Exercise and Illness: How Much Is Too Much?

Yesterday was one of those really long days. I’m talking leave the house at 5:30am and walk back in at 8:30pm. It was made even longer by the very nature of being my first day back at work after vacation. Add that to being sick and it felt like the day would never end. 

My food for the day was all over the place and I missed a couple of photos.

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I started my morning with some Emergen-C and had a Think Thin bar as I was walking from my car into work. A couple of hours later I had my Kind bar then picked up a chai tea and cold-pressed juice from Starbucks.

Lunch was chicken and rice soup followed by a banana and cheese stick. When I got home I made a quick dinner with spaghetti squash that I roasted on Sunday mixed with sautéed tomatoes and snow peas and garlic lover’s hummus.

Even with so much all going on in my day, I still managed to stay within my nutrition goals and incorporate some exercise.

Exercising while sick is an interesting debate. Go too hard and you tax your immune system, possibly making your illness more severe. Avoid exercise altogether and you miss out on all the huge benefits of getting your body moving.

My take on it is that it’s a fine line that’s mostly about how you feel. I knew that yesterday I wasn’t up for an intense workout. I needed rest, but I also needed to establish a routine of movement, no matter how small.

So I compromised with walking hill intervals on the treadmill.  I started slow and gradually worked my way up to a challenging speed and incline. I considered pushing further and harder, but went into cool down after 30 minutes.

The result? Not too shabby!

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I managed over 200 calories according to the machine estimate and don’t seem to have exacerbated my symptoms. Immediately afterward I was a bit lightheaded, but that resolved quickly as I rehydrated.

The most important thing is to know your body and its limits. If you’re new to exercise, err on the side of caution to be safe. Taking a couple of rest days on your own terms is much better than going too hard and ending up in forced rest, but if you feel up to it go ahead and get moving!

Do you exercise when you’re sick? What is the deciding factor?

xoxo,
Becki

Catching Up & Staying Accountable

Hello, readers! If you’re still hanging around here after these past three weeks of radio silence, thank you!

What a few weeks it has been. After returning from my trip to North Carolina for a family friend’s memorial service and an early Thanksgiving with my family, it was go, go, go. Between Thanksgiving with Joe’s family, a nephew’s birthday, and squeezing in clients prior to leaving for a short vacation in Puerto Rico, it’s been hectic.

Yep, you read that right, I just returned from San Juan with a group of colleagues. It was the Healthworks incentive trip that we earned because the club hit its revenue goal for the year. That meant that the employees who hit their goals were awarded flight and hotel to Puerto Rico. It was such an unbelievable time filled with old friends, new friends, great food and drinks, a gorgeous ocean, first time snorkeling, and lots of time by the pool.


wpid-20141210_154040.jpg wpid-20141212_110651.jpg wpid-20141212_145259.jpg wpid-20141212_170350.jpgAs amazing as it was to get away from Boston for a few days and spend some time in 80+ degrees, I was glad to get home to Joe and the guinea pigs. I was also pretty grateful for a salad on Saturday night. This trip was a last hurrah of sorts. Now is the time for accountability.

I talk to my clients about their accountability to me and also their accountability to themselves. After all, if they aren’t accountable to themselves outside of our sessions, we won’t see results (and certainly not lasting change). I have to do the same, have some accountability to another and also to myself.

You’ll be seeing quite a bit more in the coming weeks about my food and exercise. This will not only ensure that I’m being conscious about the food I’m eating, but also that I’ll blog more frequently. Two birds with one stone, right? So without further ado, here is what I ate yesterday on my first full day back in Boston.

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Breakfast was half of a grapefruit, three boiled egg whites, and one whole boiled egg with a cup of coffee. It was a late breakfast because we slept in a little bit, so for lunch I had a protein coffee (black coffee with Arbonne chocolate protein powder blended in, so good!). For dinner Joe and I went out to Papagayo where I got the Ensalada de la Casa with chicken and a couple of drinks (one blood orange cocktail and one ginger peach cocktail). I didn’t have any of the chips even though Papagayo offers a gluten free option because I knew I was getting drinks.

After dinner we stopped by JP Licks before grocery shopping where I got a kiddie size eggnog ice cream. Upon getting home I had an Emergen-C (I got sick the last day in Puerto Rico) and finished the evening with a hot toddy with plenty of lemon juice and honey (unpictured). Still not quite my “regular” eating, but slowly getting back on track.

