Fitness Lessons From a Puppy

You knew this post was coming…What do puppies do that are good reminders for us humans seeking health and happiness? Lots.

1. Drink lots of water.

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Maggie guzzles water every time we give her the chance. That also means she pees a lot (and sometimes in the house) but she understands the importance of hydration.

2. Make your workout play and workout with people who are bigger and better than you.

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Instead of just walking around the block like every other puppy, Maggie has already figured out the basics of fetch. She also likes to race the 95lb dog that lives next door. Making your workout fun makes it easy to stick to and having a workout buddy that is just a little faster and stronger keeps your pushing.

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3. Get plenty of rest. 

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After plenty of play, Maggie goes to bed and doesn’t want to be disturbed. Sleep is crucial to happiness, cognitive function and weight loss. Maggie only weighs 7lbs so she doesn’t have to worry about the later but us humans need to keep an eye on that.

4. Focus on relationship building.

She is so darn cute, she is the talk of the neighborhood and is meeting lots of dog friends. She is slowly but surely getting to know us as well. She also knows to keep her distance from her enemies. Obviously, the goose still rules the roost. Its so important to maintain our friendships and continue to grow our old friendships. In fact, it might be the healthiest thing that a dog does!

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Meet Maggie!

When I got home from the conference, Jake had a surprise for me! We were going to look for a puppy! We headed to Lifeline Puppy Rescue, a no kill puppy shelter outside of Denver.

I had been looking at puppies for days on the website but when I was at the conference I was so busy, I didn’t have time to puppy stalk. As we pulled through the gates, Jake told me the shelter had gotten a litter of Australian Shepard puppies on Friday! Yippie! This is the breed I wanted.

Some of the benefits of this breed are:

The Aussie is often a highly energetic dog. They require regular exercise, which usually isn’t satisfied with walks on a leash. Aussies usually need off-leash running exercise, including Frisbee or ball playing on a regular basis. Agility is another outlet. Some Aussies have a more laid back temperament and become couch potatoes and would be fine with just frequent walks on leash around the neighborhood. For this reason it is important to select a dog with the temperament and energy level that will fit your lifestyle.

The Aussie is an extremely intelligent dog and you must put the time and effort into training your dog or they may train themselves and more than likely you will not like what they learn. (Source)

Jake and I both wanted a dog that could keep up with us on serious hikes and wanted to run with us daily. The Australian Shepard is a perfect fit for our lifestyle.

When we got to the pen with the Aussie mixes, it was love at first sight. We picked this little girl!

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We got to take her home on Saturday, the same day we went to the shelter. She still needs to get fixed.

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She was totally stinky and her coat felt terrible from the kennel. She had to take a bath in the kitchen sink! So cute!

IMAG0167She spent most of Saturday cowering in corners but she really came alive when the neighbor’s dogs came over. She played and watched how they chased the tennis ball.

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After she got tuckered out with the other dogs, she slept pretty well. She cried in her kennel for about two minutes at a time but we took her out every two hours to use the bathroom and she settled down quickly every time.

Today, no more cowering in the corner! There has been much more scampering. Playing with a tennis ball. And some puppy cries. We also came up with a name–Maggie after the unsinkable Margret Brown from Denver, of course.

IMAG0163I’m so excited to run with this little cutie. For now, I’m totally happy with tummy rubs with this sweetheart!

Work Trip and Planning Ahead

Tomorrow at the oh so early hour of 4:30 am, I will be joining my principal, assistant principal and the other English teachers on a flight to Albany, New York for a conference. The conference website provides breakfast and lunch but doesn’t say what that means. So what’s a girl to do? Plan ahead!

I packed nitrate-free jerky sticks.

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I packed pistachios.

IMAG0148Lastly, I packed a new goody, Quest Bars. I just tried one of these tonight and they are pretty good but have a weird chemical sweetness to them. I feel comfortable with the ingredients except for sucralose.

IMAG0149Look who else is planning ahead? I took a peek in the fridge and saw that Jake had roasted chicken for the rest of the week when I’m gone and chopped veggies.

