Category Archives: Holidays

2016 Goals

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is my least favorite week of the year. The holiday festivities start winding down and everybody starts pondering how much they suck at life and tries to convince themselves that they’re going to suck less in the coming year. I read somewhere that like 80% of new year’s resolutions have to do with fitness, and apparently I’m no different. For instance: it would be awesome if I didn’t have to lay down and say a prayer to the patron saint of diabeetus prevention to get my skinny jeans to zip.

leather-pants

Thankfully I haven’t had to resort to lotion to get my pants on. Yet.

I’m pretty confident that I’ll shed my holiday poundage pretty quickly now that I’m back to my usual eating routine that doesn’t include cookies, fudge, and hot chocolate every day, so here are a few more long-term goals I’ve made for the coming year:

Master kipping pull-ups

I can currently do 3-4 strict pull-ups (depending on how sore my arms are), which I am actually pretty proud of considering that I had literally never done a single pull-up in my entire life when I started CrossFit last summer. While I will continue to work on my strict pull-ups, I also need to learn to kip so that I can start RXing those workouts with a million pull-ups (I’m looking at you, Fran). I’m just going to keep chipping away at it during my warm-ups and hope that someday soon I’ll stop looking like I’m having a grand mal seizure on the bar and look more like this:

pull-ups-crossfit

Master double unders

I got a  Rogue RX custom jump rope a few months ago, which has made double unders a little easier for me. (For non CrossFit folks: a double under is when the rope makes two passes per jump instead of just one.) On a good day, I can string together 5 or 6. Most days I just wind up whipping my legs repeatedly with my rope and screaming obscenities.

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Back squat 225#

My most recent back squat max was 150#, but that was back in October so I’m hoping the next time I go for a max I’ll be closer to 175#. I honestly have no idea if 225# is possible for me to hit next year, but I’m going to try!

Deadlift 300#

Again, no idea if this will be possible, but I’ve added 50# to my deadlift since September so I figure I may as well aim high! (My current max is 205#)

Continue to focus on diet

My diet is SO much better than it was a few years ago. I used to eat a ton of frozen meals and “diet” foods, which were low calorie but filled with all kinds of artificial crap. For the last five months or so I’ve been really making an effort to cut back on highly processed, pre-packaged foods. I’ve noticed my body starting to change, particularly in the stomach area:

Before and After

Note the sweet shoulder bruise in the photo on the right. Maybe “fix my slow elbows” should be on this list.

The photo on the left was the week after I started CrossFit (August), and the one on the right was three months later (November). It’s not an Earth-shattering transformation or anything, but I definitely think I look less puffy and a little more toned in the one on the right. I haven’t ever taken progress photos before, but I’m finding it’s great motivation to actually be able to see the difference you’re making because it can be hard to see change on a day-to-day basis.

That’s it for me …  I’d love to hear your goals for 2016, if you have some!

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The Worst Kinds of Holiday People

Testing … is this thing on?

Remember when I used to blog more than once every six months? That was fun. Every once in a while I’ll think to myself, “Hey, ____ would make a good blog post,” and then between work and working out and falling asleep in front of Netflix at 8 p.m. I never wind up writing said post.

This morning I was driving to work and got cut off by a car with reindeer antlers affixed to the headlights (very safety!) and I was like, “Hey! I should write a blog post about the worst kinds of people during the holidays.” I managed to stay awake past 8 p.m. tonight thanks to Dave’s office Christmas party, and here we are. Presenting: The Worst Kinds of Holiday People According to Heather Homefaker.

People who gripe about long lines in big box stores the week before Christmas. The majority of Walmart shoppers can barely manage to put on pants before leaving the house, and you thought they’d have their shit together enough to finish their Christmas shopping early? Oh, you. Unfortunately at this point your options include A) dealing with it or B) going to a drugstore and paying $8 for that $1.99 jar of marinara sauce you’re holding. Your options do not include being a douche to the cashier about the long wait times because you didn’t foresee Walmart on Dec. 23 being a giant pajama-clad clusterfuck set to the tune of Jingle Bell Rock.

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I would watch the shit out of  a show where Gordon Ramsay shows up and screams at people in Walmart.

People who can’t consume Christmas cookies/candy/drinks without talking about how many calories they have. You’ll probably gain 5 lbs this week. So will everyone else, so at least you won’t look fatter by comparison. Now close your cookie-hole or shove something delicious into it before I smack you.

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Can’t … stop … watching.

