Monday, December 30, 2013

Fitness Log: 12/30/2013 - Elliptical and Strength

Amazing workout today!  I felt good going into the gym.  I had a positive attitude and was ready to do work.  And I certainly did some work.  I upped my elliptical level and ramped up my speed.  I also powered through the entire workout without giving in to the little voice in my head ushering me to slow down.
Strength was also solid today.  I'm focusing on increasing my strength so I've moved the weights up to 30lb or 45lbs depending on the exercise while reducing the number of reps from 20 to 10 per set.  I continue to struggle with the Chest Press but I'm getting better.
Elliptical Trainer - 25 minutes @ Level 5/6


Seated Row - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 45lbs
Seated Bicep Curls - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 30lbs
Tricep Curls - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 30lbs
Shoulder Press - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs

Chest Press - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 30lbs
Leg Press - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 50lbs
Leg Extension - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs
Lat Pulldown - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 45lbs

Do you wonder how I keep track of it all?  While I'm at the gym, I used MyFitnessPal - a free app that tracks not only exercise but also diet.  Give it a try and add me as a buddy!

Keep Moving!

Fitness Log: 12/29/2013 - Treadmill and Strength

Okay, I did it, guys.  I faced the treadmill.  I'm such a baby on this machine.  I feel awkward.  I probably look awkward.  But today, I did it!  I stuck to jogging and briskly walking at times.  However, I did my full 30 minutes without wussing out and that I am truly proud of.
Treadmill (Jogging/Walking) - 30 minutes @ 4.5 mph


Seated Row - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 45lbs
Seated Bicep Curls - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 30lbs
Tricep Curls - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 30lbs
Shoulder Press - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs

Leg Curls - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 30lbs
Leg Press - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 50lbs
Leg Extension - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs

I decided to up the weight of my reps today and I'm certainly paying for it.  However, with the longer cardio session, I needed to up the impact of my strength training with less time.  Afterall... I had somewhere to be...
Thaaat's right!  I went to my first NFL game today!  Sore from my workout but so happy - my 49ers won!

Keep Moving!

Fitness Log: 12/28/2013 - Treadmill and Strength

Today was a fun filled day of moving my body around.  First thing this morning, my husband and I went golfing with my in-laws.  We only played 9 holes, but it felt great to get out there swinging.  I played fairly well too!  I'm not a skilled golfer, by any means, but I enjoy it and any day that I don't lose a ball is a good day in my books!

Afterward, I met up with my best friend at the gym.  After almost 15 years of friendship, this was legitimately the first time we've really worked out in a gym setting.  We've been to group fitness classes together, but never "hit the weights" style.  It was fun - plus I got in a great workout!
Treadmill (Walking) - 11 minutes @ 4.0mph


Seated Row - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 30lbs
Chest Press - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs
Seated Bicep Curls - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs
Tricep Curls - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs
Lat Pulldowns - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 30lbs
Shoulder Press - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs

Leg Curls - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 30lbs

At the end of our workout, we went into the studio to do some stretching.  Let's just say stretching quickly led to doing jumps and turns... my best friend is so ridiculously more graceful than I am.  Haha!  It was fun to be silly though!

Keep Moving!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Rue La La

Have you heard of Rue La La?

It's a fashion deals website.
Correction - it is THE fashion deals website.

Real name brands are discounted for warehouse clearing.
Let me tell you, the brands you will find are numerous and well known.
We're also not talking about the reject items.
These are good, beautiful pieces that you would want at full price.
Except you don't have pay full price.

Check out this watch I got for only $40.  

I'm in love and obsessed with it.  You can find fabulous deals like this daily.
Just sign up for Rue La La.
Don't forget to download the app!

Show me the deals you get by using #jenevansblog
on Twitter and Instagram.

7 Pieces of Relationship Advice

I'm not a relationship expert.  I'm not a psychologist, counselor, or anything of the like.  What I am is a listener.  I've listened to the people I respect and have exemplified successful relationships throughout my life and have taken their advice to heart.  I am exceedingly fortunate to have had a glorious number of gems sent my way and thus I pass them to you.

