Monday Musings

I’m not sure how this has happened but here we are on another Monday again. Did the week sail by and I missed it or what?

Or… is it true.. the older you get the faster time goes?

And I’m getting older..  but more on that later…

In this weeks news we finally had rain! True it came in on the afternoon of July 4th and probably shut down lots of outdoor celebrations but it’s hard to complain when the grass has been crunching under foot for over a month now.

But then we had rain the next few days too so that’s a total win.

*** And in a side note as I’m preparing to launch this post, it’s been storming here since early morning hours. Am I the only one who loves waking up to the sound of a thunder and rain on the roof?

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Can you go wrong with a pink rainy hoody? I think not.

And rain means getting to break out those rainy day garments that mostly hang out in the closest… for a girl who likes fun clothes and gear… it’s a win/win thing.

Speaking of fun stuff….

I kinda have a birthday later this week. Due to logistics of getting all the fam together we had the big celebration this weekend but I plan to milk the upcoming week for all it’s worth 😉

Hubby surprised me.. totally caught me off guard with his gift….. check out what I got.

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Why yes, that’s a GoPro. Now I gotta figure out all the operations of it.

I’m not sure but he may have been worried about me trying to make a video while holding my phone, flying off a hill on my bike, or the fact I’ve talked about paddle boarding and having my phone out on the open water 😛  I love that he supports my adventurous nature.

Anyway, I feel fairly certain you’ll be hearing more about this in the future…  once I read all the directions 😛

On the topic of reading….

When I’m not flying down the road on foot or bike or flipping furniture or just doing life, I really do like to read.

I’ve always loved words and I’ve always enjoyed reading. One of my favorite things I did during the summer as a kid was go to the library and drag home bags of books to read.

Once I had kids, it was something I enjoyed taking them to do during the summer.

My kids are grown now but I still love going. There is something about walking in and seeing rows and rows of books, and that “library smell” that whisks me back to earlier, simpler days of my life when I could get lost for hours in a book without a care in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I can still read for hours but gosh, adulting often comes calling and I have to abandon reading till those things are done.

I love all kinds of books but I really love books I can get lost in with a good story line that don’t demand anything from me but that I enjoy them.

Summers really are meant for carefree days spent reading, aren’t they?

Summers are also meant for easy foods right?

I made this new baked bean recipe recently and it was a huge hit. Note it makes a pretty good amount so you can feed a lot of people.

I also experimented on the fam with this dinner recipe last week. It was easy and well liked so it may get used again….

During the summer I’m all about what I can put together easily, what feeds lots of people and is nutritious and tasty too.  The longer days have me involved in projects and I like having meals that don’t take forever to put together.

Oh and on topic of food… if you missed it….  a post over the weekend was on food, eating and guilt.  Something many struggle with and is a part of our dysfunction with food.  If you missed it you can find it here…… https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/07/food-and-guilty-feelings/

Speaking of projects….

you know I’ve gotta tell you about some of my furniture adventures, right?

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Vintage harp back chairs

So I got this group of 4 chairs yesterday, and how nice, someone has actually sanded them and made new board seats which speeds my work up 😛 I love old chairs to flip, each one is a fun project unto itself. I can hardly wait to see what clever ideas come to mind for them.

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Petite Vintage Vanity

I got this cute little vanity with a stunning mirror about a month ago. I just finished it’s transformation. I love how simple and clean it looks now.

 

 

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There are some pieces I really want to keep…. this is one of them… but hopefully it will be going to a new home soon.

I also got this super ugly, sad piece a few weeks ago… you can see it here in this post….https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/25/monday-musings-16/

I’ve been busy at work on it and can hardly wait to show you… it’s going to be so gorgeous! Nothing feels more rewarding than transforming something ghastly into something beautiful and usable again.

Moving along…..

My week ahead will be full with all the usual life stuff and in the mix of that finding time to read, write, and work on my projects that is slowly becoming a fun little side business.

My birthday is actually Wed so I have plans to do things that I love doing and to enjoy the people in my life who make me happy.

I was reading the other day that we all move through our life doing things that we (personally) enjoy and we learn to make room for doing those things that matter to us.

I try and take care of the “necessary” stuff in life ( ugh like cleaning) but get it done quickly so I have more time for the things that make me happy and give me joy. I hope you have time in your days for doing things that bring you simple joy.

Now tell me what adventures you’ve been on this week. Have you got any good reading suggestions for the summer?  Tried any new healthy recipes? What are things you do in your life that bring you a simple joy to do them?

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No Exercise Required

It was early morning and I was still bleary eyed, sipping on my first wonderful cup of hot coffee slowly coming to life.

For the record I’m not “anti” morning. I mean most weeks I’m out on the road running or cycling while people are still crawling outta bed. On the other hand, I may just prefer to cuddle and be alone with my coffee for a bit till the fog clears my head 😉

I am more of strong night owl if I had to label myself … anyway…

I’m waking up, laptop in front of me as I do a final read through and edit on my post before launching it into the world and blog land.  I do my level best to make sure you, my faithful readers, don’t stumble through to much of my ramblings haha

And can I take a moment to say thank you?

However, you follow me, whether through e-mail, Facebook, IG, Pinterest or on WordPress, thank you for taking your time to read what I write.  I know our time is valuable and I appreciate you taking yours to read my offerings.

I will always attempt to make it worth your while, to keep it sassy, and hopefully to educate, inspire, or challenge you.

Now, where was I?

Waking up, drinking coffee and proofing my post… yes that’s where I was. So while I’m doing that, the morning news is on and the morning commercials.

Sweet heavens.

It must be the cheapest time of day to advertise ’cause obnoxious car sale ads are on along with ads for medical clinics, lawyers and all kinds of other services I can do without hearing about that early in morning.

All of them are so… loud. So very, very loud.

