It’s Halloween. It’s Spooky. It’s Short.

1. Propylene On Me

Who’s got something in common with anti-freeze? Cereals, baked goods, cocoa mixes, puddings, frostings, fruit fillings, sugar syrups etc., etc. all bound by propylene glycol. That’s an organic compound used to lower the freezing point of water or to keep edible things moist so by now your mouth must be watering. Here’s something to wash it down. Fireball Whiskey made the news this week as it faced recalls in a few countries due to it’s higher-than-they allow levels of propylene glycol.

Food babe must really need a drink. If there’s anything left that’s safe for her to drink.

The highlight of the announcement was watching twitter and facebook, the places where we go to share and communicate, erupt in their usual illiteracy as many thought they were drinking pure anti-freeze.

We’ve got cupcake vodka or just frosting vodka on the shelves, Jagermeister is still here and Absinthe has been back on the market for a few years. Butt-chugging was around a few years ago. Is the thought of drinking anti-freeze really that upsetting? I admit, I was bothered for a minute when I realized how cheap I can get a case of anti-freeze compared to what you pay for cinnamon whisky but in the end my heart still beats for the slow working poison upon my Liver that is this second coming of Schnappes.

The most overlooked part of this, the real scare, is not that there is stuff in our food that is also found in harsh chemicals but that the recall is ultimately due to Fireball’s not meeting Finland, Sweden and Norway’s standards.

In the game of Life (cereal) give it to America, they’ll eat anything.

2. Eating healthy this Halloween.

I know everyone feels the need to be topical and tries to tie their blog into Halloween just to score readers ::takes a bow, pats self in back, rubs stomach while patting head:: but I am not a fan of healthy eating tips for Halloween unless I’m making them.

I love the concept of taking already healthy food like everyday fruits and vegetables and bringing out the Halloween in them. I put almond halves on a strawberry as fangs, then added dabs of sugar free raspberry jelly as blood and made vampire berries! I cut bananas in half and drizzled low-sugar chocolate syrup on them to make mummies and vamp-nanas! That’s called lying to yourself. Hershey’s won a long time ago. Eating vampire fruit instead of chocolate on Halloween is like getting turnt with your action figures and a gallon of Sunny D on a Saturday night because you didn’t get invited to the good party and gosh darnit! You can make your own fun. But if you feel so inclined to recreate someone’s clearly photoshopped food frankenstein, there’s a fail subreddit that can show you your future.

What scares me about the healthy Halloween recipes is the prevalence of pimiento. It’s like the olive illuminati. Meatballs? Jab an olive in and it’s a delicious ogre eyeball. Cupcakes? Put an olive in the frosting and it suddenly there’s a scary creature trying to escape your confection. Punch? Bam! Olives! And your guests will be haunted by the taste of your eyeball soup.

Whose eyes look like olives? Where do they sell jalapeno weed to make eyes look green with red dots? Don’t buy what they’re selling. Keep the olives out of Halloween.

In fact, keep that stringent health out of Halloween. It is scary to see this as the edge you step over on the long fall to Thanksgiving and Christmas before splashing down in New Year’s champagne, before wringing yourself out and making all types of hungover health resolutions. But this is one night. The one night out of the year where the children are turned loose to live and enjoy while ghosts are said to rise and haunt those that push olives on unknowing house guests. Enjoy yourself. Have a Mr. Goodbar. The fight’s not lost in a single night or even a week’s worth of your kid’s candy. Happy Halloween.

3 Things for Last Friday that Needed to Marinate until Tuesday

1. Just Looking, I can tell you don’t like me.

I don’t look happy. My genes did not chisel me that way The corners of my mouth are perma-turnt straight down for everything. My eyes don’t open all the way, getting bright and shiny. My hair just wasn’t happening today either. And science says you don’t like me. Y u no like me readership?

Well the reason you don’t like my dour expression, obviously, is that it belies my deep thoughts. My intellect can bench four bills and its squat form puts yours to shame. Or, due to my natural appearance, people assume the wrong thing and treat me differently than they would some irritating, always smiling, bright-eyed, type. (Never trust a smiler. Smiles are the spanx of personality, I say.)

