Monday, August 23, 2010

Engaged and on our way to a happy life together!

As I mentioned in my last post, Erik and I are now happily engaged to be married! I promised I would post some pictures, and here they are. He proposed on the shores of Lake Tahoe on a perfect blue sky day. The ring is lovely. It was the most amazing moment I could possibly imagine.

The happy couple! Aren't we a knock out together? :)

The ring!

We then proceeded to Lake County to brag about our engagement, and my man was able to exert his mountain bike dominance over others. ;)

Erik is ready to kick some ass and take some names!

In San Francisco we visited the California Academy of sciences and immersed ourselves in in the latest in technology and innovation.

Learning is fun!

Till next time!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm engaged!!! Plus Snowboarding, Mountain biking, hiking update! Summer fun galore!

Wow, have I been busy so far this spring/summer! This seems like a good time to update on all of my activities at once. It has been great! I left my job at GNC for a position as a sales associate at Performance Bikes. It has been a lot of fun. I am learning a ton about bikes and bike accessories, and it is wonderful to be able to help people choose an awesome bike that they will love to ride! Everyone in Boulder should have a bike. I could not imagine living without one. When the weather is good I ride my bike everywhere. There is just no reason to drive in a town with such amazing bike paths. When someone comes into the shop and tells me "I haven't owned a bike in 20 years, what do you have?" and I am able to hook them up with a cruiser or hybrid that they are comfortable on and will want to ride around town, it is a great feeling.

But on to adventures and engagements! I will go over the main adventures of the summer, and from now on I must update more often for some in-depth trip reports. Skip down to July if you want to read about my engagement!! :D

In March we had an awesome weekend snowboarding in Breckenridge with a bunch of cool people. We all rented a condo and had a blast for the weekend. The weather was sunny and glorious with some good snow still left on the slopes. We spent an afternoon shredding the half pipe, soaked in the hot tub, and ate lots of good food. Excellent times were had by all!

Later in March, Erik and I tried to escape the lingering winter and head to a warmer climate. We drove out to St. George Utah for some camping, mountain biking, and national park time. The campsite we found was great. We stayed at Quail Creek State Park, which is located on a huge reservoir. We spent the first day poking around in St George and relaxing. We had a ton of gear and were definitely comfort camping. The next day we rode Church Rocks. This ride is 12 miles or so of fun flowey single track with some slick rock and technical sections. Some sections of the trail were pretty sandy, so I would think this is best in the early season. The weather was perfect, and the ride was awesome!

Quite comfy in an erosional feature.

On the way home we booked it to Zion National Park. Zion never ceases to amaze. The spectacular canyon walls on all sides are dizzying. The park was packed but since we have a National Park pass we got to skip the line! We decided to hike Angels Landing, as it is one of the most spectacular hikes in the park but is still pretty short. It hike straight up a huge spire in the center of the park. The view from the top is breathtaking, and the climb can definitely suck the wind from your lungs. It was amazing.

A dizzying perch atop Angels Landing in Zion National Park

My birthday was at the end of April. My family came to visit Boulder over my birthday. We watched prairie dogs, went out to some fabulous restaurants and I finally had tea at the Dushanbe Tea House. Jen and I had a joint birthday party out on the town. It was definitely a rager, ending with all of us riding the mechanical bull at Shooters. I woke up with some bruises!

We are taking advantage of the Boulder Open Space trails and did Gregory Canyon on a rainy morning a little bit ago. The water was so high the trail was a creek in places. This is a great loop. We started at the Chataqua parking lot and hiked along baseline before continuing up into Gregory canyon. The Gregory canyon lot is a fee lot, but Chataqua is free! Afterwords we decided to stuff our selves at an all you can eat Indian Buffet. Maybe not the best idea... :P

On Sunday the 20th of June we planned to summit our first 14er, Mt Bierstadt. But sadly the road to the trail head was closed. To salvage the day we decided to hike around Echo Lake near Idaho Springs. This is on the Mt Evans Scenic Byway. We had a great hike out towards the Chicago Lakes and did a little bit of exploring on the National Forest Service land.

