FOCUS T25®-My Workout Journey: Hitting the 5 Week Mark

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Focus T-25

So I wish I had better numbers to report, but sadly, I don’t have much change for the better. I have completed the 5 week Alpha series for FOCUS T25® and this week, I start on the Beta program, which promises to be much more intense.  As you can see from the numbers below, there is not much visible progress. However, I am happy to report that I ran a 1 mile charity fun run without stopping last weekend and ended up with a pretty solid time.  Considering I really hate running and wanted to quit after the first 100 yards, that was quite an accomplishment for me. And although I am not seeing major changes, I do feel that the last 5 weeks of workouts have made me stronger and have built up my endurance which is great for keeping up with the kids. I would like to give a shout out to a high school friend who invited me to participate in a fitness accountability group on Facebook. It is helping to validate my struggles hearing that other women are experiencing some of the same frustrations. So…I will keep pushing on and hopefully the Beta program will help me kick it up a notch.  More to come!

Week 3             Week 5               Change

Weight: 155                 Weight: 154.5                    -.5  lb

Chest: 39 in                 Chest: 38.5 in                    -.5 in

Waist: 39 in                 Waist: 39.5 in                    +.5 in

Hips: 39.5 in               Hips: 40 in                        +.5 in

Thigh: 23 in                Thigh: 23 in                            0

Arm: 11.5 in                 Arm: 11.5 in                             0

Here is what I have to look forward to with week 1 of the Beta program:

Day 1: Core Cardio

Day 2: Speed 2.0

Day 3: Rip’T Circuit

Day 4: Dynamic Core

Day 5: Upper Focus & Focus 25 Core Cardio

Day 6: Rest and Record Stats

Day 7: Rest and Stretch

I can already tell days 6 and 7 are going to be my favorite!


FOCUS T25®-My Workout Journey: UPDATE!

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Focus T-25

UPDATE:

Well I’ve completed 3 weeks of the program so far and I started my 4th week yesterday.  Although the workouts do feel like they have gotten a little easier to handle, I am not seeing as much change as I had hoped for. I must say though, I have not done much to improve my eating habits. I’m not eating any better than before I started. Not any worse either…but definitely not better. I’m hoping that is a big reason why I’m not seeing much of a difference. Weight and muscles sure take a lot longer to drop and tone up when you’re 36 then when you’re 26 that’s for sure. Although it is a slow go, I fully intend to complete the full program and I would encourage everyone else who may be doing these workouts to do the same!

 

Week 1             Week 3               Change

Weight: 154                  Weight: 155 (??????)         +1 lb

Chest: 39.5 in               Chest: 39 in                       -.5 in

Waist: 39.5 in               Waist: 39 in                        -.5 in

Hips: 40.5 in                Hips: 39.5 in                      -1.0 in

*Thigh: 24.5 in            Thigh: 23 in                        -1.5 in

Arm: 12 in                     Arm: 11.5 in                        -.5 in

* The thigh measurement was incorrectly logged as 21.5 inches on the first post.

I’m going to attribute the pound I gained to increased muscle mass and not the huge amount of BBQ I ate for our 10 year anniversary. It just makes me feel better. But I am happy with the few inches I’ve lost everywhere else! It is always about how your clothes fit and how you feel in them and not so much about the number on the scale. So for those of you are that are taking this journey with me, hang in there, keep pushing yourself, and enjoy the small victories!!  I will check back in with another update soon!

 


FOCUS T25®-My Workout Journey

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Focus T-25

After 2 kids and lots of Chinese food (my fave!), I had pretty much conceded to the fact that it’s ok for me to walk around with some extra poundage. And of course it is, no question about that.  But personally, I’ve been feeling more fatigued lately, and not as good about myself as I did in my lighter days. So after months of telling myself that I need to get my butt in gear and start working out, and a post from my high school classmate reminding me that my 20 year reunion is coming up next year (Yikes!) I finally made my move.  I had researched Camp Gladiator programs, Kickboxing classes, etc but knowing me, with the crazy schedules we have it would be too easy for me to find an excuse to not make a class.  So instead, I decided to drudge up my Beachbody DVDs that I had so excitedly ordered years ago. I have a nice collection including P90®, P90X®, Insanity®, and FOCUS T25® which are in practically pristine condition due to lack of use.  I decided that with my current level of motivation and energy level, the least amount of time I have to spend on each workout would be my best bet. FOCUS T25® it is! According to the creator, Shaun T, “It’s short. It’s intense. And the results? Just ridiculous.”  Well sign me up Shaun T because I am ready for some ridiculous results! According to the their website, it is a “full body workout in 25 minutes with zero rest. The focus interval training works every muscle group in your body-one after the other-then it works it again. No BS…just amazing results.” Ok, Shaun T…Let’s do this!  I invite you to share my journey with me. I will check in periodically with my progress in hopes to motivate not only myself but any other moms out there that are in need of a workout program that fits their schedule. It is important to know that I am not receiving any endorsement from Beachbody for my posts and these are my opinions and my opinions alone. Here we go!