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IMAG0141The hotel has a gym so I can do some workout there and perhaps even convince a coworker or two to join in.

 

What will you miss from Winter? Veggie Edition

After work, Jake and I went for a run to and around Washington Park for a little close to 5 miles together. One of the reasons I wanted to move to Denver was that culture is so outdoorsy and active and I love participating in it.

It was a little chilly today. The weather switches between being 60 to 70 degrees and then a random 50 degree, windy day. That was today. It called for a warm dinner. I’m totally ready for summer but I’m not ready to say goodbye to winter veggies.

I roasted some butternut squash, broccoli, and cauliflower with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper.

IMAG0140I also fried up the last of my brussel sprouts and a slice of bacon and had a cup of tomato soup on the side.

IMAG0144I’m ready for some watermelon, crisp salads, and juicy tomatoes but nothing says cozy to me more than my beloved sprouts, soups, and oven roasted veggies. Fortunately, cat snuggles are a year round experience.

IMAG0145What will you miss about winter?

Work and Play Weekend

This weekend was my last weekend of spring break. I really wanted to buckle down and do a ton of house projects but Jake reminded me that we are going to be living here awhile and sometimes paint can wait.

Saturday:

We had a late start to Saturday morning. I slept in until 9 am–an eternity in teacher time. We ran a bunch of errands including ACE Hardware (they should set up cots for us) and a run to our favorite grocery store, Sprouts. This wasn’t an exciting shopping trip for me because I’m heading out of town for a conference with my new principal for 3 days in Albany, New York. I mostly stocked up on beef jerky. Classy.

I ran for an hour in Washington Park after errands and then painted the downstairs basement.

IMAG0132After painting, Jake made me a great dinner of grilled shrimp, grilled flank steak, and a huge salad of mixed greens, cucumber, green pepper, and pomegranate seeds.

IMAG0134Sunday

We headed off to Red Rocks this morning to hike around, after having an awesome breakfast of paleo pancakes with almond butter on the porch.

IMAG0136We hiked about 5 miles but the trail wasn’t steep. It just felt great to be outside.

IMAG0138I hit the gym after hiking and then hit the downstairs bathroom to do a second coat of paint. The entire basement was dark purple, including the ceilings, and the fixtures. Now, it’s a totally neutral off-white and so is my sweatshirt.

DSCN0313I feel like got every ounce of fun from the weekend while also feeling like we made progress on the house. How was your weekend?

Bouncing Back!

I’m back!

Sorry I’ve been gone. Life got a little crazy.

1. First, I quit my job….and got another one.

My original teaching job in Denver wasn’t working out for me.  Every day was an emotional struggle. I didn’t feel safe in the school building and worried every day that something really bad would happen on my watch because of how disorganized and unstructured the school was. I had a really gross skin rash and put on a bunch of weight while working there. It was a tough decision but when another opportunity to work at another school in Denver came up, I took the position and am now much happier. The rash went away immediately!

2. We bought a house!

Jake and I decided we loved Denver so much that we wanted to invest in living here for a long while…so we bought a townhouse in the amazing neighborhood of Speer. It’s an old house, built in 1906, and has four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. It’s quite the change from our 600 square foot apartment that we moved into.

20140301_150855 (1)The house doesn’t have any major renovations but it needs serious painting help. The downstairs dining room and living room alone has a purple wall, red wall, orange wall, and a green wall. We also are recarpeting the basement and master bedroom.

IMAG0117 We’ve been spending a lot of time at Lowes and Home Depot. In the meantime, we’ve using our big kitchen almost every night.

IMAG01093. I quit crossfit…for now.

I wasn’t happy with my new box in Denver. The programming didn’t jive with my goals. There wasn’t a ton of lifting heavy and the WODS were really long, sometimes 40 + minutes and metabolically that wasn’t aligning to my goals (that makes me sort of skinny fat). Also, some of the coaching wasn’t on point. Pushups were being done all wrong and it make my shoulders cringe just watching it. In short, I got spoiled by the amazing coaching at District Crossfit. I’d love to find a new box and am open to any recommendations!

