Monday, July 21, 2014

hashtag 30 by 30.

so i was walking home from a workout class last week and managed to get caught up in thinking about my mortality. totally normal, right?

i guess it's started this summer. i started realizing how much faster time has started to go by (minus winter) and it kind of freaked me out. because let's be honest, this is really how i've really been prepping for 30:

so, i did some math and realized that i have just about 35 weeks until i hit the big three-o. i then did the incredibly trite thing of making a list of 30 things/activities i want to do to make the most of the last 6+ months of my twenties. my hashtag 30x30.

thus i am sharing the list below with a complimentary gif to add a little zest to your day. 

1. lose 30 pounds

2. learn 30 new gluten-free recipes 

3. workout at least 3 times a week every week until my next birthday

4. try a different kind of workout at least once a month

5. get back online dating and actually try (calm yourself, mother).

6. make a video of the nyc highlights for my grandpa who has never visited here.

7. visit new nyc neighborhoods that I never venture to

but probably not brooklyn.
8. re-read catcher in the rye

9. learn to do at least 5 real push-ups

10. take a random personal day to just do something that makes me happy

11. write real mail to relatives/friends that will appreciate it.

12. actually hang up artwork i own and make my apartment look more grownup

13. try and enjoy downward dog position.

14. save an extra $30 a month to use to splurge on my bday

15. complete a 30 day squat challenge

16. take a cooking/wine tasting/pairing course just for the fun of it

17. do a random act of kindness when people really need it

18. be irresponsible on a school night and enjoy every minute of it.

19. try surfing because it looks cool (spoiler alert - already doing this on saturday!)

20. give away/toss at least 30 items of clothing

21. spend at least an hour a week cleaning/decluttering my apartment

22. treat myself to a spa treatment just because

23. find a signature cocktail

24. spend way too much money on a cocktail just for the view

25. learn how to cook with dates (the fruit, not men, mother)

not going to lie, my fave gif so far.
26. see all the oscar nominated movies for 2015

27. watch the wire and see if it lives up to the hype

if only i knew what this meant.
28. learn how to put on liquid liner

29. get a tarot card/palm reading

30. blog about my adventures

not quite, other queen b. not quite.
i feel like i have a good balance of measurable general life improvements with some frivolous fun that should make the next 7 months one hell of a ride. i can't wait to tell you all about it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

it's not me, it's you.

Please begin this post by playing the song below as you read.

so as you can tell from the deeply personal song above, this is a post about a breakup. not with a boyfriend (sorry mom) but with an arguably bigger love of my life: beer. and bread. and all things gluten.

hold on, i need to wipe the tears off  my keyboard before i continue.

so, you know how sometimes you really like someone and things seem to be going well, but you have a gut feeling that it won't work out long term? because you don't see eye to eye on really important things that will never change? so you decide it's for the best that you both go your separate ways? that's basically what's happening here.

earlier this year, i got a full physical to check out my health state, as a part of the #yearofbetsy plan for better health. when the results came back, it turns out that, as i had pondered for most of my adult life, i have an underactive thyroid, explaining some things that have been plaguing me for a while. after this diagnosis, i began treatment and went on my way.

however, i continued to deal with some...less than desirable health issues that i couldn't figure out the cause of.

so i decided to see a GI to figure out if it was just my new medication reacting with my body or something else. i have health insurance so might as well use it. 

after a first consultation and a follow up endoscopy, i was given terrible - at least to me - news: i had celiac's disease

in case you don't want to click the link for a detailed medical overview, i'll break it down for you. my body can't process gluten correctly and it leads to the damage of my small intestine, leading to malnutrition and a host of other less than ideal side effects. i'll spare you the gory details. 

now i know that giving up gluten is a SUPER trendy thing to do right now, but i've never understood why anyone would willingly give up some of the most delicious foods and drinks in the world. it's still not something that i want to do. it's something i HAVE to do. i mean, would i want to give up all of this?

nyc staples. 

birthday cake is the best kind of cake.
#3 on the list of loves. 
drunk food: the essential 4th meal of the day
practically professional at taking photos

beer is my best friend sometimes, guy.

no, i'm not an alcoholic. i promise. 

as you can see, all things carbs have been a big part of my life. i mean, buzzfeed told me once that i was going to marry a pizza.

we could've been really happy together. 

since getting the diagnosis yesterday, i've had an amazing outpouring of support from friends in the know - including lists of the best gluten free beers around. and since it is becoming a real hot-button issue in the US  - close to 1 in 50 americans have celiac's - it's becoming a lot easier to find solutions that are clearly labeled and marked as GF (as the cool kids call it, i'm learning). add in the fact that nyc is always the first to adapt to lifestyle trends, i'm going to be okay.