Anyway, this weight loss commercial comes on advertising how you can lose weight with some miracle something or another and “no exercise required!!”

I guess that’s where my still sleepy, yet slowly coming alive brain kicked in.

I thought, how is that a good selling point ? But then I realized, to a lot of people, that IS a good selling point.

Lose weight and you don’t have to exercise? Heck yeah.

I get it. Exercise is work. If you do it right, it’s hard work.

Of course, if you’re out of shape it really feels like hard work. Your heart and lungs are screaming at you and you get all red and you are breathing way to hard so of course a weight loss offer of no exercise might seem like a good deal.

oxygen

 

It’s just not.

Let’s just forget losing weight here as we discuss this. Really, exercise shouldn’t be what you do to lose weight, it’s really what you put in your mouth and how much of it that matters more.  Exercise can just support those efforts.

Exercise offers so much more to us than being a weight loss tool. Think about how you feel when you leave your house on a nice evening to go for a short walk. Chances are it gives you time to think, clear your head from the day, brain storm ideas, and just unwind a bit. When you come back in you probably feel rejuvenated and refreshed, even if you may be sweaty 😉

In time, you most likely will want to walk a bit further as you start to really enjoy it and look forward to it.

Maybe going to a yoga class let’s you feel more connected to yourself, makes you more aware of your body.  For me, yoga definitely slows me down, but it also let’s me have some time that is a bit more quiet and reflective.

Whatever activity you may enjoy, if you get started in it, you will most likely enjoy many benefits that have nothing to do with losing weight.

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Remember, your heart is a muscle that needs work too 😉

 

 

So…get this…..

Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning.  Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.

Jumping on the treadmill or cross trainer for 30 minutes can blow off tension by increasing levels of “soothing” brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. What’s fascinating, though, is that exercise may actually work on a cellular level to reverse stress’s toll on our aging process. according to a 2010 study from the University of California—San Francisco. The researchers found that stressed-out women who exercised vigorously for an average of 45 minutes over a three-day period had cells that showed fewer signs of aging compared to women who were stressed and inactive. Working out also helps keep us from ruminating “by altering blood flow to those areas in the brain involved in triggering us to relive these stressful thoughts again and again.

I wrote a post on exercise and aging… find it here….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/05/24/exercise-and-aging/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/07/24/aging-and-the-fountain-of-youth/

It can help with depression. Research suggests that burning off 350 calories three times a week through sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants. That may be because exercise appears to stimulate the growth of neurons in certain brain regions damaged by depression.

Exercise can improve our learning. Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors, which help make new brain cells and establish new connections between brain cells to help us learn. Interestingly, complicated activities, like playing tennis or taking a dance class, provide the biggest brain boost. You’re challenging your brain even more when you have to think about coordination. Like muscles, you have to stress your brain cells to get them to grow.

It improves self-esteem and body image. You don’t need to radically change your body shape to get a confidence surge from exercise. Studies suggest that simply seeing fitness improvements, like running a faster mile or lifting more weight than before, can improve your self-esteem and body image.

It may keep Alzheimers from setting in. The Alzheimer’s Research Center touts exercise as one of the best weapons against the disease. Exercise appears to protect the hippocampus, which governs memory and spatial navigation, and is one of the first brain regions to succumb to Alzheimer’s-related damage.

Is that enough evidence for exercise?

Those are some pretty convicting reasons to exercise, right? Yet not a single one of them have to do with losing weight. The point being, exercise benefits all of our body, soul and spirit.

Exercise is a good tool to help with weight loss but as you’ve seen it offers so many more benefits to keep us healthy and whole.

It shouldn’t be viewed as something you don’t “need”. Our bodies are made for and are designed for, movement.  So many of our modern day illnesses and health issues could be helped and improved with regular consistent exercise.

What exercise has taught me

ok admittedly, a few years ago when I was an out of shape middle aged woman, I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of vigorous daily exercise. As I mentioned earlier in this post, it’s hard, and it’s really hard when you’ve been doing nothing and  then start doing “something”.

I purposefully made myself go walk each day. I dutifully walked 2 miles. I did it no matter what was going on, some days I had to fit it in at different times, but I did it.

I did it enough it turned into a new habit.  One day I got brave and actually went farther. One mile turned into another, before I knew it I was running some, and then, well the rest is history…

Exercise was certainly a good discipline tool. Those scheduled daily times on the road disciplined me to getting up and making a commitment to something.

That discipline eventually carried over into other areas of my life.

When I trained for my first marathon I learned a lot more about discipline, sacrifice, and some serious hard work. Honestly, once you run a marathon ( I actually went on to do more and eventually in 2014, a 50k) you develop the feeling and attitude you can take on the world.

I learned more about concrete goal setting, short and long term.

Exercise has built my confidence in what I can do and what I’m capable of doing.  This translates far beyond what I do on  the road.

The more I’ve grown athletically, the more I’ve seen that transfer into my daily life.

Becoming mentally strong dealing with physically activity has given me a tough mind in dealing with life.

I shared in a recent post about my yearly check up with my doctor.  My HDL ( good cholesterol ) was 75 on the lab report. It should be mentioned the highest number they had as “good” was 39. My doctor just gave me a level look and said… “it’s from all that exercise you do”.   So exercise is good for stuff like that 😉

I’ve also learned I can do some of my most creative thinking out on the road. It’s a time to process, discard, think and get clarity.

It’s taught me to get out of my head, get out of my way, so I can see what I’m made of.  I’ve learned I have strength I didn’t know I possessed, mentally and physically

Oh yeah. and somehow along the way of learning that, I lost weight and got decently fit.

So yeah, you do need to exercise

So if you’re one of the “anti-exercisers” 😉 I hope I’ve given you something different to think on.  Find something you enjoy and want to do, then commit to getting good at it. DO it often enough and frequently enough and it will turn into a habit, a good one at that.

