Monthly Archives: July 2011

Fit Fridays

Happy Friday everyone! While I worked through the Couch to 5K program, I started posting the week in review every Friday. I really enjoyed the accountability and history it provided, and the motivation from you guys it allowed! Now that the regiment is over, I don’t want to lose anything I’ve worked to get so far. So this week, I ran and tried something new at Jeremy’s suggestion. P90X.

P90X website banner. Look at those abs and promises!

Heard of it? It’s been all around the blog world and news as a new (well, not-so-new-anymore) fitness craze. I know several people who swear by it’s premise and incorporate many moves into their own workouts.

In case you’re like me and never really looked at it, here’s the idea:

“P90X is a revolutionary home fitness program. In just 90 days, you can get back in shape, or build the body you’ve always wanted. All you need is a set of dumbbells or resistance bands, a pull-up bar, and about an hour a day. No gym required.” –www.beachbody.com/p90x

It comes with a full nutrition plan and more but I just decided to pop in the arms, back, chest and abs DVD to strengthen some of my run-neglected muscles. It starts with a nice warm-up and then basically you do push-ups and pull-ups for an hour. I can’t do push-ups or pull-ups so I knew I was in trouble pretty quick.

However, I managed to complete the whole DVD by adjusting moves for doughy-human level, which I’ve heard isn’t cheating and I’m sticking with it. For push-ups, I did them on my knees. And for pullups, I used a resistance band while sitting on the floor. And for some of the extreme push-ups, I just held a plank position rather than actually pushing up and down. Jeremy snapped one such moment.

The "X" in P90X means "extreme" and they aren't kidding. This is a decline pushup.

Ridiculous…especially in glasses that day (I don’t recommend that). But I’m insanely proud that I even got in the position much less stuck with the rest of it. A pre-C25K Adriane would have been frustrated that she couldn’t do it perfect and quit. But this time I enjoyed the challenge, pushed through the pain and look forward to seeing improvements.

And I apparently need to quit doing push-ups on my knees because it looks bad to have yoga mat knee burns at work!

Once the arms, chest and back were done, the 15-minute “ab ripper” finale began. It was also extreme but I really enjoyed it in a weird way. And more importantly, I felt great after.

Take that, muscles!

Obviously, that picture shows you how excited and delirious I was–crazy eyes and all. The day after was another story. In fact, I did this on Tuesday and I’m still sore! If I was following the full P90X program, I should do one of their DVD every day. But, I’m not (even though it’d be interesting to see what I really could do in 90 days). I will keep at it though.

In junior high and high school and was a size 2 and on a crew (rowing) team and a basketball team. There were no “workouts” scheduled, I just practiced and competed. As a college student, I wasn’t part of any sports teams–except maybe the house party crashers and workaholics. Do they count?

Now that I sit at a desk all day, I have gained a new perspective on creating the body and lifestyle you want. I want fitness to a regular part of my routine, whether it’s a formal training program or just me sweating it out. I want to be confident to spend time at the beach with friends or hike with my family and not turn down invitations because I’m a self-conscious doughball. I want fitness to round me out as a person. I don’t want it to consume me or make me lose sight of the bigger picture.

I hope you’ll find Fit Fridays fun and informative. Sometimes they’ll be my weekly activities, sometimes they’ll just be fitness related. I’d love to hear your ideas and try new things to avoid getting bored or burnt out!

Have a great weekend! I’ll see you Monday–it’s a very special Monday in the Greenhorn house.

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Photo storage inspiration

I have been talking about organizing my photos for years. I used to be really good at scrapbooking or at least loading them electronically onto my external hard drive. I think that’s one benefit of getting photos printed–you get excited to go through them and stick them in albums. I think that tangible experience, and physical clutter consequence if I didn’t, helped me stay on top of them.

My collection of albums.

But I have accumulated hundreds of digital photos over the past 2 years in particular that I’m terrified to delete and have lost all accountability for. I don’t even know what I have! And now with this blog, I’ve gone from bad to worse. ūüôā

Sticks, SD cards, albums, loose, Facebook, blog, Nikon temporary transfer folder, cell phone, desktop, CDs, iPhoto…photos everywhere, yikes.

This about a third of my photo album collection.

