Tuesday, September 27, 2011

10 Reasons Why I'm Pumped for Fall

In recent weeks, Seattle has witnessed a quick shift from one Season to another. It now gets dark at 7:45 and the rain's settling in more and more. The temperature has dropped quite a bit, and sunny days are no guarantee.

Many people complain about Summer being over - I totally get it. However, I happen to be VERY excited for Fall. Here's why (in no particular order):

1. I GET CRAP DONE.
In the Summer, whenever it's a nice day, I always feel guilty staying inside, especially on the weekends. I'm always traveling, eating out, and hanging out with friends. So what happens? I procrastinate my entire to-do list for roughly three months and find myself in a perpetual state of disarray. During the Fall, I LOVE the feeling of a cool, drizzly Saturday morning where you sleep in, have coffee at the kitchen table, and get tons of stuff done during the day (including errands and home improvements).


2. I WORK OUT MORE.
In the Summer, my version of exercise is a walk on the way to a neighborhood bar for happy hour. In the Fall, I get fed up (enough) with my Summer habits that I become highly motivated to get back into a daily routine. I do morning workouts each week, and thrive off of indoor workouts that push my body to its limit.

3. THE HOLIDAYS ARE QUICKLY APPROACHING!
There's no better feeling than knowing Thanksgiving (and Christmas) are just around the corner. I always get so pumped up knowing I'll get to spend QT with my family friends during the months ahead. Also, the holidays are excuses for great parties (including, but not limited to the Annual Hwy 99 Pub Crawl).

St. Francis Red Wine (one of my favorites!): Photo Source

4. RED WINE. Anyone who knows me knows I love my wine. And I especially love my red wine. Summer = white wine for me 80% 0f the time (what I crave) but the cooler months = red wine as much as my little heart desires. I love getting home from a long work day, getting into comfy clothes, and unwinding with a great glass of red. I also love getting together with friends and having fantastic conversations over a bottle of wine.


5. FOOTBALL SEASON. Om hello. Football season basically = Heaven as far as I'm concerned. I love my Seahawks. When I wake up on Sunday, there is this crazy energy that consumes me and my condo (note: with or without company) when I turn on the TV and know there will be great games going on ALL DAY. I get in a better mood right away. I love what a football game can bring to a community such as mine. Even better: a football game AT the stadium. Beyond amazing.


6. UW VOLLEYBALL. Incase you aren't aware, the Women's UW Volleyball Team kicks ass. A few of their games have been some of the most impressive sporting events I've ever witnessed. The games are at convenient times, affordable to get into, and a bunch of fun. They are so fast paced and you never lose focus. Watching the players reminds me of my love of the game, brings the athlete out in me, and motivates me to increase the intensity in my workouts. HECK YES.

7. PUMPKIN ALE.
If you live in Seattle and have not tried the Elysian Brewing Company's (Night Owl) Pumpkin Ale, you seriously need to get your priorities straight. Pumpkin Ale is incredible and you can only get it on tap during select months of the year, so I am particularly motivated to enjoy Pumpkin Ale this time of year. Please try it on tap first.

Incase you are a beer person, here's the scoop (Photo & Beer Source):

night owl pumpkin ale

Our Original Pumpkin Ale

Style
Pumpkin Ale

Body
Light to Medium

TASTING NOTES
A very drinkable pumpkin ale—brewed with seven and a half pounds of pumpkin per barrel and spiced in conditioning with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice.

MALTS
Pale, Munich, Crystal

HOPS
Lightly bittered with Magnum

SPECIAL
Both roasted and raw pumpkin seeds are in the mash, with pumpkin added to the mash, kettle and fermenter.

ABV: 5.9%

IBU: 18

AVAILABILITY
Fall Seasonal — 1/2 Bbl kegs, 22 oz bottles

8. MORE RELAXING.
At least for me, the Summer is a nonstop go go go lifestyle that is fun, but often stressful. In the Fall, things are still busy but they settle down a lot. Work gets more manageable and I spend more nights relaxing and enjoying the small things that matter most in life - sleep, friendship, family, health, and time for MYSELF.