And then, before you know it, you too will have lost some weight and be getting decently fit too.

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I love and anticipate my workouts now, physically and mentally.

 

Your turn… tell me… do you wish you didn’t “have” to exercise? Do you wish you could lose weight and get all the benefits without doing it, or are you at a place where you love it and would miss it? Have you ever considered exercise as beneficial to you in ways besides helping with weight loss?

Spotlight On Watermelon

Here in the south summer has arrived with the vengeance of  a mother in law that has swept in for a long staying vacation.  It means light foods, pool time, sandals or flip flops as main stay foot wear, plastic kiddie pools and blow up inflatables ( am I the only one who loves the smell of that cheap plastic and sniffs it like a dog sniffing a bone ?? haha)  shorts, and an endless tan till November.

Summer “officially” doesn’t start till Thursday but I guess no one told the weather that. We are  now in days of endless blue skies, sun, temps dancing in the high 90’s and “don’t sit on plastic furniture or you will stick to it” kinds of fun.

I really don’t like having to cook meals when it gets so warm, but my body does dig eating, so I’ve had to come to a happy balance of food, but light foods.

Todays spotlight is on one of my favorite summer treats, watermelon.

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Get a fork, I’ll share

 

Cool, sweet, refreshing and you get an arm workout lifting and tossing them into your basket, it is total win on all levels.

Sweet and healthy

Who says sweets aren’t good for you?  Check out some of it’s vitamin and mineral benefits

As far as fruits go, watermelon is one of the lowest in calories — only 46 calories per cup. That’s lower than even “low-sugar” fruits such as berries.

A cup (154 grams) of watermelon has may other nutrients as well, including these vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C: 21% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A: 18% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
  • Vitamins B1, B5 and B6: 3% of the RDI

Watermelon is also high in carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene. Plus, it has citrulline, an important amino acid.

Watermelon is also loaded with anti-oxidants.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage from free radicals. Not surprisingly, watermelon contains a hefty amount of vitamin C – 21% of the daily recommended value – that helps your immune system produce antibodies to fight disease. There’s also a 17% daily value of vitamin A, boosting eye health and preventing such diseases as macular degeneration and cataracts. The vitamin B6 content helps form red blood cells and assures your nerves will function as they should. Your body uses vitamin B6 to help break down proteins, so the more protein is consumed, the more vitamin B6 is needed. Potassium, although a relatively small amount is in watermelon, helps balance fluids in your cells. (Low potassium levels sometimes cause muscle cramps.

Carotenoids

Carotenoids are a class of plant compounds that includes alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A.

Lycopene

Lycopene is a type of carotenoid that doesn’t change into vitamin A. This potent antioxidant gives a red color to plant foods such as tomatoes and watermelon, and is linked to many health benefits.

Cucurbitacin E

Cucurbitacin E is a plant compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Bitter melon, a relative of watermelon, contains even more cucurbitacin E.

Let’s not forget one really big important factor, watermelon is made up of 92% water so it makes a perfect fruit to help keeping you hydrated.  Also, A high water content is one of the reasons that fruits and vegetables help you feel full. The combination of water and fiber means you’re eating a good volume of food without a lot of calories.

Nutritionally, while vitamin A and C content is significant, it’s the lycopene that takes the prize for what it does for the body, which includes anti-inflammation bone health and an ability to neutralize harmful free radicals.

The nutritional break down

Nutrition Facts

Watermelon Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup, balls (154 g)
Per Serving % Daily Value*
Calories 46
Calories from Fat 2
Total Fat 0.2g 0%
Saturated Fat 0.1g 1%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Potassium 171.21mg 5%
Carbohydrates 11.6g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0.6g 2%
Sugars 9.5g
Protein 0.9g
Vitamin A 18% · Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 1% · Iron 2%

 

Can we eat now?

One thing about watermelon, it requires nothing fancy to eat it. Just chill, cut and serve. If it’s for a picnic it can be cut and sliced and eaten right off the rind. Although messy, it’s one of the more fun ways to eat it, just have plenty of napkins on hand.  If you’re going for a more civilized way of eating it haha, it’s cut off the rind and served in a bowl where you can use utensils to dine on it ( I prefer the outdoor method, sun in my hair and juice on my face with plenty of napkins version ’cause well, that’s what summer’s about right?)

Watermelon is a very non-fussy food which perhaps in my estimation makes it perfect for laid back summer days.

Sweet, hydrating, packed with awesome invisible vitamins and minerals that are amazing for your body and crazy low in calories, all while satisfying your sweet cravings?

I think that’s a total win.

But wait…. wait a minute….

Do you know watermelon is not actually a fruit but considered a vegetable?

SAY WHAT?

We think of watermelon as a fruit because of its sweet flavor, but watermelon is actually a vegetable. It belongs to the cucurbit family, and is related to pumpkins, cucumbers and squash.

So… there’s that. I know you’re shocked.  Fruit? Vegetable? Let’s just call it tasty.

A few fun facts on melons…..

Seedless watermelons aren’t genetically modified. They’re actually a hybrid watermelon created by crossing a watermelon with 22 chromosomes with a watermelon with 44 chromosomes. The result is a sterile watermelon. These watermelons produce immature white seeds that are perfectly safe to eat. Seedless watermelons were first created over 50 years ago.

Watermelons have been cultivated in Egypt for more than 5,000 years. Egyptians depicted watermelon in drawings on the walls of tombs and even left watermelon with their dead to nourish them as they journeyed through the underworld

Because watermelons are native to Africa, they need hot, sunny conditions to thrive. Some varieties need up to 130 warm days to ripen. Most watermelons mature in 85 to 100 days

Watermelons usually have red flesh, but some watermelons have white, yellow, orange or even green flesh

A watermelon will not grow in your belly if you eat the seeds. In fact, the seeds are actually quite nutritious with high levels of magnesium, zinc and protein. Chew the seeds before swallowing for optimum nutrition ( all the times your mom told you that story of watermelons growing in your belly, right??)