My only exercise today was lots of walking around doing Christmas shopping. Not the high intensity I’m used to, but enough to wear me out while being sick. Here’s hoping I get well soon and can get back to kicking ass and taking names.

What have you been doing for the past three weeks? Any great blog posts you want to share? Add them in the comments! I need to catch up on my blog reading too!

xoxo,
Becki

Confessions of a Water Snob: 16 Water Taste Test & Review

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of 16 Water. All opinions are 100% mine.

We all have something we’re picky about, right? Some of us have several things. Weirdly enough, one of mine has always been water. No, I’m not saying I’m one of those water snobs who only drinks Perrier (also no judgment if you are), but I am a little choosy when it comes to H2O.

I’m at my parents’ house in North Carolina right now (heading back to Boston tonight, actually) and I’ve always loved the water here in Western North Carolina. Even as a kid though I thought my aunt’s water tasted different than ours. Never mind that she lived just up the hill from us and the difference (if any) was tiny. I’ve also always been picky about bottled water. Some brands I love, some brands practically turn my stomach.

I’ve had my share of people express disbelief about this. After all, water is water, right? Oh if only it were that simple. I’m always equally surprised when other people can’t tell the difference between brands of bottled water or when my friends who grew up in the city can’t taste the chlorine (you are joking, right?).

So when I had the opportunity to try 16 Water, I knew it was right up my alley.

What is 16 Water and what makes it unique? 16 Water is a high-quality bottled water brand that is produced and packaged on Jeju, a volcanic island off the Southwest coast of the Korean peninsula. The island was formed by volcanic eruptions, which created a series of underground reservoirs below the volcano Halla Mountain that are continuously renewed by heavy rainfall indigenous to the climate. The volcanic soil composition of the island also provides a natural filtration system, which both serves to remove impurities and impart a rich supply of minerals. The water brand, 16, is naturally purified through 16 layers of volcanic rock, hence the brand name of 16. No weird chemicals = no weird taste. But of course, tasting firsthand is believing.

I received 6 bottles of 16 Water to try and decided to try them in several capacities. The first was at room temperature, straight out of the bottle.

It really reminded me of the water from my hometown in the mountains of North Carolina. It was very crisp and tasted clean. I could imagine drinking it out of my parents’ tap (very different from the tap water in Boston, let me tell you).

I have really been trying to increase my water intake at work, so my next taste test was there. I put a couple of bottles in the fridge and drank them throughout my shift. It was awesome having a great tasting water at my disposal and I love that the bottle is so unique. When else have you seen a black label on bottled water? I was never at risk of confusing my bottle with anyone else’s and got lots of inquiries about the brand.

My final taste test was during and post-workout. I set out a bottle with my workout gear the night before and after an intense cardio session on the bike, the water was just what I needed to refuel.

Having 16 Water around definitely encouraged me to drink more water and I think it tastes great (this is coming from a water snob, mind you). I love that the vitamins and minerals in it are all naturally-occurring from the natural filtration process and not added as an afterthought. That really comes through in the flavor and quality of the brand.

And of course it’s always convenient to have water delivered right to your doorstep, so that was a nice bonus. You can get it delivered straight to you too by ordering on Amazon. Get your 16 Water on Amazon now.

Even if you’re not a water snob like me, I can assure you that you’ll love this water. Besides, who doesn’t like something exotic? What’s more exotic than water from a volcanic island? Make sure to check out 16 Water on their website and Facebook below. And, as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Visit 16 Water online and 16 Water on Facebook

Are you a water snob? Have you ever tried 16 Water?

xoxo,

Becki

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Three Things For Friday: My Neck, My Back

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Becki is away for the weekend. That means for the next few days the blog is mine. I write this naked with the windows open feeling good about myself. Cupcakes for dinner.

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You can’t take it with you when you go.

Ladies, did you ever wake up and think, golly I wish I had some temp boobs? Not the lifelong kind that serve as voodoo dolls for the makers of underwires but some gig boobs, there when you need them then gone once the need to be embiggened has subsided. No? Well, you can anyway thanks to vacation breasts.