9. CANDLES.
Candles are beautiful, calming, and sexy :). Fall gives me the excuse to burn them more often.

10. MORE HANG OUT TIME WITH LUCY.
I don't really need to elaborate on this one :).

My vote: embrace this Season!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Peace and calm from photography

This week, my mom shared photos with me from her and my dad's trip to Alaska a few weeks ago. The images (such as the one above) took my breath away. Yesterday, I came across a photo on Facebook taken by my friend's dad, Brian, at their family's cabin in northern Minnesota. I was (again) amazed by the natural beauty captured in this photo.

I realized how calming it can be to look at photos like these. They make you stop and think about the beauty and peace in our world that we often forget during busy, stressful (and technology-filled) days.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Week 2 of Boot camp

So, I have managed to complete two weeks of boot camp...and I am THRILLED. I am convinced that signing up for this camp has (to a certain extent) changed my life within a short period of time.

Getting up at 5:30 in the morning has not been easy, but it's been well worth it. I can't describe the feeling of finishing a class, heading home, and enjoying time for MYSELF in the morning, before I go to work. In the past two weeks I have used this "self window" to accomplish a laundry list of things, including dishes, cleaning my home, journaling, taking Lucy to the dog park, and more. I feel productive, energized, confident, and happy. I get to work earlier, and do not feel stressed out (like I used to), rushing off to work in a frenzy, worrying about a list of to-do items unaccomplished.

My instructor, Kimae, is wonderful. She is kind, enthusiastic, and radiates positive energy 24/7. She gives 100% each class and gives great individual coaching despite having 30 or more clients to work with at once. Thank you, Kimae!

When I began this camp, I also decided to give up coffee and sweets during the four weeks. It's been challenging, but also well worth it. Without my daily dose of coffee, I am calmer, less stressed, and I sleep better. I also save money each week without the usual trips to coffee shops. I also feel way better without sweets. It's less crap in your system and (I believe) keeps your blood sugar more stable.

Stay tuned for more updates along the way!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Favorite Summer Memories

As Summer comes to a close, I'm reminded of all of the great experiences I had during the past few months. I decided to put together a collection of photos highlighting some of my favorite memories. All of relate to an element of Wellness - an experience that made my life richer, happier, and/or more entertaining. :)

Mariners' games with friends (Maria and I had a blast at this game!)

Sunsets from my building roof top deck (with a glass of wine, of course)

Celebrating my parents' 35th Anniversary at Ray's Boathouse. They are rock stars!

My trip to Colorado to visit my cousin Robin and her family. The best vacation ever!

Leavenworth trip with my family (note: hiking + cocktails + laughing included)

Trip to Bellingham, WA for a spa weekend at the Chrysalis Hotel = Heaven!

Priest Lake, ID Labor Day weekend trip with friends

Trips to Discovery Park (I am convinced this day was the most beautiful day of the Summer)

Saving the best (and classiest) for last: The epic Duct Tape Party at the Kangaroo & Kiwi Pub (yes, my friends and I duct-taped (is that a verb?) ourselves and went out in public. It was one of the last times we got to hang out as a group before Monica went to London and Alex moved back to CA).

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Boot Camp Begins!


On Monday, I had my first day of morning boot camp! I signed up for this camp a few weeks ago after being sick of not feeling where I wanted to be - fitness wise. I missed feeling STRONG and having awesome endurance (something I pride myself on that makes me feel truly healthy). I also wanted to learn new strength exercises and integrate outdoor workouts into my weekly routine.

My most favorite thing is working out outside, and in the morning. I love starting my day with a workout. It gets it out of the way, so I don't come home after work and debate whether or not I'm going to go workout (let me tell you, if I debate for more than 5 minutes, it's not going to happen). I'm also doing something for myself before anything else that day. When I finish a morning workout, I feel like a million bucks. I'm instantly energized and in a better mood.

