November 30, 2010

BL3 - Final Results!

Well we ended with a much smaller group than what we started with and we had a few gains but between 7 of us we lost 41 lbs! Not too shabby ladies. First places goes to yours truly, Bernice is in second place and Claire finished in third - great job ladies! I know we all worked really hard and amongst the three of us, we lost almost 28 of the 41lbs!

Claire, thanks for being my workout buddy!
Danielle and Karin, thanks for going on the cruise - I will never forget that trip!
And for the rest of you, thanks for providing motivation each week to keep working out and eating right.

Drum roll please! Remember this is a running total, not a weekly result. (positive #'s are good, negative #'s not so much)

Keri 6.42%
Danielle -2.19%
Karin 2.37%
Claire 3.70%
Michelle S-B -0.87%
Michelle M-K 2.37%
Sharon 2.45%
Bernice 5.34%
Carolina 0.81%
Melinda -0.64%

I just read the article below in the latest Beck Diet Solution Newsletter and thought it would be a fitting way to send you all into the holiday season since I won't be your drill sargent again this year. But oops, I didn't get the post out before Thanksgiving...

Here are 15 ways to guarantee that you will gain weight over the holidays:

1. Eat when you feel like it, not just when it’s time to eat.
2. Make excuses: “It won’t matter, I’m stressed by the holidays, it’s only a little bit, I deserve another treat, I only get to eat this food at holiday time.”
3. Stop exercising.
4. Wear clothes that don’t have fitted waistbands.
5. Eat quickly.
6. Eat on the run.
7. Try not to notice how much you’re eating.
8. Eat when you’re upset.
9. Don’t count the extra food you’re eating.
10. Drink more alcohol or other caloric beverages.
11. Agree to try whatever goodies others offer you.
12. Don’t make time in your schedule to make sure you have the food you need at hand.
13. Stop planning what you’re going to eat.
14. Pretend that the extra food will not affect your weight.
15. Eat (and drink) exactly like your (over-indulging) non-dieting friends and family.

Instead . . .

1. Plan in advance to eat a little more at holiday gatherings but not at other times.
2. Enjoy every bite of the food you planned to eat and accept the fact that you can’t eat whatever you want and maintain your weight. It just can’t be done.
3. Focus on the non-food parts of the holidays: being off work, decorating or admiring others’ decorations, enjoying the holiday spirit.
4. De-stress yourself. Figure out what you need to do to take care of yourself. When problems arise, ask yourself whether you’ll even remember the problem five years from now.
5. De-emphasize eating and connect with your spiritual side.
6. Get nourishment from being with family and friends.
7. Volunteer to help those who are less fortunate than you.
8. Get in touch with your deeper values and live by them during this holiday season.

Don’t be like an ostrich with your head in the sand. You’re likely to end up demoralized, disappointed, and discouraged. How do you really want to feel when the holidays are over?

November 28, 2010

How was your weekend?

This weekend shall forever be remembered as the weekend I...

...was sick for the long Thanksgiving weekend
...spent Wednesday, most of Thursday, all of Friday and half of Saturday IN BED poor Bernie sick
...ate a lot of comforting, warm and starchy food
...cleaned up both DVRs, except for Oprah, I'll never get through all of those
...spent entirely too much time on the internets
...did not gain any weight through my back log of magazines the house decorating bug, again

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Growing up in Michigan Thanksgiving consisted of dinner with my Mom's side of the family. Since I moved out to Colorado we have shared most of our Thanksgivings with our friends the Trahey's. Bernie and I went to college with Steve and both Steve and Stef are transplants like us. Lately we have settled on Thanksgiving at their house, Christmas dinner at ours unless someones out of town. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from years passed. My Uncle and Matthew came to the first Thanksgiving in our first house but I can't find those pictures at the moment.