So, my interest was immediately piqued when I saw the end of a recent YoungHouseLove post mentioning a piece they wrote for BabyCenter called “Photo Albums Are Dead To Us.”In it, they announced their first printed photo book and how they were never going back to printing photos themselves or collecting huge volumes of albums.

Instead, they created sleek, professional-looking family yearbook! As Rachel Zoe would say, “I DIE!” I was on the yearbook staff all through high school (that and Spanish class were my favorite parts), Jeremy’s going to be a teacher and we got married in August (back-to-school time)…a yearbook feels perfect.

Being that I was ridiculously smitten with the idea, I of course, got to Googling. My favorite find (other than company ads offering photo book services) was from a blog called Family Traditions. This wonderful lady put together a “Family Yearbook Challenge” in 2009 and thanks to the world wide wonder web, I found it! You can follow the jump to see her “homework assignments” and a full list with things to do and when. Uh, mazing? Yep!

I don’t think I’ll get mine printed at first, but it gave me just the inspiration and motivation I needed to quit procrastinating. I’m picturing yearly editions, superlatives, neatly organized, magazine-style layouts, and a beautiful overall snapshot of a year in the life. Hell, I may try to sell add space and ask family to sign pages because I’m a geek like that…yearbook4life! ūüėČ

In case you thought I was kidding about my YB allegiance...this is my high school ring.

How do you manage family photos? Have you ever seen a family yearbook? Is it an idea you’d try? 100 bonus points go to anyone ever on yearbook staff!

 

A gracious host

Remember when¬†I shared my Airbnb discovery? Well, Jeremy and I had so much fun perusing, we actually booked a trip to a bed and breakfast! It’s little place owned by a gentleman with lots of charm.

It got me thinking, if you are like me, you have overnight guests maybe a couple times a year. We are lucky enough to have a guest room in our home, but it often serves as a closet or goes untouched until we know people are coming…but this guy has guests constantly! He doesn’t have a housekeeping staff or chefs. He just enjoys being a host and happens to live in a beautiful home that people will pay to stay in.

Not too long after we made our B ‘n’ B reservations, we found out we were getting¬†guests of our own. It’s family so I won’t charge them bed and breakfast rates (for now ūüėČ ) but I do think it’s important to make our home a place they will be comfortable staying.

I’ve stayed with people who don’t take any special measures but just absorb me into the daily routine and other people (e.g. my Mom) who has gift bags waiting on the bed when you arrive. I don’t mind either way (I think being a gracious visitor is just as important) but¬†I always appreciate being made to feel welcome and considered.

So, I thought I’d share my approach for being a gracious host to visitors:

A drawer holds a welcome sign, fresh towels, a candy or jewelry dish and a tray.

Bedside: lamp, water carafe, alarm clock, pad & paper, tee game and nightlight.

  1. Clean! It doesn’t have to feel like a museum, but if I’m putting people up, the sheets will be fresh, the dog hair tumbleweeds will be reduced and the bathroom will be as spotless as a 55-year-old bathroom can be.
  2. Storage. Because we have the luxury of a guest room, I try to not cram my crap into every nook. I have one dresser drawer, one bench, a nightstand with a drawer and door hooks available for use. Real Simple has my favorite tips on preparing for guests.
  3. House tips. Also, from Real Simple, I have a worksheet that includes everything a guest might need to know. Plumbing, security system, towel locations, allergies and more.
  4. Food.If it’s someone I know has a favorite food or allergy, I will try to have appropriate items on hand, but overall, I get small snacks and Andes mints to leave in the room.

    Bedside: welcome worksheet and basket of mini soap, deodorant, lint roller, hair spray, etc.

  5. Necessities. I keep a small basket under the nightstand with every mini item I fall in love with (promo items, hotel items and impulse buys) that include soap, shampoo, lint roller, wrinkle reducer, hair spray, floss, deodorant, and more.

I will clarify that I love doing these things. Honestly, it often stresses me out, but I choose to because it’s important to me to provide little touches and hope it makes the visitor smile. I only recently gained some perspective: some visitors may hate it. So I’m adding one more item to my list above:

6. Manage expectations. If you are visiting or being visited, discuss your house rules and expectations openly. Some people are offended if a guest doesn’t offer to help wash dishes. Others are offended if a guest tries to help do the dishes. If you are a guest, only offer to do the dishes in earnest (not because you think you should ask). If you are a host, answer honestly in kind. **Ignored irks or assumptions now can mean¬†unnecessary resentment later!**

I certainly never feel like they owe me anything in return or that they should feel that it was an inconvenience for me. I’m learning that not everyone thinks the way I do. That sounds obvious, but it wasn’t to me about this. Who wouldn’t like a fuss made over them? Turns out, plenty of people. And as I said, it’s about making the visitor comfortable–what I’m learning is how that varies.

