On Tap for Today

A fun loving, inspired living blog


Today: The sport of fitness has arrived. {Part 1}

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I can think of no better way to end a wild week than a day of fitness with a lovely group of ladies.

Reebok generously welcomed a group of FitFluential Ambassadors to their headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts (just a short trip down the Expressway) for what proved to be an incredible experience.

Despite logging a pathetic ten hours of sleep between Wednesday and Thursday nights, I couldn’t help but feel energized crossing Reebok’s campus.  From the minute I reached the reception desk, I felt warmly welcomed.  I met two ladies who also live in Southie, so you know they’re good people.  Their team is friendly, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and above all, they clearly love what they do.

The day started with Johnice Graham giving us an introduction to the brand and their current campaign, The sport of fitness has arrived, as well as their partnership with CrossFit.

For the record: I still get chills every time I see that ad.  I also kind of love the Chad Johnson and Annie Thorisdottir one.  Mostly because I kind of love Chad.  Probably as much as Tina loves Annie.  The workplace culture was remarkable, there is no mistaking that Reebok employees practice what they preach.  As Johnice shared with us, in the last year alone, Reebok employees have lost over 4,000 lbs. by engaging with fitness in the workplace.  From an on-site CrossFit box to walking paths, fitness classes, sports fields, and a track that wraps around the headquarter’s main building, it seems there are limitless options for getting and staying fit.

I especially liked the “express WODS” posted throughout the building.

The morning’s discussion provided the perfect segue into our first workout at Reebok CrossFit ONE, in our matching Reebok gear and RealFlex kicks.

I’d heard Tina and Mal rave about their visit to CrossFit ONE earlier this year and was really excited (and admittedly, a bit scared) to give CrossFit a try.

Austin Malleolo, head coach at CrossFit One and one of the best CrossFit athletes in the world, gave us an introduction to the CrossFit philosophy and took us through a quick warm-up with Caleb Diebolt before we paired up for a partnered WOD.  The advantage to being engaged to a CrossFit addict is that I’ve unknowingly absorbed all the lingo.  I was excited to see kettle bell swings and running on the workout, but pull-ups?  Not so much.

[Photo by Kelly Olexa]

Sarah asked me to be her partner, and I eagerly agreed… until I remembered that she had her videographer with her.  I’d like to apologize to all of her viewers for any and all of my on camera time.  Fortunately, Sarah saved me when it came to pull-ups and jumped in whenever I was close to giving up.  That’s the beauty of a partner workout.  Want to see us in action?  Kelly Olexa posted this great video of the two of us.

The kettlebell swings were definitely my favorite, and Austin, Caleb and the other coaches were great about helping us with form, and motivating us all to crank out a few more reps. We finished three rounds in 15:03.  A quick and sweaty workout, to be sure.   And yes, I can see what all the hype is about.

[Photo by Kelly Olexa]

I’m looking forward to hitting up an intro session at our neighborhood’s box soon.  I think I’m ready to sip the Kool-Aid, especially after talking a bit more about it with Bridget during this morning’s run.  I’ve been promising Nick that I’d join him at CrossFit Southie one of these days, and with work craziness starting to wind down for the new few months, I am running out of excuses. 😉

Highlights from the afternoon included a focus group and discussion on women’s footwear and apparel, a visit to Reebok’s Human Performance Engineering Lab (safety goggles!), and a cardio dance class with Ilyse Baker that had us stomping, shaking our hips, and channeling our inner Beyonce.  More on all of this to come. 

{Oh hey… here’s Part 2.}

In the meantime, many, many thanks to Johnice and everyone at Reebok, as well as Kelly and the team at FitFluential for making the day possible.  I am so grateful to have been included.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Running (and catching up) with Bridget 🙂
  • IMAX movie at the Aquarium
  • Grocery shopping, laundry, and other glamourous things

How do you stay fit at work?  


Today: Yes, you May.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]This year is flying by at a frightening pace.  May shows no signs of slowing down.  I feel like I should be wearing safety gear.

I was cleaning out our cabinets this weekend, pulling out cans and boxes to donate to Feed the Need, when I came across a box of Wasa crackers that expired in June of 2011.  “Good,” I thought, “another month free and clear of botulism.”  Wrong.  It’s 2012.  I am still not sure how that happened.