The camp goes for four weeks (will finish on October 6th) and is Monday through Thursday mornings. It will be a challenge but I'm already enjoying it! Stay tuned for more updates on my Boot Camp findings. My hope is that it truly gets me in a long-term morning workout routine, and that I build muscle.

If you're interested in learning more about outdoor Seattle Boot Camps (for women) here are my favorites:

Seattle's Best Boot Camp (with Trainer, Chris Kirchoff)
Seattle Weight Loss Boot Camp (the one I'm taking now!)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th Reflections

10 years later, September 11th has affected me more than ever. For the past week I have found myself crying, praying, and reflecting every single day. September 11th feels almost more real than ever.

In 2001, the event was so unexpected and intense that part of me was in shock and (perhaps) unable or not ready to fully process what was going on. I didn't really know how to react - I couldn't fathom that something so cruel and tragic could even happen.

Today, the emotional toll of 9-11 felt greater to me. I think it's because we've been reflecting on the cumulative impact of the day after 10 years of grief and recovery. Perhaps time has allowed us to feel more comfortable acknowledging the impact of the day, sharing our stories, and honoring the lives that were lost.

On Friday, I watched an interview on the Today Show with Matt Lauer and 5 children who each lost a parent that day. It was incredible to see their strength and how much they've grown, despite having to live each day without one of their parents.


...

This morning, I met my friend Sarah at the beach in Edmonds. It was the most beautiful day. Everyone at the park greeted each other with a smile and a hello. I felt surrounded with happiness. There was a powerful sense of community and American pride that reminded me very much of the months that followed 9-11.

While I was in Edmonds, children, parents, and relatives shared their words about their loved ones at the New York City Memorial. One boy was in his mother's womb when his dad passed away. He remarked: "I love you for loving the idea of having me, and giving me the gift of life." I can't think of a sweeter thing to say.

While many people experienced grief this week, I also saw a group of people united in their faith, love, and respect for one another and our country. My hope is that today will serve as a tangible reminder of the great country that we live in. A country that prides itself on opportunities, freedom, love, and human dignity. We are a nation that comes together during times of sorrow.

My hope is that people will continue remembering the people of New York who sacrificed their lives on 9-11. My hope is that going forward, people will feel blessed to live in our country and invest more in our communities. My hope is that Americans can work together in unity to better ourselves and the world we live in.

My hope is that people will never forget the individuals who lost their lives on 9-11.

...

Psalm 46 (read today by President Obama at Ground Zero):
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.
Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling, there’s a river whose streams shall make glad the City of God, the holy place of the Tabernacle of the Most High. She shall not be moved.
God shall help her just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved.
He uttered his voice.
The earth melted.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come behold the works of the Lord who has made desolations in the Earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the Earth.
He breaks the bough and cuts the spear in two.
He burns the chariot in fire.
Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the Earths.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Friends who hold you up!

"Don't dwell on who lets you down, cherish those who hold you up." (Unknown)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Priest Lake Paradise

This weekend I had the opportunity to go to Priest Lake, Idaho on a fantastic adventure. It was an incredible trip, and I felt so thankful for the experience.

Here's the short summary of why:

1. Priest Lake is a beautiful place - plain and simple. I can't really put a value on getting away from the city to sit by the water, relax and breathe.

2. I was with a quality group of individuals who were a hoot to be around!

3. The family who hosted our group couldn't have been kinder or more wonderful people. I was amazed by their generosity and willingness to open up their home to us.

4. I had the most incredible food (along with great beer and wine)!

5. I conquered an intense hike with a beautiful destination (check out my friend Camden!). It may look easy, but I promise it was not...

6. I passed this guy on the way home from the hike. Best photo of the weekend BY FAR!

7. I got to spend QT with the sweetest dog (weekend replacement for Lucy).