I’m really looking forward to taking the getaway with Jeremy and seeing how the bed and breakfast treats us (according to the Airbnb reviews,¬†we have a wonderful host).

How about you guys? Do you do anything special when guests come to visit?¬†Maybe it depends on who the guest is and how often you have them! And what¬†makes you feel like a special guest?¬†Maybe you expect a host to make an effort, maybe you think it’s all very unnecessary,¬†or maybe¬†it makes you uncomfortable? Expand those comfort zones and let’s chat…

Product review: Almond milk

I have admitted my smoothie love affair here before, more than once. But a constant is usually milk and almonds. The almonds were originally inspired by my favorite store-bought smoothie, the Health Nut at Tropical Smoothie, but my blender hates them. It can’t grind them small enough so there’s always little almond chunks in every other sip. Then a vegan friend said something brilliant…”Why don’t you try almond milk?”

While I was at Whole Foods for Brendan Brazier, I grabbed some 365 Everyday Value Organic Almond Milk.

The goods.

I got the vanilla flavor because I originally planned to use kale, which apparently isn’t as sweet as spinach. That didn’t happen this time. I got impatient so I worked with what I already had. You can’t make a smoothie with just milk, so as Gomer Pile would say, here are my “supplies, supplies, supplies…” ūüėČ

My poor blender can't handle the frozen or leafy stuff in the beginning so the 'nanas, spinach and ice are waiting in the wings.

I always contemplate variations of smoothies but I go back to my true loves every time.

I may have a berry addiction.

But I also figured it was best to use what I know I love to judge the impact of the almond milk. I blended it all up and poured it in my new cup!

It looks like mud but tastes like rainbows...I'm assuming rainbows taste wonderful, of course.

A perfect sweet-tooth, on-the-go dinner.

I liked it, so I put a lid on it.

Of course, in this case, my on-the-go destination was my couch…but who said there were rules? Back to the real reason for my post, judging the almond milk!

Short answer: delicious but I never would’ve noticed a difference from cow milk.

Long answer: I love cow milk and have always drank it. (Drunk it? Drinken it?) Anyways, I don’t have a problem with lactose or anything but here are the main reasons for why I will continue to use it instead of cow milk for many purposes.

  1. I put cream in my coffee and tea, eat cheese every week and used to have yogurt or a smoothie with milk every day. But once I started running, I noticed I got all phlemy. It made it hard to breathe efficiently and would give me headaches afterward. A doctor mentioned I may want to reduce my dairy intake. Now I don’t have to give up my beloved recovery smoothies!
  2. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, my blender hates whole raw almonds.
  3. I was using milk and almonds separately, now I have a shortcut and it doesn’t spoil as quickly as cow milk.

Compared to 1 cup of 1% cow milk, 1 cup of almond milk has:

  • 50 fewer calories
  • 1.5 grams fewer saturated fat
  • 35 milligrams¬† more sodium
  • 4 grams less carbohydrates
  • 15 milligrams less cholesterol
  • 5 grams less sugar
  • 8 grams less protein

Cow versus almond.

Of course, I got the vanilla flavored so the sugar and carbohydrate content was a bit higher than the regular almond or cow milk.

The only thing that surprised me was how little protein was in the almond milk compared to cow milk or whole almonds. What happens to it in the processing? I can’t justify my smoothies being good for recovery without the protein. ūüė¶ Hmmmm.

Overall, it tastes good and has benefits, so I’m glad I tried it! Have you guys tried almond milk? Tell me why if you drink it! I’m sure I missed some pros or cons along the way.

Health Starts Here

I found a great new resource, courtesy of Whole Foods!

The official logo is just happy looking! And it helps mark all the participating items in the store.

I got a chance to meet the Jacksonville Whole Foods Health Starts Here (HSH) representative, Heather, earlier this month and can’t wait to use all the great info she shared.

