On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog


6 Comments

Today: A weekend at home.

Home Alone

My older brother and sister-in-law celebrated their wedding anniversary this week, which meant Nick and I got to babysit our niece for the first time.  We partied like animals, singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star while changing into PJs at 6:45 PM and reading not one, but two books before bed.  She is just heaven to be around.

Home Improvement

Much of the rest of the weekend was spent working on wedding projects and trying to rectify the broken sink situation.  We made two trips to Home Depot and managed to sneak in a little fun between visits to the faucet aisle.  There is so much to see and touch (and break) in that store.  I was tempted to buy a pink ride-on pony from the Christmas section, but refrained.  Instead, we picked up some PVC pipe for mobility and Crossfit practice at home.  It will also come in handy when I want to turn off the light switch without getting up from the sofa.  Just kidding.  Mostly.

Home away from home

 

We spent this morning at Clark’s home away from home, the local children’s hospital where he does his therapy dog visits.  I can think of no better way to pass a rainy Sunday morning than watching the kids snuggle with the Frenchie, feed him treats, tug on his ears, and hold him in their laps.  It makes my heart swell.

Home cookin’

At the risk of tooting my own horn, I’m very excited to share that On Tap for Today was included in the North Atlantic edition of the Whole Foods Market 2012 Holiday Magazine’s “On the Web: Fresh Voices” feature, along with my pal Caitlin and the lovely We Are Not Martha girls.  I’m really grateful to the team at Whole Foods for including me, and was sure to pick up a few copies today after grabbing groceries at River Street.

On the menu tonight?  Enough vegetarian chili to feed an army.

 

Homemade

What would Sunday night be without a do-it-myself manicure?

I live for rituals.  And weekends at home.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Packing up goodies for Kasee, my #atxbos match
  • Getting ready for the week ahead
  • Seating charts 🙂

What’s your Sunday ritual?


48 Comments

Today: My fairy WODmother. {and a Reebok #getafterit giveaway}

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]The downside to being an adult is that when something breaks, you sort of need to fix it (or in many cases, have it fixed… because you don’t always know how to repair machines).  Our water heater peaced it on Monday night, making for several cold showers, one very hot shower taken at my parents’ house, an excessive use of deodorant (I am convinced cold showers do nothing other than lower one’s core temperature), and some general crankiness this week.  On Thursday night, we came home to a freshly replaced water heater… aaaand a freshly broken kitchen sink.  The plummer giveth, and the plummer taketh away.  And he leaveth dirty footprints and greasy paper towels all over thine condo.

I don’t really understand how any of this happened.  I just know that it annoyed me.  And that I got a headache.  I fought the temptation to wallow and I checked the mail instead.  Of my many quirks, an obsessive need to check the mail is right up there with my obsessive need to check the weather.  Incidentally, I don’t think it was supposed to rain on Friday.  But it did.  With just twenty-one days until we get married, I live for the sight of a response card (or twelve) tucked in among the bills and magazines.  Thursday night’s mail was slim on responses, but included a package from Reebok.   I like to think of the brand as my Fairy WODmother.  I opened the box to find two new CrossFit Tri Blend tops, one with short sleeves and the other with long sleeves.  This was just the kick in the pants short shorts I needed to get out of the faucet-less condo, and into the box.

Both tops fit perfectly.  I tend to wear tank tops to class, but knowing that the garage door at our box would be open, the temperature is dropping, and I was still recovering from my last cold shower– I opted for the grey long sleeve.  It’s lightweight but still warm, it stayed dry throughout a tough workout, didn’t itch at all, and was really comfortable.  I had my first attempt at rope climbs last night, and I think wearing long sleeves definitely helped protect my arms.  I added a whole 25lbs. to my high bar box squat PR (since my first attempt two months ago), cranked through 100 kettle bell swings and 50 ring dips (with a blue band).  As I’ve said before, the clothes don’t make the athlete, hard work does… but wearing perfectly fitting, high performing fabrics definitely helps.  Need proof?  Ask me about the time I ran a 10k with a wedgie.  Needless to say, I can’t wait to break out the short sleeve top this weekend.

Because my Fairy WODmother is extra generous, I have a little something to share.  If you were at Healthy Living Summit 2012, Fit Bloggin or other events, you may have seen the Reebok team outfitted in eye-catching  #getafterit shirts.  These shirts are now available for men and women online, and I have one women’s top (size M)  to giveaway.  To enter, please let a comment below.  I will select a random winner at the end of the day on Tuesday.

