Revitalize with a Day at the Zoo

Want to know how to really revitalize me, have me refreshed and inspired and ready to greet the world with positivity?

No, it’s not yoga (thank GOD March is finally here). Definitely not hot yoga. DEFINITELY NOT meditation.

Go to the zoo. More specifically, arrange a visit to zoo with other keepers and get to do fun stuff like feed giraffes, play with rhinos, and feed snacks to black bears.

Meeting new keepers was very helpful. But getting away from my normal elements (elephants and marine mammals) and learning about how cool giraffes and rhinos are was exactly what my spirit needed. Unfortunately I didn’t get pics of their rhino, but trust me when I say she was absolutely breathtaking and adorable!

Nature and wildlife are definitely my power elements. I cannot emphasize this enough. It’s hard to be in a bad mood when a fluffy black bear is giving you “the eyes” just before he gets his snack of romaine lettuce. And I forget all of my troubles when I’m watching a couple hippos hop in the pool for some yummy apple treats. I relaxed around a pride of lions and got pumped watching a cougar way a carcass attached to a hanging bungee. It was truly an amazing day.

I received some hopeful and positive news also. I’m trying not to count my chickens before they’ve hatched but it made me feel good that others are thinking of me and appreciate what I could potentially offer.

What kind of activities revitalize you?

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Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler

Laissez les Bon temps rouler

Today has many names and it’s one of my favorite and least favorite days of the year.

  • Fat Tuesday
  • Mardi Gras (that means fat Tuesday)
  • Pancake Tuesday
  • Shrove Tuesday

Tomorrow starts the Lenten season for certain Christians. I grew up in a catholic family, so I am no stranger to the traditions surrounding Mardi Gras, lent, and Easter. I also lived in New Orleans for a year so I am no stranger to the stranger ideas surrounding Mardi Gras.

I understand the idea behind today. I get it. One last hurrah before you give up your vices and treats for 40 days. But we as a culture typically overindulge as it is, so I find this particular day/excuse to be over redundant for us as society.

If you want something that desperately, just do it. But do it in moderation, and consciously. If you know you’re going to indulge (at a party, or dinner with friends, or you’re going overseas to network and try to impress some British zoos), make a plan- moderation, eat only a little, make sure you drink water, have your workout, etc.

Today is what the Brits celebrate as Pancake Tuesday. I was fortunate enough to celebrate this with some new friends in England last year, so tonight in the sprit of me being a Brit at heart, Chris and I had chicken and waffles for dinner. And I had my fill of waffles. Do I feel bad? No. I allow myself to enjoy things and I take care of myself. Would I feel bad if I ate waffles everyday? Yeeeeeaaaahhhh. I should feel bad. My stomach would too.

But I guess that’s why I don’t appreciate Mardi Gras the way a true New Orleanian might. I don’t see the point or the good in having one day dedicated to being bad. Do what your body tells you is good for you. Iff it happens once a year or once a month, it shouldn’t matter.

We indulge. We cave to temptation. We fall off our wagon. We get lazy. Things happen. It’s not something to beat yourself up over or give up completely. Sometimes it’s about giving your mind a bit of a break and just doing something that feels good. Then get back on that horse, brush yourself off, and go kick some ass! And let the good times roll!

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100 Ways of Fitness Day 47

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce your Waste/waist

I was off work today but just “had” to come in for SMF Bootcamp for our President’s Day workout! I guess I should reiterate how much ridiculous amounts of fun I have creating themed workouts.
But it wasn’t just the workout. I brought my supplies tonight and together we made med balls and kettlebells. That’s right. I MADE kettlebells. They are super light, only 17 lbs, and I don’t trust them that well to do american kb swings, but they are PERFECT for Russian swings, single leg deadlifts, single arm kb swings, and probably a whole slew of other fun activities I’ll dream up! They aren’t pretty like my med balls, but they are functional and that’s what matters! Especially when doing Kennedy Kettlebell Swings.
I love that I’m reusing items that would normally just get tossed out and giving them another life. I made some makeshift weights out of kitty litter containers. I’ve got some boat fenders that we aren’t using anymore to make some sand bags that we can clean or hoist to our shoulder, or carry on our backs for squats and military sprints.