Meet Heather! She was passionate about nutrition while being so friendly and relatable.

As she discussed this most recent Whole Foods HSH program, I was so inspired and excited to hear stuff that made sense to me put together in such a nice, neat package. It’s not about dieting. It’s not about buying all Whole Foods’ most expensive specialty items.

It is about making smart choices, even in small beginner steps if that’s where you are, to strive toward a wholesome and well-rounded approach to food. They established “four pillars of healthy eating:”

  • Eating food in its purest state ‚ÄĒ unadulterated by artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings and preservatives.
  • Reconfiguring your plate so the majority of each meal is created from vegetables, fruits, legumes and beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
  • Eating fats from the right sources ‚ÄĒ eliminating extracted oils and processed fats.
  • Choose foods that are rich in micronutrients when compared to their total caloric content.

So, to summarize, you should eat veggies–not tubs of margarine. Is your mind blown yet? ūüėČ

But Heather taught me a few other things:

  • What the heck an ANDI score is: ANDI stands for “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index.” It’s a way to score foods and was developed by Eat Right America. The HSH website even provides charts for the top 10 nutrient dense foods in a variety of categories (dairy, fish, beans, green veggies, etc.).
  • Some amazing recipes: I’m a recipe troller. I love perusing blogs and professional food sites looking for things to try. This is an easy go-to healthy meal planning resource. She even offers HSH cooking demonstrations (free samples!) every week. You can check your store’s calendar to see if you have a Heather, too.
  • Ideas for even healthier smoothies: I’ve enjoyed the addition of spinach for quite some time. However, Heather mentioned kale is an even more nutrient-dense green to up the health quotient.

So what do you think? Does anyone else put kale in smoothies? Did I ruin anyone’s week by mentioning it’s not smart to eat a tub of margarine? Try to make it a great week no matter what!

C25K: Week 12 report

The last week of the Couch to 5K (C25k) program: Week 9! I finally made it! All the days were the same: Run for 30 minutes.

I started early in the week and quickly realized how much taking a week off had affected me. I couldn’t get my head into it. I couldn’t help but focus on the 90-degree temperature, 65% humidity, the lousy gnats, my heavy legs.¬†I just kind of distractedly shuffle-ran through most of it. However, shuffling, sweating¬†and walk breaks included, I still ran for the majority of time and it felt good to be back at it.

See my BFAST volunteer shirt? Free souvenir! ūüôā

The second run was more focused and I felt really great about it. It was also my first nighttime run! Thursday, the temperature was 96 degrees so I was waiting for the evening to bring some relief. Time got away from me so at 9 p.m., I set out.This challenge has really exposed me to all kinds of first-time running experiences: smoke, rain, treadmill, injury and now darkness.

Week 9, Day 2

Something else magical happened this week. My cat suddenly has an interest in me! I love my cat but he’s kind of jerk. A vocal, picky, stinky, demanding one. He doesn’t hide from people but he is not a lap cat. He prefers feet to hands and only wants to be pet when and where he chooses–if you misread his signals, he will bite you. But for some reason, this week, I was the cat’s meow.

Day 1--look how close he is to me! He looks evil but he stayed there the whole time I stretched.

Day 2--Jeremy snapped this exfoliating treatment and bath I received while stretching.

My day three run will be sometime Saturday.

Progress Report:

1.     Mental

  • I still get bored running nonstop but I’m trying to focus on getting places now that I have a better idea of how long it takes me. For example, I know if I run the whole time, I can get to a certain neighborhood by the half-way point.
  • I’m a little in my head about this being the end. I feel really good that I saw it through, but a little lost now that there’s nothing to look forward to. Now it gets really hard–sticking with it and improving on my own.
  • Weekly mantra: Not so much a mantra but the lyrics and beat from Young the Giant’s “My Body.” -‚ÄúMy body tells me no, but I won’t quit, ’cause I want more.‚ÄĚ

2.     Physical

  • I re-read one of my earlier week’s postings and it said in the ‘Lessons” section, “3 minutes is a long time.” Hahahahaha. I was feeling bad that I could only run for about 20 minutes and not the full 30 required this week…then I read that and felt a whole lot better.
  • My flexibility has also noticeably improved. Before, stretching hurt and was just a necessity. Now, it really helps me before and after runs. I actually enjoy doing them¬†and I can now do them properly.
  • Pounds‚ÄĒ -1 pound.
  • BMI‚ÄĒUnchanged.

