Friday, June 25, 2010

Scenes From a 5K

Hello, my name is Margi and I am a joiner. Find me a fun activity where a bunch of other people are involved and there won't be a whole lot of arm twisting to get me involved. Luckily my friends aren't usually jumping off (or bungee jumping from) the Brooklyn Bridge. However, last year a bunch of friends of mine signed up for their first triathlon. Yours truly was prego and way too busy swelling to join in the festivities. Fast forward one year and the joiner in me has prevailed. Craving a change in workout post pregnancy and searching for a sense of accomplishment (endless diaper changes, loads of laundry and emptying the dishwasher weren't cutting it) I signed myself up for my first triathlon which will be taking place later this summer.

Allow me to start by saying although I exercise regularly, I don't swim (unless you count wading to make sure your children are safe), I whine when we bike as a family in the neighborhood, and I had previously tried running for the past three years and failed. I'm thinking there is a fine line between challenging yourself and plain old stupidity. Nevertheless, I find myself a training plan, get a swim instructor, join a gym, and get to work. Five months later, I am in no danger of winning this thing, but I'm doing all right. Turns out, I love to swim. Thank God for my swim instructor who got me started on the right path. Spin class is a challenge, but good. Turns out all of those years I was whining, my bike seat was way too low making it much harder. And for the first time, I took a sensible approach to running, building slowly and I here I am still running five months later (prior years, I gave up in three to four weeks).

At this stage of the game I'm thinking it makes sense to do a few warm up events before the big triathlon, so I sign up for a 5K. Now I'm no fool, I need a motivator. I sign up for the 5K sponsored by the local Tex Mex restaurant as it is well known for its after party where a margarita and a burrito are included with your entry fee. This is my version of the dangling a carrot. If I have to crawl, I know I'm making it across the finish line.

Welcome to race day. It is HOT AS BLAZES. We're talking ninety plus degrees. The heat and I have always had a relationship that mirrors water and the wicked witch of the west (I'm meeeltiiing!). It's no wonder my chosen sport as a child was figure skating. I still don't know if I chose wisely or if spending summers in leg warmers in frozen facilities has ruined my internal thermastat for life...I digress (as usual). Anyway, race day I spend the day indoors, in the air conditioning and drink water like it's my job. I fire up my iPod and eat the right foods at the specified times according to my Google search. I also look up the race course and see where the water stations are located in hopes of gaging where I am in the race. I arrive at the event and find a bunch of other moms from school who are also running. I register and pin on my number. How is it the simple act of wearing a number makes you feel like a competitor? Start playing the Rocky theme! It's crowded and I don't really have my bearings, I'm just kind of moving along with the masses and confirming with my friends what going on. I try to align myself with people I think I can hang with (the competitive gals are long gone having headed to the front of the line). Truthfully, I am jittery. Time to get a hold of myself. I'm basically anonymous in a mass of people running towards a drink and a quesadilla...get a grip. How on earth do Olympians do it? Before I know it, the mass of people is moving forward and me with it. It's go time. I actually feel pretty good and am surprised that I am passing people. Wahooo! My iPod volume is too high, but I don't want to fiddle with it, so I try to use it as a motivator. We get to the first water station. According to the map I looked at earlier this should be the halfway point. I'm going pretty good, but my mouth is dry, I totally feel the heat, and my knees feel a little funky after yesterday's bike ride. Water up, keep going. I'm in love with the neighbors who are out providing additional water and have their hoses on so we can run through the spray. Still going. I'm starting to think the end should be getting near. Still going. Make another two turns. Still going. Where the H E double L is the finish??? Still going. I take my headphones off in hopes of hearing someone give a clue as to how much further. Another turn or two later gracious spectators yell, "Three more blocks to the margaritas!" Amen! I cross the line seeing my time letting me know I did ten minute miles which is about as good as it gets for me. I revel in this thought for two seconds before I dive head first into the water table and stay there refilling no less than four times. I find some of my friends and immediately start trading war stories. Who you saw, who you passed, who passed you, the gross guy who kept spitting, where you get the idea. I also learned that they told you when you hit the one mile mark, but I missed it because of my too loud iPod. It's finally margarita time. I'm not one to pass on a party, but my body is telling me that alcohol at this stage of the game is not wise. I seriously feel like I have no shot at keeping food down. Fifteen minutes later, my friends around me look pretty well recovered. I on the other hand, am still actively sweating like a pig. I have my said margarita in hand and am halfway done. I feel an involuntary impersonation of "wicked witch of the west meets water" coming on. That's my cue. I'm outta here. I pass my half finished margarita and jet without so much as a tortilla chip passing my lips. Oh well. My air conditioned home and a shower felt better than any bean concoction could have ever tasted at that point.

