Tag Archives: my life

Guess What We Did Yesterday…

More importantly, guess what my husband did yesterday! Check it out:

That’s my husband Mike front and center (in the blue shirt) at the New York Stock Exchange, ringing the closing bell to celebrate Foot Locker Inc’s 100th year of trading. No big deal.


While he was doing that, the kids and I engaged in our own shenanigans. We window shopped at the Lego Store, ate from a Halal cart, rode subway trains galore, hunted for dinosaurs and whales at the American Museum of Natural History, and hit up Toys R Us & the Disney Store in Times Square.

Oh hi there, polar bear! The Hall of Ocean Life at AMNH might just be my children’s new favorite place on the face of the earth.

Once Mike was done, we caught up with him to eat dinner at Junior’s and then headed over to the High Line, a 1.5 mile long elevated park built on an old freight rail line. How I’ve never heard of the High Line before, I’ll never know, but one thing I do know is we’ll be back there every time we go into the city. If you’re ever in NYC, be sure to check it out and take a beautiful little urban hike.

Sunset view from the High Line.

We had such a fun time and managed to keep our day trip mostly frugal: total travel, food and purchase costs were under $150 (half of which was our dinner splurge rolleyes). As a family we don’t go away on “big” vacations  (although we do try to visit Cape Cod for a few days in the off-season), but that allows us to fit smaller “staycation” outings like this one into our budget. Also, we’re lucky to live in an area with so much to offer, such as trips to NYC, the beach, camping, etc. There’s something really cool and fun about taking the time to discover what your own backyard has to offer.

Do you “staycation”? If so, what are some of your favorite local things to do for fun in lieu of going away on vacation? Share with us in the comments section below!


Help Me Choose a New Pair of Eyeglasses!

I need a new pair of prescription eyeglasses. I have only one pair, and with two rambunctious young kids the reality is it’s only a matter of time before they Hulk-smash that baby into bits and pieces (yes, it’s happened before… twice).

I picked my friends’ brains over Facebook one day for an affordable source of secondary spectacles, and my brother offered up the socially responsible warbyparker.com. He said he’d seen them featured on a news report and learned that for every pair purchased they donated a pair to the less fortunate. I was intrigued by this, and checked them out. Here’s a summary of what they do (from their Facebook page):

Warby Parker sells boutique-quality prescription eyewear for $95 exclusively through our website, www.warbyparker.com, and donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair sold. Polycarbonate prescription lenses with anti-reflective and anti-scratch coatings are included in the price and we offer free shipping, free returns and free home try-ons every day.

We believe that everyone has the right to see. Unfortunately, millions of people around the world today don’t have access to proper vision care. To help address this problem, we partner with renowned non-profits, such as Restoring Vision, to deliver one pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair that we sell. In doing so, we enable you to share the gift of vision with someone who can’t see today and give them the opportunity to read, to work and to live a fuller life.

If you want to check out the whole shebang, you can click HERE and head over to their website for all the deets.

I have a diamond shaped face, which is notoriously difficult to find appropriate frames for. I sort of need to try on frames before I buy them, but I didn’t want to go to a brick and mortar shop and pay up the wazoo for new glasses (since my insurance doesn’t cover another pair for about 15 more months).  You might be thinking “Whoa! $95 isn’t exactly cheap when you could get a pair for $10 bucks”… I knew I could get a pair cheaper online, but I didn’t want to gamble my money on glasses that may or may not look good on me. And considering my last pair of glasses was over $200 after insurance, $95 doesn’t seem so bad. AND considering that someone less fortunate is gaining a needed pair of eyeglasses at my minor expense is totally worth the slightly “higher” cost.

One of my favorite things about Warby Parker that sets it apart from other online prescription eyeglass retailers is their Home Try-On program. You can order 5 pairs of frames that you’d like to try on at home (you get five days to decide, with no obligation to buy!) and it includes free shipping both ways. So that’s what I did.

Now I need your help, as I’m redonkulously indecisive about these kinds of things and it’s kind of a big deal for me to pick the right ones since they’ll be on my face every. single. day. Below are the four frames I’m stuck on – one pair was definitely a no-go, so I didn’t bother including it. Check them out, and help me decide which nerd goggles I should order! And before you say anything, I know I look kind of, um, dweeby. I’m no good at taking pictures of myself, especially in poorly lit bathrooms (or anywhere else for that matter). But I can take comfort in knowing that no matter how lame I look at least there’s no duckface action going on in my photos.

