30 Minute, No Gym Bodyweight Workout from Greatist

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Find more bodyweight exercises at Greatist.com

I can absolutely CAN fit this in twice a week, right? Odd how I can create a new money saving habit, a new kitchen cleaning habit, and can push myself to run greater & greater distances on the weekends (even every day of a 3-day version), yet I am failing HARD at the mid-week full body workouts at home.

Ah well – March is a new month – let’s do this!

Consumer Report – graze and Happify

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Fun money update: $62.78 as of last weekend

Workout update: Oh, well..not doing so well mid-week still. Only did a 20 minute weight & ab workout one night. But..I ran 4 miles of hills on Saturday and then I ran ELEVEN miles on Sunday!! Yet another PR 🙂 It was double the fun because my friend Audrey who is just getting started running joined us for the first out and back and got her OWN PR by running more than 5 miles. Renee went 16 – I hooked back up with her on the second out and we ran back together (sort of…if she slowed down enough to let me be within shouting distance!)

Anyway………..it’s time for another round of Consumer Reports!

Two new companies crossed my radar in the last month.

The first was the result of a facebook recommendation – graze – a healthy snack company that ships out perfectly proportioned snack packs each week for just $5. This was the first box I received:

graze

Those apple cinnamon flapjacks in the top right corner? AMAZING! Everything else was really good too. And, like I said, the perfect serving size for my morning snack at my desk. When you go on the site, you can immediately start pre-rating the selections meaning they will control whether they send you items or not. Since I am a skosh picky (cough)….I immediately went through the list and marked all the items with banana or coconut as “never send”. I thought it was pretty awesome that since there is a little bit of a Russian roulette game going on when they choose your next box (you CAN go in ahead of time and control things too, but yeah…I’m rarely ever going to remember to do that weekly!) it is nice that I can eliminate some.

Week two has a nice mixture as well – all different flavors and types. Today I ate the “bonnie wee oatbakes with red onion chutney” and they were surprisingly yummy together!

The bottom line is – check out their site – they are in a trial launch in the U.S. right now. I got in via an invite and I’ve already given out the one invite they allowed me. But I think if they keep getting positive feedback from those of us already enrolled and then get tons of others submitting their emails for future sign up invites, then they will commit to the US 100% a lot faster.

And honestly – what was I bringing in or eating for my morning snack before? Something that easily cost between $1-2 per day and POSSIBLY was as healthy and fulfilling but most likely NOT.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Next up is a website called Happify. This one literally showed up in my in box last week. Despite the message that I put in my contact page here stating that I *do not* take guest posts because this is just a truly truly 100% personal diary type blog – I still get emails at least once a week.

Now, I am not rude – I don’t just delete them and leave them hanging like that.

OK – who am I kidding? I tried that tactic at first and it didn’t work because they FOLLOW UP dammit 🙂

I learned to kindly turn them down, wish them good luck and ask them to read the contact page note and send them on their way.

So when a Happify founder emailed me, I did read the message but when I saw it wasn’t a guest post request I was ABOUT to hit delete. I mean, me? On a site called Happify? Someone who makes merciless fun of people who constantly spout out puppies hearts and rainbows?

But…I had a moment of weakness/curiosity and checked it out, because – on the OTHER hand – I have been also trying to apply the Silver Lining rule to my mindset this year. There’s just so much in life every day that is out of your control, but you CAN control your reactions to those things. It turns out – this site is pretty damn in line with my way of thinking.

Check out the Science page – I love that they use Science! This is another site that is in the launch phase. I have no doubt that blogging in the category of motivation is what got me an email invite. So far, everything is free and I am not entirely sure what they are up to, but in the meantime, there is no harm to me to participate. In fact, this little site is adding to my life on a daily basis in nice little ways. Plus it asks me to do something I think I do pretty well – cheer on others. It’s always helped my own mental outlook to make sure that I pick up/cheer on/compliment people around me.

If you are at ALL curious about joining Happify – drop me a comment/email because I do  have 4 invites to this site and I think many of you would enjoy it.

That does it for this segment of Consumer Reports!

Now, I get to log off an contemplate how I *really* feel about the fact that the last person I interviewed for the temp job I have in my office started off this morning by saying “Oh, I knew it was you right away because you look JUST LIKE the photo of you on the internet I found after I Googled you!”

(!!!!)

Roses and Running and…Lease Extraction?

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Heh – I was reaching for the alliteration to be complete in the title and just couldn’t get there.