Week 1

Day 1: I began with my weigh-in and measurements. There was a time when I would have had to be tortured before sharing this precious info with the public but motherhood has left me with no shame.

  • Weight-154 lbs
  • Chest-39.5 in
  • Waist-39.5 in
  • Hips-40.5 in
  • Bicep-12 in
  • Thigh-21.5 in

If you are following the workout guide they provide, the first video in the set is the Alpha Cycle Cardio, “25 minutes of calorie-burning, sweat-drenching cardio.” Jackson and Bailey decided to join me for this. Not only did they have fun attempting the exercises, but also like pointed out all the “jiggly parts” on mommy.  Nothing like a jolt to your self-esteem like children pointing out your flaws and holding nothing back. So with a toddler stepping in between my legs for every lunge and a 6 yr old asking me if his muscles were getting bigger ever 5 minutes, I pushed on to complete my first video. Lots of sweat and a good feeling of accomplishment in the end.

Day 2: Alpha Cycle Speed 1.0, “Ignite your quickness. Burn the fat. Fast-Paced for fast results.”  This one was a lot of fun. Burst of movement mixed in with stretching and flexibility exercises (aka,  1 min stretching rests in between).  This incorporated some kickboxing moves that were familiar from my younger days.  Fun stuff.

Day 3: Alpha Cycle Total Body Circuit, “Focus on strength and resistance-without lifting a single weight.”.  I highly recommend a mat or something to help with your grip. There is a lot of floor exercises and variations of push ups in this one so you’re gonna need something to cushion your knees and keep your grip.

Day 4: Alpha Cycle Ab Intervals, “Get a shredded core with this interval-based fat-burning routine.” Not a fan of this one, but I can tell it’s gonna work. I felt pain in places of my stomach and back I’ve never felt before.

Day 5 (Duble Day): Alpha Cycle Lower Focus, “Focus on your lower-body muscles-the key to burning fat.”  My legs were on fire throughout the whole video and weak and wobbly the rest of the night. Day 5 is when you are supposed to do a double workout by adding Cardio in as well but yeah…that didn’t happen.  I eventually made up for the extra workout on Sunday.

Day 6: Stretch, “After 5 days of FOCUS T25, this routine will be your new best friend.” I must admit that I never made it to this one last week but I plan to try it next week. I have horrible discipline when it comes to stretching.

This cycle incorporates the same 6 workouts but mixes up the order for four more weeks before moving on to the Beta Cycle. I will post updates periodically and let you know how I’m progressing!

Stay tuned for updates on my journey. I would love to hear from any of you that have either used this program or chronicled your own journey with any similar programs.


August Birchbox Review

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 August Birchbox Review

Whoa baby did I hit the mother lode with this month’s box! I think Birchbox must be consoling us for the tragic end of summer because they packed some of their best products this time! I am loving all my goodies so much! Birchbox is an online service that mails you several samples (usually 4-5) of high quality beauty products, including make up, hair care, skin care, perfume, etc. in a super cute box each month. It includes an information card with the price and product description of everything you get in case you fall in love with something and want to buy the full size. Before you receive your first month’s box, you are able to go to Birchbox.com and personalize your interests so they have an idea of what type of products to send you. Super cool and fun to see what you get. Take a peak at my end of summer treats! 