Frame #1: "Winston"

Frame #2: "Bensen"

Frame #3: "Sinclair"

Frame #4: "Preston"

Which pair of frames do you think I should choose? Let me know what gets your vote in the comments section below.

(ps- I’m not being compensated in any way for gushing about the awesomeness of Warby Parker. I just think they’re that awesome.)

Injuries and a 30 Day Shred Update: Day 24, 25, 26, 27 & 28

Last week my biggest exercising fear came true: I hurt myself. I’m not sure what happened exactly, but my husband says I probably pinched a nerve or strained a muscle while exercising. There is a dull achy pain in the middle of my back that I can ignore for the most part with the help of Motrin (or, you know, wine) but I definitely notice it when I start to slouch or turn my upper body. I’ve contemplated going to the doctor, but the frequency and intensity of the pain is starting to lessen dramatically so I think I’ll stick it out a few more days. As I write this I’m going on day 8 of no exercise, but since I have no intentions of quitting the 30 Day Shred I’m going to start easing back into it. Maybe I’ll do Level 1 for a day or two to ease into things and then pick up where I left off. I have to laugh, because a month ago I wouldn’t have considered Level 1 to be any sort of mechanism for “easing into” anything, but now that I’ve seen the darker side of the workout, I’d gladly welcome Level 1 back into my life with open arms.

How do you handle exercise-related injuries? What influences your decision to stop and rest or just keep going? Share with us in the comments section below!

Day 24: Moving on to the next level of the 30 Day Shred is always welcome after 10 days of monotony. I was all excited for change, and glad to leave those pesky plank twists and pendulum lunges behind me. After making my way through the new-to-me 25 minute session, here’s what I’ve taken away from my first day of Level 3 of the 30 Day Shred:
-Sumo/plie hops make me fear that my uterus might fall out of my body, or that I might pee myself, or all of the above. And holy wow, they make for some serious thigh burn.
-Jump squats and rockstar jumps have highlighted the fact that I have zero coordination. Also, I never knew you needed coordination just to jump in the air. Also, ouch.
Honestly, everything else was okay. I had to do the easier, modified versions of some of the moves, but overall it wasn’t horrible. I wish there were modified versions of the jumping moves, because I have serious doubts that I can tackle them for 9 more days.

Day 25: I really don’t like the jumping exercises. They’re starting to hurt my knees and today I had to stop halfway through each set of moves from the pain. I can do every other move without stopping, but damn those jumps.

Day 26: I decided to not do the jump squats and rockstar jumps anymore, instead replacing them with jumping jacks, jump ropes, high knees and/or butt kicks. I know I’m supposed to push myself past my comfort zone to see results, but the idea of potential injuries just isn’t worth it. We’ll see how it goes with my substitutions. I refuse to give up! As for the sumo/plie squats, they’re an insanely easy (albeit uncomfortable) move and the more I do them the more tolerable they become. I’m not subbing those out for anything, just crossing my fingers that they don’t destroy me. I’m still doing well with all the other moves. Some are really easy for me and some are a little challenging, but I don’t feel like I’m killing myself like with Level 2.

Day 27: It was a good day for exercise today. I mentioned in my last Shred update post that I was going to work out earlier in the day, but the 7am wake-up time took a few days of getting used to (aka I slept in a lot, oops). I managed to be up bright and early today and tackled my workout before 9, and the payoff was worth it. I didn’t drag at all throughout the workout and I had a huge excess of energy for the rest of the day. It was like I drank 10 cups of coffee, minus all the caffeine or midday crash. I’m starting to appreciate why people wake up redonkulously early to fit in a morning workout.

Day 28: Everything was going fine today, I managed to make it all the way through to the middle of circuit 3 without even pausing to catch my breath. The cardio portion of circuit 3 started and I was doing my jump ropes (in place of the rockstar jumps) when all of a sudden… OUCH. I landed from a jump and a serious pain shot right through the middle of my back. I thought maybe I landed funny so I tried to start again, but nope. It definitely was not a one time thing. I stopped right there and skipped the end of the level.

*Day 28 was on February 16. As of today’s post, I haven’t worked out since 😦

If you missed the previous updates you can click on the links below to check them out:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4

Workout Snacks and 30 Day Shred Update: Days 5,6 and 7

30 Day Shred Update: Days 8 & 9

30 Day Shred Update: Days 10, 11 & 12

30 Day Shred Update: Days 13 & 14

30 Day Shred Update: Day 15, 16, 17, 18 & 19

Nerdy 30.

Yesterday I turned 30.