Vacation breasts sound like something your husband was into when he went to that Bachelor Party in vegas but they are actually an enlargement of the breasts via injection of a saline solution lasting 2-3 weeks. About three times as long as the winner you’ll meet with them. I give points for subversion in selling women a process that’s really just targeted water retention.  Vaca boobs are marketed less as a creepy way to make women feel like they aren’t woman enough and their breasts define them and more as a test run for the weight and heft of real implants so… Ooops, my bad. They really are marketed creepily as a way for women to feel like they aren’t woman enough and their breasts define them. (Is Mattel an investor? Because I don’t know about the rest of her but I hear Barbie’s sales are pretty flat too.)

These are of course from the makers of 24 hour Insta Breast, who, from the sound of that name eat a lot out of the freezer section.

Why do you need bigger breasts that dissolve after 24 hours? Because you just haven’t been bra shopping until you’ve done it against a countdown and because you’ve always obsessed over having that Cinderella moment when the carriage turned into a pumpkin except when the clock strikes midnight your pumpkins will turn into tennis balls and the handsome prince will think you’re an alien because you’re chest just evaporated and because Dr. Norman Rowe saw a niche market for turning your cleavage into crack.

These are for the woman who doesn’t have time for implants, you know, real women of normal income. So if you’re feeling down and find that you own one too many loose fitting tops, keep your eyes on Groupon because short term ta-tas just scream Groupon. 24 hours boobs are available now in New York and Vacation Breasts will come once the FDA decides, who really cares if we turn women into Saltines, as long as they look fetching with a plunging neck line?

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Text Neck.

That was the name of the greatest southern rapper ever before science with its incredibly on the nose descriptors came and took it away.

A new study says we text too much. This isn’t about those grades of yours or paying attention to your SO’s high score in Call of Duty, this one is about the extra wear and tear we put on our cervical spines by cocking our heads down to look at our phones all day. I’m writing this on my phone sitting on the bus. My neck is down and I’m taking an additional 60lbs on my cervical spine for you. It’s like writing while giving an oversized toddler a piggyback except there are no annoying questions and I’m less worried about getting peed on. The doctor behind this research, Kenneth Hansraj, said “It’s an epidemic or, at least, it’s very common. Which is like saying “I’m a doctor or really just a creeper white-coating it to get a date with Tim in Radiology.”  More likely this is a slow day and nothing generates clicks for a website like the terror of modern technology. (Thx for clicking!)

We know how to read. We’ve been doing it all over the place in all postures for centuries. How much do we hate ourselves? How destructive is bathroom reading? That wicked posture compounded by 1.5 lbs of book? What about reading in bed? When I was young and books were something people did, I could never find a way to read without hurting my neck or sending my arms into a fatigue state. But I endured. I shifted positions as my body needed. I chose my own adventure and I suffered for some sweet, sweet Lestat. The point is, there really is no position that the body is meant to hold for an extended period. We need to move.

But to address the evils of Text Neck, I am trying to finish this while keeping my head up and my shoulders back. It’s hard because all I think of when I type head up, shoulders back is my Yoga DVD. Where did you think that was going? It’s also hard (stop it) because I am now in danger of making eye contact with other people who are now all assuming that, since I’m holding my phone up, I am recording them. Perverts must have all the good posture. For the rest of us, hold your head up. You can still text, after your homework’s done, just remember that there’s more to life looking down, take breaks and do some compensatory stretches.

–Joe

Five Things Friday: November 14

Five Things Friday

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been the one to share Five Things Friday. I bet you’ve just come to expect Joe’s voice on these. Well, not today!

1. Gym Etiquette is Important. Seriously. I see people failing at this multiple times a day, every day at the club. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this list of the 10 Worst People at the Gym. Don’t be one.

2. Thanksgiving is really soon. This isn’t a newsflash for anyone (I hope), but Thanksgiving is right around the corner and with it come the excuses to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Don’t fall into that trap. You know I don’t believe in cutting out whole food groups, but if you’re looking for a lower carb option in place of mashed potatoes, check out this list. Some still include potatoes, others use different veggies altogether. For the vegetarians out there, check out these brussels sprouts sliders.

3. We know sugar is bad for us, but just how bad? There’s a new website from scientists at three universities to help us figure that out. The website, SugarScience.org, shares the latest research on sugar and our health as well from a comprehensive review of over 8,000 research articles. It’s worth checking out.

