Dananaanaana! Batman! At the @FleetFeetWH #UrbanChallenge2014 and @Campcourant Buddy Bash

Last Friday involved much dashing through the West Hartford Center, much superhero costumes, and many, many Hooker beers.

much superhero, so wow

It’s as good a time as any for a doge meme

Not often does a Batman costume work for not, one, but two, events (outside of Halloween, obviously).  But there was a nice intersection between the awesome Urban Challengehosted by our friends at Fleet Feet West Hartford, and Camp Courant’s Buddy Bash! Fleet Feet was kind enough to give me 50% off my team price when I told them I would be blogging about this event.  Thanks you guys!  Carolyn and I had an awesome time as team DANANANANAA Batman!

batgirl selfie

And now you have the song stuck in your head.  You’re welcome

The Urban Challenge is a national obstacle course, and it involves problem solving and dashing around to finish interactive clues and beat the clock and competitors to the completion of at least ten challanges (for instance: a clue on Homewreckers led us to Moe’s, where the challenge was chugging hot sauce).

fleet feet outside

A great crowd turned out for the race!

Carolyn and I took the whole thing semi-seriously.  Meaning we ran, we sprinted, we parkoured the hell out of some benches (much to the amusement of patio diners at Grants), but at points where like “nah” and we strolled.  So not surprisingly, we finished in the middle of the pack (working so much in the West Hartford center was a definite advantage for solving the clues quickly – so that worked for us as much as our occasional laziness worked against us).  BUT we won first place for “Most Badass,” which I believe is the most important of all the accolades which can be bestowed:

WIP fitness card

Oh this will be very useful after the Hartford Marathon (I’m running a 5 mile relay) and before the epic calorie fest of Thanksgiving and Christmas!  Can’t wait to check out WIP

In addition to winning a glorious prize, we were fed delicious carbs – pizza from Luna Pizza and delicious beer from the aforementioned Hooker Beer Company.

hooker

Beer tastes better after a race

And then we were off in the Batmobile -errr – I mean the Prius – to Buddy Bash!  Which is also super hero themed, in honor and recognition of all the generous sponsors who are super heroes to all the underprivileged kids they support, every summer, with a free camp in the beautiful Farmington countryside.

nick caito hartford courant

The interior space at Buddy Bash.  Photo by Nick Caito, taken for CTNow

josh camp courant

CEO of Camp Courant, Josh Reese, on stage in this fabulously dark and underdeveloped picture (sorry)

das superhero

Josh’s wife Amanda and I.  A classic Batman/Superman combo!

hooker at buddy bash

And yep!  More Hooker Beer.  What a wonderful night.

Sometimes the best part of going out is discovering a little surprise from the evening before the next day.  Such as this note from the valet on my key chain:

best valet

We are the “girls with yellow capes (sic)”  Could anything be better?

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A recap of the #21dayfix – plus a contest!

Hello all!  I’m writing this from the AMAZING new Popover Cafe in Simsbury.  What is a popover you ask?  Why it’s a sinfully delicious bundle of pastry which makes me really glad I ran three miles this morning.  Paired with a $6 mimosa – a ‘back to school’ special for Moms – isn’t that clever?  I think that’s pretty darn clever.  Plus, a beet salad for balance!

popover simsbury yaaas

So, perhaps it’s a bit odd to open a post about a fixed nutrition and exercise program with a rave review of mimosas and popovers (and, to be fair, salads), but the whole point of the fix is that it’s 21 days of discipline, followed by healthier eating habit that last – but aren’t as restrictive of course.  So here are some basic numbers: I followed the fix for 30 days instead of 21, to compensate for the vacation I took in the middle of the program.  And I lost six pounds.  But more important is what I gained – a realization of how to amp up my workouts:

after nine minute mile

Hallo, nine minute mile!

Much more strongly defined abs:

before front

Before.  Note my “meh” face

during training

During – getting stronger and a bit more definition!