What we’re talking about is face-ism, your own cognitive bias cut loose and deciding the values of a person based on facial structure and characteristics. These are the boxes we constantly put ourselves in. We’ll end up trusting the wrong kind of nose, flirting with the unfaithful cheekbones and opening the door for any kind of trusting face.

This runs the risk of coloring our interactions. Think someone looks mean? That’s probably how you’ll treat them or respond to them. If enough people treat you coolly over the course of a day it stands to bring you down and inadvertently create a meanness that was just a trick of the light off of your eyebrows. Generally I believe that self-esteem shouldn’t be something we get from other people but it’s hard not to be worn down or brought up by others when you look creates a positive or negative feedback loop.

So this is my bitchy resting face. To you. I’ll have you know I’m smiling and you just aren’t used to something so amazing.

2. Just when I thought I said all I could say, pop stars got a new diet got me all like, no way. So I guess I gotta give up food and give ya my confession.

Usher’s on a diet that you need to get soooo caught up in and really feel. It’s based on your blood type diet and dude got me falling in love again with fad diets. Usher is pretty cut but you know you got it bad when in an effort to maintain your celebrity look and keep the people making love in the club you’re willing to try anything. Has he been vegan? Yeah! Has he done paleo? Yeah! But I gotta keep it real now, cuz on a 1-10 he’s a certified 20. But that just ain’t me. See what I do know is the way he move do fill me with envy but what I don’t know is whose idea it is to eat based on how you bleed. But if the weight is gettin low, I’m like yeah this thing could be for me. So it’s like one more rep? And I’m like Yeah! Type AB- don’t need to eat.

(Sorry. Blood type diets are a thing though. Look them up if you’re interested.)

3. Renee Zellwegger got older over the course of time.

OMG Renee Zellwegger! You look different Renee Zellwegger! The last time I saw you you didn’t look how you look now and that’s just totally messed up.

I love celebrity culture and the sycophantic devotion it creates. So let’s assume, you know, crazy hypothetical that maybe Renee Zellwegger was a real person and not just something we made up to distract ourselves.

It’s been 18 years. A lot has changed in 18 years.

Hi, Tom Cruise! Whatcha been up to? Divorce and Scientology? Teeth whitening? Kewl beans! You’ve also been drinking milk from a carton that has Cuba Gooding Jr’s face on the side? Swell.

These guys got old. And so did Renee. But men are men and expected age with facial lines of pure dignity. Men age into respect, women get a nice place under the rug. We can sweep them under there and do our best not to step on them because we might catch humanity and get wrinkled and stop being 22 forever. How dare you go from being the sexily chubby (okay, Hollywood chubby) Bridget Jones to being a for real person that reminded us all that we’re going to get old and we prize youth above gold or reason?

Dang internets! Get it together! All your Zellweggers are not belong to us. It’s just a person. If you start parsing the lines on her face it goes a great length to dehumanize her but it goes further into turning you into a loon with imaginary friends. Go back to playing the Sims where you can micromanage frivolity to your hearts content. People get old. Hollywood commoditizes appearance. That’s why Tom Cruise has Zoolander hair in an effort to look younger, virile and more marketable. It’s why Usher works out like a beast. But it also ends up being a big part of the reason we cut one another and ourselvs down chasing some imaginary ideal, as if these stars we empowered don’t have reflections that they would like to change from time to time.

Anyway, Renee Zellwegger looks like Renee Zellwegger. We just look bored.

–Joe

New Hampshire Getaway Pt. 1

A picture is worth a thousand words, so let’s not even do the math to figure out how many words I would need for all of the photos I took during our weekend getaway in New Hampshire over a week ago. It’s because of all those words that this post is so late (well, that and some electricity issues). Instead of trying to put the hike and everything else we did all into one post, I’m saving the hike for another day and today I’m sharing pretty much everything else. Because there are just way too many photos for one post, you can also check out the albums here and here.

We left Boston on Friday afternoon to make the three hour drive (traffic wasn’t great) to Intervale, New Hampshire where our Bed & Breakfast was located. We opted for the Glen Oaks Inn for this trip because there was a great LivingSocial deal for two nights. Along the way we stopped at Border Cafe on Rt. 1 for lunch, but the rest of the trip was pretty standard, though we did encounter some great colors.