1.  Me, We, Them
When I was a sophomore in college, my uncle gave me the ultimate life advice - hence, it is number 1 on the list.  I was talking his head off about school, jobs, and boys.  Oh, boys.  Relationships were complicated in college.  Guys didn't get that girls just want stability and someone to hang out with.  No one likes going to movies alone or having to find someone to hang out with on Saturday nights.  Seriously.  I went on and on about the guys in my life and how none of them seemed to get it.  As I finished my long-winded rant, he said to me:

Don't be in such a hurry.  Enjoy the "me" time right now.  Because when you find that special guy, it's all about "we".  Then you'll fall in love, get married and before you know it, you will have kids and then... it's all about "them".  You won't ever get this "me" time back.

My nineteen year old self was stopped in my tracks.   He was absolutely, positively right.  I wasn't spending enough time enjoying just being me.  I never believed in "finding" myself, but it did make sense to enjoy who I was at that moment.  I was nineteen.  I was able to shape my life and my environment into whatever I wanted it to be.  I could see whatever movie I wanted when I wanted, read books for hours on end, watch crappy television without having to compromise, spend time with whichever friends I wanted without having someone in tow, eat cereal for dinner without having to worry about another mouth to feed.   I started going to movies solo and spending my Sunday in coffee shops reading.  I lived in a one bedroom apartment with my cat and took yoga without a friend.  I spent time getting to know, love and enjoy me.   

And... again, he was right.  I found the right guy (just so happened to be one of the guys I was originally complaining about to my uncle).  We fell in love.  We got married.  Now, every night, we have to compromise on dinner.  If we make plans, we don't ask for permission but we do have to "check in".  We build our calendars and our lives around each other.  Don't get me wrong - I love my husband and marriage dearly.  I also very much so love this stage in my life, but I don't think I would had I not taken the time to enjoy who I was as a person when I was truly independent - just me.  Learn to love yourself in your current situation.

2.  Don't Rush Things
When you do find your special guy (or girl, for that matter), take it easy.  Take the time to soak in and enjoy the little steps and stages along the way.  We all want to know we are loved and that where we are spending our time and energy is "worth it", but if you rush, you'll miss all the good parts.  You'll miss the butterflies waiting for their phone call and the rush you feel when they reach for your hand.  The magic of a new relationship is special and short lived - savor it.  If you are lucky, the new relationship will transform into a stable relationship with new anticipations and thrills, but don't skip the beginning. 

3.  Never Leave Angry
Everyone fixates on never going to bed angry, however, I think leaving angry is often overlooked.  I don't care how angry you are - never leave while you're angry.  Don't walk out the door to "take a drive" or "a walk".  Don't run to your friend or parent's house.  Don't leave angry.  The minute you walk out that door, you are leaving your significant other with a feeling of abandonment.  You will break the trust that they are safe with you and you will stick it out with them. 
Don't do it.  Period.

4.  Name Calling is a No-No, You Jerk.
Idiot.  Jerk.  Jackass.  Asshole.  Stupid.  Immature.  Moron.  Bitch.  Liar.  Child.  Socrates once said, "When the debate is lost, slander is the tool of the loser."  Whether or not you have a valid argument or you are "right", the minute a hurtful name comes out of your mouth you have lost the battle.  Name calling achieves absolutely nothing.  It offends your opponent and causes them to emotionally shut down.  Once you call them an asshole, you have purposefully hurt them, so why would they want to fix whatever issue is at-hand with someone who would hurt them intentionally?  Think about it.  Name calling destroys trust and security within a relationship.  If you've called someone a liar in the heat of the moment, how can they ever know for certain you believe them?  The trust and security to be themselves is gone knowing you view them as a moron or a jerk. 

5.  Stay You to Complete "Us"
You probably hear this all the time - and that's probably because it's true.  Stay you.  If you watch cartoons when he's not around, don't hide it - watch them with him.  Go out with your friends.  Maintain your hobbies.  Keep your goals in focus.  Listen to your own music (it's okay, I promise).  Be yourself.  If you start to conform and morph into a female version of him, what are you bringing to the table?  It's one thing to bond over your mutual love of football and craft beers.  It's also a good idea to learn to appreciate or join him in his hobbies and likes (I've recently learned to golf so I can play with my husband).  It's an entirely different thing to 1) lie about your tastes to get the guy in the first place and 2) to become a "mini-me" version of him.  Stay you.
Seriously, it's really hard to dig yourself out of this hole in a relationship.

