointment.

And while OHIP covers a visit to your doctor, you most likely will pay out of your own pocket if you require a chirpractic adjustment or a massage (unless you enjoy benefits thanks to your employer –  and even that perk has financial limits). So you want to make sure you’re receiving quality care from which you will feel the benefits ASAP!

Here are some tips to keep in mind when deciding how to choose an alternative care provider:

  • get a referral from family or friends: this is the best way to go. When someone can give you a first-hand account of the care they received, and of the practioner’s style, of the cost per treatment, of how many appointments they required, you have a better idea of what to expect than simply reading an ad or contacting an unknown name. For example, I found my chiropractor because my dad visited him; my dad got the referral from a church contact.

 

  • ease of contact: how easy is it to book an appointment, change an appointment, ask questions? For example, my massage therapist does not have a secretary so I always have to leave a message on his answering machine. But, he is conscientious about returning calls, and we have never had a communication snafu – this system works for him. The chiropractor I have been seeing for laser therapy on my leg welcomes emails from patients. Nothing is more frustrating than not getting calls back or wasting time setting appointments!

 

  • see a specialist for your type of woe: if you’re experiencing an injury due to sports, seek out a practitioner who specializes in seeing physical fitness freaks! Other examples of specialty areas could be pre-natal patients, older adults, chronic fatigue sufferers, etc. Someone who sees numerous patients with a similar ailment will have more knowledge than a practitioner who is a jack-of-all-trades. I always see sports massage therapists because I don’t want a relaxing massage (go to a spa for that, by the way!) – I want muscle knots released and tight spots eased.

 

  • ease of getting to appointments: if you can get to the caregiver easily – their office is close to your home, office, gym etc – you’re more likely to go regularly than if you have to drive out of your way and spend time on the road.
  • beware of practitioners who advertise excessively or heavily self-promote. If they’re talented, they will have an arsenal of patients, and won’t need to advertise (I’ve heard this straight from practitioners themselves). Do you really want to see someone whose face is on the side of a bus?!

A few other tips:

  • treatment ethics:” obviously, the more clients a practioner has, the more money they are going to make. And B and I know from running our own business that it’s much easier to book repeat customers than find new ones. Be aware, though, of alternative practioners who “string you along.” A number of years ago, I saw a naturopath for a breathing ailment that had been plaguing me for months, and for which numerous doctors and specialists had been unable to find a cure. Within a couple of weeks of seeing the naturopath, I was healed! However, she then started to find other areas that we could address…it was a snowball effect. I finally cut the ties because I foresaw an endless string of “ailments” that she wanted to treat.

 

  • find someone with whom you “jive.” If you feel ill at ease with your practitioner, you feel like they are patronizing, or you don’t like their style of treatment (rough, fast, sloppy), find a new person. For example, I only saw an ART practitioner a couple of times before I switched to his colleague: the first guy was always in a hurry while the second guy was precise and careful in his methods. And don’t feel bad about making a switch! Only YOU can stand up for you! You should feel comfortable chatting with your care giver, and look forward to your treatments (unless you have super sore muscles – haha!)

 

  • book on a schedule you are comfortable with: I once asked my chiropractor how often I should see him (I knew that I could trust him to give me an honest answer at this point). I wondered whether it is better to wait til you feel something out of whack, or to have a set appointment schedule? He used the analogy of visiting the dentist: most of us get regular checkups, then call if we have an emergency situation. Preventive care is better than only receiving care when in dire need. And this schedule could be different for each of us: weekly, monthly, annually – decide what your body requires.

So, if you have been feeling like you could use a massage, an adjustment, a pair of orthotics, do your research before blindly choosing. Your pocketbook and your body will thank you!

Welcome to the REAL New Year!

Happy New Year!

What, you didn’t realize that tomorrow is New Year’s Day?!…Well, it is in KikiWorld…

                               

Think about it:

January 1st: We are all suffering from Holiday Overload, sick of rich food, late nights, and an overdose of friends and family. The weather is cold, the days are short and spring is in the distant future. How can we possibly be expected to feel a zeal for tweaking our lives, inventing resolutions and initiating positive change in our lives? Ick! If anything, on January 1st we should be celebrating nothing more than Return to Normalcy. New Year’s Day should be National Fruit and Vegetable Day as we detox our filled tummies as well as National DVD Day as we relax on the couch – water in hand, of course!

Now, Labour Day…HERE is a true day to celebrate TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF!!! We can feel in the air the seasonal transition from hot summer heat to cooler fall glow and incoming harvest bounty. Back to School = beginning a new era in our school children’s lives and a natural desire to return to routine for adults. Plus, Like New Year’s Day, Labour Day is also a holiday – stores are closed, no one is in school or at the office.

For years, I’ve felt that Labour Day is the TRUE New Year’s and have treated it as such by setting new goals, revisiting resolutions from eight months ago and deciding how I want to spend the remaining four months of the calendar year. There’s gotta be a Facebook page to support my philosophy, no?! Maybe there is. I wouldn’t know as I’m not on Facebook. But I will be…as of tomorrow!

Yes! I am celebrating Labour Day New Year’s by joining Facebook. Why? Well, I’ve held out til now because I have perceived Facebook to be a life-sucking force that will draw me into its clutches. I’ve envisioned myself sitting down to go on (log on? sign in? what’s the terminology here??!) Facebook and emerging from my computer-induced stupor 10 hours later. BUT. The time has come to “get with the program.”

According to this source, 42% of Canadians are on Facebook. Remember when at one time, microwave ovens and cell phones were novelty items? Then the majority acquired them and you were decidedly out of it if you did not take advantage of said item. That’s how I feel about Facebook now. I’m still reluctant, but like any other activity (TV watching, computer games, etc), I need to set time parameters with which I am comfortable, and go from there. So I’ll plug my nose, take a leap and see what happens! Maybe this will inspire me to go see this movie which, of course, would then count towards 40 Movies!