(Yes, I was born on Valentine’s Day.)

Oh, hello there.

I’m just about the lamest 30 year old ever, and I warned my husband that if I got any kind of party action he’d likely get punched in the stomach. I took comfort in knowing it would be a relaxing, comfortable day. We spent the day running errands with the kids and hitting up the library. There’s nothing like treating myself to a few good borrowed books on my big day.

Embracing my inner nerd with a few good X-Men comics.

Then I hunkered down cozily on the trusty papasan and finally finished my current book.

OMG. Total book crush.

My wonderful husband made an early dinner for the kids, engaged in birthday song shenanigans and made me a lovely salmon and asparagus dinner. To truly appreciate the dinner, you need to be filled in on a little secret. My husband totally, completely, 110% abhors fish and on a normal day will not touch it with a ten foot pole. But by golly, he cooks up the most delicious salmon I’ve ever eaten. Since it’s quite the rare beast around these parts, I take it whenever I can get it.

Sorry, no picture of dinner. I was too busy om nom nomming it up. Instead, here's a snapshot of my favorite wine which accompanied my favorite dinner.

To finish off my low-key day, I hunkered down with some chocolate cake and Breaking Dawn for a guilty pleasure ending to my happy birthday. No shame.

Chocolate mousse cake from Angela Mia in Norwalk. Holy wow, their cakes are good.

I'm totally Team Edward. Woot.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you. Happy birthday to me.

Monday Menu Plan: 2/13-2/19

This Tuesday (yes, Valentine’s Day) is my birthday. I have no idea what our plans are for dinner, but I really hope it includes a very large, very chocolatey chocolate cake. I hope the birthday gods read my blog, or at least my husband.

Happy Birthday to me.

Breakfasts: oatmeal, eggs & toast, fresh fruit, homemade yogurt, waffles

Lunches: chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pasta, leftovers, fresh fruit and veggies

Snacks: fresh fruit and veggies, popcorn, yogurt, veggie straws, jello, hard boiled eggs, spinach smoothies


  • vegetable fried rice
  • salad
  • birthday dinner
  • grilled cheese
  • fresh veggies and ranch dip
  • pasta with tomato sauce
  • salad
  • roasted chicken
  • salad
  • dinner at my dad’s
What’s on your menu plan this week? Share in the comments section below! If you blog your own menu plan, leave a link so we can check it out. And if you want information on how to plan a weekly menu, click HERE.

Morning Exercise and a 30 Day Shred Update: Day 20, 21, 22 & 23

I’ve never considered myself a morning person. I need copious amounts of caffeine to jumpstart my battery. I’m generally non-productive until about 11am. If you try to have a conversation with me, all you will receive in return are caveman-era grunts and grumbles.

When my husband and I began the 30 Day Shred we were planning our workout for around 11am, when the daily motivation to function was just beginning to trickle through our veins. But that was in a post-holiday season world when daily schedules have long run askew. It’s now mid February and the regular demands of our everyday life have caused me to reevaluate my daily agenda. Unfortunately for me, this includes becoming a morning person.

I’ve devised a schedule wherein I will be waking up by 7am (?!?) each day and eating breakfast early so I can squeeze in a workout and shower before the tender hour of 9am. I know, this doesn’t sound crazy to those of you who wake up at the ungodly hour of 6am… 5am… 4am to run off to the gym before work. However, I am a stay at home mom who has, up until now, gratuitously taken advantage of my rare variety of young child: the late sleepers.

We’re usually up at 8:30 at the earliest, eating breakfast sometime between 9 and 10, and never out the door a tick before noon on any given day. Working out at 11am has pushed back our entire day, which was already making me feel like a lazy fool. Now I’m not even in the shower until noon! Wuuuuuuut. Not to mention that being awake for so long in between gives me plenty of time to build up a sense of anticipation and dread for the daily discomfort that huffing through the Shred causes. So after serious consideration, I’m handing in my lazy pass so that I might be able to cross “exercise” off my daily to-do list early on.

What time of the day do you prefer to exercise and why? Share with us in the comments section below!

Day 20: You can call me Weezy. What’s that you say? That name has already been taken and I’m not gangsta enough anyways? Oops, my bad. What I meant to say was “You can call me Wheezy“. As in, I can’t stop wheezing. The viral fog in our apartment is lifting and our various ailments are coming to an end. But I’ve inherited this dry throat from my formerly sick children that has become the bane of my existence. As soon as I start the Shred, I’m huffing and puffing and struggling to breathe like a normal human being. It is SO uncomfortable that I have to pause frequently to ensure that I don’t die. Well, maybe I won’t die per se, but you get my point. My throat hurts so much from breathing heavily through the workout that it’s even distracting me from the burning sensation in my muscles. It’s not easy being wheezy. Fo’ sheezy.

