Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Puppy Love?

It's Wednesday night and a battle is raging in Brooklyn....

The battle for COUCH DOMINATION!

What starts off as an innocent argument over remote control... control...

Quickly turns into an all out brawl!

Fiona takes an early lead with a leap...

and tackle!

If you don't let me watch For the Love of Ray J I will tear off your face!!

But Leroy would not be outdone... Sprawling Fiona on her back and going for the gut!


Suddenly the human in the room moves toward the kitchen!

ooooh what's she doing in there?

oh, she's just doing dishes.... We're tired... let's cuddle

The end.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fair Fiona... Foster #2

So..... after 5 days of dealing with constant yipping, the "scratch scratch SLAM" of little pug bodies running across hardwood and sliding into the wall, and more vomit, pee and poo than I have experienced in.... months, and a moderate tear-filled breakdown, I am FINALLY able to sit down and write a blog about my 2nd foster puppy. As some of you may know, my first foster pug was Bruno, a distinguished calm, mostly blind, and very chunky old guy who stayed at my place for about a month last October. Fiona is nothing like that. Fiona is a 5 month old, skinny little puppy who has a digestive disorder called megaesophagus.

Fiona has been in foster care her entire life. She and her brother Cosmo (who also has megaesophagus) came to Curly Tail Pug rescue from a different rescue because our co-founders felt we may be able to help their conditions stabilize due to our experience with special needs puppies like our spina bifida puppy Sophia. Fiona is a TOTAL cuddly puppy, NOTHING like my Leroy who didn't really like to be held unless he was really sleepy. Fiona loves nothing more to be picked up and cuddled. It's helpful for her digestion if she's held upright after she eats, so I try and hold her for a few minutes after each meal and every time she curls up in my arms, puts her little head on my shoulder and goes right to sleep. If I'm sitting on the couch (and Leroy is constrained to another room), she will hope up next to me and calmly busy herself with a plastic nylabone.

Fiona HATES loud noises.... which is unfortunate for her because I'm a clutz and I cook a lot so there's always clanging and banging and sizzling... When I'm in the kitchen cooking she's usually hiding back by the bathroom. Fiona and Leroy are friends... for the most part. Fiona likes to play with him when she feels like it... Leroy is manically obsessed with playing with her. He's after her ALL the time... He runs her into walls and flips her over... it's a bit scary. She doesn't seem to mind for the most part

It's pretty amazing to me how different her personality is from Leroy's. Left to her own devices I think she'd be the perfect puppy... calm, cuddly, loving, submissive... all together perfect.

Her digestive disorder is preventing her from being adopted quickly, in my opinion... which is sad b/c it's totally manageable.

More to come of this little gal :-)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Basic at-home strength training

Within the past few weeks a couple folks have asked me about basic/beginning strength training exercises that one could do at home with minimal equipment. We all know I LOVE to talk about working out so I figured I'd just post it here for anyone who was looking to add some strength training to their workouts.

The moves here are really basic. They are a starting place for folks who haven't done as much strength training in the past with free weights. There are endless variations on these moves that will make them more challenging, but for this blog I'm just going to post the basics. My camera broke so you won't be able to see me demonstrating these lovely moves... but I'll make it work.

General Info:
1- Focus on form. Making sure you have good form is the most important thing when you're starting a strength program. If you don't have good form you are not going to be actually working the muscles that you're targeting and there is a greater chance for injury.

2- Reps and Sets: For each exercise you should aim for doing 3 sets with about 15-17 repetitions per set. The weight should be heavy enough so that by the time you get to about the 15th repetition it should be getting difficult and by the time you get to 17 you should feel like you can't really do anymore. If you're pumping it out like Jane Fonda with your pink 3 pound dumbbell you're not really doing anything.... at all.

3- Timing: I do my strength training in such a way that I get cardio and strength all at the same time. I do this by interspersing intervals of cardio between the strength exercises and moving from exercise to exercise quickly. You should NOT be taking 2-3 minutes break between the exercises, just keep on pushing through it. If you need water... drink some water and get right back to it.

Exercises: I'll present 2 exercises for each body part. Ideally you will do 3 sets of both exercises , but if you're trying to save time you can just pick 1 or do 2 sets of both exercises.

Cardio/Warm-up: Running in place, jump rope, or jumping jacks for 2 min.

Legs/Lower Body:
Squats (body weight only- no dumbbells):
Squats are the FUNDAMENTAL lower body exercise. Learning to do them properly with good form is key. A good way to start is doing chair squats. Do NOT rest on the chair when you lower into the squat, just hover above it Hold your arms out in front of you to help you with balance. ALL of your weight should be in your heels when you squat down, not on the balls of your feet or your toes. Yu should be able to wriggle your toes in your shoes when you squat. Another good way to practice form is to hold onto a pole (if you have one in your house... i won't judge) or the counter to help balance.

Static lunges-
Lunges are great lower body exercises. In static lunges you are simply dropping down into the squat from the starting position rather than stepping forward or backward into the squat.