The Japanese grow square watermelon. How? They place square glass boxes around a growing fruit so it becomes square as it grows. The Japanese like them because they’re small and don’t roll around. They fit neatly in a refrigerator. The downside? These watermelon cost about $82!

And the recipe board……

You may not think of eating watermelon in other ways than it’s easy natural form. I thought I’d add a couple recipes that showcase this great summer fruit.

 

Oh, and can you go wrong with ice cream or sherbet for a cool treat? Check out this two ingredient healthy option.

 

And of course, let’s not forget cute ways you can play with this fruit….uh…vegetable?……too 😉

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A fruit shark??

 

Tell me, is watermelon an enjoyable summer fruit for you? Do you have any preferred ways of eating it or interesting recipes using it ?

Monday Musings

So I’m gonna start today off with a rant. Why not. And you might laugh or be surprised when I tell you the rant is over…. donuts.

Yes. Donuts.

I don’t really eat them much, rarely actually.

But I do have a little thing for powdered sugar donuts. I’ve talked about them before.

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/09/22/food-choices-deprivation-or-empowerment/

Sometimes in the mornings I just want one or two. That’s it.

I don’t binge on them or eat a half a bag. I have the discipline/self control/ whatever you want to call it to have a taste and put them away.

In fact unless some of the others who live in my household eat them, I will often throw half a bag away when they’ve sat for awhile. ( here’s a nod to all the preservatives that keep them alive and well haha)

Anyway….

Since I am selective in how I eat them I expect them to be good, ya know? With the most recent purchase it appears they have somehow changed up the donut recipe, and not for the better.

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Posing with a bag of defective donuts. Why am I smiling???

The donuts are like… sponges. Chewy sponges. Sugar coated chewy sponges.

They are awful. Hideous. Not worth wasting calories on.

I’m contacting the company and asking them what they’ve done to my little white, fluffy tasty treats. I’m going to whine and cry and ask them… why?? Why did you go and mess with a good thing?

Incase you don’t know, the donut should be rather light, fluffy, and kinda melt in your mouth with the powdered sugar.

It should not be like chewing through a kitchen sponge.

I guess that’s one way to break me from them, right?

**sniff, sniff**

I’m done whining now….

Ok maybe I don’t really need them after my doctor appointment this past week.

Yes, everything is good.  I don’t talk much about this but I have hypothyroidism.

I really never mention it ’cause 1) I don’t want to be defined by anything and 2) it’s not a big deal to me as I see my doctor yearly to monitor my TSH levels and I take my meds like a good girl.  I also think eating healthy and exercise help as well.

But besides my check up on my thyroid  he runs a whole panel of blood tests. He got to my cholesterol and said “Your HDL ( the good kind of cholesterol) is 79.”

It should be mentioned here that the highest level the lab has as, I guess, an “optimal” level is 39mg.

He laughs and calls me an over achiever and then says “it’s all that exercise you do that drives it up”

Consistent, daily, vigorous exercise is the best way to help your good cholesterol levels. So if you struggle with cholesterol issues, you might want to consider trying to get more purposeful movement into your week.

It’s not only good for your cholesterol, but all of your body as well.

In my furniture adventures…..

 

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An old window screen with a few additions

 

Ok this isn’t like, furniture, but it is old and crusty. Look how cute this old window screen turned out with some additions to it 🙂

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Vintage buffet

I did score this vintage buffet this week. Other than some veneer damage on top ( ugh, which I’m removing) it won’t have much repair work to start transformation.

20180607_121008Actually this little piece will be adorable as a coffee bar or a entry way piece. There are so many ways to repurpose  buffets.

In the past few weeks I’ve finished off a few chairs and a cute table. I have several things on the list for the upcoming week, including the buffet.  Hubby has told me I get nothing else… but he accompanied me on a run for some stuff this past weekend haha

Seriously. I’m so grateful for how he supports all my craziness and adventurous ideas 🙂

I promise a peek at the buffet when it’s all done.

When I’m not doing furniture….

I’m slowly working my training back up in preparation for the duathlon later this year. I think if there’s one thing I’ve had to learn as an athlete is the ebb and flow of a training season. It is SO hard to give up a high level of fitness, to be at a peak, and then come off that and have to start building it again.

Not that I’m “out of shape”  not even being in peak condition I know I can still do more physically than most people. I have a good physical “base” to build on as I start my training. I just kinda wish I could always stay at that level although I know my ( or any athletes) body isn’t designed to always be in such peak condition.

So I’ll start increasing my training, building each week, and celebrating as I conquer new goals.

I’ll start with a brick session today  ( bike/ run) and gradually add  those workouts in twice a week. There will be specific long rides and on foot, mile repeats working on kicking up my speed a little.

And in the mix, I’ll keep up strength training to keep my body strong and balanced for my on road activities and because I like having some muscles too 😛

I’ve written a couple posts on that… find them here…….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2016/03/03/muscles-are-for-girls/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/05/10/menopause-muscles-and-middle-age/

Seriously though, I feel so alive when I’m out on the road whether I’m running or cycling. I’m ready to work hard and enjoy the fruit of my labors 🙂

I’m ready to take on this tough duathlon again.

Now… have I ever mentioned……

My son is in the ball python business.  Yeah. Snakes. Check out this little baby, and it literally is a baby at only about 12 days old.

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He’s being a little shy and hiding out ….

Oh no! Have I creeped you out now????

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Getting a little more adventurous now….
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I think he likes me now.

 

I may have just lost half my readers showing these photos haha

Evidently, according to my son, ball pythons are big business now days. While I was letting this little guy crawl around he casually informs me it’s a 1,500.00 snake.