3.     Lessons

  • It’s important to notice the journey, not just the moment.
  • I can’t stop at running or use this program as training wheels any longer.
  • Nutrition and activity have to complement each other.

So, that’s the Week 9 program. Did you try anything new this week? Have you completed the C25K training program? Any ideas on how to bathe an 18-pound cat?

If you want to read my Couch to 5K Program Challenge journey from the beginning: Here’s Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7 and Week 8, Week 9, Week 10 and Week 11.

CJ Acres is a farm, EE-I-EE-I-O…

Last Saturday I got to share one of my favorite places with Mr. Greenhorn and our two friends!

The "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" tune has been stuck in my head ever since.

I found CJ Acres Animal Rescue Farm through the Hands On volunteer network more than a year ago. I was instantly hooked, and laugh that¬†I won’t mow my own yard but I’ll drive 45 miles to go do theirs. I’ve returned several times thanks to the great owners (Lee and Jenn), the stories and, of course, the amazing animals.

So, when they opened up their farm for a public tour, I jumped at the chance to show them off while not having to shovel manure.

Even though it wouldn't be my first time to do so there (me in January).

I usually get up early, fill my gas tank, get gas station coffee and make the hour drive by myself. This time was much more relaxed (and later in the afternoon), so we picked up our friends for lunch and then headed out. It was already raining so I’m so glad they were such good sports and came along anyway!

Once you park in the grass driveway, the first thing to greet you are horses on your left and pigs on your right.

Pig herd.

Those little pigs in the picture above are interesting because they came to the farm after a very public debut (not the case with most abused/neglected/endangered animals). The semi they were riding in flipped over on the highway in Raleigh, N.C. sending five piglets into morning rush hour. Luckily, that accident turned into their saving grace.

Now they are as happy... as pigs in mud ūüôā

But my favorite animals on the whole farm (which until I visited CJ Acres would have always been horses) are the hogs. The two males in particular, Argus and Ahab, are so friendly, so smart and have so much personality! But don’t tell the others, okay? CJ Acres has six big pigs: four breeding sows and two smaller males who escaped slaughter.

Argus walked by me and I reached around to scratch his soft underside. He oinked a little and then leeeeaaaaaaned, and then flopped. Just like a dog! Except he’s somewhere around 400 pounds. When he flops, it’s quite a site to see. It’s a real testament to the farm that he’s not only comfortable enough to be around a mass of strangers, but he responded to me and gave up the belly. ūüôā Owner Jenn cheered for me–I told you they were great.

I quickly jumped back to capture Jeremy's inaugural pig belly rug.

Too funny. The next stop on the tour was the mustang pasture. Yep, I said mustang, as in wild horses. But they are a bit less wild now and come running when people show up. Finally, they are confident and associate visitors with food and positive attention, which is no where close to the association they made just 6 months ago as they were dodging Bureau of Land Management agents, cars and slaughterhouse bids.

Owner Lee telling the mustang story.

Next, we crossed the farm to enter a mixed group area. One turkey, three sheep and goats that were moving so fast collecting Saltines that I lost count, maybe four total.

Meet Tom the turkey.

Tom likes shiny or fancy shoes (to stand on, preferably with your feet still in them), long walks (around you while he puffs up and shows off) and love poems (I’m just guessing on that one but it’s a safe assumption since he’s such a romantic).

Two of the three resident sheep.

I have come to really love the sheep. They are not smart, but they are so different and have gone from so panicky and distrusting to a place where I got them to come to me and eat the cracker out of my hand! The owner reminded me that they can be adopted. Good try Lee, good try.

Jeremy, and friends Joey and Amanda, in the final tour spot. They had run out of crackers.

Don't they look sad? Goat shunning can be quite emotionally painful.

I only had a moment to capture their experience before I was in the midst of my own.

"It's your crackers or your camera, lady, and right now I don't care which!"

They also have dogs, cats, chickens, roosters, ducks, pot-bellied pigs and regular horses that I didn’t even photograph this time. It’s more than worth going to meet them on your own!

Countdown to Friday is on! Anyone else have a farm affinity? Also, please leave a comment if you’ve rubbed a hog belly. Have a great day, try something new. ūüėČ