Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Re-cap

At the request of a few family members this will be a photo-heavy, Christmas-lovin' post only. Well they didn't exactly ask for that only.. but it's already late and it has been taking me forever to load photos in my BRAND NEW photoshop! on my BRAND NEW laptop!!!! So, I'm not complaining, but this will be short and sweet, with no mention of food, running or any of the usual obsession-driven topics.
Christmas was crazy busy and crazy wonderful this year. As a newly married couple, the husband and I spent a lot of time working out the logistics of our new blended-fam Christmas, but it all ended up being so worth it.

We started the festivities with "Little Christmas Eve," a traditional dinner for the Soltman family. Because they are sweet, the whole family agreed to move the dinner to our condo. Lucas works into the evenings so it made it much more feasible to enjoy the dinner at a reasonable hour. The guests included Lucas's two brothers, Mom, Dad, and 1 Girlfriend. Sidenote - new girlfriend is Canadian, which I am very happy about...

It is a well known fact that Bella has to be either playing fetch or on someone's lap at all times.. I swear one day we will try to train her a little better.

Keith's new girlfriend, Bonnie

After dinner, doing what we do best: drinking wine and chatting

Even Bella wasn't left out of presents.

Love this picture of Lucas and his dad, stinking cute!

Prom Pose!

Some dessert

And finally the night ended with some Kinect boxing action.. I wish this was a video, as it was so funny to watch them.

Next stop was my Dad's on Christmas Eve. I am a poor blogger and only took one picture.. what do you know.. of food. (I am obsessed with taking food pictures right now).

This is my dad's prized Key Lime Pie for dessert - Lucas's favorite!

We spent the night at my Mom's so that Santa would know where to go. Bella tried to stay up all night hoping to catch a glimpse of the Clause, but when her bone ran out, she fell asleep. Maybe next year girl..

After we had breakfast and opened stockings & gifts at my mom's, we made the short trek up to Vancouver to see more family. Every year, we go back and forth for Christmas with each other; this is absolutely my favorite tradition and I like to ignore the fact that some year soon, we won't all be able to get together anymore. My cousins are maybe top 6 funniest people I know (and there are 4 of them) and my Uncle John even officiated our wedding ceremony. Not to mention, our Grandma always makes it over as well, which adds to the laughter and warmth.

Uncle John opening his gift from my Mom

My cousin Tobin caught me trying to sneak a pic of he and Ali, his fiance. Don't worry, he's not really mean-mugging, just being funny.

Grandma and I looking through the wedding album Lucas and I gave her for Christmas. This picture cracks me up because everyone is looking different places, and I don't know if Tobin was trying to be funny or not.

Grandma opening her gift from all the Grandsons... what could it be???

A digital camera. She definitely needed one!

And finally, Christmas dinner.
Lucas and I felt so incredibly happy and blessed with all of our family over the weekend. Thank you guys so much.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Obsessed!! - Mumford & Sons

Weekend Update

First and foremost, I would like to apologize to my many many readers (insert sarcasm) for the delayed post.

I am proud to report that over the weekend my friend Jif and I ran Kirkland's 12 K's of Christmas. Now to many runners out there, this may not seem like much of an accomplishment, but for team J & J, it was. Not because it was the longest run we've done, but because we both entered the race relatively un-prepared and a lot less "trained" than we probably should've been. The wonderful part about this accomplishment was realizing that we were both in much better running shape than the previous year when we ran our first half marathon.

It's such an empowering feeling to know that your body is strong and will carry you through.

Add to that the beautifully cold, sunny day and of course the delish Mac & Jacks afterward and it was the perfect Sunday/Runday/Funday. I completely forgot to grab a picture of the race - a major blogging no no - but here is instead a picture I found of a cute couple that got all dressed up!

So stinking cute right? There were plenty of fun outfits and cute dogs runing as well. The only downside to such a laid back run was that it took forever to get going at our normal pace. There were a lot of walkers that we had to weave between. Next time I'll definitely be starting a little closer to the beginning in order to avoid this.

Sunday was an incredible day and it made me so happy to be able to call myself a runner. For those that want to start running and are feeling at all overwhelmed with the idea, DON'T! I know this is cliche city, but if I was able to do it, anyone can! It just starts with a mile.

If anyone is interested in running with friends let me know. I'd love to start a running club at some point. Trust me, it makes running way easier and there's so much joy in sharing your milestones (HA! no pun intended) with others. Plus, it's way more fun to get a beer afterward if there are others to join.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yoga for Everyone!

Recently, while on a run with miss Annie, we were discussing the different practices of Yoga. As someone that has love/hate relationship with Bikram, I am always inspired by Annie's dedication to her own practice. Unlike those of us who have jumped on the Hot Yoga bandwagon, my dear Annie hates the heat and much prefers her "warm but not hot" version. We were trying to figure out which style of yoga she practices; it sounds like it's super challenging and full of mastering intricate poses. My guess was that it fell under Ashtanga but she wasn't sure.
I know most people could really care less, but get two semi obsessive personalities together and we were determined to learn more.
Fast forward to today - I was perusing one of my very favorite sites, Lululemon in search of things I really should probably own when I came across their education page. Low and behold, the answers were there! So this post is mostly for Annie, but I thought others may want to learn a bit about the differences in Yoga land as well.. if not.. well too bad.