The Knapp's house in Alden, Michigan
The Hoffman men - Bernie 3, Bernie 2 (aka Dude) & Todd
Jen, Zak, Dick & Karen - I'm guessing this was just before I allegedly got a little wild playing some game and put a big ole gauge in that lovely table. Of which I have little memory.
 Big Guy & Dude
Our house in Littleton, CO
Todd and Dude joined us from Michigan
I'll let you guess who might have had a few too many
 Steve, Grace & Stef Trahey

The Trahey's house Colorado Springs, CO
 Grace's last Tgving as an only child
 The Trahey's house with their new daughter Eve
 Steve & his Mom
 No group shots and where is Bernie?

2008? Hmmmm, maybe the post-it note I had bouncing around for about a year that said "get pics from the Trahey's" were about Thanksgiving?

As for 2009, the Trahey's left us and headed to Michigan so we were going to have a fabulous dinner with our friends Claire and Dom but about 20 minutes after we got there Cooper cut his foot and we were off to the emergency room. That's right, an emergency vet visit on a holiday. We missed the entire dinner. $600 later with Cooper high as a kite we swung by their house and they were kind enough to give us leftovers which were totally awesome by the way. I think we ate them for like 3 days straight. Hopefully that experience wasn't what drove them to the mountains for skiing this year :)
 Cooper was so doped up he passed out when I was paying the bill and refused to move for over an hour. When he got in the house he made it no farther than the entryway and stayed there for hours.
He's fine now but he had to keep that bandage on for an extended period and now he has a funky toe that we realized just this morning that it doesn't work anymore. That's okay, he has 15 other toes.

So, what fun will 2010 bring???
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

*side note - since I know Steve will see this post and grumble a loud OMG over the pics of him, I'll let you know that he's since lost like 60lbs. 

November 24, 2010

Wednesday Windows 2

Is it Wednesday again already? And I haven't written a blog post since the last Wednesday Windows. I've been busy since last Wednesday - I came back from a week in Michigan, had my 1 year blog anniversary (with zero fanfare on my part), planned a surprise 40th birthday party for Bernie, took a quick trip across the country to Maryland, and unfortunately, got sick. Boo. I hate being sick, who doesn't.

Anyway, I did remember it was Wednesday and snapped a few pictures. If you didn't catch last week's post with the explanation you can find it here.

A wintery morning out our front porch windows. Our house was built in 1905 but the porch was enclosed in the 1920's. The windows are original and the glass is wavy. Across the street is Ferrill Lake in City Park.
 One of my favorite paintings is hanging in our dining room.

Here are the instructions from Sherri at The Claw:
Post two pictures on your blog. The first, is literally a picture taken from a window (from your home, car, wherever your window view may be at the time)

the second - a little peek into your world (a window into it if ya will - and I know you will), with a bit of an explantation. You can use the second image as a stepping off point for sharing something with your blog readers (and me - please link back to the claw in a comment if you play along), that they may not know about you or your life. It can be anything. It need not be particularly revealing, or profound, just describe what is going on in the picture. Perhaps, we can learn a bit more about each other.

November 17, 2010

Wednesday Windows

Sherri over at The Claw posted this challenge a few weeks ago and I thought it looked fun. It took me a few weeks to get on board but I'll give it a go. The challenge started off with sharing a picture out of one of your windows each Wednesday and it has evolved a bit. I'm going to start simple...

Here is what was outside my window dogbaby Cooper. Isn't he sweet? I've been gone a week and he is a bundle of love. Absence does make the (dog) heart grow fonder!

November 16, 2010

BL3 Week 11


I've been traveling since Thursday which means less exercise, less sleep and lots of eating out. But travel doesn't mean you have to go totally crazy. This morning I made a simple change on my room service order that saved me a lot of calories - I swapped out the hash browns with a fruit cup. Easy peasy. When I was staying with a friend I made all fruit smoothies with spinach and powdered greens to start my day off right.

I scheduled a workout with my trainer the morning before I left and one the evening I get home so I don't take any more time off than I have to. While I was gone I didn't work out in a traditional sense, but I did do crunches and sit ups a few nights. My work and travel days were active with lots of walking, stairs, and lifting 2L bottles of Pepsi (for hours!) - that works up quite a sweat let me tell you! And because I wasn't sitting behind my desk there was no snacking. So while I may have had a few french fries, overall I still did okay with no snacking between meals and I never cleaned my plate. Six days later and I'm feeling pretty good, we'll see if my scale agrees with me when I get home.Traveling is never easy but you can be successful, it just takes a little more planning and commitment.