Intervale is right outside of North Conway, so we drove through the outlet mall along the way and decided we wanted to save some time for shopping. There were also some great local shops we wanted to check out too as well as some great mountain views.

We pulled in to the Glen Oaks Inn and I was in love. There were candles in the enclosed porch and lots of fall decorations everywhere.

We rang the bell for the innkeeper and were greeted by a friendly gentleman who introduced himself as one half of the inkeeping team. He got us set up with our parking pass for the White Mountains as well as some coupons for the area, and had us sign the guest book. It was so much fun seeing how far other guests to the inn have traveled.

We put our things in our room and made our way out to town to do some exploring. We didn’t stay out too long because we wanted an early start for Saturday, but after dinner at the Muddy Moose where Joe and I each got the Sassy Chicken Salad and split an order of fries, we made our way back to the inn.

We were met with a bottle of champagne, which we decided to save for Saturday when we would celebrate having conquered the mountain.

Skipping ahead to Sunday, I woke up before Joe and made my way down to the enclosed porch to do some reading. After lighting the gas fireplace, which I was completely in love with, I sat down in a rocking chair and indulged in some Walt Whitman. I honestly don’t think I had read much Whitman before and turns out I really like his poetry, despite its occasional density.

Joe came down shortly thereafter and we had breakfast with the other guests. I was grateful the innkeepers offered a gluten free option for the blueberry pancakes and also offered me some vanilla yogurt in lieu of the usual cinnamon rolls they offer to the guests.

We spent more time exploring the little shops in North Conway during the day on Sunday. I particularly loved Zeb’s General Store, where we stocked up on a few Christmas gifts and some gifts for ourselves, as well as a jerky shop that offered all kinds of regular and exotic jerky (buffalo, alligator, camel, you name it!).

I indulged in my favorite New England treat, Moxie soda. If you’ve never had it, you’re missing out. Some people hate it (that’s the majority of people, I think), but for some of us it’s heavenly. It’s the only regular soda I drink and I have it maybe once a year, though I think I haven’t had it in 2 or 3 until this past trip.

After what was probably a little too much time going in pretty much every shop in North Conway, we decided to try some scenic driving. I won’t go into great detail about the drive (there isn’t too much to tell aside from the fact that we drove for a long time), but we were lucky to have some amazing views along the Kancamagus highway and up on Bear Notch, as well as the adorable covered bridges in the area.

The photos don’t do it justice, but the colors were vibrant and amazing on the entire drive. It was truly breathtaking. I told Joe that it was one of the only times I could remember when I actually wanted to describe something as picturesque.

A final dinner with my first taste of mead and a stop at the Bavarian Chocolate Haus and we bid farewell to New Hampshire, making it back to Boston before 8pm on Sunday to spend time with the guinea pigs. I spent pretty much all last week recovering from the trip and trying to get back into the swing of healthy eating. I think I may (finally) be getting back into a routine.

Stick around for my recap of the hike later this week! Have you ever stayed at a Bed & Breakfast? How’s the foliage where you are?

xoxo,
Becki

Healthworks Fall Fit Fest – Make Me Do Burpees!

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I want to share an awesome event that Healthworks is holding on November 7th at all their locations, the annual Healthworks Community Fitness Fundraiser- Fall Fit Fest!

fall fit fest

This is a 2 hour fitness event and 100% of the proceeds go towards providing high-quality fitness opportunities and health education for women and children in low-income neighborhoods. For more information on Healthworks Community Fitness (HCF) watch this brief video featuring our HCF members. I would love to see you at this event if you live in Greater Boston and you don’t have to be a Healthworks member! Of course I would prefer you to come to Chestnut Hill to see yours truly, but all the locations are holding this event.

At Chestnut Hill you will get to attend Body Pump, Ride, Cardio Dance and Yoga all in one night! Tickets are on sale for $30, but the price increases tomorrow. Tickets may be purchased here.

We are also allowing you to turn the tables on us, the trainers and managers (and you don’t even have to be here in person to do it)! You can donate $2 per repetition and make your favorite trainer (ahem) sweat it out for a good cause. You can make me do burpees, jump squats, pushups, mountain climbers and plank rows. For example, if you donate $20, you can make me do 10 burpees! We will be completing all the donated exercise reps from 8:00-9:00pm on Friday, November 7th after the Fall Fit Fest event! Trust me, I’ve been practicing my burpees because I know how much my clients just love it when I make them do burpees.