Right now, I’m programming for myself and am working out at my local recreation center, which has this amazing mural. How can you not want to workout when you walk up to that?

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4. I’ve been stressing balls and feeling bad about myself.

Quitting my job was really tough and I felt a lot of guilt about it and I took a lot of that stress out on myself. I felt really down about my body and just shut down for awhile. I couldn’t figure out my new workout schedule without Crossfit but luckily, I’m back on track. I’ve even been running a bunch. Our new house is less than a mile from Washington Park.IMAG0132Jake’s been so great while I was switching jobs, picking paint colors, and acting semi-crazy.

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A blurry picture from a recent jaunt to New Orleans. Maybe one too many cocktails?

What a guy. So glad to be back writing and to my old self!

A Valentine’s Day Wish List

Jake and I are having a really low key valentine’s day this year. Last year we hit up Miami but we have a bunch of exciting stuff coming up in the next month and that stuff is all sort of expensive too! But hey, a girl can dream.

1. A top from the Breathe collection from Athleta. These looks comfy and they don’t have any seams, so no chafing! Yes!

2. A travel mug. My favorite mug just broke and I need something to keep my tea hot on my commute to work.

3. I recently lost my favorite pair of gloves. I’d love a replacement.

4. Sleeping in and a cuddle with the cat and my favorite guy.

CatWhat do you want for Valentine’s Day?

 

 

The Weekend Part II: Pictures

Bronco’s Spirit Day at my school.

Bronco's Day

Bananagrams. I won!

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Weekend breakfasts are the best.

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Viatenamese food with friends on Saturday night, followed by brewery action.

Vietnamese

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Superbowl Party Beer Pong and flip cup.

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The refined sugars.

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My Bronco whoopie pies. I totally didn’t make any of the desserts I through out their to the blog but I did make barbacoa. So good!

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Sad faces following the Bronco’s loss.

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The Weekend Part 1: Reflections on Dips

On Friday night Jake had the great idea of making a Greek themed dinner. We recently nerded out watching some Mark Bittman (food God) videos on the New York Times and there were a couple that focused on rustic Greek dishes. Yum.

We started by making Tzatiki using Greek Yogurt instead of sour cream. Here is a question for you people of the internet. Why isn’t Tzatiki like hummus or bean dip? It is so good I want to bathe in it yet people don’t regularly use the stuff. Thoughts on this?

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We made this rustic egg scramble which was good but Jake didn’t follow the recipe because he is a mint hater and in my opinion the mint is CENTRAL to this recipe. Still, very delicious and could have been made better by using mint (duh), fancier tomatoes, and organic eggs (which I can really taste the difference in).

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We followed that up with a Greek salad. This was a disappointment. Jake bought these amazing fancy olives and after we got done eating them he thought making a dressing using the olive juice would make a good base for the salad. Wrong. This was not good. It was super intense. Like drinking a REALLY strong dirty martini.

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This post makes it sound like Jake is a klutz in the kitchen but he usually nails it! It was a mix of successes and some future fixer uppers.

Healthy Super Bowl Snacks

I’m so pumped to be in Denver as the Broncos head to the Super Bowl. We’re going to a party that is sure to be amazing. I’m signed up to bring an appetizer and a dessert. The thing is I want to healthify my treats. Help me pick out a recipe below.

Appetizers: Because the party is not at our apartment, I don’t feel great about waltzing in and needing to use their oven when they have a large crowd over. Instead, I’m thinking the crockpot is the way to go.

1. Smokey Bacon Chili

2. Barbacoa

3. Sweet and Spicy Nuts

Let’s move on to the fun stuff…the desserts.

1. Peppered Peanut Brittle

2. Chocolate covered Strawberry footballs. How cute are these?

3. Flourless Chocolate Cake with a Kick of Cayenne

Help! Which appetizer and dessert should I make?