Rating Scale

Not My Style        Take It or Leave It      Must Have

Davines Your Hair Assistant Blowdry Primer  Davines Your Hair Assistant Blowdry Primer-Full Size, $34

Must Have -Va Va Voom! I had delicious volume after I used this little beauty. They also added a bonus cleaner and conditioner product as well! I can’t stop flipping my hair and pretending I’m one of Charlie’s Angels!

   derma e® Purifying Daily Detox Scrub derma e® Purifying Daily Detox Scrub-Full Size, 15.50

Must Have – If I knew that charcoal was this effective on your skin I would have visited my BBQ grill a long time ago!  It immediately gave me a feeling as if I had just stuck my head in the freezer…but in a good way. Very refreshing with no oily residue left behind. $15.50 is a great price for the full size too!

Liz Earle Brightening Treatment Mask™ Liz Earle Brightening Treatment Mask™ -Full Size, $24

Must Have – 6 years of kids has definitely put some mileage on my face. The dark circles under my eyes and dark spots have put up a fight against every age reversal cream I have tried. But this left me looking much brighter and more energized. It even came with a “pure muslin cloth” to wipe away after you rinse.  I think my chic raccoon look may be a thing of the past!

Manna Kadar Cosmetics Day-Dream PaletteManna Kadar Cosmetics Day-Dream Palette-Full Size, $25

Must Have – This sample actually only came with the bronzer and highlighter so don’t let the pic fool you. And it became clear very quickly that I had no idea how to correctly apply a bronzer/highlighter duo on my first try.  But after several attempts of me looking like something from the Amazon and a couple of YouTube videos I am now an expert. It gives me a kiss of sun and adds a little somethin’ somethin’ to my cheekbones.

  stila Matte About You Liquid Lipstick Trio stila Stay All Day™ Liquid Lipstick-Patina-Full Size Trio, $20

Must Have – Love love love this! This goes on smooth like a lip gloss and lasts all day like a stain.  I don’t ever think I’ve had lipstick stay on this long that didn’t look like something that came out of the Joker’s makeup bag. Fantastic!

 

I highly recommend all of these products!!

Have you ever tried any of them? Share your comments with me!


Back to School: Tips on Making the Transition Easy for your Family

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Back to School

Another summer has come and gone and it’s time to start gearing up for school again.  Bailey’s routine was not altered too much during the last few months, but Jackson split time between staying with his Grandpa, Nana and Pop, and the occasional day at my office. While every effort was made to keep up the reading, writing, and arithmetic during the break, I must admit, we had some slacking.  The days were pretty lax and void of much structure I’m afraid so now we frantically scramble to restore order among the chaos. Earlier bedtimes will lead to earlier mornings. Better eating habits and less screen time are a must. But how do we make the transition as smooth as possible for all of us?  Here are a few tips I found at PBS.org.

Get back in the habit of healthy eating.  If you let your kids indulge a little over the summer, start swapping chips and sweet snacks for fresh fruits and veggies before school starts. Explain to your child that school lunches and snacks will not consist of junk so they need to get used to eating better now.  The reduction of sugary snacks will help to keep your kids from having a sugar induced energy crash mid-morning or in the afternoon.

Talk to your child about any anxiety they may have.   Everyone has a little touch of nervousness or worry before they start anything new. No matter how cool or popular you are, or how many friends you have, there is always a fear of the unknown.  Talk to your child in a playful way about all the new things they will get to try or people they will meet. It also helps to reflect back on your experiences as a child as well so they can see that you went through all the same things they are having to face. And you turned out just fine!

Get in the practice of changing your schedules before school starts. A week or two before the big day, start adjusting your child’s bedtime (and yours!) by about 10 minutes every day. Put them to bed and wake them up 10 minutes earlier every day until they’re not struggling with the new times. That way, when school actually starts they’re not big grumpy heads and you’re not screaming for a 3rd cup of coffee!!

Make time to talk to your child about their day. I touched on some tips on how to do this in my post 5 Ways to Reconnect with your Family While Managing a Crazy Schedule.  It’s important that you don’t just skim the highlights and really dig into the fun stuff (or even the not so fun stuff) about their day. “Tell me how Dodge ball is played and who all was on your team?” or “Who had the craziest thing for lunch today?”.  This gets them talking, and hopefully excited, about what kind of cool stuff can happen tomorrow.

How do you help your family prepare for the new school year? Share your comments with me!