And of course, the glorious after:
working out after

That’s what I’m talking about

My awesome coach, Erica, owns Silkworm Boutique in West Hartford, and she suggested we use a Lilly Pulitzer dress (of course) as inspiration to keep on track and drop inches.

Here is the before, front and back:

befor lilly

before back lilly

And after:

after lilly

after back lilly

Big difference!

I’m a generally healthy person, but the 21 day fix was enormously beneficial in tweaking my lifestyle and helping me to tone my ‘problem areas’ – arms and abs – as well as improve my nutrition.

There are three core parts to the program:

21 day fix program guide

DVD workouts, shakeology nutrition, and meal plan!

The DVDs were fantastic for a busy mom like me, as they require virtually no equipment (just light weights and a mat!) and can be done at home – ie/ after Penelope goes to bed.  And a 30 minute, intense workout, definitely beats a 90 minute (with driving time) gym workout in terms of efficiency!  Again, I’m not a weights/gym girl – I’m a hiking/tennis/running out doors girl, so it’s great to have a “down and dirty workout that produces great results.  The nutrition plan was super simple to follow as well, with portion controlled tupperwares (I still use them all the time! they are great for prep) and lots of options and trade offs – including a wine budget!  I may have gone over my wine budget every single week (oops) but I made up for it with higher intensity workouts.

Last but not least, my favorite part of the program was definitely the shakeology shakes:

shakeology packet

Pictured: vegan chocolate

shakeology chocolate

Pictured: my favorite combo of coffee, blueberries, coconut milk, and organic “black magic” kale!  Absolutely delicious and packed with nutrition.

They are an excellent breakfast.  Dense nutrition, protein, and a nice energy kick.  I will be ordering more in early September in order to get an extra ‘kick into shape’ before we go to the Bahamas for our anniversary at the end of the month!  And I’m also offering a give away to anyone who would like to try a seven day supply of shakeology to see how they like it before committing to the program in entirety.  To enter, “like” Erica’s coach page Fit Mom by Erica (click here !) and comment 21 day fix to enter.  Erica will randomly select and contact a winner in the next few days.  Best of luck to all!  And enjoy!

 

#21DayFix Beachbody challenge – halfway through and feeling great!

When Erica approached me to do this challenge (and blog about it) I had a healthy amount of skepticism.  Mainly because, well, it’s a very busy time of year for vacations, and day drinking, and other things that don’t always vibe well with a workout and diet plan.  BUT I agreed, knowing I’d go through this with some cheats, so let’s just get those out of the way right now, shall we?

orange martini yaaaas

Oh my

cheats

Confession is good for the soul

rose at trumbull kitchen

I REGRET NOTHING

So, yeah, it would be factually inaccurate to say I’ve been following the 21 Day Fix to the letter (and I’ll be in Florida for the last week, so there’s that).  However, even with all of the above, I’ve already lost four pounds!

halfway through

Woohoo!

oh sads

Ok, this is a more accurate (read, honest) workout face

This is possible because, as with most things, following something to the letter isn’t the only way to make it more effective.  Yes, I may have had a couple more cocktails than the program calls for – and the occasional truffle potato chip.  But overall, my eating habits cleaned up quite drastically from before the program:

not so green photos

Look at the food in this picture.  Ice cream, pasta, arroz con pollo.  And a three pack of wine.

green photos

Now here’s a snapshot from this week.  Lots of green, leafy, fresh, vegetable laden dishes, and a no sugar added watermelon cooler.

That’s the funny thing about working out and eating right.  It really doesn’t take much to get good results!  And much of getting good results is making healthy choices.  Our dinner at Carbone’s last week is a great example of this.  I was a bit nervous about it, as I associate Italian places with pasta and really didn’t want to go off the deep end, as far as sticking to the eating plan.  But not only was I able to find an entree that was very healthy, it was also, by far, the most satisfying and delicious menu option for me:

veal medallions

Truly a win win!

peppered sea scallops

Another meal I was worried about (and shouldn’t have been) Taste of Hartford at Trumbull KitchenI ate all the peppered sea scallops, the watercress, and a small bite of the sticky rice.  Perfectly satisfying and quite healthy.