Expect a playful class with a strong focus on proper alignment and Tantric yoga philosophy (not what you're thinking). It (like most yoga) is derived from Hatha yoga.
This practice is very athletic and made up of six vigorous series of postures. It's one of the oldest forms of yoga and is considered to be the foundation of much of the yoga we see today in the west.
You're going to sweat in a Bikram's class, more than you ever thought was possible. Bikram yoga consists of 26 postures and breathing exercises repeated twice (that's right 90 minutes) in a room heated to 105 degrees. Heads up - humidity is 40% and will knock you over the first time.
The foundation of every style of yoga mentioned here. Traditional Hatha yoga is a holistic path that includes disciplines, physical postures (asana), purification procedures, breathing (pranayama), and meditation. Hatha practiced in the West consists of mostly physical postures and is also recognized as a gentle introductory yoga for people new to yoga.
By adding heat it is said that classes will help you lose weight, loosen your muscles (by adding increased range of motion) and improve your cardiovascular system. It differs from Bikram's in that the series of postures are not always (but can be) in any particular order and modifications are often offered.
Expect a class emphasizing healing the body and mind through use of supported postures. One of the oldest forms of yoga, it's for a person who loves technical intricacies and is also great for people who are new to yoga or have any issues with their health.
Don't be surprised if your waving your hands like you just don't care or laughing uncontrollably (it's a type of meditation- I swear), this practice is intended to wake up the kundalini energy coiled at the base of your spine while activating chakras (energetic centers in the body), as well as detoxing the body and mind.
Many say Power yoga is the Western interpretation of Ashtanga. It is sometimes done in a heated room and focuses on the breath as fuel for the practice. This practice can be challenging for beginners, but is a nice balance to more gentle forms of yoga once you become comfortable with the different postures.
Derived from Ashtanga yoga, expect a class full of rhythmical flow (often combined with music) connecting each moment with unifying pranayama (breath). Classes can be more meditative or focused on the natural movement of the body, almost like dancing through postures. A great transition from Hatha when you're looking for more of a challenge.
Some believe that Yin yoga is the oldest form of Hatha yoga, since it is the ideal method of physical conditioning for prolonged meditation. Don't let the props and gentle movement fool you, this is not a form of restorative yoga. The long holds require that you focus and release all effort from the muscles.

Which practice is your favorite??

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Running in the Rain

As some of you know, I'll be running the Rock & Roll Half Marathon this year in June. There are many reasons to be excited about this. I shall list them for you:

1. It's my 2nd half marathon, so - in theory- I already know that I can finish (I just knocked on wood so I wouldn't jinx myself)!
2. I am running it with Team Jiffy & Janine (if you think of a better team name or would like to join the team let me know!)
3. My dad signed up as well!
4. There is music at every mile!
5. Now that training has begun, I get to bribe myself with Lululemon gear!

Pretty exciting right?

Anyway, this past Sunday was the first of many "Sunday Runday Fundays" (jiff and I made that up ourselves.)
Although it was raining cats and dogs, we were well prepared. I had called my running mentor, Annie to see what she suggested for very rainy runs and she gave good tips:

Annie's Rainy-Day Running Tips

No Cotton!

Wear Fleece or Wool- this way you will stay warm, even when wet.

Have fun with it - she is always good for a nice pep talk.

We dressed accordingly and started the run with a smile on. Both Jif and I enjoyed running in the rain, but my Smartwool running socks that I had been so sure of ended up giving me a blister after getting wet. Next time I will try my thin lulu socks instead.

The other lesson we learned is this. Just because it is raining heavily, does not mean you will be cold. We mistook rain for cold and both dressed too heavily.

We did discover one very important Rain-run necessity though - post run Pho with a side of Mac & Jacks. So delish!

All in all, it was a good 5 miles. The run felt way longer than that, but it may or may not have been due to the wine we drank the night before.

This next Sunday will be a bit of a jump for us as we are running a 12K Christmas race. 7.5 miles to be exact. It's a bit daunting after the tough 5 we did this past week, but my guess is that there won't be wine drinking the night before. Plus, organized races are always more motivating!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Turbo Kick Fever

"all I'm asking of you guys tonight is to just throw-up in your mouth a little; that's it.. just a little bit" - Anne, 24hr Turbo Kick instructor extraordinaire.

I had such a good workout last night at Turbo Kick with Anne. I used to go to this class with a different instructor a couple years ago but quickly got very used to it and felt less and less of a good workout after finishing. So I stopped.. on to more intense classes.

That is until I stumbled upon Anne's class Thanksgiving morning. My husband and I had arrived at the gym around 9:30 to get a quick workout in before I worked out my stomach later, but when I realized there was a random class going I quickly decided to join it instead. I soon noticed that it was a Turbo Kick class and thought I'd have an easy little cardio sesh. Boy was I wrong. I worked so hard that morning! Anne taught her class much more quickly than other instructors and made sure to add a lot of muscle-building moves as well. The music was perfect (top 40 all the way) and she had a crazy fun sense of humor.