UPDATE:  This giveaway is now closed.   Congratulations, Caroline!  And many thanks to everyone who entered.

 

Caroline: I saw so many #getafterit’s at the Tufts 10k…even tried keeping pace with one (literally got after it)! I would love to sport my own…thanks!

[For the record: I received these Reebok products at no cost.  I was not compensated for my review of these items, and my opinions are entirely my own.  I write about brands I respect and enjoy, and Reebok fits this criteria.]

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you planning to get after it this week?


3 Comments

Today: Give us this day our daily juice.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I bought a juicer a year ago, or so.  I used it a number of times, almost lost a finger once, got sick of cleaning up after myself, and then hid the whole thing away.  It lived under our sink with 9,000 reusable Whole Foods bags (I’m more likely to buy a few new ones that the store than endure the shame of requesting paper) and various other rarely used appliances until last week.  Nick and I have been going balls to the wall, proverbially speaking, with juicing as of late.  A man who will give you the choice of first shower or firing up the juicer?  I’ve got myself a keeper.  After a few weeks of struggling to get up and out the door on time, our new little juice ritual is working wonders.  Perhaps this #hulkjuice is turning me into the Incredible Elizabeth?

Drinking fresh vegetable and fruit juice in the morning is sort of like exercising at the start of the day.  It’s an insurance policy against all the naughty choices I might make later on, and great motivation to keep on the straight and narrow.  Whatever that means.  Even after just a single week of morning juice, I feel a difference.  I have more energy and fewer random cravings.  I don’t need to sneak Diet Coke.  I’ve made better choices at lunch and dinner (namely: more vegetables, in non-liquid form).  I haven’t given anyone the finger during my commute.  Did I mention my skin is glowing?  Oh.  Maybe that’s just the fluorescent overhead lighting.

It turns out the juicer is very easy to clean if you tend to it right away.  I am sure that was somewhere in the directions (why read them when you can promptly recycle them?).  It still takes up considerable counter space (the juicer isn’t getting any smaller, and our condo isn’t getting any larger), but we’re making do.  For people like me who have trouble following recipes, winging it is perfectly acceptable when juicing.  After making multiple trips to procure more kale, I finally just started grabbing whatever was in our refrigerator or on the counter.  A few combinations that have worked well:

  • 1 bunch of kale, 2 cups of spinach, 1 lemon, 1/2 cucumber, 3 stalks of celery, 1 inch of fresh ginger, 1 apple, 1 handful of parsley
  • 3 cups of spinach, 2 apples, 2 carrots, 1 lemon
  • 2 cups of spinach, 3 stalks of celery, 1 lemon, 1 apple, 1 orange, 1 medium cucumber, 1 cup of raspberries

Each batch perfectly fills two tall glasses.  Next adventure: make use of all that pulp.  And make fewer trips to the market.

Also On Tap for Today:

What does your morning routine look like?


4 Comments

Today: Pulling myself up.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Before I joined CrossFit Southie, I didn’t give much thought to pull-ups… well, other than, I can’t do ’em.  Now I find myself passing the park on my way to the bank, eyeing the monkey bars and wondering if playground sand might be a suitable alternative to chalk.  I grilled Nick the other day, demanding to know how long it took before he was doing unassisted pull-ups.  His answer was akin to, “Once you get there, you’re there.”  Very Zen.  And very unhelpful.  Just kidding.  Sort of.

I want a date on the calendar.  I’d like it to be tomorrow, but I’d settle for a month from now.  Realistically, though, January 1st seems like it might be doable.  In two months, with admittedly no practice outside of the box, I can whip through assisted pull-ups with a green band.  I’ve even managed a set while wearing a weighted chain around my neck.  Like a total badass.  When I attempted to move up to the blue band, though, my eyes almost popped out of my head and I involuntarily made a dying cat noise.  Like a total lame ass.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to pull-ups.  I keep reminding myself to strive for progress, not perfection.  I am sure there is a life lesson in there somewhere, but you’re not getting it from me today.  Sorry for that.  And for saying ass.  Twice.  The only way I am going to make this happen is by practicing.  When I kept getting harassed about helpful advice pertaining to my inadequate squat form, I started practicing in secret.  I am sure I could have done them in public, but hey.  I was more comfortable gettin’ low in the comfort of my own kitchen.  After a few weeks, yours truly was complimented on her form.  And after 100 wall balls last week, I could still walk upright.  My sneaky practice paid off.  I’ve gotten better and stronger.  In the spirit of full disclosure and humility, though, the squat part of my wall balls was awesome.  The hitting myself in the chin?  Not so awesome.