With work busier than ever, it’s no surprise that old “I skipped Spanish class so many times that I am afraid to go back to class” recurring dream crept into my sleep Sunday night.

Let the record reflect that I never skipped a single Spanish class, but the dread always feels so real when I dream that weird dream.  I think it usually means that I’m over-scheduled and worried about letting something I’m responsible for slip through the cracks.  Or that I need to brush up on my romance languages.

Regardless of the fact that I feel like I am holding on for dear life, there’s a lot to look forward to this month:

  • Zella Day of Movement at Nordstrom this coming Saturday– all are welcome!  Check here to find the nearest participating location and join in the fun.
  • Clark’s Therapy Dog exam
  • The New Balance Falmouth Road Race Lottery opens on Monday, May 7th
  • My last big work event of the academic year, plus some work travel down South
  • A visit to Reebok Headquarters with the FitFluential family
  • Mother’s Day 🙂
  • Follow-up with my RD
  • The New Balance Reach the Beach Relay with #teamoffbalance
  • My sister-in-law’s shower (which means the baby is on the way!)
  • My sister’s law school graduation 
  • Boston’s Run to Remember
  • Memorial Day Weekend
Goodness, gracious.  That’s a whole lot of fun to be had.  Someone pass me a helmet.
Also On Tap for Today:
What are you most looking forward to this month?


Today: Minivanity.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]At 2 o’clock on Friday I got a panicked email from a colleague regarding the fundraising event we were hosting this weekend.  The majority of our beer, wine and liquor had not been delivered, and we had until 5 PM to acquire a vehicle large enough to hold all the hooch… and then drive to the distributor in Avon (wherever that is) and pick it up.

I don’t normally ramble about work On Tap, but this situation seems like it warrants an exception.  Mostly because it involves me driving, trying to park, and attempting to inflate a flat tire on a minivan.  And because I got a total of three hours of sleep last night, and I am nothing if not overtired.  And crazy-feeling.

When you get the “holy crap, we have no beer” email, you have a few options:

  • Ignore it, and hope that someone else replies first.
  • Reply with a weak “I suppose if no one else….. maybe… possible I could borrow my neighbor’s station wagon” and then really hope someone else responds in the affirmative.  Mostly because your neighbor doesn’t have a station wagon.
  • Attempt to ignore it for 30-60 seconds until your anxiety spikes so high that you can barely see straight, and then take the reigns.  Something needs to get done, and you should probably be the someone to do it.

My car is too small to hold a six pack, let alone a 5 million pack, so the first objective was acquiring a vehicle.  The rental place near my condo is sort of overrun with creepers, but they usually have SUVs available.  Except when you really need one, apparently.   I tried the branch closer to my office, which was also fresh out of SUVs, but had a giant pick-up truck available.  Seeing as how the adult beverages would be sitting out overnight (in a garage, but still) this didn’t seem to be a viable option.  Unless I wanted to essentially give away the booze, and then have grounds for firing myself.  Next option: a painter’s van, most commonly driven by kidnappers and other social deviants.  They have no rear windows.  No thank you.

All that was left: a minivan.

[Image source]

The coolest, chicest part of my soul died as I was handed to the keys to the Silver Bullet (yes, it came with a nickname at no additional charge).  That same part continued to rot and fester over the next 48 hours as I schlepped to Avon and back, picked up the kids from violin practice, attempted to park in a city alley alongside our event venue, got yelled at for not knowing how to park in minivan, got wedged in between a dumpster and what can only be described as a monster truck, creeped across the city at 2AM with a nearly flat tire, attempted to return the stupid thing only to find that the key drop was broken at my local rent-a-car branch, and so on… and so forth.  When someone asked if they could put an auction item in “Elizabeth’s minivan,” I was overcome with a wave of nausea.  It is nooooot my miiiiiiiini vaaaaaaaaaaaan.

I suffered a serious case of minivanity this weekend.  While plenty of people can make a minivan look good, I am not one of them.  (I will admit I was intrigued by the self-opening sliding doors, and those stow-and-go seats were pretty awesome, too… but mostly because I feel like you could hide  a lot of stuff, or escape from things… or whatever.)  Wondering if you’re ready for that next stage of life?  Rent the corresponding vehicle.  You’ll figure it out quickly.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Having my parents (who made minivans look infinitely cool in the 80s and 90s) and Nick’s parents over 🙂
  • So cute: hot cocoa ornaments!
  • Catching up on sleep

Let’s play MASH.  What’s your dream car?