4th of July we returned to the area for a three day backpacking trip out into the wilderness. It was simply amazing! We hiked in on Saturday night and camped along the trail to Chicago Lakes. In the morning we discovered our stove fuel was leaking and thus had to cook all of our food and make coffee on an open fire for the rest of the trip. The next time we go backpacking with a working stove it will feel positively luxurious. We packed up our gear and continued on the the lakes themselves on Sunday morning. The views from the upper lake are incredibly spectacular. We found an excellent place to camp nestled in a grove of pine trees off the trail. This protected us from some of the variable weather that came in on Sunday evening (rain, hail, lighting, etc.). Before the storm we had a chance to hike up a cascading waterfall that fed from the upper to lower lake. It was definitely and adventure!

A view of Erik above the Lower Chicago Lake in Mount Evan Wilderness area.

The waterfall that connects the upper and lower Chicago Lakes

After the fourth we set of on a cross country epic in the van. We loaded our camping gear and mountain bikes up and set out to drive from Boulder, CO to the Bay Area in California (with no air conditioning). Erik had booked some hotels along the way, which was nice. We were so sweaty and disgusting after spending a day driving across the Nevada desert without A/C that I think I would have died if we were camping in the desert. The thermometer in the van read 100+ at the hottest. I was taking ice from the cooler and wiping down our necks, arms and legs so as not to overheat. It was pretty brutal to say the least.

When we arrived in California we decided to make a little side trip to Tahoe City, where we met. We cruised down to the Dam Cafe (our favorite coffee spot in town) and got some breakfast burritos. Erik decided it would be nice to eat them down by the lake, and i agreed. He grabbed his backpack and the burritos and we walked down along the crystal blue water admiring the gorgeous views. After finding a nice spot on the sand, I plopped down and started getting comfortable, but before I had a chance Erik pulled me up to standing. He put some music on his iPhone (Jason Mraz: I'm Yours) and bent down to grab the burritos from his pack. But instead of handing me a burrito, when he turned to me he dropped down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes with tears in my eyes! It was the most beautiful moment I could have ever imagined. We are now engaged and planning an outdoor beach wedding for next summer! I have yet to upload the pictures from that day, but they are forthcoming! :)

In California Erik did a 24hr Mountain bike race with some of his old buddies. It was really cool! I was support crew, along with another accompanying girlfriend.

I then spent some time in San Fransisco and and had a chance to catch up with my old friend Christine. We went to San Carlos to visit some of my extended family and announced our engagement!

Erik then left for a friend's bachelor party in Tahoe, and I went and spent a week in Mission Beach with my family basking in the ocean and feeling the soft air against my skin. We are both now back in Colorado. I am working at the bike shop and Erik is finishing school this semester. It has definitely been a full and exciting spring/summer!

This coming weekend we plan to hike Longs Peak. Woo 14er!

Till next time when i manage to sit down at the computer for long enough to post! It's been real.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finally got my internet back!

So I have been on a small hiatus due to changing internet providers, but i finally got it back! I hope Qwest works better than comcast, but so far things are not looking good. I just want the internet to work all the time! Is that so much to ask in this day and age? I feel like Boulder has the worst provider choices and the worst connectivity I have ever experienced. How can the internet be working for all google sites, but not facebook, weather, hulu, aolmail, etc? It just doesn't make any sense! Now time for more long customer service phone calls trying to figure out a problem that will probably never be solved. :/ Boooo!

Stay tuned at some point in the future for updates from the awesome Breckenridge weekend. This week Erik and I are going to St. George to mountain bike and camp. Should be awesome! Later guys!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Less is more when it comes to healthy eating!

Erik and I have decided to begin phasing out most animal products from our diets. In this day and age I believe it is just a healthier choice. We are starting with red meat and cheese. Soon we will hopefully be able to give up chicken and eat only fish for a while. I think the toughest thing to give up for me will be yogurt. I would be okay with a diet that included organic yogurt and fish even though they are still animal products, we will just have to see. Phasing out milk in my coffee will also be tough. I am going to try rice and almond milk and see what flavor/texture works best with coffee. I have found some great blogs for vegan lunches, which i believe is the hardest meal to plan for as it has to be portable. This is a great one Wish us luck!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Milk business. Best picks in the dairy industry!

Cow 1: "Moo?" Cow 2: "Moo!"