Drum roll please! Remember this is a running total, not a weekly result. (positive #'s are good, negative #'s not so much)

Keri 5.58%
Danielle -2.50%
Karin 2.37%
Claire 4.38%
Lori -1.64%
Michelle S-B -0.87%
Michelle M-K 1.78%
Sharon 2.45%
Bernice 4.96%
Carolina 0.81%
Melinda -0.64%

This is getting to be a very tight race, Claire and Bernice both had really good weeks! So right now this is how we stand: 1. Moi 2. Bernice 3. Claire. One week left, give it your all!!!! Picture this lady whipping your ass into shape!

November 11, 2010

Thomas Keller's Boeuf Bourguignonne part II

Day 2: Monday.  Did you miss Day 1? Read all about it here.

5. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Remove the meat from the refrigerator, and skim off any congealed fat from the top.

6. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan along with 2 thyme sprigs, 1 bay leaf, ¼ teaspoon peppercorns, 2 garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon salt. Cover the potatoes with an inch of cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain, cool, discard the seasonings, and set aside.

7. Place the baby carrots in a medium saucepan with 4 thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon peppercorns, 2 garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon of salt. Cover with 1½ inches water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain, cool, discard the seasonings, and set aside.

8. Spread the lardons in a single layer on a nonstick or foil-lined sheet pan. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, stir, and return to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until browned. Drain on paper towels.

I used pancetta for the lardons.  I wasn't sure where to find slab bacon and this way I could control the thickness. It was definitely saltier then regular bacon for sure. Yummmmmm, bacon.  Everything is better with bacon, and even better with pancetta non?

9. Melt the butter in a large skillet over high heat until the foam subsides. Add the remaining 32 mushrooms, reduce the heat to medium-low, and season with salt and pepper. Cook gently, tossing often, until the mushrooms are lightly browned and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

What the hell is a button mushroom?  My butter foam never subsided and it started to brown, recipe didn't say anything about letting it brown so...  Is this where things started to go south?  No, I think that started way sooner.

10. Carefully transfer the pieces of meat to a deep, ovenproof sauté pan. Strain the liquid over the meat. Warm the meat in the oven for about 5 minutes, basting occasionally. Add the potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and pearl onions, and toss gently. Roast in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the meat and vegetables are hot.

Did you notice in the ingredients list when it said you need 12 red pearl onions and 12 white pearl onions that they should be "cooked"?  Me neither. How exactly does Tom propose I cook pearl onions? More importantly how do I cook them in the 5 minutes the boeuf is warming in the oven? So now I have two bags of pearl onions but none in my Boeuf.

ummm, kind of looks like plain 'ole watery stew, doesn't it? As Marija would say, Merde!

11. Meanwhile, warm the lardons in a small skillet. Chop the leaves of the remaining 5 sprigs parsley.

12. Remove the sauté pan from the oven, and gently toss in the parsley. With a slotted spoon, divide the meat and vegetables among 4 plates. Spoon some of the sauce over each serving.

Distribute the lardons among the plates. Sprinkle with fleur de sel, and serve immediately with Dijon mustard. Serves 4.

Oops, forgot the fleur de sel. Drats. And no Dijon. Who wants mustard on their stew? So here we have it, my first Boeuf Bourguignonne. It didn't come cheap, especially with the French oven purchase. It took two days to make, plus shopping for the 24 ingredients. I expected in return I would have a magical stew. Other than some subtle hints of thyme and red wine, I could have made this in the crock pot with about 15 minutes of prep time. My "sauce" was runny, my boeuf was tough. Such a let down. It was a decent stew, there just wasn't anything remarkable about it.