People who judge me for listening to old-school Amy Grant Christmas albums on Spotify at work. You think my nostalgic infatuation with 1990s contemporary Christian Christmas music is weird? Just be thankful I’m not also doing the sign language to “Emmanuel” because I TOTALLY KNOW IT.

afxc6t

I may have also choreographed a dance to “Baby, Baby” in middle school that I performed in front of my parents and their friends.

(Related: this morning I decided to give Amy a break and try a Spotify playlist called Hipster Christmas. Ten minutes later my office was filled with fart sounds, which at first I attributed to a coworker who may have gotten a little too excited about the bread budding in the break room, but was in fact a Hipster Christmas track called “Jingle Farts.” Yes, it is literally fart sounds to the tune of Jingle Bells. No, I don’t want to know what types of exercises are required to control the timbre of your farts. Hipsters, you and your holiday sweaters that stopped being ironic five years ago are officially on notice.)

People offended by the word “holiday.” Now,the layperson might think that when people say “happy holidays” they are using it as a convenient way to wish you a Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Wonderful New Year all at once because it would be super exhausting (and weird) to ask everyone their religious affiliation in order to wish them the appropriate yuletide greeting. DO NOT BE FOOLED BY LOGIC. These holiday well-wishers are clearly trying to trample on your rights by taking CHRIST out of Christmas. This is for sure what you should focus your rage on at a time when there are millions of refugee families without places to live, civilians and troops dying daily overseas, and people gunning down their coworkers on a disturbingly regular basis.

tzos8

That escalated quickly. Sorry.

I could probably keep going, but I’m starting to sound like I hate the holidays, which isn’t the case. In fact, my appreciation for Christmas traditions borders on Clark Griswold territory, right down to the crazy relatives. And on that note, I’ll leave you with this:

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Memorial Day Weekend: Three Words Per Photo

We had a fantastic three-day weekend over here – we managed to strike just the right balance of lying around doing nothing and spending time with friends. I’m posting a few photos of what we were up to, since I’m still in ultra-lazy mode and don’t feel like writing anything longer than a paragraph.

Whiskers{Furry alarm clock.}

Herbs

{So. Many. Herbs.}

Bears

{Crazy bear lady.}

Thai Food

{Shrimp panang curry.}

Cake stands

{Making cake stands.}

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 5.43.39 PM

{Jump squats. Ouch.}

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 10.55.10 AM

{SPF 30 sucks.}

Barbecue

{Monday night dinner.}

And now it’s back to work … I hope your weekend was as relaxing as ours was!

Best Of: Valentine’s Day Decor

So, Valentine’s Day is coming up in a few weeks. I love it, but not for the typical reasons – we don’t plan some huge date night or get each other heart-shaped boxes of chocolate or anything like that. I feel like if you need a holiday as an excuse to eat chocolate and do nice things for your significant other, you probably need to evaluate your life. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, if a stupid holiday gives you so much rage about being single that you have to flood everybody’s social media feeds with anti-Valentine’s Day posts, you probably need to relax a little. Have a drink and celebrate the fact that you don’t have to shave your legs on a regular basis.

I mostly love Valentine’s Day because I can’t resist a good cheesy holiday celebration. I’m the dork who wears pink and red and bakes treats to bring to the office every February 14.  I think I get it from my mom – in her world, no holiday is too small to celebrate. Every February she would decorate our house with hearts and set out festive foil-wrapped chocolates, and on Valentine’s Day we’d wake up to little boxes of See’s candy and pink heart-shaped pancakes. I haven’t really decorated my home for Valentine’s Day as an adult, but this stuff is making me want to start:

Valentine collageOne | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven

I actually think most of this stuff could be left out year-round (except for maybe the heart-print dish towel). Do you decorate for Valentine’s day?

10 Valentine Cards That Don’t Suck

You guys, I had a breakthrough this weekend: I’ve been in the wrong business all my life.

Let me back up a bit. The scene: Dave and I were at Rite-Aid 10 minutes before a birthday party, trying to find a card that didn’t play Brick House upon opening or feature animals making poop jokes. (“Your gift is in the litter box HAR HAR!”) We finally pick the least stupid card of the bunch, get to the register, and it rings up for $7.99.