Yikes!

And you may now have assessed that I’m not a girl who runs from snakes.

Here’s the deal, after raising three boys, I’ve learned to roll with just about anything… it definitely has made me a stronger woman on a lot of levels.

If you’re still with me….

tell me if you’re someone who gets creeped out over snakes or if you find them interesting?

Are you sympathetic over my donut plight ? Have you ever been disappointed in some particular food you find enjoyable to have it not measure up?

Have you tried any new foods or recipes this week ? Summer heat is in full swing and I am more about eating light foods and plenty of salads. Do you have any light, cool recipes you prefer ?

Do you have an upcoming event you are training for?

Monday Musings

Happy Monday beautiful people. Before I launch into todays ramblings, I want to pause and recognize that today here in the states, it’s Memorial Day.

If you don’t know, it is a day set aside to remember the brave men and women who died fighting for the freedom of our country.

memorial day

Amidst the BBQ’s, and store sales, there is a far deeper meaning and acknowledgement of this last day in May.  No words could ever express how we as a Nation feel for those who fought, and gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy each day.

My dad served several years in the Vietnam war. He had Alzheimers and died from it a little over a year ago. To the end of his fading memory, he remembered he had served, he was proud of his service, and he still had pain in his heart for those he had served with in the war who didn’t make it back home.

As an American, I am grateful for those who have served, and continue to serve our great nation today.

Weekend adventures

I took off on a little road trip to see hubby this weekend.  I always have fun exploring or doing things with him in different environments.

Saturday morning started off eating breakfast at this healthy little breakfast place we found before. They use like, real food to make your breakfast. As you can tell my eggs in my omelet are that creamy yellow. It also held all kinds of tasty veggies inside of it. Add to it hearty whole grain artisan toast and leafy greens with plenty of coffee, it was delicious

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A wholesome veggie omelet. Hubby isn’t ever impressed with the greenery though 😉

After food and some exploring we found ourselves at the pool later on. I was hanging off the side, lost in thought, watching the kids bounce around everywhere.

It should be mentioned, as a writer, my mind is constantly whirling, thinking, pondering. I observe the world around me and pay attention to people… the ways they interact, their conversations, body language etc.  I can have a topic start forming in my head with just a casual observation of something.

For instance…..

I watched this little girl go skipping by in her little red bikini, blonde braids bouncing on her shoulders, goggles clutched in one hand completely enjoying the afternoon at the pool.

She was unconcerned over her body. She most likely wasn’t wondering what her stomach looked like or if she looked “fat”. She wasn’t wishing she had a bigger butt or wondering if people were looking at her judging her.

Nope. She was blissfully free. Sadly, in a few years, she may not be like that.

I began to share my thoughts with hubby who admittedly said he wasn’t sure he wanted in my head when I told him I had stuff whirling in there all the time…. haha

But he listened to my observations stating the obvious… well she hasn’t grown up yet and developed all those body insecurities.  And this is true.

Family, society, friends, social media, even strangers are all big influencers of how we can lose our care free abandonment over time… meaning when we grow up.

When we grow up and determine we aren’t adequate or our bodies aren’t “good enough” or they could “be better” or worse yet, compare ourselves to others.

Sure, with good nutrition and exercise anyone could “be better”.  But what happens that people can’t simply go enjoy life without being hung up on their imperfections, real or perceived?

We  continued to talked about how beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And really, what IS a perfect body? That will vary person to person in what they believe to be attractive or desirable or whatever you wanna call it.

Yet the pursuit of these very things ( what someone believes to be desirable)  will hinder people from going out and just enjoying life.

Really, no one cares if your thighs are super thin. No one is thinking you don’t fill out your swimsuit enough.  No one is worried about the little extra pudge around your middle. Chances are, they have their own anyway.

Guys, no one is wondering where your washboard ab’s are or why your arms aren’t bulging in your t shirt.

Yet the times I hear women young and old lamenting over their “flaws” or imperfections ( how they view it) is staggering and they are held back by these beliefs.

Those ideas hinder you from just enjoying and savoring life.

What happens along the way that we can’t just go out and enjoy things with a child abandon instead of sitting on the sidelines, watching.

I’m in decent shape for a woman close to collecting her senior citizen discounts on morning breakfasts.

I wear a bikini because I can. Because I want to.

Because I hate having a white belly. hahaha

I don’t consider my body “perfect” in that unattainable sense. I’ve had babies. I have marks to prove it. However I also have some decent muscles now in my belly that I think, trump that. I have strong powerful legs, largely a side effect to my athletic endeavors. I don’t have “skinny” legs, but then I don’t want to have them either.

Oh. And I really don’t care if some random stranger may make a judgment on me or not.

But then again, as mentioned , I’m older. I’ve had time to get comfortable in my skin and be ok being me.

I won’t sit out watching from the distance while other people are having fun and doing stuff.

I will never sit on the side watching and not doing.

So as I sat, and watched these children so happily playing, still comfortable and untainted in their skin, I wondered why that has to be lost. Why so many will go through life burdened or feeling like they are inadequate or not enough and how if ever, that tide will turn.

Can I just say this? You are enough. Really. Your body is fine and no one is responsible for it but you.

If you need to lose some weight to feel better, do it for you. Do it for your health. Do it for the way it will make you feel.

I will always support good health and wellness ( mentally and physically)

Love yourself, learn to be a little more free, and enjoy the life you have to live without being hung up on if your body isn’t some particular “way” you think it should be.

Sweet heavens. I’ve been preaching. I shall now stop that…..

Weekend exercise…

let’s be real. When we aren’t on our “home turf” it is harder to get a workout in. We may feel like we are on a break and can step away from it.

I do it most days, so time off makes me feel more tight and achy than when I do workout. My muscles are used to frequent movement!