So, 5 pounds of water weight lost, half a margarita, and a foregone burrito fest is how this 5K went down. I finished at a pace of ten minute miles and with control of all my bodily functions. I'll call it a mission accomplished. How I will be able to complete this post swimming and biking remains to be seen, but one thing at a time.

It's another ninety degree day, but I think I'll opt for swimming today. Maybe we'll make quesadillas for dinner tonight. Regardless, Speedy Gonzales here is signing off. Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Buzz

Hello Everyone! Today was the last day of school for my oldest and we are officially in summer vacation mode. I kicked off the season with a very nice afternoon at the pool and have the sunburn to prove it. I swear I haven't burned in twenty years and I really did apply the SPF 50...not really sure what happened there.

So, summer is what? It's a question I ask myself daily and one that constantly seems to be falling out of the mouths of my children (except the infant who can't speak yet, but give it time). We have a couple of camps scheduled, but they're pretty low key. Outside of that, we're clear, and you know what? I'm excited about it. As a matter of fact, I almost wish we weren't doing any camps. That might be the "summer buzz" talking. The summer buzz consists of all the great ideas of what you're going to do over the summer. It's at its peak those first two weeks of no school when you dial down the schedule and start to feel resuscitated. Bye bye morning scramble (and I'm not talking eggs here - who had time for that during the school year?). You want to stay up? Suuuuuuure! No homework! Have some ice cream! After two weeks of this, your kids are over tired, over sugared, and bickering like it's their job. At this point many of us are looking at our watches asking, "How much longer until school starts?" Truthfully, as my kids have gotten older, the summer buzz has stretched longer and longer. Last year we almost made it the entire summer. Buzz Kill didn't fly in until mid August, but bear in mind, Labor Day was late last year. Those last two to three weeks felt way long.

So what cocktail of summer activities are making up your buzz this year? Personally, mine is all about simplicity and getting back to some good'ol basics. Sunburn aside, yesterday's trip to the pool was the perfect start. Grabbing some friends (or sometimes going solo is just what the doctor ordered) and heading to the pool for some good old fashioned splashy fun will undoubtedly top the list this year. I have no intention of living at the snack bar, so making healthy meals is also at the top of my list. If I can share this meal with friends...even better. I have a stack of recipes and have every intention of cooking with my kids. It's an activity they enjoy and haven't spent enough time doing. I can't say involving them in the kitchen has greatly expanded their eating repetoire (to be fair, it's really only my second child that needs to broaden her food horizons), but I can dream can't I? Also, it's time to come out of the closet...I'm referring to the board games here. We have a million of them and I think it's time they saw some action. Reading, there's a novel thought (pun intended). We asked for gift cards for my son's birthday (most of which will be donated by the way), and we used some of those to buy all of his required summer reading and some fun reads too. He can read independently, I can read to the two little ones. A trip to the library is also always a beautiful thing. Get thee to a playground! Enough said. Journaling - I'll count my blogging here, and my third grader is definitely writing this summer. As long as it's not a letter to Dr. Phil about me, we're cool. I'm also digging the free movies at AMC and Regal for the occassions when the homespun stuff just won't cut the mustard.

So, you noticing the "free" or utilizing something we already have theme? I just feel the time to appreciate what we already have is upon us. I'm hoping good friends, healthy food, a good book, getting the creative juices flowing and actually sitting myself down to play games with the kids will be the perfect concoction to get my summer buzz on. Well that and a few cocktails on a patio never hurt. Happy summer!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Us Magazine

Hello! Happy weekend everyone! It's been a fun one. I attended a college alumni picnic, our neighbors hosted a Minute to Win It party (even if my performance was lack luster, it was still fun on steroids), and we're off to a nephew's birthday party shortly. On the flip side, my subscription to Us is all goofed up. I really thought I had renewed, but it stopped showing up in my mailbox. Clearly, getting that straightened out needs to top the to-do list this week. Until then, I will happily buy my copy at Target (even if I have to pay the cover price).

So Kendra is on the cover due to her "Sex Tape Scandal." Shall we take a moment's pause and break this down?

1. If you are a playboy bunny, isn't it almost pre-requisite that you have a sex tape? Hence, what scandal?

2. Ever notice whenever a star has something to promote that they miraculously induce some media circus over some controversy? Which leads me to...

3. Kendra's new fitness DVD. After a three page spread on her "Sex Tape Scandal," there is a two page promotional spread for her new DVD which, drum roll please, is part of the Us Weekly Fitness series.

This "scandal" is nothing more than a thinly cloaked PR/promotional stunt. It's dressed so poorly it really belongs in the "Fashion Police" section.