6.  Love isn't a sport - Don't keep score.
Do you care how many times he's bought you flowers?  Do you care how many times you've done the dishes and taken out the trash?  Do you care how many times you've picked date night and he hasn't?
If the answer is yes, then I'm sorry, you're not ready for a relationship.
Harsh, I know, but relationships are not about keeping score.  Giving in a relationship, doing nice things for each other, is about keeping the relationship happy for both of you.  I cook for my husband because it gives me great satisfaction to see how impressed he is.  He buys me flowers because he loves to see me smile.  I'm not saying you should give, give, give blindly and expect nothing in return.  (You should have expectations and clearly voice them early in your relationship.)  I am saying that I'm not going to hold it over my husband's head that 3 of the last 5 times I've taken out the trash.  If I buy him a gift, it's a gift - I don't expect one in return.  Keeping score is toxic.  Once you've allowed it to infiltrate the way your relationship operates, you kill the spontaneity and respect you and your significant other possess.

7.  Continue to Fall in Love
This past year, I received the ultimate love advice from my grandfather (I have really amazing men in my life).  He asked me how my first two years of marriage were going and when I responded with, "Amazing.  We continue to grow and I'm pretty sure I love him more now than I did when we got married," all he did was smile.  After a contemplative pause, he said to me:

That's wonderful to hear.  You know what the secret to a long strong marriage is?  Continue to fall in love with each other.  Who you are today will not be who you are in 5, 10, 15 years.  You will grow and change as life changes.  Always be courting each other and always continue to fall in love... 

Mind. Blown.  I was stunned.  Legitimately stunned.  I will not be the same person I am now when I have kids, or they grow into teenagers, or they go off to college, or when they have kids.  I will change.  My priorities, my perspective and my personality will change.  I will grow up... I will become different.  Maybe in minor ways and maybe in major ways... but I will change.  How would I feel if my husband didn't make an effort to love the person I was on that day?  Not too dandy, I tell you.  I was so blown away that I shared this advice with my husband.  I asked what he thought and all he could say is, "Smart.  It's very smart."


Relationships are work.  It's the most important work you'll do in your life.  Be fair and loving to yourself and others.  

Fitness Log: 12/27/2013 - Jillian Michaels Kickbox FastFix

I'm working from home over the holiday - which is amazing in and of itself.  However, it also means that I can workout on my lunch break.  Yay!

I bought Jillian Michaels's Kickbox FastFix video over a year ago and never used it.  Shame on me - I know. I pulled it off the shelf and gave it a shot today.
 Let me tell you something.  I was only able to make it halfway through one of the 20-minute workout.  How pathetic!  It was so hard though!  This workout is no joke.  Before I got through the first movements of the warm-up, my pulse was POUNDING.  Part of that is a testament to how out of shape I am.  The other part is how much Jillian Michaels kicks my ass.  This is why I love her - she terrifies me.

I'm excited to try this video again.  I recommend if you use this video that you don't skip the kickboxing tutorial.  Jillian moves very quickly through the workout and doesn't spend any time on movement instruction.  Be prepared to move fast.  That's why it's called FastFix.

If you are interested in this video, you can purchase it here:

Keep Moving!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours. Wishing you a day filled with joy and love! 


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fitness Log: 12/23/2013 - Elliptical and Strength

 'Twas Christmas Eve-Eve and all through the gym... people were getting their last workouts in.

Our fitness center was crazy busy this morning and I suspect it was in preparation for all the poor food decisions we were all about to make over the next few days.  Thankfully, I was able to get a great workout in and an amazing stretch at the barre.

 Elliptical Trainer - 24 minutes - Level 8

Seated Row - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs
Chest Press - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs
Seated Bicep Curls - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs
Tricep Curls - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs
Lat Pulldowns - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs
Shoulder Press - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs

Keep Moving!