Please let me know if you would like me to reserve you a spot for Fall Fit Fest or if you have a particular exercise that you want me to complete in your honor. You can email me or comment below and I’ll get in touch with you to figure out payment. It’s for a great cause so I hope you’ll all donate (and attend if you’re nearby!).

xoxo,
Becki

Workout Wednesday: 15 Minute Office Workout

You’ll have to wait a few more days on my New Hampshire recap because we were partially without electricity for a little while and I wasn’t able to download all of the photos (it’s a long story, but the good news is we have electricity again!). I’ll get the posts up soon though, I promise.

In honor of Workout Wednesday today, I’m sharing a quick and easy office workout. I’m so lucky now to work in a gym and be able to squeeze in a workout between clients on most days, but when I worked in an office I didn’t always have a ton of time to exercise. This is a workout I did on occasion when I needed to break up the monotony of the day or to work out some stress.

15-Minute Office Workout

All you need for this workout is a desk and a chair so you can even do it in a cubicle. Perform each exercise for 45 seconds with a 15 second break between each one. Repeat the circuit three times for a total of 15 minutes.

Workout tips:

  • Perform the incline push ups against your desk by standing on your tip toes and stepping back away from the desk until your body forms a straight line. Then perform the push up as you would on the ground.
  • Make sure that when you do your squats that your weight stays in your heels and that your knees do not go out past your toes.
  • For the tricep dips, use a stable chair (not a wheeled one) for safety’s sake. With your hands on the chair behind you and your feet on the floor, lower your hips toward the floor. Bend your knees to make this a little easier.
  • Alternate between legs for the lunges and get your back knee as far toward the ground as possible without touching. As with squats, make sure you front knee doesn’t go past your toes.
  • The plank step outs require you to be in a high plank position (on your hands and toes). Step one foot out and tap your toe on the ground before returning to the starting position and repeating with the other foot. 

xoxo,
Becki

 

New Family Additions

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that Joe and I had a weekend hiking getaway to New Hampshire. I’ll post about that tomorrow. First, I wanted to share our newest additions.

image

Meet Notsu and Brown Sugar, the guinea pigs we rescued from the MSPCA. We were told upon adoption that their brother Beanie would be fine since they originally came in a group of 15. I was skeptical, but figured they knew best.

Turns out, that was misinformation. I got a call on Thursday from the MSPCA offering to waive the adoption fee if I adopt Beanie too since guinea pigs bond for life and Beanie is now susceptible to depression.

Joe saw how upset the call made me (particularly since that had been a concern of mine from the get go) and how much I didn’t want to break up the family, so he agreed to adopting Beanie as well.

We made an appointment to pick him up later today since we were away all weekend. That meant last night’s play time was with just Notsu and Brown Sugar (who I’ve taken to calling “Sugars”). Special thank you to our friend Meghan for checking on the boys while we were gone.

image

image

image

They were pretty much all I could think about on our trip, so I don’t think I’ll be leaving them again anytime soon.

Aren’t they just the cutest? I’m so in love.

xoxo,
Becki

Three Thoughts for Friday

1. Doo-Doo Work Son!

“Want to get paid to poop?” is probably a for real craigslist ad, but not today. Today we poop for science at $40 a shot. Meet the crew of OpenBiome, helping to fill a gap in the world of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation and helping to win the war on Clostridium Difficile Colitis, or C. diff for short (you can now own that one friend who still plays words with friends). OpenBiome wants your poop so it can be used to make more effective treatments for C. diff and as long as they don’t smell anything funny, they pay you for your bowel charity. All they ask is that you show up four days out of the week for a period of sixy days. Every poop can treat 4-5 people.

As we’ve said before, the Fight takes many shapes. This one looks an awful lot like the bottom of a bottle of Prune Juice. Race you to the powder room.

2. Half-Mast branding or What’s in a name? We went to number two with number 1, why not stick around for awhile?

Introducing Cologuard! From the minds of Exact Sciences who know quite a bit about medicine and biology but just missed the boat on the exact science of branding. Cologuard is a quick, safe and easy at home colon cancer screening test named by someone who knows a lot about the mortality of 1/3 of all who are diagnosed but who did not know much about high school spirit. C! We got that C we got that C! Now can I get an A!