Thus started my Sunday morning pondering what I could get in to shake out legs and a body that had driven quite a bit the day before and was begging for something.

I decided to go on a quick, brisk explore walk, 30 minutes. It was already warm and humid so it was easy to start working up a sweat. After that I decided to finish it off by running three flights of stairs for 10 minutes.

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cool down time at the top of the third landing

Let’s just say, if you wanna test your cardio endurance, go ahead and get after some stairs for awhile!

Ok so all that was great and awesome. I wasn’t thinking that later in the day, I’d be driving for awhile again and that my legs would be sitting and still.

I stopped for gas and a coffee and got out trying to not initially hobble like an old woman till they stretched out haha

Speaking of that… I had been craving an iced coffee for miles. The place I stopped is like this mecca in the middle of nowhere. It has the usual gifts, and more food than you can imagine to tempt you to take back on the road. It boasts I’m sure, a hundred gas pumps. And it definitely boasts the cleanest bathrooms anywhere on the highway.

Oh… I did mention observing people. If I had time to just sit outside and watch….

It’s an adventure unto itself to stop there.

Since no Starbucks was around for miles, I was thankfully, able to improvise with what they had for sale and settle my iced coffee craving.

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I shoulda bought two…..

Anyway, it kinda fortified me for the remainder of the trip so I won’t complain.

A holiday weekend isn’t complete without food

We will be doing a Memorial meal like most of America so I thought I’d share a couple of recipes I plan to use.

Yay for new recipes!

 

I’ve kinda really been wanting to try this, so better to do so when I have other people to test it out on .

But let’s not forget dessert….

Mocha brownies with coffee cream cheese icing. How amazing does that sound??

Two new recipes on the menu for dinner so we’ll see how that goes.

Before I go…..

As we head into a new week they are promising record breaking temps topping us into the 100+ degree range.

Ah. I know we are getting into summer months I’m just not ready for that rough heat yet.  It also means I need to be up and on the road to bike or run before that sun starts getting to high in the sky. It’s a complete sweat fest with heat and humidity combined with the work of what I’m doing.

But, it’s summer and summer in the south means blistering hot days. Ready or not, here it comes.

Your turn! Tell me something from your week. Anything new, different or fun? Or was it the same ( yet sometimes comfortable) familiar grind for you?

 

Steps To Transforming Vintage Furniture

“So, that piece you did. You just paint it, right?”  I tried not to choke and laugh all at once and instead I did some kind of unladylike snort thing.

The person was asking about a cute chair I had recently finished.

Ok.. before I go on… if you’re just joining the party this is a kind of a Part 2 to my post from yesterday, The Art Of Flipping Furniture. You can find it here if you wanna catch up, if not, continue to read on…..

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/22/the-art-of-flipping-furniture/

As I’ve ventured into this interesting hobby/growing side business, I’ve learned there are all kinds of interesting variables going on.

The first being, it could be assumed that I go buy a piece of cast away furniture, run home, and slap paint all over it.

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Just another sunny day dragging home some of my prizes

 

 

That being said, there are people who do that. It makes me sad to see a gorgeous piece of furniture that has obviously been hastily painted, and before paint has even dried they have snapped photos to put it up for sale.

It’s usually still sitting on a trailer, the back of a truck, in a yard or garage on concrete blocks with random junk around it.  But my favorite was a beautiful vanity piece ( originally it was beautiful) sitting in a dirt yard on cardboard with crunched up soda or beer cans behind it and a tire to the side of it.  No hardware back on drawers.

Sigh.

I am setting myself apart with other furniture artists who invest ourselves into our pieces for the pure love and joy of it understanding we will on some occasions, not get a dollar amount equal to our investment of time and resources.

We love making things once tired, bland, broken and ugly, beautiful with a fresh new life to give.

So, I thought I’d kinda conclude this topic by sharing a little of what goes into the process so when you see a unique, old, hand painted piece of furniture for sale you can also understand the price that may be attached to it.

We just don’t take it home and slap paint on it.

Get comfy, it’s time to go on the journey.

The Hunt

The first time I called it that, my family laughed. But really, I do view it as a hunt. I have several places I stalk online and really, if there is something super cool, and if it happens to be a good price, it’s gone instantly. You have to almost see it the second it’s posted to get it.

There are so many things that I don’t want, or that are not that old or even that impressive. I know what I like when I see it. I also consider what it’s flip ability is. If it’s something I want personally, well I have a little more wiggle room ’cause I don’t mind paying a bit more for something I’m keeping.

Now I’ve learned the hard way, just because I’ve found an item I want, confirmed with the seller, set a time for pick up and got an address doesn’t mean I’ll get it.

Without blinking an eye people have sold things out from under me. I try to understand if they are that desperate for money from someone else who gets there an hour before I do… well they must need it really bad.

It is still ridiculously frustrating when that happens.

But when I find the item I want, and arrange pick up with seller it’s time to do what I call …..

Go bag the game

As a hunter, if you’re successful you get what you’re hunting for. But here’s the deal, once I score a piece of furniture it’s rarely close by. I’ve driven one way over an hour to get pieces.

All the cool stuff is a good drive away.

So, there’s time and gas going to get the prize. I’ve gone to some seedy kind of places getting stuff. I usually am the one helping load or doing it alone ( yay for girl muscles)

I take blankets or something to put down because the furniture has usually been stashed or stored somewhere, it’s old, total filth, sometimes it has an odor and desperately needs cleaned.

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Inside the 1900s gentleman’s dresser I dragged home… waiting to get cleaned

 

I’m thrilled, load it up and head home. That’s when I can officially let my ideas start forming.

I have it.

Nothing is worse than seeing a piece I want, having ideas, then not getting it.

The preparation

Usually when I get a piece home I do an assessment of it, what it’s needs are. Some pieces are pretty straightforward and don’t need much more than a light sanding and washing down to prep them.