4. Sleeping pills can be scary. Several people reached out after I posted about my sleep struggles and asked why I hadn’t tried sleeping pills other than melatonin. This is why. While I have no idea how my body would react to sleeping pills, I’ve heard many firsthand accounts, and read countless others, about the strange things people have done while taking sleeping pills. Joe is a heavy sleeper, so I can’t be sure he would keep me from doing something stupid or unsafe if I were taking sleeping pills. For that reason they’re going to be my absolute last resort.

5. Exercise alone won’t make you lose weight if your diet is crap. This shouldn’t be shocking to anyone, but people routinely wonder why they aren’t losing weight if they’re at the gym 5-6 days per week. In fact, if you increase your exercise, but don’t watch your diet, you may even gain weight (and it won’t necessarily be muscle). When you start exercising your body will respond by thinking it needs more fuel. It has no idea you’re exercising to lose weight. In response, you’ll feel hungrier. If you eat more than usual, you’ll gain weight despite the exercise. That said, regardless of how much you weigh, you’ll be more physically fit than you were before you started exercising. Fitness > weight loss. 

That’s all for today, but what’s on your list of things from this week?

xoxo,
Becki

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is undeniably important. It’s the time when your body repairs itself and your brain consolidates memory. Your metabolism slows down to let your body rest and prepare for the day ahead. Without sleep, our organs will eventually stop functioning properly, taking our immune system functioning with them.

For the past 6 months, I haven’t been sleeping.

Let me clarify, because that sounds dramatic. In May I started feeling very fatigued. Once this was still going on two months later, I started tracking my sleep with my Fitbit.

What it revealed was that even when I was spending 8-9 hours in bed, I was only averaging 3-4 hours of sleep.

I saw my doctor in July and she did a full blood work up, including thyroid, iron, cholesterol, and blood counts. Everything was normal.

I decided to try melatonin. It wasn’t working initially, so I decided to play with the dosing and give it a month. It never improved my sleep.

Along the way I tried switching pillows, buying all new bedding, sleeping on the other side of the bed, removing electronics from the bedroom, cutting out all alcohol, cutting out all caffeine, cutting out naps, and meditating. None of these worked either.

It wasn’t just when I was in Boston. This was the case in middle of nowhere NC and NH.

It also wasn’t the case that I wasn’t being affected. I was in a perpetual state of brain fog, unable to remember basic things and often completely losing my thought mid-conversation.

I was also unable to lose weight. No matter what my exercise routine was like, and no matter how careful I was about food, my weight either stayed the same or increased.

About a month ago, I started to notice lots of bruising on my arms, legs, and trunk. Areas that would wouldn’t get hit, even on my clumsiest days, like my inner upper arm near my armpit and inner thighs.

Unfortunately there is no silver lining to this story, at least yet. My nightly average is still 4 hours.

I saw a Nurse Practitioner last week who seemed completely uninterested and asked if I had done an online search for my symptoms. At my request she did order some blood work, but made no plan for a follow-up.  Yesterday I spoke directly with my doctor’s nurse and she was able to schedule me in for an appointment on the 20th, but recommended I still get the tests done.

So I got my blood work done this morning (in a sleepy haze) and am crossing my fingers that I’ll get some answers soon.

In the meantime, if you see someone walking around Boston like a zombie, say hello.

xoxo,
Becki

Today And All That Follows

Smile.
Aren’t you on a diet? Are you sure you can have that?

Isn’t that too far for you? Oh, you didn’t today? I thought it was everyday.
You’re just not the type who does that sort of thing. A lot of people hurt themselves…
I just don’t understand why you…

Let me show you how to… 

Hi. I’m a person same as you. Thing is, I decided to do something for myself. It’s cute the way you try to be so involved and oblivious at the same time reducing me like I’ve suddenly become a parody of a healthier person and you are confused enough to use that touchstone as a stand in for me. Butterflies get all the really good headlines and it’s an injustice to caterpillars everywhere.
No one told me how to become something.I’ve read plenty on the better me as told by those who’ve never met me. It was cute the way they came at me, words like calipers, measuring how much perfection I don’t have, smiles stretched wide detailing how far away from being done I am. This is not the finish line and I don’t see it but that’s not me finished. I am here. I’m real. I am not a goal. I’m working on those. They’ll be nothing left by the time I’m through with them.