Things I’m OK paying $8 for:

– My monthly Netflix subscription
– A bottle of nail polish that will last me six months or more
– 8 songs on iTunes that will live on my iPod forever
– A pound of coffee to get me through a month of early mornings

Things I’m not OK paying $8 for:

– A greeting card that reads like the author suffered a serious head injury minutes before penning it, which will be read once and then thrown directly into the trash

Has anyone seen my shit? Because I lost it right there in the Rite Aid lobby. Clearly I missed my calling to become a greeting card author. With more than three functioning brain cells, I figure I have a leg up on the competition.

Anyway. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and if you buy your loved one a card from the drugstore there is a very good chance he or she will lose all respect for you and leave you immediately. I don’t want this to happen to you, so here are 10 non-stupid options that you can order online and present to your lover with pride this February 14:

Holidays in Photos

Frost on fence

Happy first day of 2015! Mine is off to a fabulous, albeit freezing, start. I’m trying not to complain too much because we’ve had a relatively mild winter until last week, but still: starting your work mornings off by shivering in your 55-degree living room while trying to build a fire in your bath towel is just about as pleasant as it sounds. As I was braving frostbite to take that photo up there on the way to work one morning last week, I got a text from a friend complaining about how “cold” it was in Los Angeles – 37 degrees. I told her to suck it.

Anyway. I had a lot of fun celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve with family and friends, and since I’m still recovering from my annual post-holiday-eating stomach ache, I’m going to take the easy way out and just post some photos from the last week or so. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, if you celebrate. I’m not one for resolutions, but I will say that I am looking forward to devoting a little more attention to this space in the coming year!

Stockings on Mantle

{Christmas Eve mantle}

Christmas Pajamas

{Matching Christmas pajamas}

Cascade Theater

{Ceiling detail inside Redding’s Cascade Theater}

Christmas Tree

{Can you spot the toddler?}

Baby cheeks

{Baby cheeks}

Happy 2015

{No NYE celebration is complete without fireworks}

P.S. – Sorry for the grainy shots – perhaps I should break my resolution boycott and vow to use my DSLR more often in 2015!

Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corns, and Syrup

Happy Tuesday! I’m over here trying to figure out where December went. I feel like I was just stuffing my word hole with mashed potatoes and turkey, and now it’s already time to start stuffing it with toffee and fudge.

And yes, my holiday excitement is 90% about food. My neighbor brought us over a tray of Christmas goodies on Saturday, and I was like, “Oh, I’ll just try one of each item and send the rest to work with Dave.” And then I bit into a Reese’s-stuffed peanut butter cookie and turned into Joey Tribbiani.

JoeyShareFood

I’m guessing I consumed about a week’s worth of sugar over the weekend, and I am not even exaggerating. You know how some bloggers are all, “I ate cookies for breakfast, tee hee” because they crumbled up a chocolate chip cookie Quest bar on top of their gluten free overnight oats? This is not that. I ate a snickerdoodle cookie with a side of fudge for breakfast today. But I followed it up with a multivitamin and fish oil pills (and the fudge had walnuts in it), so I’m pretty sure that cancels it out.

Not helping the situation is the fact that I haven’t been working out as much as I like to. I’m still getting used to my longer commute, and even though I leave the office at the end of the day all pumped for my workout, by the time I get home I’m all

Homer gif

However, when I do buck up the energy to exercise, I’ve been loving the HIIT routines on FitnessBlender. They’re pretty tough (especially if you choose level 4 or 5), but you can get a killer workout in just 30 minutes. Two of my current faves are the Active/Static Bodyweight Bootcamp and the Butt/Abs Tabata. Doing these types of workouts just three times a week has somehow kept me from growing out of my pants over the last month, which is actually pretty impressive considering the amount of candy and seasonal beer/cider that I’ve crammed down my gullet.

Etna Brewery Taphouse

Via Instagram Again, I’m not exaggerating. But in my defense, a new taphouse just opened in town and I have to do my part to support the local economy.

Anyway. Tomorrow I head down to my parents’ house, where I’ll get to see my sister and adorable nephews and have fun enjoying all of our family Christmas traditions. I’m excited, but it will also be a bit bittersweet, as this will be the last Christmas in my childhood home. My parents are moving to Hawaii early next year, and my emotions have been ranging from slightly sad to YESSS FREE PLACE TO STAY IN HAWAII. Speaking of which, now’s the time to buy stock in Hawaiian Tropics, you guys – it’s going to take truckloads of tanning lotion to keep my pasty Irish skin from blinding the good people of Honolulu.

And on that note, it’s time to wrap this up. The chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen aren’t going to eat themselves.