Now, on to the good news. French wine. My favorite region you ask? Chateauneuf-du-Pape! We're trying to plan our first trip next year. Wine country or Paris or both? When I checked on plane tickets they were $1,000 each. I'm not the kinda girl that spends $1,000 each on plane tickets. I actually went through a period where we didn't buy a plane ticket for over 4 years because I had so many frequent flier miles. I think I gave away a dozen flights to friends and family on top of the multiple trips we took. If I had known my work travel would be reduced I would have kept those miles all for France. C'est la vie.

Voila! Dessert! My first French Macarons. Except they weren't French, they were made at Whole Foods. Don't judge me. Pistachio, coconut and lavender. Outsides were yummy, insides were strangely tart.

The moral of this story is this meal takes some practice. I think there are a few things you need to just know that the recipe can't tell you. Like how do you know if you slow cooked the short ribs long enough? Also, altitude is not a friend to the home cook. Neither is my crapass gas oven. I'm going to go back to the basics, and work on mastering the braised short rib. Then I'll give it another go with Julia's recipe. Stay tuned, this aint over yet.

Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon (Artisan) 
Wine Spectator Match: 
Jean-Louis Chave Sélection St.-Joseph Offerus 2006 (91, $29)

November 10, 2010

BL3 Week 10

ONLY 2 WEEKS LEFT!!! I will not get sick I will not get sick I will not get sick. I just keep making my green juice and fruit smoothies like they're going out of style. I have a lot of travel the balance of the year, plus this contest, plus holidays and vacation and such. There is no room for getting sick I tell you!!!

Drum roll please! Remember this is a running total, not a weekly result. (positive #'s are good, negative #'s not so much)

Keri 5.58%
Danielle -2.50%
Karin 2.79%
Claire 4.04%
Lori -1.64%
Michelle S-B -0.43%
Michelle M-K 0.59%
Sharon 2.45%
Bernice 4.58%
Carolina 0.81%
Melinda -0.64%

I'm first still, wooh hoo!  I had a great couple of weeks with the cruise and all but I'm a little worried that I have a shit ton of travel the balance of the year.  Detroit this week, Maryland next, Detroit again, then Tampa.  I need to concentrate on eating good first and foremost and try to get some exercise in.

Bernice had a huge week and is in second place!  Claire jumped up into third!  They work together, who do you think wants it more??? I'm betting on Claire, once she sees a win in her sights watch out cuz she might just run your ass over on her way to the top :) Carolina is on her way to Chile and Hawaii so I'm guessing she's out - have an awesome time!

November 9, 2010

My BFF Jillian's Wellness Cruise

I'm going to start off with a disclaimer - there are a lot of pictures and this is a huge ass post.  No apologies, just  a lot of great moments to share. There are other pics I haven't had time to scan and some revelations I wanted to share but at the rate I'm going it will take me til xmas.  So, I'll post what I've got and maybe get around to a second post one of these days.  

Most of you know I recently went on a Jillian Michaels Wellness cruise with a couple of my girlfriends Danielle and Karin. It went to two different Bahama Islands but who cares, we really just went to work out and have a girls weekend. We didn't even get off the ship at the second port. That's how we roll. I've gotten a lot of questions but figured it was easiest to write it all down vs. talking until I'm blue in the face, so here it is. (as I'm about to post this I realize I just interviewed myself, weirdo)

Was it awesome?  
Yes.  Totally empowering. 

Who was on the cruise?
Mostly women. Some fit, some not, some crazy fit. A few men, more than I thought.  A few kids.  It was a pretty good mix. JM was there, her business partner, girlfriend, mom, entourage, and a bunch of her trainers from her exercise videos, some doctors, etc.

Did you have fun?  
Yes.  But not in the get wasted and pig out ways that vacations turn into. It was more of a wow, look how f'in strong I was today kind of fun.

Did you meet Jillian?
Yes, twice. We're now BFF's for realz.