Fitness Log: 12/21/2013 - Trekking on a Track

We are in California visiting family and still my tyrant of a husband pulled me out of bed to go for a jog/walk/run.  While I was a little irritated because it was so darn cold, I'm really glad we went.  It has been such a long time since I've made my way around a track.  There aren't any public tracks in our area and I didn't think I would miss it so much - but I do.
Instead of a full run or jog (I'm simply not there yet), I did trekking.  Trekking is an activity we did in high school P.E. class as a way to ready the muscles for running.  It is a fairly simple fitness plan too.

Ready for this...

Jog the Straights
Walk the Curves

That's it!  So simple yet so effective.  Because of the alternating, you don't even notice the miles and time passing you by.  Want to make it more difficult?  Every third lap, I sprinted the straights, instead of jogging them.  My legs were jelly by the end of it, but I felt AMAZING!

Give it a shot!

Keep Moving!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fitness Log: 12/20/2013 - Good Morning Yoga

We're gearing up to travel for the holidays so I didn't have much time for a quality work out this morning.  However, I knew I need to de-stress from my crazy work... month.  Who really wants to take that stress into the holidays anyway?

This morning, I scrolled through my Kicking My Own Butt Pinterest Board and found this yoga routine I've been wanting to try.

If you aren't familiar with yoga, this Good Morning Yoga Sequence can be a little difficult to execute.  Breathing is key to getting the right stretch and blood flow.  Be sure to check out the link under the picture for direction on achieving these great poses.

I will say this much - my back cracked, my shoulders adjusted and I could really feel some of my stress melt away.  The ultimate bonus was my mood perked up.  I can't do yoga all the time (I prefer more active movement), but this seemed to be just what the doctor order this morning.

Look out family - it's time for the holidays and I'm quite jolly now!!!

Keep Moving!

Disney's Frozen - Olaf sings "In Summer"

This morning I was watching my usual morning tv programming, which, for those who don't know, includes Phineas and Ferb on the Disney Channel.  During one of the commercial breaks, the full music video of a song from Frozen came on and I could not stop laughing.  It's cute, clever and catchy - exactly what every song should be.

Check out Olaf, the snowman, sing "In Summer" here:

Have you seen Disney's Frozen yet?  What did you think?

Fitness Log: 12/17/2013 - Prevention Dance It Off!

I was feeling particularly spunky this morning so decided to DANCE IT OFF!  No, really.  I have this great workout dvd called "Dance It Off".
Definitely one of my favorites of my collection.  Beside the warm up and cool down sections, there are four dance routines: hip hop, latin, jazz and ballet.  Usually I do this routine when I don't have much time but want to get a quick, effective workout in.  Today, I did the warm up, hip hop routine and cool down.  I felt amazing!

Unlike other dance workouts, during these session you learn an actual routine instead of perform repetitive dance motions.  I'm always so distracted by what I should be learning to realize that my butt is seriously getting kicked until the end.

Sound like fun?  You can purchase your own copy here:

Keep Moving!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Fitness Log: 12/16/2013 - Prevention No Squats Belly, Butt and Thighs

I've been staring at Prevention's "The No Squats Belly, Butt and Thighs Workout" since my Pinterest baptism.  It appeared to be the ideal workout - mildly challenging with limited equipment.  Seriously, who can't find wall space?  Perfect for an "off" day.

Honestly... and no offense, Prevention - I was really bored and uncomfortable.  Not "This is challenging me" uncomfortable... more "My ass is jammed up against a wall and the blood is draining from my feet" uncomfortable.  I'm also not entirely sure the workout did a whole lot for the target muscles.  We'll see tomorrow.

Regardless, I got out of my nice, warm, cozy bed this morning to get my body moving and that's what really matters.