i'm seeing a nutritionist who specializes in celiac's next week who is going to help shelter me through the transition, including making sure my beauty products, medications and more all are under the gluten-free umbrella. i'll obvi share my findings.

until then, i'm just channeling my inner cersei and everything's going to be alright.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

spinning my water wheels: aqua cycling.

so after breaking up with my gym last month, i have found a new lover. his name is classpass & he's the perfect fit for indecisive me. pay once a month for 10 classes at boutique fitness studios they have relationships with. the catch? you can only go to each studio a max of 3 times in a month and popular studios book up in advance, so it forces you to try new things all the time. i've realized this is kind of perfect for my fitness profile, because i get bored doing the same thing all the time.

after joining last week, i quickly booked up my month with my 10 classes at brand-new studios and workouts i've never even thought about before: trampoline dance cardio, bungee blasts, bollywood dance and other various activities. but my inaugural class last night definitely takes the cake for a new take on a workout staple: aqua cycling.

seriously though, it's spinning on a bike that's in a pool. and yes, you wear a swimsuit. and now i will tell you all about it. because that's the point of a blog. duh.

the studio is called aqua nyc, located in trendy TriBeCa because of course it is. the facility is beautiful, with a welcome lounge on the top floor, a dressing room down a flight of stairs and the pool with about 12-15 bikes in it is located in the basement.

i checked in and rented my jellies - JELLIES! - and headed downstairs to change. i had technical difficulties with my lap swimming bathing suit (i know, i'm special) so i ended up wearing bike shorts and a sports bra, which worked out fine. everyone else was in about the same. one of the great things about the class is that it was women only, so there's no worrying about what you look like in your bathing suit, which i truly appreciate. it's so hard to focus on trying to look skinny while also trying to get a good workout in.

i walked downstairs and met the very nice - and ripped - instructor who helped me set up my bike. i hopped in the pool and resisted my instinct to pee (i've never met a pool i haven't peed in. sorry mom, dad, kris, friends and guests of every hotel i've ever stayed at. i'm gross, deal with it.) and walked over to my bike to set up. these bikes are different from what you see at soul-cycle; they have no resistance gauges and have a cool thing on the bottom that pushes the water around. it's pretty cool.

i started pedaling and there's no other way to describe the feeling other than: weird. it took a little time for my body to get used to the cadence and feel slightly stable. the faster you pedal, the more resistance you create, so i wanted to try and get a solid motion going before class started.

just like in a regular spin class, there are the three main positions:
first: sitting in the saddle, back straight
second: out of the saddle, body straight up and down
third: out of the saddle, ass over seat and hunched, in a climbing type position.

aqua has what i have taken to calling the elusive fourth position, which is where you are out of the saddle, but behind the bike, submerged to your neck and still pedaling. i LOVED this position, because it reminded me of being a kid in florida making up games in the pool we had in my backyard. (this is not bragging, most normal homes in florida have pools. it's like the law or something.)

the instructor did a good job of incorporating other strength moves to keep the whole body going, doing swimming moves with our arms and engaging our core. at one point we were behind the bike in position four and doing the breaststroke. i'm fairly surprised my bike didn't fall backward on me.

the class is just 45 minutes, but i definitely could tell i got a workout. and despite the fact that i spent half the class thinking this is so weird, i'm most likely going to go back. due to my volleyball past, i have a bad everything: knees, hips, back, you name it. this is a great workout for when your body needs to get moving but can't handle the pounding of the pavement. if you can get past the weirdness (which is going to take me a time or two, for sure) and just go with the flow (of the water, get it?), you'll be cool.

plus, i can guarantee you that this is one pool i did not pee in. so you've got that going for you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

it's time to call it quits

no, no no, i'm not quitting my intermittent blogging. don't you worry your pretty little face over that. i will continue to randomly update you on my quest to be a better betsy for a while to come.

what i AM quitting is my monthly membership at the gym. in fact, i already did. today. not that they made it easy.

now, i'm sure you're all thinking, "wait, i thought half of the point of this was for her to get fit and rock at life." which is fairly accurate. it's also accurate to say that the other half of the blog is dedicated to photos of buddy. 

hello, handsome
back to the larger issue at hand: quitting the gym, yet still being focused on a healthier life. it's actually not going to be that big of a change for me.

i've been consistently working out for the past few months - spare my birthweek - but i've probably only stepped foot in my gym about twice. i've noticed that i really enjoy classes that aren't offered at my gym and have started going to them at least once a week. on top of that, the weather is finally changing around, allowing me to spend time outdoors to make the most of it, including in active ways.