Did they have healthy food options?  
Yes.  JM tailored the ENTIRE menu.  A lot of the items were from her cook book.  All of the items had nutritional information on the menu.  Each of us had the same comment, if calorie information were on all menus, we would truly make different choices!  Steakhouse caesar salad for 750 calories or lighter version for 197?  Lighter version, hands down.  The chicken was free range, the beef was grass fed.  There was no soda, mayo, or butter available.  I mean NONE!  Those servers looked scared like they would be arrested if they brought over a pat of butter. There was a strange french fry incident on Saturday but then they must have thrown that cook overboard along with the fries. All of the bread was whole grain.  None of the food was cooked with butter or oil.  And the best part?  It was all good!  The portion sizes were a much needed reality check.  We kept a pretty busy schedule so we ate 3 squares and 1 snack each day.  Each night we had a glass of wine with dinner.  The last night we tried the desserts.  Healthy desserts of course, relatively speaking.  

How was the ship?
Not great. Service was poor. No great amenities. But that was all secondary.

Was Jillian on the cruise the entire time?
Totally!  We each got a pic with JM as we boarded the ship which made for a long boarding process. She led 6 group workouts.  3 speaking engagements.  A couple of private parties. We just missed her on the beach when she went to check in on some of the workouts. She went over the scheduled time on everything she did, workouts, speaking, etc. They had to drag her off the stage, she gave it everything. I guarantee she worked harder than any of us.

How was the meet and greet that Karin won?
It was one of the greater disappointments.  It was the final event and got pushed back due to other things being behind schedule. It ended up being at 10pm on Sunday night and JM was not feeling well after all the screaming. There was only about 20 of us and they gave us some books and she signed them but that was it. It was all very rushed and confusing. I went first and did talk to her despite security somehow trying to strong arm me into "SPELL YOUR NAME!" Whatev douche, you don't scare me. She seems really nice and she's super small. It might not have been so bad had we not heard about the private cocktail party on the first night when she made everyone do tequila shots and everyone had a crazy good time.

With all that healthy stuff, did you really have any fun?  
Hell ya!  The whole thing was fun, even the workouts.  And I got a mani/pedi, a massage, and a sun tan to boot! I know some people think that a healthy cruise would be the worst vacation ever but truly, it was a great experience.  