And I’m constantly on the lookout for other ways to create exercises I love to hate while on a budget and reducing waste. If you have any ideas, shoot them my way. Especially ideas for pull-ups and pull-up resistance bands.

Ah, creative fitness!



100 Ways of Fitness Day 46

Hell is Hot Yoga

Since I wasn’t my ultimate best today workout or eating wise, I’m going to use my post tonight to talk about something I did last week. Hot yoga.

I know trying new things is good for me. I know that trying new things doesn’t guarantee I’ll like them. Or even that it was a great idea to try them in the first place.

Take me and yoga. Yup, I hate it. Yes I am giving it a solid try for a full month. All I can say is thank goodness I picked the shortest month of the year to try it.

Was I upset that I got sick for 5 days and couldn’t do yoga for that time? No, not at all! But I was starting to feel fat and lazy and I was itching to get out, even if that meant doing a yoga class.

As much as I hate yoga, there’s something I hate even more than that. It’s being hot. I don’t mean the sun is out and it’s warm. I mean, can’t breathe because the fracking parking lot isn’t covered and you just got in your car after a 10 hour shift and the ac won’t kick on fast enough (I’m referring to my time in Florida and Louisiana for those not in the loop). Which I discovered is basically what hot yoga is. Who on God’s green earth thought contorting your body into weird positions in the heat and humidity for a full hour was a brilliant idea?

Let me paint you a beautiful vivid picture of my experience with hot yoga!

Five minutes in and I’m DRIPPING sweat. Not dabbing off my brow. Not even “wow, that was a fantastic workout” swear. I mean my clothes were DRIPPING wet! Within five minutes. So I’m actually thinking I’m pretty smart for getting the spot by the door. (Turns out this WAS prime real estate but not for what I was hoping)- if it gets too much I’ll just bow out quietly and no one will even notice. That was an adorable idea. The instructor placed herself by the back door for most of class. Why? You ask?

No not to stop folks like me from escaping. Although I did end up staying bc of her. No, she strategically placed herself at the door in order to fan the room. Because it was so hot.

Now I have to hand it to the regulars at the class. These were the special idiots that held all the poses for the entire class. They had their 16 oz water bottles next to them and they calmly sipped on them when the teacher gave us a second. Me? I had my 33 oz bottle and that sucker was GONE the first 30 minutes. And forget holding all the poses for the entire class. It’s sad when even child’s pose gives you no solace or relief because putting your head between your arms makes you just as dizzy as standing. I found the floor was a great place to lay my face. It was the only place in that horrid room that wasn’t hot to the touch.

So while I’m trying to relax and catch my breath, I feel my head starting to freak out a little. I can’t breathe. It’s too hot. I don’t care that the teacher is right at the door, I’ve gotta get the hell out of here! And then the teacher says out loud “if you feel like you’re panicking, don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal.”

Lady- no. No it is NOT normal! If you are panicking it is because your body is experiencing extreme ABNORMAL conditions!!!!

She also said later that it was completely normal to feel light headed and dizzy. I wanted to punch her in the face. Easy for her to say! All she was doing was standing by the door fanning the class off once every few minutes!

So I made it through the class. Thanks to my strategic placing right by the door. I didn’t bring a change of clothes so I walked out of the studio and into the cold. All the while swearing I’ll never do that to my precious body ever again for as long as I live. I have 8 more classes on my punch card though. Would any of you like to take a hot yoga class with me?

Fun times!

100 Ways of Fitness Day 45

Roses are red, you’re who I like. It’s a beautiful day, let’s take a hike!

Hiking in Washington has its pros and cons. Because everyone in the state enjoys it so much, there are literally hundreds of easy to find and get to hikes, most within an hour from Seattle. Chris and I could easily hike a different trail every week in a year and not even scratched the surface of all the possibilities. The problem is with hiking being a year round popular activity is thinking Valentine’s Day would prohibit folks from going hiking. That would be totally incorrect. Hiking on Valentine’s Day is ALMOST as popular as hiking the day before the Big Game when your team is playing (there were so many folks wearing their 12th Man shirts and even dressing their dogs in Seahawks bandanas or shirts. There was even a huge crowd of people at the summit with a 12th Man flag). So people here in Washington LOVE to be outside in nature. So if you go hiking on a weekend, there are going to be a TON of people, no matter what.