That is really, the rare thing.

Most pieces need anything from a lot of sanding, to sucking leaves out of the inside of a cabinet and removing years of dust, dirt and grime before I can even consider painting.

Sanding. I do most of it by hand. It’s off the charts messy.. for me and the furniture 😉

I’ve bought pieces with veneer damage so I need to set aside time to do repair work before anything else can happen.

Some areas have cracks and holes that require wood filler. Once that’s placed it has to dry, be sanded, and often filled again to the area is smooth and level.

Have I mentioned my carpentry skills have increased a 100% doing this work? haha

Old furniture is cool, but age has caused the varnish to get dry and brittle and it’s often flaking off. This all has to be sanded before any painting begins.

I’m going to use this chair that I’m currently working on as an example….

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Flaking varnish and chipped legs all need sanding.

 

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Definitely some glue and clamps coming up for repair on this leg
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You can also see because the corner is loose, the support block for seat is out and will need to be put in and glued at the same time, It looks pretty bad, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

Sometimes, as in the case of chairs, the legs or connections are loose or separated and need glued and clamped to make them more secure. The seats are usually original wood and have become weak and brittle.

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After sanding and repairs, the piece gets washed down to get all dust and grime off

 

 

New seat bottoms need cut…oh but that means a trip to local hardware store to get some plywood for new seats. Time to spend some money.

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And it’s sporting a new seat.. thanks hubby for cutting that 🙂

 

Can’t have my potential customer falling through, can I ?

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Shhhh a sneak peak of the new project. It’ starting to look a bit different now

Ah! And now, we get to paint! The chair has been sanded down removing all old flaking varnish, I’ve glued and repaired legs and support bar, washed the piece, air dried then sprayed with a Matte shellac to prevent any bleed through from dark areas.

Once that set, the chair got it’s first coat of slate blue that I love. Once it dries  ( chalk paint has a fast dry time) it will get touched up in areas that were missed, allowed to dry, lightly sanded, then I will clear wax it and go back with a dark wax that will accent and pop all of its unique details out. While that settles, I will take it’s new seat, add the new foam and fabric I purchased to make a bright cushion for it. All that will remain to be done will secure the seat back to the chair ( fortunately it had all it’s original screws)

After that, it will finally, be ready for a new home.

Other stuff in the process

 

Sometimes, on furniture a piece of hardware or fixtures are missing so I have to hunt it down which depending on age is tricky, again another cost involved in process. The perfect piece has all of its original fixtures.

Oh speaking of the hardware… all that is usually tarnished and dirty from years of neglect so it needs taken off and cleaned. Sometimes, it’s an easy job, other times it’s time consuming and frustrating.

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This 1900 cabinet has all of it’s original hardware which is stunning. It’s also been quite a challenge getting it cleaned!

 

Some pieces have bad veneer damage and I’ve made the decision to take it off.

Can you say, work? It’s a ton of work scraping off glued on veneer. However, if the surface is especially bad it’s worth the time to get to a fresh smooth surface underneath it.

Other times, I’ve tackled the veneer damaged and focused on repairing it, especially if I’m painting it.

Some pieces like a desk I did recently, require being totally sanded down, which I do by hand.

One table I recently purchased, it’s so cute, it opens up and the closes back to a half table. I wanted to try and sand the top down and re stain it and perhaps do a color on the table. Hubby got a good start on it but I’ve been working on all the edges this week, Do you know how tedious it is, sanding those edges? Or how careful you have to work with the veneer so you don’t chip or crack it in the process?

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So close to finishing the sanding on the top!

 

This is just a slow, time consuming process, but the end result will be so worth it.

Some recently finished work…..

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So back to that original question….

“So you “just” paint it, right?”  Well, as you can see the painting, new stain, or whatever look it gets, is really the last part of the process.

It’s the fun part.

Picking up and purchasing the piece, cleaning, repairing, sanding, prepping, painting, then top sealing with wax or a poly top coat, cleaning hardware, making new cushions etc. are all a part of the unique process of renovating antique or vintage items.

Besides the cost of the actual piece, the time and gas to get it, the supplies needed to do the job, and the hours  and labor the artist puts into it may help you understand better the pricing on a unique, one of a kind, piece of hand painted furniture that you won’t be able to find at your local furniture store.

Thanks for hanging out with me in this two part special! I hope this gives you a little more insight into the topic of “renovated” or “upscaled” old furniture. I hope that it has also given you a better idea of the labor of love it is for so many of us.

Do you have any hobbies or projects you enjoy that you do as a “labor of love” and enjoyment?

Monday Musings

Happy Monday you crazy kids.

I’m heading into a new week like….

new-week-bring-on-the-beast-mode-motivational-gym-quotes

Well, I wanna get back to beast mode, at least in the realm of my athletic shenanigans.

I shared in a post last week, it’s the Small Things,     https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/16/its-the-small-things/   that I had hurt my hand and it was hindering me from everything but running.

I did get in some runs last week so that felt good. I did try and lift one of my light little weights yesterday (15lbs) and just the weight of it resting in my palm reminded me it might be a little longer till I’m hitting heavy metal again…weights that is…. music is an every day thing 😉

Anyway, it’s healing. Two nights ago I slept without any bandages on it. It’s been a cover of “protection”. I felt so free without it 😛

Today is the first day I haven’t automatically put one on, again, it shields it from those unexpected surprises.

‘Cause like, if you’re gonna hit any part of your body, ever, it will always be the part you may have wounded, right???

So yeah, hitting the week in uh… lurching beast mode… haha

Last week though…

I was a working woman.

Well. Wait. When am I not??

From the time I hit the floor till I pass out at night, I’ve got something going on.

This work though was actually going to a … job.

One where I showed up and worked certain hours and was given some money at the end of the week.