 

 


July Birchbox Review

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 To somewhere tropical

July’s Birchbox was kind of hit and miss.  I’ve definitely had boxes packed with cooler samples.  I didn’t really dislike anything, just not willing to pay full price for many of the products. Birchbox is an online service that mails you several samples (usually 4-5) of high quality beauty products, including make up, hair care, skin care, perfume, etc. in a super cute box each month. It includes an information card with the price and product description of everything you get in case you fall in love with something and want to buy the full size. Before you receive your first month’s box, you are able to go to Birchbox.com and personalize your interests so they have an idea of what type of products to send you. Super cool and fun to see what you get. Here’s all the things I got this month along with how I would rate them! 

Rating Scale

Not My Style        Take It or Leave It      Must Have

Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate - 2.5 oz. Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate -Full Size, $58

Take It or Leave It -I think this is one of those products that you have to use a while before you start seeing major results. I have noticed my face feels a little tighter since I’ve been using it. Whether or not other people have noticed is another story. $58 for the full size though? No thank you…not in my beauty budget.

   L'Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse Eau de Parfum - 50 mlL’Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse Eau de Parfum-Full Size, $120-165

Take It or Leave It -This supposedly makes me smell like a “secret summer night in Paris”.  As I’ve never been to Paris in any season, I cannot confirm this but it is a pretty and delicate scent. Again though, I would never pay that much for the full size.

Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar SolutionMarcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Solution-Full Size, $21

Not My Style -This sample size actually came at a really good time. I was in need of a smaller bottle of astringent to pack on our trip so this was perfectly compact. I was not, however, as excited about the oily residue it left on my face.  It also did not remove my eye make-up as well as my current $4.99 bottle of remover I get at the grocery store. So while it was temporarily convenient, I won’t be switching from my trusted brands.

MDSolarSciences™ Daily Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 30 MDSolarSciences™ Daily Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 30-Full Size, $68

Not My Style -Again this takes a while to start seeing the difference.  And honestly, I don’t know if I would be able to tell a difference between this moisturizer and any others. So I’m not willing to pay almost $70 for it without knowing that it immediately makes me look like I did when I was 20. 

  Smashbox Cosmetics X-Rated Mascara Smashbox Cosmetics X-Rated Mascara-Full Size, $22

Must Have -I’m a mascara junky and I’m always looking for a tube that makes my eyes poppin’ and noticeable without clumping up my lashes. This really hit the mark! I love it and I would absolutely splurge for the full size when I run out of this one!

 

Have you ever tried any of these products? Share your comments with me!


“Bats and Sea Lions and Whales…Oh My!”

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Thanks to a work conference that brought me to Austin last week, I was able to bring Jake and the kids along for a little mini vacation.  Surprisingly, this trip was void of any emergency room visits or hotel mishaps so we actually had a pretty enjoyable time. I will say that road trips are becoming much louder with Bailey turning 2. She is extremely verbal and very demanding.  Jackson tends to egg her on quite a bit so that doesn’t help much. By the end of the trip home Jake and I were wondering when we could schedule our own vacation!  But despite the scorching Texas heat and crowds pretty much everywhere we went, we had a lot of fun.

Thursday

IMG_3886 This was a work day for me in Austin so Jake was solo with the kids. First stop was the Texas Peace Officer’s Memorial. For those of you who don’t know, this wall lists all the names of Texas Peace Officers that have been killed in the line of duty.  In light of all of the recent tragedies, it was very important for Jake to teach Jackson what this memorial was all about. Jackson knows the risks that daddy takes everyday when he puts on his badge and leaves the house and he understands the losses that Texas and Louisiana have just been through.   Next, they walked around the outside of the State Capitol looking at all the statues and then spent some time learning and playing at The Thinkery, Austin’s children’s museum.  Pretty cool place with water and light activities. The kids had a blast and it was a welcome break from the heat! IMG_3887

 

That evening, we all decided to brave the Bat Bridge. I had seen this in one of Jackson’s books and had no idea what it was all about so we decided to do some research.  According to Bat Conservation International,  1.5 million bats emerge from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge in search of food.  The crevices beneath the bridge make for an ideal bat roost.  The Austin bats eat from 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of insects, including agricultural pests.  The population under the Congress Avenue Bridge is the largest urban bat colony in North America. With up to 1.5 million bats spiraling into the summer skies, Austin now has one of the most unusual and fascinating tourist attractions anywhere.  Around 8:40 that night, the bats emerged!  At first it was a little difficult to see them from our location since they are small Mexican free-tailed bats.  But soon, they began to fly out in masses.  We were told not to panic if they swoop at you.  Um, yeah ok.  I was skeptical at first but I must admit the sight was quite amazing. Creepy and stinky, but definitely amazing. Not many people can say that they watched millions of bats fly right by you on their way to feed!