Joining Facebook helps accomplish one goal on my Labour Day Resolution List : to become more tech savvy (I totally stole this idea from BFF Debbie who mentioned it last week!). To that end, I intend to learn more about my Blackberry (I think I use about 5% of it’s intellectual capacity), to improve my blogging skills, and then do this whole Facebook thing.

Other goals? To continue with my 1970 Kiki Project which has already proven to be muchly fun and a very enjoyable project.

In the realm of Fitness, I would love to try both Bikram and Moksha yoga, then blog a comparison of my experiences. I love the heat, I love yoga (although my practice has fallen by the wayside the last three years), and marrying the two would be wedded bliss, I bet. Also, I’m going to continue to increase the amount of walking I do in my Vibrams, as long as the weather co-operates! (There will be no Vibrams-in-the-snow for this gal).

And you? If you feel the vibe to make some evolutions of your own, now’s the time! Then you can show me how to join a Facebook group-whatever for next September! 🙂

For now, I’m off to celebrate New Year’s Labour Day Eve!!!

Schmoopy Weekend x 2 – Part 1, Sunday

Happy Valentine’s Day! This is a very “warm and fuzzy” weekend: Valentine’s Day today (brought to you by the makers of Hallmark moments) and Family Day tomorrow (Mon Feb 15), kindly delivered to you by the Gov’t of Ontario. Here’s how we are festively marking both days…

We’ve got the spirit!!! I pull out my heart hair elastic that dates back about 20 years, a long ago gift from mom:

it's in good shape since it only sees the light of day once per year....

And I decide to kill two birds with one stone by wearing my Canada Hoodie: red for Valentine’s Day and CANADA for the Olympics:

This hoodie isf from the Roots Olympic Collection (when they were the "Official" clothiers) from 2002, Salt Lake City

Brad gets into the Valentine’s spirit by dehydrating some salsa just because it is RED and today is VALENTINES. If you believe he specifically chose this food for this day….well, you need to get to know B better!

preparations are under way for the John Muir Trail hike this summer

Brunch is our idea of a nice Valentine’s outing, so we headed out to the Huether this morning, our favourite brunch spot:

much prefer a morning celebration to an evening one! that's our style!

I’m not really a candy/jewellery/dinner/flowers kinda gal – but I do enjoy our tradition of exchanging cards:

Write Impressions has the best selection of cards in our 'hood (sorry, Hallmark!)

Five things I “heart” that were part of today’s agenda:

#1 - our Sunday walk

#2 - baking Valentine's sugar cookies (see #6 of "40 Recipes")

#3 - watching the Olympics! The TV will be on and I will be watching every spare moment til they end!

#4 - have I ever mentioned that I love my Stairmaster? We spent quality time together today, too.

#5 - and don't forget a little knitting!

To cap the day, we went over to mom and dad’s for the Sunday Eve Visit and Yahtzee Match:

Are you ready to rumble?!?!

Mom’s been in a real slump lately. This shake did not make her day…

...something about Yahtzee being the worst game ever invented...

And the victor on Valentine’s??? …None other than…

...the Erv-man, yet again! (doing his PGA Golf point) (???!)

And thus endeth a lovely family day…no wait, that’s TOMORROW, Family Day. Stay tuned for a recap of Schmoop Day #2!

Valentines, Olympics, Long Weekend, NASCAR…and let’s not forget one more cause for celebration! We would be remiss in not wishing our Asian family and friends gung héi fáat chōi as we celebrate the Lunar New Year and welcome the Year of the Tiger.

                             Year of the Tiger

Am I Allowed to Grunt While I Do That?

Among the many diets vying for your attention is the Paleo Diet. You can read more about it here, or I can summarize by asking you one question. Basically, if you are going to follow the Paleo way of eating, before inserting anything into your mouth, you must ask yourself, “Would a caveman have eaten this blueberry/Cheeto/sushi roll?” If the answer is yes, go right ahead and munch away. If the answer is no, you must immediately drop whatever you are holding and run far, far away.

So this morning as I was pounding away, up/down up/down on my Stairmaster, the thought crossed my mind that this Stairmastering is such a manufactured movement. Don’t get me wrong: I adore my Stairmaster with a deep, abiding and passionate love. In case of fire, I would shriek and scream and make Brad toss my Stairmaster onto his back before we race out of our burning condo. So would a caveman have Stairmastered? Not on your life. He wouldn’t have had real stairs to lumber up, let alone fake, manufactured ones.

If the Paleo diet is all about eating foods that existed thousands of years ago, let’s ponder what a Paleo Exercise Regime would be like. Let’s do a list of “IN” paleo exercises and “OUT” paleo exercises. Then we’ll conclude whether a Paleo Exercise Diet is feasible for us in 2010. So remember, our main question is: would PaleoMan (or PaleoWoMan) have been able to do this exercise?

“IN” Paleo exercises:”

  • running (yea!)
  • walking
  • swimming (open water only, no chlorinated pools)
  • weights (as in hoisting a baby, gathering wood)
  • stretching (as in reaching to pluck fruit from a tree)

“OUT” Paleo exercises:

  • all cardio gym equipment (elliptical machine, Stairmaster, recumbant bike, stationary bike)
  • outdoor cycling
  • skiing
  • weightlifting/body sculpting/Zoomba class
  • Yogalates

Are Paleo workouts do-able for us? Not so much, I fear…unless you live on an organic farm and have innumerable hours to spend on earth-centric workouts. And remember: to be truly hardcore, you’ll have to do it all barefoot!…but I’ll debate that touchy topic another day…