My boss was my son. A real tough cookie haha

He has a small engine repair shop and the lady who handles the front was going to be out and kinda let him know…last minute…

Could I help some? Anything? Please?

Well, me being me and Mom, how could I not get him through the week?

True, some discussion of mechanical parts was over my head but I’m pretty fast on my feet, and I’m good with customers and talking to people. I can talk on the phone and I have no problem dealing with difficult people.

I can take charge and I can see things that need done and do it.

Being strong doesn’t hurt either as I had to use my girl muscles to help him load a generator onto a truck.

Heavy. Those things are stupid heavy.

Grateful I had at least enough muscular strength to help him handle that.

A work horse and secretary all in one.

I may have done my job too well as he’s been broadly hinting he’d love to have me there all the time….

I’ve had part time jobs off and on over the years of being married and having children. I’ve been blessed to be a Mom who could be home and run the roost and all that goes with it. There is always so much to be done!  I’ve also worked the direct sales “business” for awhile ( not for me).

I’m having fun with my furniture flipping and sold enough last month to pay for some car work I needed done ( I felt like such a grown up) I’m actually, finally writing a post on that topic ( not car repairs, my furniture flipping 😉 ) it should be launched tomorrow.

Finally. I know. I’ve only promised for weeks.

All that to say… my work week.

I’d be up early, go for a run, clean up, and get a couple things done before I left.

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They just don’t make a “messy, sweaty” filter. I gotta dial that up myself. haha

 

When I got home in the evening, I’d do whatever was waiting.

I’ve always given a big nod to women who work outside home and have to come in and pick up the household reins again at the end of the day.

I continue to admire you.

This week reminded me of all that goes on at home when I’m not there or what will still be waiting when I do get there.

On topic of cool things that make me smile

I’m trolling the produce dept loading up on veggies and whatnot when I hear…

“Hey girl!” and see one of the women who works back there hurrying over to me.

She said “do you notice anything different?”

I laughed and told her “Yeah you look really thin!”

It should be mentioned here, I’m not uh, socially awkward, hubby frequently asking me if I could get a stump to talk.

I sassily remind him, it’s a gift 😉

Anyway, over months this woman had asked me questions that I get sometimes.

“What do I do?”, “How or what do I eat?” “What kind of exercise do I do?” etc etc.

I’d chat with her, encourage her, as she talked to me about wanting to lose weight and get on a path to a healthier lifestyle.

I asked her what she’d been doing and she said ” all that stuff you told me to do. I’m eating more green veggies and laid off junk food and alcohol. I’m sticking to lean meat and watching my food intake”

I gave her a high five applauding her efforts as she told me she’d dropped over 30 pounds in the last 3 1/2 months.

She said “Now I just need to know what to do to look like you do” ( as she gestures to my arms kinda flexing haha)

I told her.. “You’ve just gotta get faithful about lifting heavy stuff”

I gave her some suggestions and she got ready to scamper back to work looking back laughing she said “Hey, 61 is the new 50 for me!”

You know… some days… I wonder if what I do matters.

I use my voice fearlessly.

I’m to bold for some, and yet resonate with others. I’m at an age that I don’t care if I’m someone’s cup of tea or not.

Then I get a gift like that, someone who I had casually talked with, encouraged, answered questions and applauded her efforts come to me and share and it’s so freaking satisfying to hear stuff like that.

It reminded me again, I need to just be me. Do what I do. Use my voice, be bold, be who I am.

My voice can impact the world.. I tend to forget that.

You.

You are no different. You have a voice and a personal world to touch and interact with.

Our “vehicles” might look different…. I have a health and fitness blog and a talkative mouth and an occasional… um.. attitude.. ha.. but I use of all that and then some.

You might have coffee with a friend at your kitchen table and that is where you excel and make an impact.

Use your voice in whatever way that looks like.

I’ll stop preaching now….

I finally got around to listing some of my furniture pieces I finished off last week. You may remember my fun bright pink chair?

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it was the first piece to go! Now as a creative person I know this and I do what I want to do, but there’s that “what if I have a pink chair for the rest of my life??” thought too.

This piece was so easy and I had such a clear vision for it and honestly I just let my free spirit out all over it.

I also understood that I might have to wait for another fun, free spirited person to come along and embrace it…. however long it might take.

An hour after I posted it a lady messaged me she wanted it. That it was “perfect” for her daughters desk.

And off it went to it’s new home.

Yet, the clean, “safe” neutral one that I absolutely adore and love and “want to maybe keep” that I thought would go first, is still with me.

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I think it’s just so feminine and pretty….

 

Go figure.

 

I told hubby this business will teach me patience in a myriad of ways.  It can be one of my um.. short comings… that patience thing haha

I can’t end this post without talking about food, right?

 

As mentioned, it was a busy week. Crock pots are always a hero for, well just about any time. This hooked me when it said I could “toss chicken in, whip up sauce, pour over it and leave it.”

6 hours later I steamed broccoli and made some rice and dinner was good to go.

Oh. It was super tasty too.

Oh but wait…

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Why yes, yes that’s an old weight on top of my crock pot….

So I decided to make beans last night with a ham bone left from a meal this past week.  I guess I got a bigger bag of beans than usual, and the ham bone was pretty big too. Anyway, the lid wouldn’t entirely sit flat like it needed to so I kinda improvised.  I used one of these old sanded weights that’s probably as old as I am that I had laying around… it neatly smooshed the lid down so the crock pot could do it’s magic.

Ham and beans… I’ve now neatly labeled myself for sure as a southern girl haha

A final thought….

 

Apples have been on my snack list a lot this week. Crunchy, sweet, good for your teeth and your body, I’d say they are up there on the perfect snack list.

Hmmm maybe a food spotlight on them for an upcoming post?

Ok your turn! Top my week. What have you been up to? Do you have a favorite healthy food you’d like to see me spotlight? Let me know!