I’ve been working on pull-ups both at Crossfit and at home, using modifications like jumping pull-ups (using a sprinkler box below the pull-up structure) and bands.  I’ve made a little progress with the blue band (which is to say I can get my nose to the bar, my my chin wants no part in whatever happens above the bar… yet) and have watched every “how to do a pull-up” YouTube video thus created.  Will I reach my goal by New Year’s?  We shall see.  At the very least, I know I will have made progress by then.

Speaking of progress, I’ve been showing off my guns-in-the-making (they’re mostly like squirt guns right now, but I am expecting full blown rifles, or whatever, in the near future) in my new Poly PlayDry tank, which was sent to me courtesy of my friends at Reebok.

I’ve worn this tank to the gym, on runs, underneath my soccer jersey (long story… it involves us not having uniforms until 30 seconds before our second game… actually, that was the entire story), food shopping, dog walking, and just plain old hanging around.  The fabric is extremely soft and wicks away sweat really well.  The bright pink color will ensure that no one misses me when I finally get that first unassisted pull-up.  In the meantime, I’ll keep on practicing and progressing.  And being a complete cheese doodle.

Also On Tap for Today:

What goal(s) are you practicing towards?


11 Comments

Today: What’s your fun fact?

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Everyone should have a fun fact or two at the ready.  You never know when an elevator might break down or something, forcing you to make pleasant conversation with strangers.  This time of year, politics would be a natural go-to, but um… you don’t want to be trapped in tight quarters with someone who feels differently than you about the so-called “47%.”

A few of my favorite (non-polarizing) fun facts:

  • Barbie’s real name is Barbara Millicent Rogers.
  • The streets running perpendicular to the river in the Back Bay are in alphabetical order: Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester.
  • A humming bird weighs less than a penny.
  • Have an extra wedding invitation?  Send it to the President and First Lady.  They usually write back.

Clark weighs more than a penny.  He is adored by Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike, though.  I think.  A few Clark-specific fun facts on this lovely Thursday:

  • Clark has a tattoo.  What can I say?  He is one BAMF was bred to be a show dog and didn’t wear a collar or leash before we scooped him up.  He just pranced around freely.  His first name was Napoleon, so he has a little N on his hip.  Or whatever you call the inside of a dog’s hind leg.
  • His middle name is Manuel.
  • Clark loves to howl at sirens.  Want to see him in action?
  • A pet psychic told us that he loves Christmas (who doesn’t?) and Taylor Swift.  I used to leave the T. Swift Pandora station on for him while I was at work.  And then I came to my senses.
  • He doesn’t have a tail (it was docked before we got him, see also “Clark has a tattoo”).  This is very confusing to the kids he visits for pet therapy.  I never have a good answer.  So I talk about his middle name.

 

Also On Tap for Today:

 

Alright, let’s hear it.  What’s your fun fact?


11 Comments

Today: Rise and lift.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Sometimes the best motivation for getting to the box, or the gym, or the track, or the pool (well… maybe not so much the pool) is a fresh pair of kicks.  Or the perfect pair of shorts.  Or perhaps a new headband.  There are mornings, especially ones that follow a late night watching political conventions at the office, though, when all I want to do is hit snooze.  Six times.  It’s a lot harder to bail when these guys are waiting beside the door, though.

The lovely team at Reebok recently sent me a pair of Reebok CrossFit Flex Nano shoes and apparel designed specifically for CrossFit-ing (is that a word?).  I was just two months or so into my membership at CrossFit Southie, and that package could not have arrived at a better time.  I couldn’t wait for the next day’s workout to try everything out.  It was just the motivation I needed.

For starters, I appreciate the sunny color (blaze yellow with feather blue).  Looking down at that cheery yellow really helps as I drop a barbell in front of me, and contemplate fainting and/or crying.  Like running shoes, these kicks are sport-specific.  They were designed with the essential CrossFit movements in mind.  They feel both light enough for jumping and sprinting, and stable enough for lifting.  At first, the toe box felt a bit wide, but I’ve found that helps me to spread my toes (did anyone else just think, I hate feet?) and ground down when I need balance, and also to sink back into my heels and wiggle my toes to be sure I am distributing my weight properly for squats.  Reebok’s U-Form technology, a feature of these shoes and several other pairs they offer, is a great plus.  After taking a few simple steps (essentially heating up the mid-soles with a hairdryer and forming the shoes to your feet), you’re left with a custom fit.  Without having to become a famous athlete (I think that’s the other way you get a custom fit… but I’m not positive).