Today: The bad news sandwich.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]We’re in the process of hiring at work, which also means we’re in the process of not hiring 99.99 (repeating) % of people who have or will apply.  Nobody likes getting bad news.  Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true.  People who love to complain are fed by bad news in the same way that I am fed by cheese doodles.  And videos of French bulldogs sledding.  Regardless, I hate giving bad news.

Unless you’re a complete donkey, in which case, I sort of secretly like tell you that this is not your day.  For example, the people who automatically assume I am a dude, because I am the boss.  I don’t know many men named Elizabeth, but if you are out there, hello.  Or that I am multiple dudes (i.e., the person who addressed his cover letter to “Dear gentlemen”).  Or the person who declared in an interview (to my face, which was born in 1982, along with the rest of my body) that “people born after 1984 are much better at computers.”  First of all, that sentence is akin to saying you’re good at toasters.  Or good at planes.  And secondly, compute this: you are not hired.

But then, there are the people–and this is the vast majority of people (my heart is only partially frozen.. it’s more like a cute little icicle on one tiny corner or valve or whatever)–who you truly want to see succeed.  The people who are earnest, and kind, and hard-working, and trying their best to navigate a tremendously difficult job market.  The people that you want to advise, and help, and uplift, even though they are not the right fit for the position.

For these people, I try to serve up a bad news sandwich.  The bread is all positive and supportive in an effort to cushion the fact that I won’t be offering the recipient a job.  For example (ignore the fact that the cheese looks totally gross and sort of burnt at the edges, please):

Somewhere around the mushrooms or tomatoes, you say, “I’m terribly sorry, but I cannot offer you this job today.”  Your bread might say other things, like “I would like to pass along your resume to a colleague who might be hiring.”  Or, “You have so much to be proud of; I know someone will be very fortunate to have you their team.”  This is the key, though: whatever you say, you have to mean it.  Making things up isn’t helpful to anyone.

You can’t necessarily make this sandwich for everyone, all of the time.  But it is worth the effort when you can.  And it quickly washes away the bad taste being addressed as Mr. Human Resourcers (yes, that happened) leaves in my mouth.  If you’re out there looking for a job, hang in there.  Keep looking.  Something will happen, and when it does, I hope it’s really incredible.

In the meantime, want to win a real, actual sandwich or two? It’s Sandwich Day at Eversave and my pals would like to give one of you $5 in Save Rewards (for a Save of your choice) AND a Save for $10 worth of sandwiches and other treats at Pauli’s in the North End.  All you have to do is comment below.  Per yoosh, if you’d like an extra entry, feel free to tweet: I want to win free sandwiches from @EversaveBOS and @ElizabethEv! http://wp.me/pySBS-18y  A random winner will be announced on Saturday evening.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Fighter conditioning at Peter Welch’s
  • Check out Eversave’s Sandwich Showdown
  • Be a good neighbor in the heat: check in on the elderly and others who may need help!

Congratulations, Annelise!  Please send me an email (ontapfortoday@gmail[dot]com) to claim your Save. 🙂

What’s your favorite way to stack a sandwich?  Any tips for being the bearer of bad news?


Today: Service from hell.

What's that smell?

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I woke up this morning and thought, Oh good.   We’re still alive.  Nick and I took Clark for a nice long walk around Castle Island and then to BYOD for a much needed oatmeal bath.  That little dude gets stinky in a hurry (Clark, not Nick).  His natural b.o. takes on four distinct phases.

  • Phase 1: Clean dog
  • Phase 2: Cool Ranch Doritos
  • Phase 3: Did you eat a entire sea lion?
  • Phase 4: “Toxic” by Britney Spears
This cycle takes any where from several days to several weeks to complete, but by the time Phase 4 hits, I fully believe that Rapture is upon us.  We then took a stroll around the SOWA market and a few stores in the South End before meeting my parents and sister for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.  After a heavenly day in the neighborhood, we found ourselves dining in hell.  Our server made mistake after mistake before we learned, as I suspected, this was his first night on the job.