Wow, it has been a while since I have posted! I kind of fell off the P90X bandwagon. I've been snowboarding so much and going to the mountains to snowshoe and hike a lot (I got some Ice Trekkers for winter hiking, fun!) I just haven't had the time or inclination. But I have still been staying very active and going to the gym regularly for cardio, weights, and to sit in the hot tub :).

I have also been working at GNC, which is very interesting! There are so many products out there with so many uses, it is very fun to learn about all of the nutrition products available these days. I, myself, only take a multivitamin, extra vitamin C, fish oil, and protein shakes (and occasional protein bar), but the array of products and uses is truly astounding!

But on to our current topic: MILK! If you are a milk drinker you probably want to read this. I was just reading an article over on talking about some of the nastiness found in factory farm milk (antibiotics, hormones, and other bodily fluids that should NOT be in milk). Many people have switched to soy, rice, and almond milks to avoid these issues. That is a great solution, but I just can't get over how weird soy tastes in my coffee!

If you must drink milk, there are some very good companies. Going organic is a good idea but it doesn't end there! The USDA grade of Organic does not mean the cows are well treated, happy cows. It just means they are not treated with hormones or antibiotics, and must be allowed some access to the outdoors (this can be only minutes a day!). Some of the big so called “organic” brands are almost as bad as factory farm milk (like Horizon). But if you go for a small, local, organic brand you can know just what you are getting.

I get Farmers All Natural milk whenever possible. It is from the Midwest and not available everywhere. The cows are raised on small family farms, and free grazed during the growing season. It is non-homogenized (cream top), organic, and all natural! And you can go take a tour of one of their farms if you want to. They only keep a small number of cows on a farm. I only really use milk in my coffee and cereal, but it is nice to know you are using a quality product.

This is a great site where they rate all the dairy companies based on farm size, hormone and antibiotic use, grazing practices, if they get milk from outside sources (factory farms) etc. I try to stick with brands that get at least a 4. :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Before pictures for P90X.... have not been taken yet....

I said I would try to post before pictures on here for P90X, and I have failed. :/ Sorry! You see, my camera is in my hiking backpack, which is in the trunk of the car, that is parked kind of far away and it's really cold out and, and..... I am full of excuses. I am still sticking with the program though, and I finished my first week! that is what's important! I do still plan to take a picture. Tomorrow I am off work, so that would be an opportune time.

I did the Kenpo workout the other day, and that is far and away my favorite disc! I have done a fair amount of kickboxing in my time, and it is always a fun cardio workout. Doing the Kenpo disc made me want to take a kickboxing class again, or buy a heavy bag! Shadow boxing is all well and good, but nothing is as satisfying as that loud thwack you get when you connect with a pad or bag with a strong kick. My ideal home gym definitely includes a heavy bag!

Today was Core synergistics, and it's a great core workout! When they say core, they really mean your entire core, not just abs. The core is what holds everything in, and keeps your back strong. A strong core also helps prevent injury. Some of the moves are quite awkward for me, but I am sure they will become easier with time as I continue the program! That is definitely the theme for the first week. Just stick with it and I'll get better and more fluid!

Look forward to a before picture and some point, and keep checking back for more updates and reviews about P90X and my progress.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Product review: Magic Bullet and Protein Shake recipe

I have always liked protein shakes. They make a great quick breakfast or post work-out snack. It is said that eating 5 or 6 small meals a day boosts your metabolism and keeps it at a higher level than eating 3 big meals a day. Protein shakes make great "in-between" meals. However, many people may not enjoy the benefits of the protein shake because they can be such a pain to make. My full size blender was such a hassle to clean, it wasn't even worth it. And if I accidentally made too much and stuck it in the fridge, it inevitably separated and got all nasty. But now, everything has changed. The world, as I know it, will never be the same (overly dramatic?)! I now blend all of my smoothies in the Magic Bullet! Here I present to you my review of the Magic Bullet, followed by a healthy, nutrient packed smoothie that tastes awesome!

The magic bullet is a great little mini blender/food processor. There area few methods to buy this thing and it's not cheap. It sells on TV for $99, but you get one free (feign enthusiasm here). I don't know why you would want two magic bullets (aside from offloading one to a family member who really wanted Guitar Hero for Christmas) but I guess whatever floats your boat. Or you could do what I did and get one at Target for half the price, and split the cost with my boyfriend. Now that's more like it!