I’m a work in progress. I’m getting there. This is what it takes to become a better me and I absolutely hate that because its half admission that I’ve been a worse me. Truth is, I just haven’t been all of me. Some of that is because of me but partially it’s because when you looked over here and spoke you only addressed a part of me. You could only take in one feature or difference. The rest of me’s escaped you.

Well I’ve decided not to feel different today. I’m distinct, all of me. The measure of me? Not in pounds or kilos, not tied to a chart. Not a reference point to a relative you. Not a creation of your eyes. I am not all these things that you don’t understand. I am not how you will feel better about yourself. I carry my own weight and handle it better than anyone else ever could. I am complicated and I own that.

I’ve decided that today will be a good day.

Today will be a good day.

TODAY WILL BE A GOOD DAY and I will be louder than the noise. Let them tug and pull. I set my pace and have no interest being weighted by other standards or moving at your speed. I move like this. I am mine. This day is mine.

And I’m coming for the rest.

New Hampshire Getaway Pt. 2: Hiking Mount Washington

Today was supposed to be a recap of the South Shore Half Marathon, but due to high winds that accompanied another New England storm (complete with our first snow of the season), the half marathon was postponed until November 16. Instead, you finally (FINALLY) get my recap of our hiking weekend and what it was like to climb Mt. Washington. If you missed the recap of the rest of the weekend, you can check it out here.

To be completely honest with all of you, part of the reason it has taken so long to write this recap is that the entire experience was emotionally exhausting and somewhat anticlimactic. I guess I should start from the beginning though.

We woke up a little late on Saturday morning, well later than our plan of 5:30 anyway. We got dressed in our multiple layers and headed out to the Sunrise Shack for an early breakfast. There were several other hikers at the restaurant, which made sense given it was the only place we could find open so early on a Saturday morning. Joe got pancakes and I got an omelet. All of the food was super fresh, including the fresh squeezed orange juice. We were very impressed (so impressed I forgot to take a photo).

After breakfast we finished our drive to hiking club where we planned to park and start our trek. The day before we asked some local hikers what trail they suggested and were told Tuckerman Ravine had some great views. After some research we also learned it was one of the more difficult trails, but we were excited to give it a try.

The drive to the hiking club had afforded us some great colors and the start of the trail was no different. Just a slight incline as we found our footing on the initial trail.

It wasn’t long until we came across our first mini waterfall of the hike.

Joe held back to get my photo on the first wooden bridge we crossed on our way.

We also got a great view of the sun poking out over another mountain, which would help warm things up pretty quickly until we got up much higher.

Just a few paces further and we found the larger waterfall that was feeding into the mini one we saw at the beginning of the trail.

The trail was still quite easy at this point so we took our time enjoying the views and the colors.

A little further on and I shed my vest and hat as we started to climb over several large boulders and make our way further and further up. We met a few other groups of hikers, including a group of three guys (two of whom kept leaving the third behind and at one point were discussing whether to wait or just keep going, good thing Joe didn’t decide to leave me behind when I was slowing him down — yeesh!) and a group that was waiting on their friend who had gone back to find his camera that he had lost along the way.

As we pushed up a harder incline with a lot of boulders, Joe described it as Bunker Hill Street with big rocks. For those of you who don’t know, Joe and I live on the top of a big hill in Boston. He has been climbing it his whole life, so let’s just say that hills aren’t a big deal for him.

We paused at a break between some of the boulders so I could use the restroom and I was happy that I have been practicing my deep squat. Usually on our hikes I can avoid needing to go, but with the length of this one I knew I would need to go at least a couple of times so I embraced it early on.

After passing a couple more groups along some tough boulders, we saw a sign pointing toward our trail and the other direction toward the trail we were planning to take back down the mountain. I didn’t get a photo, but figured I’d get it on the way back.

Shortly thereafter we came to a clearing with the empty shelter and some restrooms (that were locked up and totally unhelpful). We did get some good views of things to come.

We decided to not linger too long and made our way back toward the trail. There was an absolutely beautiful clearing that gave me pause and got me thinking about future hikes (and maybe traveling even further than New Hampshire).

After that, it was back to the trail and up even more boulders. It was hard to get a sense of scale, so I decided to hang back and get a shot of Joe going up some of the rocks.

Speaking of difficult to gauge scale, the ground in the photo below is quite the impressive drop. Photos didn’t do the trail justice.

Looking up, there were tons of waterfalls that we didn’t realize at the time, but we would need to climb over and across to continue up the ravine.