It also helps if, like me, you happen to love working out.  I just really do (sorry).  So, although I am not physically strong enough to follow the seven workouts per week – I average five days – two of those days are heavier work outs than the program calls for- such as a half hour of running and then cardio.  Or a power yoga class.  Again, it’s a matter of fixing bad habits, not reinventing your entire fitness and eating routine.

Also very useful, along with the eating plan and exercise DVDs (which I am going to be so happy to have this winter when it gets dark outside early and it’s too nasty to drive to the gym) there are these really delicious and healthy nutrient dense shakes in the 21 day fix:

shakeology and blazer

Vanilla shake with ice and orange juice

chocolate shake

Chocolate with kale, blueberries, and coffee.  Weird combo I know but it tastes delicious.  Also, a nice photobomb from P!

I come from a family of health freaks, and unfortunately I don’t always follow the good habits I learned as a kid, such as taking in plenty of vitamins.  These shakes are laden with dense nutrition – I can tell from my energy levels and skin tone – so it’s not just a meal replacement, it’s also a very healthy helping of things your body wants and needs to function at peak proficiency!

In addition to the shakes, I’ve developed a healthy addiction to G Monkey fresh squeezed beet juice, which is available at the Billings Forge Farmers’ Market every Thursday in the summer!

beet juice

Yummo

One more big, helpful factor for me: my CSA with the Garlic Farm!  Having a guaranteed portion of delicious, fresh, organic and GMO free vegetables per week is just awesome, and P really enjoys picking up the veggies, so it’s been a great experience so far:

p getting her csa

Eat more kale.  No seriously, do it

my kale brings all the boys to the yard

Kale jokes, courtesy of Bagels to Broccoli!  Ok, I’ll stop now

One other healthy habit I’m really enjoying about the 21 day fix is the water bar:

water bar

aka, #smugwater

Infused water is delicious, healthy, and very easy to do.  My favorite combo is blueberries and basil.  I’ve found I can start an infusion at work and leave it at my desk for several days (covered), topping up as needed, and it is delightful.  It’s very important to stay hydrated when dieting, as well as in the hot summer months, and all of this is especially true for me, as I’m anemic (another reason I’m not overly focused on calorie control).  I’m finding throughout this program that I am gaining healthy habits which I will certainly keep once the fix is over – the shakes, the healthier options, the water bar, the cardio boosts – it’s all going to be part of my daily routine as well as a more intensive program for the next ten days or so.  And I think that’s the most important thing: when you learn to be healthy, it becomes a natural part of who you are, leading to confidence, energy, and a boosted self esteem.  Modifications are important based on lifestyle and also history – I used to have an eating disorder so you won’t see me weighing in more than twice during this process – but overall, each tiny win on the road to being healthy leads to a happier life – and just maybe – a hotter bod.  🙂

Five fun events to watch out for in July/August

While I’m writing this, I’m eating buffalo cheddar waffle potato chips and drinking a Grey Goose and Agave Ripe Sour cocktail.  It’s my last hurrah before starting my 21 Day Fix from Erica!  Upon editing and publishing my meal will be more like this:

shakeology pic stitch

Hallo, Vegan Smoothie and water bar

These nutrient dense beauties have a bevvy of natural superfood ingredients – including Goji Berries and Chia seeds –  plus it’s 100% Vegan – which is WAY more appealing than ‘mystery chemicals’ found in so many weight loss foods.  I also will have my butt kicked during a 30 minute high cardio workout tonight!  Now, I’ll be modifying this plan considerably, as I’m doing it during the apex of summer vacation season, and I’ll be in the Florida Keys for the last week – not to mention I’m not looking to lose a ton of weight and would rather just tone up and be healthy.  But quite frankly, I’m quite stoked to get on track with healthy eating and daily work outs and away from – well – buffalo potato chips for several weeks!  So far today, I’ve had a shake, a banana and an apple plus several water refills – and I feel good and ready for a nice healthy lunch time salad.  Expect more updates as the program rolls along 🙂