Form: Your front knee should never go beyond your toe and your shin and thigh should form a 90-degree angle. If your knee is going over your toe then you probably need to widen your stance.

2 min cardio (jumping jacks, high knees in place, jump rope)

Bicep Curls
Form: This is a very controlled exercise. Your upper arms (above the elbow) should be kept still. Do not swing your arms. The only movement should be raising and lowering your lower arms.

Hammer curls
Hammer Curls are a variation of the bicep curl working a slightly different part of the muscle. The main difference is the hold of the dumbbell. For hammer curls you should start with your arms by your sides gripping the dumbbells with you palms facing your body (not facing upward like with traditional curls). Raise the dumbbells with your palms still facing each other and the dumbbells should be upright.

Tricep Extensions
The picture shows seated Tricep extensions, but you can do them standing. It's actually better to do them standing because it engages your core muscles as well.

Tricep Dips:
Tricep dips are a great exercise. Keeping your feet on the floor is the basic level. When you get more advanced you should place your heels on another chair so you are dipping your full body weight.

Form: Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and you're not shrugging them

2 min cardio (jumping jacks, high knees in place, jump rope)

Military Press (shoulders)

Military press is a great shoulder exercise. It is pictured seated, but you can do them standing, or better yet standing on one leg or another unstable surface :-)

Form: When you lower your arms down out of the press, your upper arms should be parallel to the ground and your upper and lower arms should form a 90-degree angle.

Lateral Raise:
When doing the lateral raise you should keep your elbows slightly bent. The more you bend your elbows the easier the exercise will be. Make sure you're standing up straight (try not to arch your back) and do not raise the dumbbells higher than your shoulders.

Chest Fly
Chest flys are a great exercise for the pectoral (chest) muscles. You can do them on the floor, but laying on an elevated surface is better because you have a wider range of motion.

Simply extend your arms outward and then bring them together over your chest. Your arms should remain straight (elbows very slightly bended). The more you bend your elbows the easier the exercise will be. Do not arch your back. make sure your lower back is pressed into the bench. Once you have this exercise down, try doing it with your legs raised straight out in front of you (allmost parralel with the ceiling) for a great lower ab exercise as well :-)

push ups
Oldie, but goodie. Most people think push-ups work out your biceps, but actually they mainly work out your chest muscles and to a lesser extent your arms and core (abs/back). They are an awesome overall exercise.

You can do them on your knees, but they are MUCH less effective this way.
Form: Don't poke your butt out. Your body should be in a straight line. Look down at the floor so you don't strain your neck. Keep your abs tight.

Ok so that's it. That's the basic total body workout that you can do at home with VERY minimal equipment. If you try out any of these moves let me know how you like them. Also if you have any questions just leave them in the comments :-)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Crazy Times!

Oh my God things have been so crazy over the last week! I finished up a transcription project (whew), my camera broke (boo!) and then mid week I took in an ADORABLE foster puppy named Fiona! She and Leroy have been driving me nuts, and I'm working on 4 hours of sleep but I wanted to update my blog a little just so you all would know I'm still here.

So much to tell you about! can't wait until the weekend

Besos :-)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Body of Work Challenge... it's not too late! :-)

Hey y'alls....

I made mention on one of my Blog Roundups of the Body of Work challenge that the Social Fitness blog has going for April. Essentially the challenge is to work out for 26 days in April (ie 6 days a week... you get one day off), and then blog about it on the site.

Ok before you get scared by the "6 days a week" thing, there are MANY types of exercise that count... actually I think any exercise counts. You don't need to have a gym membership. You don't need to have any fancy equipment.... you just basically need 2 legs and some motivation.

Here are some examples of workouts/routines that anyone could do.... without a gym
1- Get off the train 2-3 stops early and power walk the rest of the way home
2- Get together with a friend and learn the dance Single Ladies (put a ring on it) or any old Janet Jackson video.
3- You can do a VERY effective total body strengthening workout at home only using your body weight or light dumb bells. (I'd be MORE than happy to help anyone with this)
4- Order a few fitness videos and do 30 min - 1 hr of cardio or strength training in your apartment
5- Do the "Park workout" Go to a park with stairs. Run or walk the stairs for 15-20 min, do some lower body work (walking lunges, squats, etc), do some upper body work (tricep dips on the bench, push ups), do some abs (planks, side lifts, or full out crunches if you're not afraid to lay on the ground).
6- Take a dance, pilates, or yoga class with a friend

There are SOOOO many options for things that you could do to get moving for the month and honestly it is very motivating to participate with a group who is going through the same thing. The blogs can be as simple ("I got up this morning and walked 45 min before work) or elaborate (... morning... it's a time of reflection... as I stretch my weary joints... blah blah") as you'd like. so don't let the blogging deter you.

At this point there are over 200 people participating in the Body of Work challenge... It's day 2 and 99 of the 200 pulled their ass out of bed and did a little sumthin for day 1. It's only day 2. It's not too late for you to get your ass off of your couch and into the game....