Day 21: Technically this was supposed to be my first day of Level 3, but I’m sticking around for a few more days since I got a late start on Level 2. We were extremely lazy in the morning so Mike and I didn’t work out until late afternoon. Worst. Idea. Ever. You know how I stated earlier that I’m not a morning person? Even more than that, I’m not an afternoon exercise person. Let it be known that on the 9th day of February 2012 I officially declared that I will never again work out after 12pm. It was like I used up the last of my daily energy supply to put on my sneakers or something. I totally dragged. This was the longest 25 minute workout I’ve ever done, and all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sleep. How some people come home from a full day of work and head straight to the gym in the evening is beyond me. You people are a combination of crazy, crazy and crazy. No offense. Crazy.

Day 22: I had to stop like 9 thousand times during the workout. Apparently my butt was starving, because it kept trying to eat up my underwear. I’m sure this made for a good show for my husband, who works out behind me, and therefore got an eyeful of wedgie picking action for 25 minutes. It made for a difficult workout for me because it’s really hard to stay in form on one leg for military presses with leg extensions when there’s a handful of Hanes creepin’ into no-man’s-land. After we completed the Shred, I went to the bedroom to check out what was going on. A quick glance in our new full length mirror had me praising Jillian Michaels and the wedgie gods. Of course my “won’t ride up, guaranteed” underthings are beginning to relocate. My butt is shrinking. 

Day 23: Today was my last day of Level 2. I feel like I need to write it a breakup letter, where I highlight all the reasons why we weren’t compatible. It would go something like this:

Dear 30 Day Shred Level 2,
It wasn’t you, it was me.
Well, it was sort of you. I mean c’mon. Pendulum lunges, iron crosses, plank twists? You just don’t do that to someone you love. It’s hurtful.
Maybe someday we’ll run into each other again and reunite amicably, but for now I think it’s best that we part ways.
Best of luck to you and your future victims, er, colleagues.

I can’t wait for tomorrow. If the past is an accurate predictor of things to come, it won’t be a pleasant experience. But it’ll be nice to change it up. It’ll also be great motivation to know that I’m in the final stretch.

If you missed the previous updates you can click on the links below to check them out:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4

Workout Snacks and 30 Day Shred Update: Days 5,6 and 7

30 Day Shred Update: Days 8 & 9

30 Day Shred Update: Days 10, 11 & 12

30 Day Shred Update: Days 13 & 14

30 Day Shred Update: Day 15, 16, 17, 18 & 19

30 Day Shred Update: Day 15, 16, 17, 18 & 19

Haven’t heard from me regarding exercise in awhile, huh. Were you beginning to think I’d quit shredding? If you were, think again.

It’s been a crazy week at our house. Emma, my almost-4 year old came down with croup on Wednesday and has been in a constant state of crazy for the past few days. Chris has had an on-the-fly case of the sniffles, and since maladies work on the rule of 3 in our home it was only a matter of time before I caught something (not the croup, but equally unpleasant and undoubtedly spurred on by (men divert your eyes for a moment) just having started my period. Gah).

By Saturday morning I had the inevitable “hit by a truck” feeling that no amount of hand sanitizer and luck could have prevented. I tried to power my way through a workout in the morning but I caved in the middle of warm up jumping jacks. I was too achy to go on so I hit stop on the DVD player and called it a day. I was up and running again on Sunday, but then on Monday I felt like someone hit me in the face with a brick and took another day to rest up.

I was curious about what the verdict is on exercising while sick, and found a key piece of knowledge while garnering advice from good ol’ Dr. Google. Have you ever heard of the “neck rule”? Here’s a snippet from an article on CNN.com, but I saw it mentioned in multiple other articles as well:

“Experts like to cite a rule of thumb known as the “neck rule.” If your symptoms are all located above your neck (stuffy nose, scratchy throat, headache), you almost certainly have a head cold and can hit the road or treadmill safely. If, on the other hand, you have a fever, congestion in your chest and lungs, or feel achy, it is probably a sign of flu, bronchitis, or another more serious ailment, and you should rest up. (Exercising with a fever will make you more vulnerable to dehydration, among other ill effects.)”

What’s your take on exercising while sick? Do you take a day to rest up and get well, or do you power through and stick to your routine? Let us know in the comments section below!