So, enough about fitness goals and on to the ‘meat and potatoes’ of this article (sorry, the very IDEA of dieting has me fixated on food apparently – I can’t guarantee that will be the last metaphor to pop up).  Connecticut is bursting with fun things to do this summer.  I am highlighting five of them here, but I could have easily made this list 25 – and it may end up becoming a regular feature.

1. Taste of Hartford – starts today, July 21st and runs until August 3rd:

Taste is back for the summer, ahh.  Wow, nothing like writing about delicious food while on a cleanse!  I”m very VERY excited to ‘cheat’ a bit during Taste – Trumbull Kitchen on Wednesday,  and then dinner with my husband at Carbones – after the very lovely Linley invited us in – on Thursday!  For anyone who doesn’t know, Taste is Hartford’s premiere restaurant week, featuring prixe fixe menus at a $25 or $30 price point from all participating locations.  There will be a full write up of the Carbone’s dinner on Friday, but in the meantime, please feast your eyes on this wonderful picture from M & M Bistro:

toh M and m bistro

Thanks to Emily for this great picture!  Featuring one of the dished M & M is preparing for Taste, as well as a cocktail from our sponsor Onyx – a full gallery of the Onyx cocktails for Taste is available here

2. Om Street on LaSalle with West Hartford Yoga on July 26th!

This totally free event looks like a blast.  Unfortunately, I’ll be in Saratoga the day of (which is really too bad because combine this with the Wine Festival below and you have one heck of a lovely day).   But WHY Studios is where I go for yoga – their drop in class is so convenient for lunch.  And I can’t recommend them enough.  Cait attended last year and snapped this awesome pic – you can also check up her write up of last year’s Om here:

lasalle

Thanks for the awesome photo Cait!

3. CT Wine Festival – also on July 26th!

ecard wine fest

Yoga and wine outdoors.  Basically a perfect day.

LeeAnne tipped me off to this event – though admittedly it is also listed on my CT Wine Passport – which I appear to have lost.  Doh.  But it DOES count for a stamp for those who still have their passport and want to daytrip down to Goshen for the opportunity to sample over 11 of the state’s top vineyards in one convenience location!  Fun, fun, fun.

4. Fantapsy Football at Wood N Tap – dates to be announced soon in August – sign up starts now!

Wood N Tap partners with us every year at CTNow for advertising, and as part of that reciprocal support, we are a proud media sponsor for them.  It’s a really great cause.  100% of the proceeds go to the CT Children’s Medical Center – which will forever have a special place in my heart after they basically saved Penelope’s life last year:

Penelope and others 4361

One fat, adorable and healthy patient.  Thank God.

I am not into Fantasy Football personally (or, as one my ex roomates hilariously called it: “imaginary football”) but my husband plays in three different leagues – minimum.  So I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to talk him into attending this event, hurrah.

5. 2nd Annual Cigar-B-Q, hosted by the Tobacco Shop – at Horton’s Farm on Saturday, July 26th!

Wooo, July 26th is certainly a busy day this year 🙂  This is another event with a great cause behind it – with funds benefiting the Ct Migrant Farm Workers’ Clinic 

tobacco shop pig roast action shot

And also, the masterful pork roasting of Tobacco Shop owner, Gerry Grate!

Tickets must be purchased in advance by July 23rd, so don’t delay if you plan on attending this one – it will sell out!

So there you have it!  Get out there and enjoy it.  And please let me know of any upcoming events in  late August/September that I should highlight too!