Keep Moving!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Fitness Log: 12/15/2013 - Elliptical and Strength

After an awful night of sleep, it was bit difficult to get those legs to swing over the side of the bed.  However, my husband dragged me along and we did it anyway.  Yay for us!  I didn't go into the fitness center with a plan, which didn't serve me as well as it would have if I did.  I had a mediocre workout but I did make it into the dance studio for a few moves I learned from Ballet Fusion Fitness.  I absolutely love their style of workout - I just can't afford their prices!  At least I've gone to enough classes to stand at a barre and not looking like a flailing fish!  I'm no Black Swan, but I can carry my own.
Elliptical Trainer -  12 minutes - Level 1

Leg Raises, Hanging - 5 reps x 2
Seated Row - 10 reps x 2 sets @ 30lbs
Chest Press - 10 reps x 2 sets @ 30lbs
Seated Bicep Curls - 10 reps x 2 sets @ 30lbs
Tricep Curls - 10 reps x 2 sets @ 30lbs
Lat Pulldowns - 10 reps x 2 sets @ 30lbs

I love our fitness center - such a good use of HOA dues.  Plus, the dance studio has an incredible view of our community lake.
 Next time around, I'll have to come equipped with my ballet slippers and some music.

 Keep Moving!

Fitness Log: 12/14/2013 - Elliptical and Strength

This morning, I woke up with a fervor to hit the gym.  I'm pretty sure my husband was completely annoyed with my "enthusiasm".  Perhaps I should have cut down the dancing and singing.  Oh well.  I had a great morning kicking off my fitness routine.  Despite taking a few weeks off, I'm really proud of the sets I was able to accomplish and that I pushed myself to up the weight, even for one set.  It's all about baby steps.

Elliptical Trainer - 12 minutes - Level 1

Leg Press - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 35lbs
Seated Row - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs
Chest Press - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs
Leg Extension - 10 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs
Seated Bicep Curls - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs
Tricep Curls - 20 reps x 3 sets @ 15lbs

Nothing to go to the races with, but I'm happy I stuck to completing the 20 reps.  Some of them were murder!  Oh well, we all have to start somewhere!

Keep Moving!

A Case for Books

In my house, I have a library.  It is five IKEA Billy Bookcases long and is constantly growing.  The existence and size of my library seems to be a very polarizing subject.  The reactions usually fall into two buckets:

"Oh my god, I'm so jealous!"
"Oh my god, get a Kindle."  

Those who fall into the first bucket are usually women who still wish to live out a Beauty and the Beast fantasy.  Those who fall into the second bucket simply don't get it.  From their perspective, if I love books so much, naturally, I would want to have a novel at my fingertips at any given moment.  Plus, I can have volumes upon volumes without taking up space in my house.

Again, they don't seem to get it.

For me, reading a book is an experience.  The tactile side of me embraces the weight of the book and the smell of the pages.  The historian in me loves so much more.

Case Study: A copy of A Christmas Carol inherited from my grandfather.

I love A Christmas Carol.  I read it every year at Christmas time.  While mildly dark and creepy, it's a traditional tale of learning what the meaning of Christmas truly is.  However, this particular edition is very special to me.

To start, the book was published in 1910.  It's a 103 year old book.  Think about that for a moment.  103 years old.  The book has outlived the person who published and distributed it.  How many hands have held it?  How many have received joy from scanning its pages?

When I open the inside cover, my grandfather's signature is scrolled across the top of the page.  Because he is no longer with us, this simple stroke of the pen will forever tug at my heart strings.  Below his signature is the address he lived at, I'm guessing, when he received the book.  Based on the location, a rough estimation brings into light that my grandfather had this book for over 50 years of his life.  How many times did he read it?  Did he read it to my mother and her siblings at Christmas time?  My grandparents don't keep many books around their house unless they are special or new... why this one?  Maybe he read it every Christmas, like I do now.

Reading the book brings me even closer to him.  Much as I do with my books, my grandfather marked passages that struck him in a particular way and made pronunciation marks on words he was unfamiliar with.  As I read, I not only get to experience the wonderful world of Charles Dickens but also the world of my grandfather.  Knowing that he struggled with the word "residuary" the first time he read the book (as I did) and he was touched by a certain thought in the middle of the book helps draw me closer to understanding and appreciating his intellect and him as a person.

Something I would not have experienced in such a candid way without the passing of a book.

Not everyone reads books the way I do - I understand this.  However, when I pass my books to my future hypothetical children, they will not only get the added element of my notations but of those who read the book before me.  What a rich and intimate experience!

So take a look at my library again.  We know the tales and stories... but think of what added secrets each book holds inside.  A Kindle can pass these secrets along.  Only a book with a pen handy can.  I'll take that over convenience any day!

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