The Magic Bullet takes up very little space on the counter top, however the attachments and accessories take up an entire shelf in the cabinet. There are two blades (one for blending, one for chopping, grinding and whipping) a small and large sized blending containers, a pitcher attachment, four cups with threads, colored rings for the cups, a shaker lid, a strainer lid, and some solid lids. The lids are great because you can make pancake batter or whatever, use half of it, then screw on the lid and throw the container in the fridge. The containers are microwavable, so if you are making nacho cheese or Alfredo sauce, you can microwave it right in the container you blended it in! Hooray for less dishes while cooking!

There is also a recipe book. Some of the recipes work better than others, but it is fun to try them all. To use the magic bullet, you attach the blades directly to the container you would like to blend in and just press down. The pressure activates the motor and spins the blade. It's quite cool. It is great at blending, and does really well with certain foods, though for some it under performs (destroyed onions and garlic to a chunky mush, and salsa became frothy weirdness). We grind whole bean coffee with the flat blade in the small cup every morning, and it grates a killer nacho cheese! Though in our attempts to make guacamole usually some of the chunks never get mixed. I have found guac is easier the old fashioned way (smash avocados and other stuff with a fork).

The cool thing for shakes is that the cups are threaded, so you can make smoothies by twisting the cup right on the blade and blending them one cup at a time. That way you don't end up making a way too massive smoothie that then gets funky in the fridge. You know exactly how much your serving size will be. Also, once a blade is screwed on a container it completely seals (except for the pitcher). This means you can take it off and give it a good shake if you need to! No more trying to scrape honey or chunks of protein powder off the side of the blender with a spoon or knife. Just shake it up!

Here is what I put in my Very Berry Vanilla Protein Shake:

A handful of fresh or frozen berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries)
2 cups Vanilla Soy Milk
1-2 oz. Acai puree
1 oz. liquid multi vitamin
1 oz. liquid glucosamine
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (Whey or soy. Muscle Milk, Myoplex, or just your standard store brand protein is usually whey (dairy) based. For a vegan and non-dairy alternative, be sure to use soy protein!)
1/4 cup of raw oats

(To make a chocolate version, simply add 1 - 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder!)

Screw on blending blade (four prong) press and hold down until shake is mostly blended (5-7 seconds). Take the cup off of the magic bullet base and give it a vigorous hand shaking (three or four shakes) to mix up any liquid or powders that are stuck to the bottom.

***A note on the order of adding ingredients: It doesn't really matter, as the magic bullet is a powerful blender, and the shaking step I include usually mixes any straggling items. That being said, I like to add frozen fruit first, then liquids and liquid supplements, followed by any dry ingredients. This way when you screw on the four prong blending blade, the dry ingredients will get blended completely as they are closest to the blade. And we continue....

Return the shake to the base and blend a bit more (around another 5 seconds). Now take your smoothie off, unscrew the blade and rinse it (for next time), and screw on one of the little colored cup lips. You can drink your shake right out of that cup without dirtying another dish! This is huge!

Why do I choose these ingredients and supplements?

-Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are all rich in antioxidants, not to mention totally delicious. Strawberries are packed with vitamin C
-Vanilla soy milk is full of healthy soy protein. It is also rich and creamy while still dairy free. You can use plain soy milk for less added sweeteners.
-The Acai berry is an antioxidant super food. It is said to have 1000 times the antioxidant power of blueberries. This means it scavenges free radicals in your system that can lead to premature aging and cancerous cells. All I know for sure is that it I feel good when I drink it, and it tastes good too!
-Liquid multivitamin is more easily and readily absorbed than solid multivitamins. Think of it this way, how would you vitamin pill do in the dishwasher? Now imagine how much work your stomach has to do to break it up. Liquid is much easier for the body to process, thus you get more nutrient benefits.
-Glucosamine supports the natural lubrication and elasticity of your joints. In a liquid form it is quickly absorbed and put to work helping your tired knees or creaky shoulder!
-Protein is needed to build and maintain muscle. If you work out vigorously, or are attempting to reshape your body, adequate protein will help you gain and maintain lean muscle and achieve your goals.
-Raw oatmeal is a whole grain. It is loaded with soluble fiber and helps maintain proper digestion. It also aids in lowering cholesterol, and is said to be a natural antidepressant. It ads a great flavor and texture to the smoothie!