While deciding my workout for yesterday afternoon I noticed that Anne teaches ever Weds at the 24hr in Kirkland. I will definitely be making her class a priority. At one point during class last night she had us doing fist pump squats to Pauly D's new track.. freaking funny I tell you.

If you're looking for something during the winter to really spice up your workouts, I definitely recommend this class!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Computer, the Hater

At first Lucas thought I was being paranoid, but now he also sees the truth; our computers are turning against us. First it was his laptop with the deathly blue screen and now it is mine, sporatically turning the internet connection off on me. I have to actually close everything out and restart it to get the connection back --> A-NOY-ING.
So now I'm hesitantly starting a post and hoping that my computer is taking a break from trying to drive me into crazy-town. So far, so good... let's do this.
Many very interesting things have been happening in my life since we last met. Work, gym, online shopping... verrry interesting stuff. Since most of my health/food obsessions have come and passes since then, I'll stick to one topic tonight.
As I've mentioned before, I have never had the perfect porcelain skin that some of my beautiful girlfriends carry around with them. Instead, I've dealt with breakouts, pores and what I think is a slightly red undertone.
I honestly hate to think about how much money I've spent over the years trying to correct this. Seriously, it's bad. I've tried Proactiv (honestly, what girl didn't), Arcona (allergic), Dior (breakouts), Clinique (too drying), and probably every drugstore brand out there (most bleached my pillow cases). Oh, and the gadgets! Reviews told me that the Clarisonic would change my sink forever...I obviously had to have one. So here I am, 28 years old and still coveting that porless skin.
In the midst of this search, I came across a newer skin line called Skintactix. Its system includes products for natural acne treatment, developed by a dermatologist and a biochemist.
As a part of their marketing campaign they are asking bloggers to use and review their products for one month, being honest about the results.

Never one to shy away from a new product, I sent my info in along with the Tratsie address and someone wrote me back saying that I had been approved for the trial.

As of Dec. 1st, I've been using the products and so far I really like them.

I'm currently using the following system:

Septicide Cleanser:
Ideal for rosacea, acne rosacea and dry or sensitive skin types. Effective bacterial control against P. acnes and other undesirable bacteria and their acne promoting lipases. Additional anti-inflammatory benefits. 5 ounces. pH 3.6
INGREDIENTS: Deionized Water (Aqua), Sodium Olefin C14-16 Sulfonate, Sodium Lauroyl Wheat Amino Acids, Glycerin, Wild Marjoram (Origanum Vulgare) Extract, Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) Extract, Licorice (Glycrrhiza Glabra) Extract, Salicylic Acid, Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia) Oil, Citric Acid, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Methylisothiazolinone.

Gentle Follicle Exfoliator:
Ideal for rosacea, acne rosacea, dry and sensitive skin types. Keeps follicles clear. Effective bacterial control against P. acnes and other undesirable bacteria and their acne promoting lipases. Powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. 2 ounces. pH 3.3
DIRECTIONS: Apply sparingly following cleansing and lightly rub into the skin. Leave on the skin, do not rinse off.
INGREDIENTS: Deionized Water (Aqua), Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Extract, Lemon (Citrus Medica Limonum) Extract, Glycolic Acid, Bilberry (Vaccinium Mytrillus) Extract, Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Extract, Soybean (Glycine Soja) Phospholipids, Proline, Alamine, Arginine, Willow Bark (Salix Alba) Extract, Panthenol, Benzyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Zinc, Acetylmethionate, Phenoxyethanol, Salicylic Acid, Triclosan, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Captyloyl Glycine, Capryloyl Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA.

Green Tea Poultice:
For most skin types. Poultice action literally pulls infection and developing infection up and out of the skin. Provides extraordinary acne benefits against P. acne and other undesirable bacteria and their acne promoting lipases. Blocks the action of 5α-reductase. Powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. 2 ounces. pH 3.8
DIRECTIONS: In the AM apply to all areas that are affected by acne. Apply very lightly and immediately rub into the skin so the poultice disappears. Leave on all day, do not rinse off. In the PM apply slightly more liberally as the poultice does not have to be invisible. Leave on all night, do not rinse off. If Poultice rolls or does not penetrate, the prior product(s) was applied to liberally and is creating a barrier.
INGREDIENTS: Deionized Water (Aqua), Montmorillonite (Clay), Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Green Tea (Camellia Oleifera) Extract, Betaglucan, Sulfur, Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) Extract, Willow Bark (Salix Alba) Extract, Aloe Vera (Barbadensis) Extract, Hydrocotyl (Centella Asiatica) Extract, Grapeseed (Vitis Vindera) Extract, Neem (Melia Azadirachta) Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Salicylic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol.

I absolutely love that these products don't include Benzoyl Peroxide, which is an ingrediant that has ruined my beautiful new pillow case by bleaching it. I mean, something can't possibly be good for my skin if it bleaches fabric, can it??

Also, my face has been a lot less dry. Make-up goes on smoother, and I find that the redness is already lessening.

I will be checking in here and there with my progress throughout the month and look forward to seeing how this goes!