Next we have Mylie Cyrus and the "Things She Hates." Starting with Glee she says, "Honestly, musicals? I just can't." What's the matter Mylie? Are you too "rock star" for musicals? By the way, we all know your music is digitally enhanced, and even then you don't sound as good as this cast, so I think you should zip it. Next we move on to Jay-Z. "I've never heard a Jay-Z song." I'm no music expert, but I'm thinking Jay-Z is not a guy to be dismissed, especially by a 17 year old who's music is written by her dad. Then there's Rob Pattison and Twilight. "I don't believe in it...I don't like it." Girlfriend, if you finished high school you would know it's called fiction and you're not supposed to believe in it. Secondly, I'm sure you don't like it because judging from this line up your giving, you don't like anything that is equally if not more successful than you. Lastly, we have Mylie on Twitter. "I think Twitter should be banned from the universe." Well, no one has accused you of being a PR genius (or any type of genius for that matter), but any knucklehead in your position should understand that Twitter is a cool tool to connect with your fan base. Somebody, PLEASE take this girl's ungracious sassy pants and gag tie her with them. P.S. you're not in an 80's punk band, lose the spiked collar.

Other notables in this issue include coverage of Tom Cruise's performance at the MTV movie awards. I haven't seen it yet, but it sounds like it was hilarious. Searching for this performance on YouTube will also make my to-do list this week. Would you believe the past two issues have had pictures of Kristen Stewart smiling? Say it isn't so! After launching a megahit movie franchise and allegedly landing Mr. Pattison, it really was time for her to cheer up. Also, somebody call the cops! The Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky ate some pizza and pasta and now wants to lose fifteen pounds. You and half the world babe...this is not news. Moving on...

Ahhhhhh, Bradley Cooper. So easy on the eyes. I think he looks like Patrick Dempsey in this picture. Although if you move down to his neck...EWE! Dude, it's vampire movies that are hot, not werewolves...shave your neck!

And that is it. I normally like to change things up a bit rather than do two Us Magazine entries in a row, but it was the lowest hanging fruit in terms of material and I really do want to get up two posts a week. The last week of school is upon us! Once everyone is out, lord knows when I'll find time to write anything, but even so, I'm ready to have everyone home and start really enjoying the summer months. Hope you're looking forward to it too!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Us Weekly

Hi Folks! I'm busy as usual. I'm sure you are too. Quick shout out to Mother Nature who played very nice yesterday and didn't rain on our two outdoor events. After two big parties in the heat, the kids have their own version of a hangover...overtired, too much sugar...Then there's me who's operating on four hours of sleep. This may be a good night's sleep in Lindsay Lohan's world, but it's crash and burn time in mine. Anyway, I had a two issues of Us backed up. This past Friday's issue was okay. Real Housewives of Orange County is on the cover. I don't watch it, but probably should as it sounds like perfect fodder for blogging. However, the issue before that totally held my attention. Perhaps it was the cover:

I'm a sucker for diet information. Apparently I'm not alone judging from the magazine covers that I see in the grocery store checkout line. They tout things like "Lose the Belly Fat for Good!" Have you ever studied all of these magazine covers as a group? "Beat Stress!" "Walk the Weight Off!" "The Five Minute Solution For Exhaustion!" Why do we buy these? They really make us women out to be a sorry lot and P.S. If anyone out there has ever found a lasting solution to any of these problems in a weekly magazine, drop me a line. I digress. Back to the Us.

I always get a kick out of the "Who Wore It Best" section. I play a little game with myself and make my own judgment before looking at the stats. I am wrong 90% of the time. This week was no exception:

Grant you I was only off by four percentage points, but I picked Audrina Patridge. Seeing as the press is just crazy hard/cruel to Jessica Simpson, I'm glad to see some glimmer of positive press. However, I'm also happy to see the shirt that I gave away in 1995 (having not worn it since 1992) has made its way into the hands of someone who will wear it.

I wouldn't think this section would give me so much material, but the next page was great:

A blow out! It's about as common as pitching a perfect game (Go Halladay!) but it is well deserved by Lauren Conrad here. The parent in me cringes to see Taylor Momsen go from playing sweet Cindy Lou Who in "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" to looking like a cross between Avril Lavigne and Courtney Love. This has "fallen child star" written all over it. Moving to the top right, do we care who wore this dress best? Apparently you turn into a miserable statue the moment you put it on. Now to the bottom right. Can anyone truly wear this dress best? It looks like a table cloth suitable for a luau with a checkerboard runner on it. Frankly, I'm surprised two people wore this creation. I don't get it.

The magazine also covers the Sex and the City premier, Bret Michaels' health issues (I think I'm a renewed fan post Celebrity Apprentice...may have to dig the old 45's out. Get well soon!), and the Sarah Ferguson scandal. However, it was two other clips that caught my attention.