As we climbed higher (and passed a few more hikers) we started to encounter some fog. Fog above, fog below, all we could really see were the sides of the mountain, which were virtually straight up in some places.

The fog cleared a few times and the sun poked out from behind the clouds, leading us to hold out hope that we might finish the hike before the rain in the forecast made its appearance.

Looking back where we had hiked, I spotted another hiker and hoped it would be a great photo for scale. That would be the case if the hiker didn’t look like a speck. Then again, maybe that’s the best scaling possible. Suffice to say, we were covering a lot of distance and quite a bit of elevation.

We turned and continued up, passing a hiker coming back down the mountain just before we crossed (ever so carefully) across some small waterfalls and a lot of very slick rocks. I mentioned to Joe that the guys who had suggested Tuckerman Ravine had also been on a rescue crew and that I wondered if they suggest the trail to tourists to have something to do on their day off. Luckily, we made it over the falls without incident.

At this point it was getting very cold again and we were using our hands quite a bit to climb, so I stopped taking photos. Lucky for me, Joe got a few good ones of the rocks we had to climb at the end.

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Speaking of the end though, I felt like a mountain goat by this point. We were climbing from rock to rock across scenery that was never changing. Each rock looked just like the last and there was almost no vegetation at this point, though it had started a very light sprinkle of rain. The markers were mounds of rocks and you could generally only see from one to the next, so it was hard to tell how much further we had to go. There were also no other hikers around for most of this portion so it was a bit eerie and kind of surreal.

The most surreal thing, however, and the part that was so emotionally draining was climbing over the final rocks, four hours after our hike started — and into a parking lot. 

We both knew that a Mount Washington Auto Road existed (after all, we had seen the bumper stickers), but what I don’t think either of us realized was that the auto road goes all the way to the top of the mountain. Hikers come out of a long hike, through all sorts of obstacles and narrow trails, and into a parking lot where they’re surrounded by the cars of people who have driven up the mountain.

It took us a few minutes to get our bearings and realize what was going on, then we spotted a sign directing us to the Summit building. We climbed the stairs along with people who had just gotten out of their warm cars, and it was all I could do to lift my leg each time. Not because I was physically exhausted, but because I felt kind of cheated. When we did finally reach the top of the stairs, we saw a sign pointing to the summit and a line formed for photos.

We skipped that at first and went in the summit building to find a restroom and get warm. I signed the visitor register for posterity and Joe and I looked around to take it all in.

In addition to the restrooms and visitor register, there was a cafe with nachos, coffee, chili, hot dogs, and pizza to name a few. Across from the cafe was a gift shop. It was like we hadn’t just hiked up a mountain. In some ways, it took away from the experience on the whole. At this point it had started to sleet a bit along with the rain and we noticed people buying tickets for a train down the mountain as well as shuttles for hikers who wanted to ride back to their car.

Wet, cold, and feeling disappointed with experience, we bought tickets for the shuttle and headed to the summit to get a photo because it just felt like that’s what we should do. Standing in line with people who drove up did little to make us feel better. One couple remarked that we must have been there before since we knew to dress warm and we shared that we had on layers because we had hiked up the mountain. “You hiked?! Wow!” was the response. We smiled for our photo and waited for our shuttle by looking around the gift shop and reading some of the info near the summit.

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When we got inside the van, we were with two other hikers who had come up Tuckerman Ravine and they were feeling like we were about the experience. We listened to our driver explain the different levels of the mountain terrain as we drove down through the rain, which was now heavy at times, and realized it was a good decision to take the shuttle after all.

Back at the foot of the mountain we got to the car, drove back to the Glen Oaks Inn, and after a quick shower went out for food and well-deserved drinks. After dinner we came back, popped open our bottle of champagne, and watched Family Feud, laughing at the contestants (not with them, at them) until we fell asleep.

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Not the most exciting of nights, but somewhat appropriate for the day. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy that we completed the hike. It’s nice to be able to say you’ve climbed the tallest mountain in the northeast, but our hike up Mount Monadnock was much more satisfying in a lot of ways.

I could see myself doing the hike again in the summer sometime because at least then we’d know what to expect, but for now we’ll probably stick to mountains that are a bit less touristy and a bit closer to home.

Stay tuned for Joe’s recap of the hike. It’s sure to be a good one!

xoxo,
Becki

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

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