Day 15: The second day of the Level 2 workout was just as hard. I previously considered going back to Level 1 but decided against it at the last minute, realizing that I couldn’t avoid it forever if I wanted to progress in the program. So I sucked it up and succumbed to another day of torture. I won’t lie, it was equally as awful as the day before, but I had a serious sense of accomplishment for sticking with it and not giving up. And some quick napkin math gave me another sense of accomplishment as I’ve now made it halfway through the 30 Day Shred. Woot!

Day 16: This is day 3 of Level 2. I usually work out in leggings, but they were all dirty so I threw on a pair of running shorts. In the middle of plank jacks, I heard clapping. Was that Emma cheering me on to the finish line? No. It was my inner thighs slapping together each time I brought in the plank jack. Even in the solitude of my living room with nobody around to witness, I was embarrassed (although apparently not embarrassed enough to talk about it to millions of strangers via the interwebs) and contemplated stopping. But then something happened. See, I have this weird quirk that causes my inner monologue to relate even the most mundane of life events to movie scenes. And as my inner thighs were noising away, all I could think of was this:

and all of a sudden I was much less mortified and much more motivated. If my inner thighs want to cheer me on all the way to the finish line, then that’s AWESOME.
By the way, I haven’t worked out in my running shorts since then.

Day 17: Things are beginning to look up for me. Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred no longer makes me dread getting out of bed in the morning. There are a few things I’d like to point out, especially to those of you who are (or will be) facing this workout with trepidation.
First of all, Level 2 is very hard. You’ll be panting more, sweating more and wanting to die more. There is a lot more pressure on the joints, and my knees became constantly sore after the first day of Level 2. Even after triple checking my form against the girls on the TV screen, I’m convinced that I was doing something wrong. This brings me to my second point.
After the constant discomfort of trying to follow Jillian and Natalie, I caved and started following Anita (for those of you who aren’t familiar with the 30 Day Shred, Anita does “easier” modified versions of the moves). At first I was saving Anita’s moves for the moments when I actually thought I was going to collapse, and lovingly referred to her as “Anita Break” (get it? I need a break! Ha! Okay, maybe it wasn’t that funny. Whatever. Moving on). But with all the aches and pains, I realized that she’s not there for the lazies and incompetents (an ignorant misconception that I inherited through my pride). She’s there because not everybody can start with a bang, and the smart thing to do is know your limits and ease yourself into things so that you don’t injure yourself. Pushing my pride aside, I’ve started following Anita for a majority of the moves and have found them to still be challenging, but minus the knee pains. Moral of the blabbery? If you’re in actual pain, not just whiny I-hate-exercising pain, you’re either doing it wrong or your body is trying to tell you to chill the frak out (Battlestar Gallactica reference. 10 nerd points if you caught that).
In short, do what you can and if you have to, personalize your workout to cater to your abilities. If you’re not a great swimmer and you jump in on the deep end, you might just drown. Start at the shallow end and practice, and soon enough you’ll be doing laps like a champ.

Day 18: Saturday had us all down in the dumps, so I had to lay low for a day. As I explained to my dad, when I’m sick enough that the act of putting on my sports bra is an exercise in itself, it’s probably a good idea to not work out that day. Super Bowl Sunday arrived with the anticipation of excessive food consumption and I promised myself that I wouldn’t skip the pre-game workout for anything. Despite feeling awful the day before, I worked out like a rock star and felt great for the rest of the day. I skipped the plank jacks and replaced them with regular jumping jacks for the sake of my knees, but I otherwise killed it.

Day 19: Unfortunately, what I thought was an upswing of my health was just a lull and Monday arrived with a sickly vengance. I felt like crud and took another day to rest. I started to beat myself up over taking multiple break days again, but then realized that if I didn’t allow my body to recuperate I’d be missing much more than a day here and there. This morning I jumped out of bed with determination and didn’t let a measly case of possible laryngitis get in my way. It was hard to breathe toward the end with my sore throat but I made it through. I’m still sick but I feel great – does that make sense?

Tomorrow is my 20th workout day and should technically be my last day of Level 2. But since I didn’t start Level 2 until day 14, I’m going to work at it a few more times. Maybe I should be calling this the 39 Day Shred?

If you missed the previous updates you can click on the links below to check them out:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4

Workout Snacks and 30 Day Shred Update: Days 5,6 and 7

30 Day Shred Update: Days 8 & 9

30 Day Shred Update: Days 10, 11 & 12

30 Day Shred Update: Days 13 & 14