And if my helpful hints aren't motivation enough... there are also GREAT prizes.
1st prize- a YEAR membership to CRUNCH gym (1,000 value!). Crunch has awesome classes like Barre ASSets (an ass class with a ballet bar), pole dancing classes, spinning, etc.

The other prizes are awesome, but this is the one I'm going for....

Come on fools... Who's with me!

Blog Roundup 4/2/2009

Despite the fact that I'm still sitting here reeling in disbelief that I am SUCH an idiot.... (read previous post).... I am still committed to bringing you your "daily" gems from the blogiverse... Thankfully it's been a calm last few days on the fashion sites... my bank account just can't handle anymore "Spotlight Store of the day" posts... So today's posts are for the foodies... Enjoy


Self-Saucing pudding at thekitchn. I think my boss is psychic... Every time she brings up some odd culinary topic, it shows up in a blog the next day.... Maybe she's writing these blogs...? It's very odd. Anywhoo a few days ago we were talking about Self-Saucing pudding. I guess it's a goo that when cooked is like a pudding on the bottom with a nice crust on the top... kind of like a lava cake. Thekitchn posted a recipe for a "Hot Toddy Pudding Cake" that sounded awesome... butter, sugar and scotch... I think I'll try it this weekend.

Thekitchn also posted about these toaster bags that will allow you to make grilled cheese in your toaster oven! I think that's awesome.... they took a poll on the blog... most people did not agree with me. Judge for yourself- "Toast-it Bags"

And lastly, just in time for Easter, thekitchn posted a link to a Chicago Tribune slideshow describing how Marshmallow Peeps are made.... What?!? Dont' act like you're not curious! :-p

That's it for now... :-)

Why reading is fundamental....

So a few days ago I entered a little contest on a blog called Soul Bounce to win 2 tickets to see Omar and Teadra Moses in concert at S.O.B.s.... the night before the concert I was talking to a new girlfriend online and she happened to mention the concert and said she wanted to go. I was like, "cool! I might win free tickets to that!" So we decided to go. She looked up the information for the concert and it turns out it was at Santos Party House in Manhattan and not S.O.Bs. I was like... that's odd... they must have changed locations, but didn't think much of it. Also the doors opened at 10:00... which I thought was late for a weekday concert, but she seemed to think that that was pretty standard. So I was like cool.... I was done for a little weekday late night adventure...

Turns out the next day I get an email from Soul Bounce saying I won tickets to the show! EXCELLENT! I didn't read the email very thoroughly, I just replied back saying I would be in the house, and told my friend we had free tickets. YAY

So around 10:00pm we set up to Santos Party House for the "concert".

We arrive at about 11:00.... The DJ is playing... no Omar... my girl seems to think that this is normal because people usually start late....

12:00 rolls around, no Omar... DJ still playing.... more artsy, no-job on Thursday, looking people roll in....

12:05 rolls around... A Blond chick takes the stage... can't really hear her singing over the too loud background music and drums.... No one seems to be paying attention to her.... We are repeatedly jostled by wildly dancing chicks... Waiting for Teadra...

12:15 A short woman takes the stage... I can't really hear her name very well due to the horrendous sound system... It sounds like she's saying Tedra the Empress... She is a short, round, young girl with locs.... She looks NOTHING like the Teadra Moses that I am used to seeing... but Teadra often calls herself the Lioness... and this chick was calling herself the Empress... and I couldn't hear for shit, so I just figured she'd gained some weight, loc'd her hair...and COMPLETELY changed her sound... She was good... not the person I remembered, but she was good.

12:30- Another act takes the stage.... I am getting sleepy.... Assuming that I'd already heard "Teadra" I started getting antsy... Where the Fluck is Omar?!? Thankfully a AMAZING singer by the name of Yazarah took the stage. She was awesome... a force of nature... Amazing voice... amazing body... I was pleased...

12:30-2:00.... COMPLETE Mayhem. The two hosts/MC's get on the stage.. PISSY drunk and just a mess... a... MESS... They introduce 2 more acts... I can't even describe it... I don't want to disrespect anyone's art.... so I will just continue...

2:15... Omar strolls in... is hanging out in the audience... I'm like... WTF... get on stage dude so I can go home.... He doesn't.... another pissy drunk MC gets on stage and starts talking incoherently about how Omar just came in from London... and how he's sorry... What?!? What are you talking about?!? We get our coats. We leave and take a sleepy cab ride back to Brooklyn.

This morning I come to work and go on the Soul Bounce website THOROUGHLY prepared to see a bunch of comments about the wackness of the show.... that's when I realize the following:

Candace and I actually didn't go to the Omar and Teadra Moses concert last night.

We went to the after party

Omar and Teadra were performing at a COMPLETELY different venue starting at 7:00. A real concert.... at a real venue... that started at a reasonable hour... That I would have enjoyed.... and I would have been home by 11:00.

Omar was never supposed to sing .... he was supposed to be hosting the after party.


I am so irritated right now

I'm so glad that it was only Omar and Teadra Moses.... if it was someone I really liked (or even knew... heh heh @ "The colored section") I would be EXTREMELY P.O'd right now