Today we went up to Bellingham area, to the Chuckanut mountains near the Puget Sound and hiked Fragrance Lake. It was a very enjoyable hike. Yeah, there were a few people around, more than I’d like to see. But it’s great to know I live in an area that has so many folks interested in connecting to nature.
I found one nerdy correlation in the wildlife we saw on our way up north while going through Skagit county. There were dozens of flocks of trumpeter swans in the fields. I know in some places these swans are threatened and they are protected in most areas, and I’ve heard that local farmers try to do their part to conserve the species, but on this annoyingly romantic day, I found it ironic that we were seeing them everywhere, and they are typically monogamous birds that mate for life. Say it with me “aaaaaawwweeee!” Actually, I’ve never heard a trumpeter swan before, but I’m pretty sure they go “hooooonnk”

I find it interesting that I love hiking, but the thought of getting out of bed, packing the backpack with snacks and driving “so far” is so unmotivating that I almost cancel nearly every time I plan a hike. Except once I’m there, it’s energizing, I feel connected, natural, and even tranquil (it’s odd that one of the more relaxing things I do is sweating and makings heart beat fast- I imagine most people would find that difficult to believe). I mean, it’s not meditation, but I am usually very much at peace in the woods.
This feeling is also connected to biking, morning workouts, swimming, and lunch time or bed time routine workouts (I try to work my glutes at lunch and foam roll/pilates in the evening). I don’t wanna! I don’t wanna! Don’t make me! I don’t wanna! Oh, this is fun. Why didn’t I want to do this? And I usually have a significantly great time. I mean, usually I see something that I find significant for me. Like the trumpeter swans today.

And hiking with Chris is great too. We were debating for a while on whether hiking is a great “new relationship” date, because I felt it was a more “long term relationship” date, but I think that has to do more with myself being deeply connected to nature, it being such a personal and almost sacred and spiritual thing for me, that I wouldn’t share it with someone unless I really enjoyed their company. But I have to concede that Chris was probably right, and as long as both parties are somewhat active, a hike is probably a perfect date (just no sex in the woods- don’t make me commentate on that).

So, how was everyone’s V-Day? Did you all do something that your heart will thank you for? Did you have a sweetie to do something with? Or did you simply take very good care of yourself, because you love yourself?

Have a great weekend, my friends!


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Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day

A few years ago I watched Groundhog Day and had an epiphany. It never actually sticks, but I am reminded every year of my lesson from the classic movie (don’t tell me you havent seen it- it IS a classic), and especially with this challenge, I wanted to share it with you and get some of your thoughts.

Bill Murray had to relive his day over and over until he got it “right”. At some point, he starts just doing things he’s always wanted to try, but he never had time, or never got around to it, and that’s when we start seeing a change in his character. He starts living his day to be the best because he’s going to have to live it over and over.

Every year on Groundhog Day, I commit to living each day like I’m going to have to relive it over and over again. I make the promise to make that day the best possible. It stays with me for about a week or two, and then it falters, but I’ve been thinking, with this challenge, I’m trying to do something each day to better my life as a whole, so why DOES Groundhog Day have to end? Heck, why does 100 Ways have to end? What if I do something each day that I will be grateful for for the rest of my life? How awesome would that be?

That being said, what would you do today if you knew you’d have to relive it over and over again?

And I know the photo doesn’t exactly work with the theme, but it’s just hilarious and wanted to share.
Happy Groundhog Day!


Yoga: 1 PJ: 0

Today I got a 10 class pass to Hot Yoga Inc for $10. It was too cheap to pass up. To start off my one month of yoga, I decided to do their Yin yoga class, which was their supposedly “easiest” class as it consisted of stretching and the heat off.

It still sucked. First, I thought it was an hour, it was actually 90 minutes. And the stretches weren’t that difficult, it was the holding of each stretch for a VERY long time that nearly killed me.