Friday

Another work day for me so Jake spent the morning swimming with the kids and resting in the hotel waiting on me to get done so we could drive down to San Antonio. We bought a Sea World vacation package which included tickets to the park and 2 nights at a Sea World affiliated hotel. IMG_3905That evening, we decided to visit the Alamo and the River Walk. Explaining Texas History to a 6 yr old is a lot more challenging then you think, especially when you can’t remember half of it yourself! Jake was my salvation there. He’s like a walking history book.  Again, the heat was unbearable but we were able to cool off for a bit at the Rain Forest Café on the River Walk. Always a hit with the kids.

We took the Rio Cruise boat ride where we got to hear all about where the movies Selena, Miss Congeniality, and Cloak and Dagger were filmed.  This is about the 5th time Jake and have been on this ride so we could pretty much recite the tour guide’s spiel word for word.  But the kids had a lot of fun watching the ducks and looking at the tall buildings. Bailey had a small meltdown as it was now 2 hours past her normal bedtime. This resulted in her throwing Cha Cha the frog, a plastic version of the Rain Forest Café mascot across the boat where it landed on the edge of the platform.  It was too far for us to reach and we couldn’t stand up to get it per the rules of the boat so needless to say there were some tense moments where Cha Cha was at risk of being Frog Overboard!  But alas, the boat ride ended without casualties and Cha Cha was rescued upon our departure. IMG_3910 (2)

Saturday

We set off to conquer Sea World right when the park opened in order to avoid crowds. While this was a valiant effort on our part, it was already crazy packed by the time we got there. My OCD tendencies quickly began to kick in and I wanted to find a map so we could start planning our routes, shows, and meal breaks in order to maximize our experience there. We started off with a visit to the sharks and dolphin viewing area. I was much more impressed by the dolphins then the sharks. They had staff positioned along the wall of the tank providing tips and information as the dolphins swam about. IMG_3925 (2)We had to book it to Shamu Stadium by 12:00 for One Ocean®, one of the two Killer Whale shows there.  One of the perks of our vacation package was reserved seating for all the shows. An absolute lifesaver for us! I would highly recommend upgrading to this if you plan to visit the park during peak vacation times.  Due to the recent concerns about whales in captivity and the tragic deaths of some trainers, they no longer breed killer whales and the trainers are not in the tank swimming with them like they used to. But, it was still fun watching the kids’s faces when the whales would emerge to jump, and wave their tales and fins on demand. No splash zone for us though.  I had a horrifying experience when I was in college where I volunteered to be a part of the show and Shamu spit water and fish all over me. Funny to the audience, traumatic and disgusting for me!!  I vowed I would never let my kids be splashed with fishy tank water as long as I could control their actions!

Next, we trucked it over to the Beluga Stadium to watch Azul® , a beautiful show which incorporates acrobats, professional divers, parrots, dolphins, and beluga whales. This was a must see since Bailey is currently addicted to Raffi’s Baby Beluga song. This was our favorite show and the artistry and actors make it very entertaining to watch. The show was 30 minutes, as most of the shows are, which is ample time.  IMG_3936It is a miracle if my kids sit still for much longer than that. Our last show was Clyde & Seamore’s Sea Lion High™.  This was Jackson’s favorite but Jake and I differed in our opinion.  And by this time, Bailey was having more fun playing with the souvenir whale cup then anything else. The walrus never made an appearance which may be a result of the recent death of a trainer in one of their shows.  We finished up our day with the Penguin Encounter® and the all important visit to the gift shop. Jackson saw a stuffed squid earlier in the day that he absolutely had to have. All in all the park visit went smoothly minus the heat exhaustion and sore feet. IMG_3938 We ended the day with swimming at the hotel pool and some much deserved room service.

Sunday

IMG_3942 We spent the remaining time we had there eating at the breakfast buffet, swimming at the pool and trying to make sense of the chaos we created in the room. It was a whirlwind trip but a nice break from the everyday hustle and bustle of our lives. And for me, it’s all about creating memories for my kids.  Little things like bats, boats, and Belugas can make all the difference in the world to your children.  I still remember all the little adventures my parents took us on and am very fortunate to be able to provide the same for my kiddos.

What fun summer vacations did you take this year? Share your comments with me!