I remember my own first night waitressing, as a nineteen year old on the Cape.  I was training with the scariest waitress in the restaurant (she made no less than three of my co-workers cry that summer), and was charged with bringing salads out to a table of college-aged guys.  I had memorized who ordered which dressing, balanced my tray and set out for the dining room.  And then I dumped an entire cup of balsamic vinegar directly onto one of their laps.  When I reached for a clean napkin, completely mortified, the training server boomed “Do not even think about touching his crotch!” It’s a miracle I didn’t die or, at least, faint.  For the record, my plan was simply to apologize and hand over the napkin.  I’ve never made a habit of touching people inappropriately.

When I finally moved beyond the training phase (I think that first night set me back a bit), I was pleased one night to have a big party of adults sat in my section.  Apparently one of the hostesses missed a few of the specials menus when swapping them out, so when the two ladies seated farthest away from me both ordered the “second special from the top,” they expected to be served the previous night’s haddock.  Instead they each ended up with a full rack of ribs.  I need to enlist the help of two other waitresses to bring those honking things out.

The entire table completely freaked out, and left without paying.  Technically, they left a penny, which I quickly learned to be old people speak for GFY, but needless to say, one cent does not pay for one, let alone two racks of ribs.  That table’s meal was deducted from my earnings, which meant it cost me money to work that night.  For the rest of the summer, I demanded that customers ordering from the specials menu describe their desired meal in gross detail.

I did my best to make money, rather than owe money, at the end of each shift, and so it didn’t take very long to develop a hierarchy of desirable customers.  No offense to old ladies– I very much intend to become one in thirty years– but a pair of old women was at the bottom of the list.  A close second were tourist families with children.  Neither groups tipped well, and the latter often left behind a wake of Cheerios, broken crayons and drool.  Anyone who brought their own solar-powered calculator was bad news.  I learned a lot that summer, including that I am not cut out to be a waitress.

I have a feeling our server might be learning a similar lesson tonight.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the most mortifying on-the-job experience you’ve ever had?


Today: When Thursday equals Friday.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] You know you’ve been living in a cave your office (with no time to Google around) for too long when your sister mentions something about a potential government shut down and you’re all, Huhhhh? The fact you’re going through three times the normal amount of under-eye concealer is a pretty good tip off, too.  After a few weeks of burning the proverbial candle at both proverbial ends (and looking like a house-trained raccoon), I am pleased to report that today is my Friday.  Even though it’s only Thursday.  That’s right people.  This little lady is taking a vacation day tomorrow.  Can I get a Hallelujah?  Or maybe low five (I don’t have the energy for much more)?

I have a habit of writing out the following day’s To Do list the night before.  It helps keep me focused, so I don’t go off the reservation and eat cheese doodles all day.  I almost just died of excitement when I finished tomorrow’s list. But instead, I stayed alive.  Aren’t you lucky.

1.  Burn the candle at only one end.

2.  Pack some snacks.

3. Float around (in the tub).  And yes, I am wearing a bathing suit.  No nudies On Tap, people.

4.  Nap.

5.  Get outside.

6. Enjoy a little Turtle Time.

7. Be thankful for what (and who!) I have.

8. And focus on what’s really important.

I’m off to the Cape for the day with my mom and aunts.  Toodles, my friends!

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on the agenda for your next day off?



Today: Orange you glad..

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] ..there’s no actual blood in blood oranges?  I juiced six of these little babies by hand Sunday morning and ended up with the perfect amount of fresh, tart juice.

Pay no attention to Harry Elizabeth Potter's goblet of fire in the background.

The first time I saw a blood orange, I was a nerdy exchange student staying with a host family in Rome.  My host mother would serve freshly squeezed blood orange juice each morning, alongside thick toast topped with ricotta and jam.  I figured I misunderstood when I was told to drink my orange juice.  Dude, that juice was not orange.  But man, was it amazing.

The Leaning Tower of Peelsa.. or whatever.

I may have caught carpel tunnel syndrome from all that manual juicing, but it was totally worth it.  As I daydreamed about that small Italian kitchen, and sipped on my no-so-orange orange juice, I was briefly transported from my hectic weekend.  And then my barely functioning BlackBerry started blinking again.  Welp, it was good while it lasted!

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite food memory?