I love pigeon pose (or swan as they called it this class). But holding pigeon for FIVE minutes EACH leg?? Kill me.

And even with the heat turned off it was uncomfortably warm.

But I am committing to this for a month. So when they asked how was it after class, I told them honestly “it was horrible. See you tomorrow”

I truly truly hope this gets easier and by the end of the month I’m holding pigeon for ten minutes and enjoying every minute of it.

Yoga, you may have won this particular battle, but you will not win the war!


In Case of Emergency, Hug a Goat

“In case of emergency, break glass and hug goat.”

It’s no secret I’ve had a pretty rough week. Chris Topher and I were supposed to go play with goats last Saturday, but I read on the farm’s website they required reservations for tours and we didn’t hear from them in time. I was a pretty sad panda.

But then, the zoo’s training mentor group announced they were going to have a luncheon workshop at the Family Farm. Which is where the GOATS live!!!! I spent about an hour and a half playing with GOATS!!! And I got PAID for it!!!!

Alyssa and I were teamed with Sparky, the youngest goat in the herd, and we were trying to teach him to kiss our cheek (by licking and getting his wonderful smelly goat slobber all over me). You know, for Valentine’s Day. Because nothing is sweeter than a goat kiss!
We got as far as Sparky kissing our hand near our face, but not quite an actual kiss ( I swear, Alyssa, I’ll go up the next two weeks and teach that little guy to kiss us or die trying! I’m getting a fracking goat kiss for Valentine’s Day!). Which is fine. Because I spent the afternoon playing with GOATS!!! And I got PAID for it!!! Because it’s my JOB!!!

I’m going to try to see if Diane, the Family Farm keeper, will let me just stop by one lunch break once in a while to get a snuggle in. Because of everything I’ve done this week to deal with my emotions and frustrations, playing with goats has been by FAR the most therapeutic activity.

I just need a baby goat behind glass so when I’m in a sour mood, Chris can run over, grab the goat and breathe easy knowing everything is going to be fine. Pattie has her goat….that would be AWESOME!

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Glutes, There it is!

Glutes, there it is!

I have been spending about 20 minutes during my lunch break doing these all week. I hope to make it a habit and maybe get my knees back on track in time for biking season.
20 each donkey kicks
20 each fire hydrants
20 each side leg lifts
20 each lower leg lifts
20 each lateral walks
20 monster walks front and backwards
10 each pistol squats, being super duper careful that my knee doesn’t go over my toe, and right now I’m holding onto a wall for dear life
20 physio ball glute bridges
20 each single leg glute bridges
20 each single leg deadlifts
30 second side plank each side
10 each single leg sit downs

Again, it takes me about 15-20 minutes to complete the routine. And I’ve been spending about 5-8 minutes with my foam roller each night, trying to go up in time each night. Aiming for 10 minutes tonight.
I will get my knees bike ready or i will die trying!

Beauty and Beast Mode

Beauty and Beast mode

I have a secret love for creating Fandom workouts. So last week, in a casual passing tone, Erin Martin said it would be fun to do a Disney workout. Yes. Yes it would!

So I created one. It was a fairly easy workout. I mean, we exercise in the elephant basement for crying out loud. I made our medicine wall balls out of recycled basketballs and duct tape. And Dumbbells out of kitty litter containers. We’re pretty basic.

But we come together every week and chat and workout! And some of the girls have started going to a gym to workout more. In fact, I received a compliment from Alyssa Borek‘s trainer who told her her squat form was terrific. And she credited me for that. I loved hearing about you and Kim Szawan telling your trainers about Bootcamp and them asking you where and you’re like, um, the elephant basement. It’s the cool new club where all the cool kids workout, don’t you know?! But I love how Monday nights are Zoo Bootcamp night. And Erin wanted a Disney workout. So by gosh, she got one!

I think I’ll try to create a Disney villain workout. Double Ursula unders. Gaston goblet squats.

I’ll definitely create a Doctor Who workout, for Susan Burchardt. AndStephanie Forbes Miller wants me to create a Monty Python.
I’ve got some work to do! Haha!

Great work, ladies! Keep coming back. It works if you work it.