No! But you do get a collection dish and and a prepaid envelope to send your sample to a lab and help increase the early diagnosis of a fatal disease that generally still requires something invasive for screening. This is a great step. But hundreds of thousands all across the country have stopped twirling their flags and just throw up a red one. What was wrong with RectaGuard? That sounds like a hockey goon with a bright future in the penalty box! I’ll take two.

3. The Athlete’s New Clothes

Athos thinks you need new work out clothes because Athos makes workout clothes unlike any you’ve ever seen. Ok, they make workout clothes that look an awful lot like everyone else’s workout clothes. The difference is where everyone else’s gear gets me judged because just putting a Superman S-shield on your shirt doesn’t make it true, Athos workout gear gets in on the fun of telling you what you’re doing wrong.

The clothes contain wireless sensors that can communicate with your iPhone and give real time feedback of what muscle groups you engage as you workout allowing you better control of form. If there’s any truth to the video on the website, then I can finally live my dream of acting out the Ivan Drago parts of the Rocky IV training montage (without the steroids). The video also mentions finding the ideal me. Who knew the ideal me had an iPhone? Let alone hundreds to spend on one outfit?

Athos. They’ve put Wii Fit in your pants.

–Joe

Thursday Thoughts: Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women Recap

Instead of a vlog today, here are my Thursday Thoughts about my race from Monday, the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women.

wpid-2014-10-12-09.48.26.png.png

As I mentioned on Sunday, it was strange for me to not run the BAA Half Marathon this year. Ever since making it my first half marathon in 2011, it has been an annual race. This year, I decided to skip it in favor of the inaugural South Shore Half Marathon on November 2.

Last year when I ran the BAA half, I ran the Tufts 10K the next day. It was a tough run, complete with some walk breaks, but I was super inspired. When Tufts Health Plan reached out to me this year and offered me a chance to take on the course again, I was ready for a comeback!

I had clients in the morning, so I drove home to change at around 10 then caught the bus downtown to get ready for the noon start. It was already buzzing in the vendor area when I arrived so I picked up my bib and shirt and spent some time milling around.

Some of my favorite brands were there including Sparkly Soul headbands, Core Power, Cabot cheese, Reebok, Luna, and tons more. I tried a few samples then realized I should probably stop eating so much before the race.

Before I knew it, it was time to head to the start line. The race is very well organized and groups are called to the starting line based on pace. I went to the start between 9 and 10 minute miles.

image

The overcast sky was ideal for me because I’m not a fan of the sun beating down on me during my runs. It was also fairly cool, so I was wearing long sleeves and capris.

Like last year, I was inspired by all the other runners at the starting line and throughout the race. Women of every shape, size, and ability were all there, running together.

I mentioned this last year, but one of the things I love most about this race is that the course structure allows you to see the group far ahead of you as well as those runners behind you for most of the race. This makes for amazing motivation to keep pushing even when it’s tough.

My first few miles were fast (for me) at less than 9:30 per mile. Looking at my splits, mile 4 was the only time I averaged over 10 minutes, but I was able to pick it up again after that.

Unlike last year, my legs were fresh for the race and it paid off. A couple of times I thought about stopping (probably all that pre-race snacking I did), but I pushed toward the finish, hoping that I might be able to pull out a PR.

As I neared the finish I knew I wouldn’t set a 10K PR, but I knew I had set a Tufts course PR. I surged across the finish as fast as I could muster and was happy with the time.

image

I went through the post-race food tent, which was amazing, and then took some time to stretch out and celebrate my finish before heading to check my official time.

image

As it turns out, I was just a hair faster than I thought.

image

Still not a 10K PR (I missed that by 22 seconds), but a course PR by over 3 minutes!

Even though it wasn’t my fastest ever 10K, I’m a very different person than I was when I set the PR in 2011. At that time I was running 5 days a week and doing virtually no strength training. This time was achieved by running 2-3 days per week and doing lots of strength training. Frankly, I think that’s amazing and speaks volumes about the benefits of strength training.

The Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women continues to be one of my favorite races in Boston and I’m determined to run it again next year in less than an hour!