Here she is, the Norwegian Star.
And here are my girls: Karin and Danielle
Jillian was there, and she was as hard core in her group workouts on the ship as she is on t.v. Let me tell ya, she aint no joke.  I didn't take this pic but it rocks just the same.
Here she is making someone's plank exceptionally hard
She took some super buff chics from the audience and kicked their asses on stage, I mean invited them to demonstrate behind her in the group workout, for an hour and a half.  It looks like she is helping but what you can't see is Jill (that's what I call her now) standing on their back legs during standing low lunges.  Hardcore.
These chicks were super ripped up
 Dinner the first night off the stern with a view of Miami.  After spending a crazy long time in line to get on the ship we somehow got pumped up to get in a cardio workout after dinner.  That's what we were there for right?
First stop - NCL's private island in the Bahamas.  We got to sign up for two group workouts and I thought, why not a beach workout with Jillian's personal trainer Crazy Trainer Steve (Lee).  He kicked our asses up one end of the beach and down the other.  It was out of our comfort zone but I figured that was the point.  Plus, when do you get to do a beach workout with a world class trainer? She calls him Crazy but he seems really calm and centered so the crazy must come from how crazy hard his workouts are.
No offense to Bernie, but this dude's got it going on.  Totally hot.  When he was taking pics with everyone I asked him what it was like to kick JM's ass. No answer, just a sly smile. We were going to lay out in the sun after the workout but I couldn't seem to do anything else but get in the ocean with my clothes on.  I was so hot and sandy after that ass kicking. Danielle and Karin weren't far behind me.  When we went back to the ship we did an hour of weights led by moi.  And I put a pretty good hurt on our upper bodies if I do say so myself.
Other workout options: spinning on the deck
 Walking or running laps on the promenade
JM did 6 group workouts on the pool deck throughout the 4 day cruise, ours was Saturday evening.  Danielle, Karin, and I each did over an hour and a half of cardio that morning. I alternated my 1.5 hours between walking on the jogging track and riding the spin bike. This seemed like a good idea at the time until I realized my legs were totally burnt about 2 minutes into Jill's workout.  JM was on a stage with some assistants and a DJ.  We got there an hour and a half early so we got our choice of spots. Right up front I demanded!  Second row, right in the middle.  Ummmm, yeah.  That made us prime targets for getting a personal beating.  Good move?  Well, that's what we came for right? (note the theme). When do you get to get your ass kicked by a world class trainer?
 Here we are getting started, everything is still light and fluffy. We're center stage maybe 15' back.
 JM put one of the trainers (above in pink) up in the stands and brought down the guy that runs her website to be one of the assistants.  I was feeling pretty bad about myself not keeping up with the workout until this dude had to be helped off stage to sit down after 20 minutes.  She shamed him back up once she noticed he was gone but bottom line, it was a hard workout no matter your fitness level.
Seriously, she looks all nice and shit here but we hadn't even started yet.  I was right in her sight line.  We started and we never stopped.  No rest, not that I would expect any but everything was high cardio.  High knees, jumping jacks and butt kicks were resting moves.  Burpees, planks, push-ups, jump squats, lunges.  The whole thing is a blur.  All body weight exercises which proves that you need NOTHING to get a good workout in.  After 20 minutes I had serious doubts I could finish.  I remember thinking, did I really come all this way to walk off stage?  What if I puke?  What if I keep thinking what if? and have a full on panic attack?  And then she started yelling.  At everyone.  But also, At Me.  Directly. Something about higher, faster, stronger I have no clue.  At one point I heard, "YOU, IN THE HEADBAND, ...." I don't even remember what she said other than YOU, BLAH BLAH BLAH!  There were a few references to you bitches.  At one point she came down our row and I didn't think I could hold my plank for a second longer and I thought, this is it.  She's going to kill me.  Basically if you were in her sight line, there was no stopping, no quitting, no giving up.  As the sign behind her said, "If you don't faint or die, KEEP WALKING."
Our workout started at 6pm, we are just winding down here.  I think that poor website guy wants to puke.
Took a few snapshots during the cool down.
This wasn't my pic, but JM sat in the same spot during our workout and gave an inspirational talk during the cool down.  She sat right in front of us.  If I could get D's videos to work on my Mac I would share.
 Me and Danielle.  I think I'm standing 2 full steps below her.  She makes me look like a giant.  Everyone should have a friend that makes them look so small.  Well, she is small, but it makes our race pics hilarious.
Group pic on the last day, same tiered area where we did our workouts.  Totally crazy but it was nearing sun down and the captain turned the ship so we had better light for our picture. I don't have any good pics but earlier in the day we did laps around the promenade followed by a second workout with Crazy Trainer Steve Lee.  He concentrated on isometric exercises with proper form. Simple moves, no weights, but man they were so hard.  Plus by then our muscles were burnt.  I learned a great technique for a better burpee and a cool new exercise similar to going back and forth between downward dog (but in a squat) and an upward facing dog. I think Danielle and Karin did a 5k while I got a massage.
I've been seeing a personal trainer, Heather, for years, on and off. She's a little spit fire and a huge Jillian fan. Ever since I've been home from this cruise Heather has been channeling Jillian and kicking our asses left and right.  I told her about some of our workouts and all of a sudden I'm dripping sweat all over her basement floor. I like it because the workouts are killer and you can just feel the weight coming off but I hate it because it's mother f'in hard yo.

Would I do this again next year? No doubt. We heard she lost a ton of money on the cruise so it would probably be held on solid ground next time. Either way, I'm there. I lost 1.5lbs after a 4 day cruise and 2 travel days. I lost 2+lbs the remainder of that week after I got home. I could see the difference before I even got off the ship. Two weeks later I'm down even further, lowest weight of the entire year. And it was a great girl's weekend. So yes, I would do it again in a heart beat. The question is, are you going to join me?

Photo Note: some of the pics I took off facebook but then later found they were from the cruise photographer. He is offering them for free download so I don't feel bad for snagging them, but to give credit where credit is due, some of the photos above are from Will Byington and can be found here.


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