On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog


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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?


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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?


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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?


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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?


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Today: Photo booths, popcorn, and people. {#HLS12 Part I}

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I went to bed at 8:30 last night, if that’s any indication of how much fun I had this weekend at the 2012 Healthy Living Summit.  (To be fair, I would go to bed at 8:30 every night if that was an option.)  From sponsorship to logistics, swag stuffing to registration, and meals to sessions, Meghann, Julie and Heather put in some serious work to ensure that everything went smoothly.  It was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with them and the planning committee.  Hands down (or hands up, if you prefer), the best part of the Healthy Living Summit was the opportunity to connect and interact with like-minded people, friends old and new, local and faraway bloggers, and fantastic brands.  Oh, and the three hours we spent in the photo booth.  That was good, too.

HLS Cocktail Party

Being just a few miles from this year’s Summit site, I was thrilled to help pull things together for our Friday night cocktail party.  After visiting a few sites and honing my negotiation skills a bit, we landed at the hotel’s Riverside Pavilion, a tented space that would also be home to our Reebok CrossFit and Drink Chia! workouts, as well as a few meals over the course of the weekend.  Having access to a small outdoor patio for  fresh air proved to be a great bonus.  We worked with the catering staff at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge to create a light, local, fun and fresh menu while the team rallied to put together a fantastic playlist.  If it was you who added all that Beyonce, thank you.  You’ve got me feeling so crazy right now.

Our sponsor for the evening, Rebootizer, provided their own jams, as well as sweet sunnies (which reminded me of the neon ones we got from Officer Friendly and the D.A.R.E. program back in middle school) and plenty of Rebootizer samples.  Stephanie and Sue were so wonderful to work with over the course of the weekend.  As I looked on from my drink ticket distribution perch next to Reebootizer’s booth, I couldn’t help but smile.   I know it’s not easy to wander into a room full of people, regardless of how well we know each other on the internet (that sounds very stranger danger), so it pleased me endlessly to see people being welcomed into the party.  I loved hearing the laughter and conversation flow right up to the ten o’clock hour.  I felt this warmth and friendliness carry right on through to Sunday’s brunch; it made me so proud of our little community.  And it made my face hurt.  From smiling.  And winking.

Ed from Wicked Fun Photo Booth set up shop just inside the tent to capture all the fun.  The props were a big hit, as were the lightning fast prints.  I’d highly recommend this company to locals.  Good prices, great service, no nonsense.  Except for the fun kind of nonsense.

We essentially set up shop inside the booth.  My apologies to everyone who had to wait their turn while we vogued.  And pretended to eat the chicken perched atop Theodora‘s head.

Meet the roommates

By the time my partner in crime, Bridget, and I made it up to our room, I couldn’t decide which I wanted to do more: eat or crawl into bed.

Sometimes the best choice is both.  

Pardon the blurriness. My hunger must have gotten in the way.

We wheeled the tray right between our beds, where we chowed down on our salads and fries.  We’re nothing if not practical.

Bridget had to dash early the next day, so I was thankful to have the chance to stay up and chat with her Friday night.  She’s been my tried and true roommate, from HLS 2011 to Reach the Beach, and I am so lucky to have her as such a great friend.  Speaking of friends and roommates, Michelle joined me on the 14th floor Saturday night.  Somehow, I have no photographic evidence of our roommate-ness, so I… um… drew a little something.

Oh, and then there was Rich.  My other roommate.

Who sleeps with a barbell locked out overhead?  The fittest man on earth, that’s who.  A little jealous?  Don’t be.  His muscles took up the whole bed, leaving me to sleep on the floor.   Just kidding.  I arm wrestled him for the bed and won.  Naturally.  Before I tell any more lies, I’ll wrap up here.  More to come.  Just as soon as I catch up on sleep life.

Also On Tap for Today:

 

Are you a wall flower or the life of the party?  


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Today: Freshly showered.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I am as grateful as I am lucky, which is to say, very.  All of my lovely bridesmaids were in town this weekend, along with family and friends, to host the most wonderful bridal shower.  In short: I laughed, I cried (only a tiny, tiny bit… and they were happy tears), I got nail caviar.  I am still overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity.  I really am so grateful, and so lucky.

Nick and I started the weekend at CrossFit Southie, where I was able to increase my PR by 10lbs for the power snatch.  After a few really helpful coaching cues, I have improved significantly on that Olympic lift.  That’s one of the best things: if you work hard, you’ll continue improve and grow stronger.  After sweating like a beast, I had less than an hour to transform into a beauty.  Thank goodness for mascara.  And antiperspirant.

I traded my new lightweight training tank (a gift from my friends at Reebok) for this cute eyelet sundress (what good is a selfie without a photobomb from a random stuffed French bulldog?).  Side note 1: Stuffed animals totally creep me out.  But this one is a Frenchie.  And the proceeds benefitted a charity I love.  Side note 2: I am a natural frowner.  Those mouth corners seem to go down, even when I’m smiling.  And smizing.

Kristine picked me up just before one o’clock for a manicures, pedicures, Prosecco and lots of catching up at Bliss.  It was the perfect way to spend an afternoon.  It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole seven years since she traded Boston for New Jersey.  I miss living downstairs from her, and being able to see her at the drop of a hat (what a weird expression).  If I thought I could trick everyone into coming back home, I’d get married more often.  Sort of.

After plenty of pampering, we grabbed a bite to eat and did some browsing on Newbury Street before heading to my sister’s apartment.  Andrea, Katie, Meg, Kristine and Colleen had dangerously strong cosmopolitans, snacks, and plenty of Michael Jackson waiting, as well as some fun little surprises.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner and lots of laughs.  Pink prosecco?  Yes, please.  This little lady loves bubbles.

The next morning we headed home for the most lovely shower.  From the centerpieces (straight from my parents’ garden) to delicious food and incomparable company, it was just the perfect day.  I was spoiled rotten.

I’ve said it before, and I know I will say it again.  I am the luckiest.

Also On Tap for Today:

Are your dearest friends nearby, or far away?


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Today: White water… crafting.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Nick spend the weekend with his groomsmen and friends white water rafting.  Clark and I spent the weekend sleeping, eating and, um… crafting.

After finishing up a top secret project (a TSP, if you will) for my lovely bridesmaids, I tackled a few other things I’ve been meaning to accomplish since, like, last August.  From keeping our paint colors organized to finding a way to keep my necklaces untangled, I checked off more than a few (non-top secret) projects over the past few days.

I got my car tuned up (it has officially become a money pit on wheels), had my first wedding dress fitting (I can’t wait to show you pictures, but… I need to wait to show your pictures), cleaned like wild and spent as much time outside as possible.

How cool is that bird’s nest?  Very recycled chic… though I don’t recommend embellishing your home with TP left in a city park.  I spotted the nest while taking Clark on an extra long walk last night.  He was more interested in the mouse running up the sidewalk.

I rounded out the weekend with my first solo WOD.  Lame as it may be, I had never gone to CrossFit alone before this morning.  With Nick two states away, I could have easily skipped the workout and slept in, but I knew I’d be better off (wo)man-ing up and getting after it.  Not surprisingly, I was glad I went.  The workout was really fun, and I love knowing I am getting a little better and stronger each time I show up.

While I may have not needed a helmet or paddle for my weekend, it certainly feels like I got a lot done. (As I write this, though, I just remembered I loaded the washer… but never turned it on… hmmm.  Can’t win ’em all.)

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have projects waiting to be tackled?