Thanks to Tufts Health Plan for sponsoring my registration and allowing me to take on the course for a second year.

xoxo,
Becki

Choosing My Run Wisely: Columbus Day Weekend

For the first year in four, I did not run the BAA half marathon today.

After missing the sign up for the distance medley, and then the 5K and 10K as well, I decided to take this year off from BAA races.

Don’t get me wrong, each BAA race I’ve done has been super well organized and a lot of fun, but after running the BAA half and Tufts 10K back to back last year, this year seems like a good time to slow down. Instead I chose the South Shore Half Marathon for my fall half, which is another two weeks away.

That said, I am running the Tufts 10K tomorrow, sponsored by Tufts Health Plan. The Tufts 10K for Women is especially meaningful for me now that I work at an all women’s gym. Last year I was inspired by all the women who came out for the race and I’m sure this year will be no different.

image

The race starts at noon in Boston Common, so I’ll be taking the train in from Chestnut Hill between work shifts. If you haven’t signed up yet and would like to run, you can sign up at the race!

I encourage everyone to join what is one of the most empowering races I’ve ever done.

Will you be at the Tufts 10K tomorrow?

xoxo,
Becki

We’re All Running Behind Over Here

Crazy week for Becki and Joe so just one post. Five Things…whatever day today is.

1. Research has shown that there up to 6 novel genetic variances that affect caffeine’s affect on a person. Happy Breast Cancer awareness month. What in the name of Susan G. Komen? Was there not enough money for the foundation of do Snickers really satisfy? 6 genetic variances that decide what I gulp my toast down with in the morning but this wasn’t quite penicilin where, in a pointless endeavour, science found something life changing. No. This was a study designed to tell that on a molecular level, some of us get jittery, some of us stay chill and approximately 99% of researchers involved were just coasting until a better job comes along. I could have told you this with 3 weeks $10 and a craigslist ad.

We got the Ebola, man! We’ve got Cancer and AIDS and myriad other forms of genetic failure and self-destruction but first on our list of things to do: why do we like coffee. To horribly re-contextualize and paraphrase Dave Chappelle, “I thought we liked it because it’s delicious.” But that’s pure conjecture until science steps in and declares something that we’ve been enjoying longer than powdered cocaine to be tasty.

2. Another study finds that we drink more on days that we work out. Who are we trying to impress and then failing to impress and then crawling to the bottom of a tumbler of scotch and shame to get away from because he’s all goo-goo over whatshisname and only wants to be friends and yeah let’s do shots because I’m my own me and you can’t tell me nothing and whatsh hish name! Hey johnny tight polo! Sup Billy Bicepshhh! Pop them collarsh! Teach ME how do dougie! Do I look pretty?

I am so taking my hangover to the gym tomorrow.

3. The FTC has decided that makers of caffeine infused undergarments stop advertising their products as being beneficial to weight loss. Hold up. FTC, you cannot just be all “Stop fronting about the coffee panties helping people lose weight. Deuces.” Who was making caffeine bloomers to begin with? Tired fetishists want to know! Oh, these guys. The undergarments are also infused with shea butter. Get out. I thought Shea Butter was still with Wu-Tang. Nice try guys. When asked to comment, people who work out and eat healthy were smug and superior on their to get totally wasted because today was Tabata day. Everyone knows by now that the only way to lose weight is by eating healthy and working out.

4. Except, new research leads scientists to believe that putting an ice pack on your fat may help you lose weight. Take that healthy eating exercisers! We’ve got our cheat code.

Researchers at Harvard looked at two types of fat, white and brown (aka, Moonwalker fat and Thriller/Jackson 5 fat, respectively). Brown fat is found mostly in babies and is burned off for heat. Genetic markers indicated that 30 minutes of exposure to cold temperatures could lead to a browning on the white fat into a beige fat which would increase the possibility of the body’s burning it naturally. This research may or may not have been conducted by scientists losing the fight over what color to paint the kitchen.

5. Just in time to spoil the weekend: The life expectancy calculator!

According to the long version I’ve got a 25% chance of seeing 41. According to the short version I’m good until 79. Averaging both together, I should probably waste less of the time I have to live on stupid distractions playing upon my sense of morbidity and get to the weekend. Take care.

 

–Joe

1 2 3 4 38