I also received Reebok’s CrossFit Chase shorts and CrossFit Lightweight tank.  Both fit perfectly.  Normally one to shy away from the short shorts, I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable and flattering the 2 inch Chase shorts are.  In fact, I’ve practically been living in them (save for the office and church, obviously…).  They passed the ultimate “please don’t give me a wedgie” test during a recent WOD including lots of running with a 25 lb. sandbag.  The tank (featured in this transformation from beast to beauty) lives up to its lightweight name and is modestly cut across the top, perfect for balancing out all that leg I’ve been showing. 😉

This much is true: Clothes do not make the athlete.  Hard work does.  Case in point: the many, many people wearing cotton who have easily passed me during marathons, or the guy at our condo association’s gym who lifts like an animal while wearing khaki shorts and a dress shirt.  Still, anything that gets me out the door faster, keeps me working out longer, encourages me to get after it harder, and allows me to focus on the wod rather than whether or not my shorts are riding up, can only be good.  Thanks for the gear, Reebok!

[Disclosure: I received Reebok shoes and apparel at no cost.  I was not compensated for my review of these items, and my opinions are entirely my own.  I write about brands I respect and enjoy, and Reebok fits this criteria.  For sure.]

Also On Tap for Today:

Where do you find your workout motivation?


9 Comments

Today: Handstand push ups? Handstand push ups.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Two words I never thought I’d be so excited to see paired: handstands and push-ups.  Like most girls who spent hours and hours perfecting their underwater handstands, turning cartwheels across the beach and performing very amateur gymnastic “shows” as a child, I can still kick up into a handstand with the best of them.  Even though it’s been decades since I demanded that my parents “Watch this!” I can still get upside down with relative ease.  Push-ups don’t come quite as easily, despite my doing battle with the 100 push ups app whenever I have the chance.  Regardless, I’ve been waiting for HSPUs to factor into a wod since joining CrossFit Southie.

Before leaving the condo for class, I tested my outfit to ensure I wouldn’t flash anyone,  something I highly recommend.  And then I snacked on a little extra spicy guacamole, something I highly discourage.  Dangling upside down from a pull up structure is not where you want to be when acid reflux strikes.  Trust me.  The nerves set in long before the urge to heave, though.  By two o’clock, I was fidgeting at my desk.  This was no backyard front handspring contest.  We’re grown-ups now.  I’ve got responsibilities.  Not to mention a higher center of gravity, a mortgage, and a wedding (for which I will need my head very much attached) 72 days away.  Forget how fun this could be, this could be dangerous.  I began wondering how many hundreds (thousands?  millions?) of people crack a skull doing HSPUs each year.  You know what happens once my imagination takes over.  I wavered between wanting to find a YouTube video that would prep me for the skill, and thinking maybe I should fake my own death before class started.  For the record:  I feel this way before every class, whether it’s overhead squats, kettle bell swings, or box jumps.

[Image source]

Does every CrossFit-er get nerves like this?  If the answer is no, please let me down gently.  Despite my terror doing battle with my excitement, I decided to bite the proverbial bullet and just show up.  And I am glad I did.  Our coach encouraged us to break the workout into “bite sized pieces.”  I certainly did that with the front squats.  Teeny, tiny pieces.  Like, two at a time pieces.  I achieved a new PR during the strength portion of the workout, and kept the weight light for the WOD and tried to concentrate on good form, thanks to the coaching cues I’d received earlier in the class.  When it came to the handstand push ups, though, I threw caution fear to the wind, and got after it.  Our coaches helped a few of us use bands, hung from the pull up structure.  This allowed us to be fully upside down, without bearing the full load of our body weight.  Others scaled the workout by doing decline push ups from boxes, or hand release push ups on the ground.  I love that there really is always an option for athletes of all abilities.  Once I had kicked up and was fully upside down, I cranked out 15 push ups in a row for all three sets.  It was such a rush.

While playing it safe certainly has its advantages (fewer bruises and no handstand hair, for starters), there’s a lot to be said for trying things that terrify and excite you.  Next up: rope climbs.  And karaoke!  Maybe I’ll even attempt math without a calculator!

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you overcome a bad case of the nerves?  Done anything exhilarating lately?