dancing is a workout too, guys.

yes, specialty classes are expensive. but the workouts are better than any class i've ever been to at my "regular gym." so my theory was, i'm already paying for these extra classes, might as well take the money i'm spending on a membership i rarely use and put it towards those classes. plus, i get about a million daily deals emails, and there's usually some sort of package of workout classes available at a discount, so i can expand my horizons while getting an awesome workout.

the biggest takeaway i have from this hellacious winter (and spring, given that it SNOWED last night) is that i truly enjoy being outdoors when i can. not only do i live within walking distance to central park - the premier outdoor workout landscape - but i also live along a beautiful outdoor walking/running/fitness path that i have not taken nearly enough advantage of over the past few years.

taken on a commute home on a spring day. hashtag gorgeous
i own simple things like a yoga mat, hand weights, a jump rope and a resistance band, so i could take the things i've learned in these crazy classes and do them outside. and get my vitamin d requirement, which is especially important since i found out i'm severely deficient in it. (too much sunscreen and zero red meat will do that to a girl).

so bring on the bad tan lines and the neon workout clothes to blend in at these special gyms. needless to say, it's not me, large gym system in nyc, it's you. and we're never, ever, ever, getting back together.*

*well, maybe we will when it gets cold again. taylor's always wrong about everything.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

FASHION-ably late. naturally.

i'm going to start this post with a true story:

as i mentioned recently, i found a new hot yoga studio that i'm head over heels in love with. unfortunately, it's on the other side of the island from where i live. and though it's technically spring, the weather is still, well...

this means that i need to change clothes before commuting home, since i don't want to die of "frozation" (a word i made up a long time ago). so i brought a pair of old yoga pants that i've painstakingly worn into the ground and changed into them after class and went on my way. and then this happened:
apparently it's a free show.

so needless to say, i've been in the need to update my workout gear for a while. lucky for me, i LOVE to shop. more than most things in life, actually.

i never really saw the importance of spending a lot of money on workout gear because you're just sweating in it. also, who do i need to really impress at the gym? no one. however, now that i started upgrading, i can't believe it's taken me this long. specifically because of the sweat wicking material: LIFE CHANGING.

i'm sure i've mentioned this before but i'm what you call a sweaty beast. and do you know what comes with sweat? stench. so i need anything that's not going to sit on me and make me smellier than the homeless man who tried to talk to me on the subway yesterday morning.

my newest fitness go-to spot? athleta. or what i like to call, the less-expensive version of lulu with slightly lower prices and slightly less see-through pants. they also carry sizes that fit more than just those who look like they work out all the time (i.e. real people). added bonus: they're owned by gap, which means they take my gap card (sorry mom) and they often have sales. here's a quick overview of what i'm currently rocking a few times a week.

the cairo bare to run knicker are my new go-to pants for any cardio class: i have 4 pairs. they don't ride up. the crotch doesn't sag. and you can't see my underwear through them. win-win. 
patterns! on the lower half! madness!
the glory bra: not sure i ever mentioned this, but given that i'm a tall woman with a large frame and you've seen photos of me, it shouldn't surprise you that my "girls" need a lot of support when it comes to working out. got to keep them pointing up as long as i can, right? anyway, this sports bra has extra built in support to i won't pop myself in the eye when i'm doing jumping jacks. or "running." or doing anything really. 

obvi i have it in this color. i'm a lady. 
the spring tote: so i've been needing a new gym bag for a while because i carry my life with me every day. also, i have giant feet, so my sneakers rarely fit in a tote that also allows room for all my other gear. luckily, my birthday was a few weeks ago, so with a gift card in hand, i could finally splurge on the bag i've had my eye on for a while. 
look at all that room. and it's purple on the inside. it holds EVERYTHING i need for a trip to any class, plus has plenty of room for my lunch every morning. 

as for tops, i used to settle for my usual gator t-shirt and call it a day. but again. the sweat would sit on me and i would feel disgusted. so i started upgrading, but refuse to spend as much money on tops as i would on any other part of the workout process. enter: gapfit

as an avid gap shopper, i know that everything they have in stock will ultimately go on sale soon. and it will be dirt cheap. so whenever i stop in the store, i walk over to the sale section and see what they have. i've picked up a handful of tanks, long-sleeved and short-sleeved tops for no more than $10 a piece every time. done and done. 

i fully support you guys sporting my style at the gym because i will say, when you're excited to put on a cute outfit, it makes it more fun to go anywhere, even the gym. i mean, isn't that how our parents got us to get excited that summer was ending and to go back to school? no, just me? okay, cool.

p.s. i also own this tank top and rock it every time i can. because why the fuck not?