Wahoo! J. Lo and Marc Anthony have managed to make it to six years of marriage. This means they are the new poster children for "long term" marriages by Hollywood standards. Congratulations! They are renewing their vows and have reportedly registered for gifts. I am absolutely sure they don't have everything they need from his first marriage or her first or second marriage. As celebrities, they clearly don't get enough free stuff, so people should absolutely drop cash so they can have the "paid for" variety. Hello tacky. Moving on...

No Dating for Tiger Woods! Apparantly Elin's team is watching his every move and his team feels as though it would not be a good idea. I couldn't agree more. Taking a woman to dinner publicly could be horribly damaging. Better stick to the undercover serial whoring. Go get him Team Elin!

And that's a wrap! I am out of mental steam to write anything else (the fashion reviews really take it out of me...sarcasm anyone?). So I will just bid you adieu and wish you a good night. Talk to you soon!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Girls Just Want to Have Fun!

Hello and Happy almost Friday! Sounds better than just plain old Thursday doesn't it? I must say, I am in a very good mood this morning. Why you ask? I am the latest recipient of a spray tan. Well that, and I have a bit of a caffeine buzz on this morning. As I look down at my bronzed arms typing away, I must declare spray tans are not just for Britney Spears and the cast of Dancing With the Stars. It may be the perfect Mommy pick me up. Look like you got away to the Carribean without the price tag. And, you get the appearance enhancing quality without going all Heidi Montag Pratt (that's code for crazy plastic surgery). Perhaps it is not the spray tan itself, but the fact I got mine via a "Spray Tan Party" that I hosted last night and did this in the company of six other girlfriends. Fun!

I was totally ready to trade in my "winter glow" (white glow worthy of avoiding any black light) for a summer one (bronze glow synonyous with relaxed summer days and less makeup) and had a conversation with some friends who felt the same. I have another friend who provides the spray tan service and was looking for business. This business girl knows a win win when I see it. Turns out my friend who does the spray tanning does it in a party format, so I said, "Sign me up!" My spray tan friend offers the service for $35. Helloooooo bargain (instant happiness)! If you ask me, this also beats the pants off of $35 of doo hickies you would buy at a typical demonstration. Now, this is not the party you can invite the masses to, you really need to go eight or less unless you want to party into the wee hours (hmmmmm on second thought). So I gather some of my neighborhood posse and we got giddy over our little aesthetic shin dig.

What do I wear? Could we be any more predictable in asking this question? We all wore something bathing suit-esque and were told to wear dark loose clothing for afterwards. We all showed up in our bathing suits and little pool cover up dresses (most were black - there's a shocker). No make up, hair up, equals Instant pool/vacation vibe. I was happy everyone opted for a pomegranate martini which we renamed the "Tan-tini" for the evening festivities. Truthfully I wanted to create a new cocktail for this with some sort of orange juice and orange flavored vodka. Two sips of my first not-so-successful concoction made me realize I would be hammered by 4pm (roll tape for Housewives of Montgomery thanks). I settled for my favorite, renamed.

Can she spray tan abs and boobs on me? Sadly, no. It was a spray tan party, not an airbrush party (I would pay big bucks to go to that one - wonder if that could be the next millionaire mom idea?). The best I could do was serve light fare for food as to not create additional bloat.

How are we going to do this? My friend/technician set up a tent in my garage which we stood in to get all tanned up. For ventilation purposes, the garage door had to stay open. No worries, the tent saved everyone from passing eyes. The tan process also gave us a chance to laugh at ourselves as we posed as a body builder, egyptian and as if we were being arrested to make sure all body parts were "tanned" sufficiently. As each person came back into the kitchen we cheered them on and admired their tan.

Special instructions? Yeah, there's a good number of those, the most important being, no showering 6-8 hours afterwards. However, be sure to shower before you go into your next sweat session alas, your tan will turn green. I will admit I get a bit "Grinchy" in spin class, but no need to get all literal about it.

Facing facts, standing in front of a gal in your bathing suit in someone's garage...let's just say you could have snapped a picture (as if) and planted it next to "awkward" in the dictionary. My friend/technician was great in making us all feel comfortable...even me who is still a bit post partum blobish. Anyway, if anyone wants her name to throw your own party, drop me an e-mail. (There's nothing in it for me...just spreading sunshine)

So I am still basking in the glow (literally) of my most recent gathering. Girlfriends make the world go round. They are there for the good, the bad and the ugly. Who got me my last job? Girlfriend. When I was in potty training hell with my daughter, who had the solution? Girlfriend. May I say, "Girlfriends for government!" I'll bet you we could find a solution to the BP oil spill (no levity to be found there). May I propose "Girlfriends Day?" Kind of like Mother's Day, but instead of flowers and brunch, you gather your girls and get some sort of spa service and have a cocktail. Brilliant right?! Until we get that pushed through, gather your girlfriends and celebrate your friendship. Whether it's a tan party or not, you'll still come out with a glow.