The overall result is a creamy, rich, delicious healthy protein shake packed with vitamins and essential nutrients! If made with soy protein this shake is also 100% non-dairy/vegan.

I hope you enjoy the shake! I am going to go make one right now!

P90X Lean, Day 4: Yoga

I just finished the P90X Yoga DVD (Well, not finished per se....) and it is rough. Flexibility is definitely one of my weakest points. I made it through the first half or so, and then the poses became quite difficult for me! But hey, hopefully by the end of the program I will be able to finish the whole DVD. That's a great goal to have!

The Yoga DVD starts with some breathing and warm-up stretches, then dives in to sun salutations. These sun salutations are the foundation of the entire yoga video. A sun salutation is performed between every single sequence, which can get a little old. They start out simple with basic downward dog, plank and upward dog, then adds warrior one and two. The program continues with triangle poses that then started to tweak my back a bit.

The twisting poses are uncomfortable for me, but it should get easier as I get more flexible. I don't want to push it too early and pull something, so i am taking it easy and stopping when it seems too much. Right now my downward dog is definitely not a pretty picture. My heals are nowhere near the ground. Man the yoga is tough! I have a lot of work to do on this one!

I have decided that I will take my "before" picture on Sunday, as that will be exactly one week in. I can then continue to track my progress at 30, 60, and 90 days.

Today is also my first day of work at GNC. I suppose I should go get ready!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

P90X Lean! Here we go!

Everyone has seen the infomercials about it, and a lot of folks have finished with fantastic results. Sadly, many more have attempted this program and encountered road blocks like injury, fatigue, and time constraints. I am not going to say they failed, just that they have yet to succeed. Yes, I am talking about P90X!

Last summer Erik and I purchased P90X and began the P90X classic program. We lasted about 2.5 weeks before my knee started bothering me, and his shoulder started to hurt. To avoid further overuse injury we put the program on hold, vowing to return to it and complete the full 90 days. Now it is winter, and with no lovely weather drawing us outside and away from the workouts we are back in action and ready to take on the challenge with P90X Lean!

Three days ago we decided to give P90X another go around. Here is our progress so far!

Day 1: chest and back +ab ripper
Man, I could barely lift my arms yesterday because my chest muscles are so sore. Killer workout!
Day 2: plyometrics
My legs are definitely sore today, but not as brutal as the chest and back
Day 3 (Today): Shoulders and arms + ab ripper. And we came to a decision regarding the program....

The last time we tried P90X classic and ended up injured, so this time around we will be completing P90X Lean. Lean is a higher cardio, lower impact workout regime than the Classic. instead of Plyometrics (which is all jumping) they swap in Cardio X. There are also less push-ups and pull-ups in the first month of the Lean program. By doing the Lean, we hope to avoid overuse injury and complete the full 90 day program. If at some point Lean is no longer challenging enough, or if Erik wants to lift more and develop his chest (I could care less about developing my chest, lol), he can sub in the Chest and Back disc for some of the core synergistics days in the Lean program.

To be successful in this program I need to get my nutrition back in gear. With winter upon us we have been making really yummy, but kind of rich food. Erik made a huge pot of fabulous chili that is amazing on a piece of wheat toast, but we have also been making a ton of rich Indian food and probably overdoing the tacos/burritos. We plan to make a lean beef stew and freeze a bunch of it. Now that we have started P90X I should be more motivated to eat leaner and healthier. Especially since working out after eating junk feels so nasty. I am totally amped about this endeavor!

I also start a new job at GNC tomorrow, so I will be able to get discounts on various supplements that will help us through the program. I have another interview in the morning with a new gym in town. If all goes well I will land that job as well (+ free gym membership). So I would work part time at GNC and part time at the gym. I will have everything set up for an awesome winter of indoor fitness to pair with snowboarding and snowshoeing, and get super fit for the spring/summer!

I will try to post some before pictures on here at some point. I want to post progress pics at 30 and 60, then after the 90 days I can throw some after pictures up. How exciting!