New habit check in to start: $55 in the change kitty as of this weekend.

However, work outs? Oh, utter fail. I was thrashed after the 10 mile run and the Wednesday half day run didn’t happen because the half day didn’t happen.

However, I didn’t let that get me down – I knew there was a three day weekend coming up and I put it ON my weekend To Do plan – run all three days. I’m 2 for 3 and I don’t see ANY reason that I wont be able to get in another 5 miles tomorrow morning.

I ran 3.1 miles Saturday mostly doing hill repeats (5 times up and down the hill nearest my house).

I ran 8 miles on the usual Sunday trail run – there was time for another shot at 10 but I purposely wanted to save something in the tank for tomorrow. I want to get myself into the back to back to back running as I was able to do easily before October. In fact, I looked back on my Runkeeper and saw that the first time I reached the 8 mile mark was just before the final race of the season so I was at my fittest and I completed it a solid 10 minutes faster than I did it today. Not that I care about speed – but it lets me know what my fitness level really was before the fibroids slowed me down.

Ok, so I started in the middle so now I will jump to the end since it is boring but worth updating/semi-bragging over. Lease #55 – the FINAL one that needs to be done – is 3/4 extracted and will be finished tomorrow. That’s on the 18th – a full 10 days before the deadline I set for myself. YES!

There is just something about writing down a daily/weekly To Do plan. If it is written down in front of my, I *will* be compelled to cross it off. The way I did was that at work I would extract a lease, then do a non-lease task, then back to a lease and so on and so on. That way, I didn’t get COMPLETELY burned out working in the program non stop. The breaks helped tremendously.

Then, at home I challenged myself two nights a week to post one and then every weekend I brought home three. And suddenly, the list was done! Now we have a solid two weeks to work on pulling reports and testing the rent payment process. I know – boring, but I tell ya – it is huge.

The Silver Lining to all this hyper focused work? I now know this program so well that my next task – training a temp to cover the job – will be EASY. I never like managing people for a task that I don’t already know how to do in depth.

And now, the roses. So, there was this DAY this week that normally The Boyfriend and I ignore, BUT…he works for a company that happens to ship flowers so these arrived at my office on Thursday:

2013 Roses_day1

So pretty – AND – this is what they look like today – note that I followed every step of instructions that ProFlowers included. The vase came with the roses and there were two packets of food to drop into the water. One for day 1 – and then another for today after I changed out the water and cut the steps one more time:

2013 Roses_day4

Still  beautiful and all opening up!

 

 

Overcoming mental obstacles

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Motivation and fear are interesting things aren’t they?

The one pushes hard up against the other – who will win?

Well, it seems funny to speak of ‘fear’ when it came to my rather basic accomplishment I managed to achieve yesterday 🙂

For so many, making a video is easy. Second nature even. Hell, I didn’t even really make a video, but simply put together a slide show that I made INTO a video to publish on You Tube.  That’s why I had to post the video just before this – I am damn proud of that!!

I know that any sort of internet marketing experiment that I undertake is going to require multi-media content. Pictures and writing are one thing – video was totally foreign to me. So I’ve been really apprehensive about it – trying my best to find existing videos that will fill the bill (and don’t break some copy write rules!). But really, for a simple informative post like I had in my mind, I knew I had to create it.

Now, there is no sound – that will come with my second foray into the medium. After I was done I thought about at least having some boring music playing in the background, but since I had already spent three hours on the task, I was kind of done.

But, now after months of talking about it – I have done it! So, now the next one wont be so intimidating.

I’m motivated though – without making any huge effort at very much in the last few weeks obviously, two more books sold. Traffic to the site has plummeted in the winter months, yet whatever I am putting out there is breaking through often enough to keep me going. If we can keep this viable and get it even close to thriving, then I know we can do this for other people too someday.

Also, my day job is kicking into HIGH gear for the next 6 months. Yeah, that long…my co worker will go on maternity leave no later than end of March/early April and she will most likely not be back until July or August. Yep, mid-year end audit time!

Good thing I got all those evictions done when I did eh?

Oh yes, let’s see…my money habit update: Put $16.20 in the kitty today so that total after four weeks is $37.75

I’ll start the workout habit after the next trail run 5k one week from today.

Taxes and the next new habit

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Just a quick primer on what happened this month to your paycheck if you work for another company since I noticed more than one person ranting on Facebook with clearly NO CLUE what just happened.

Back in 2009, as part of a budget deal, a Social Security payroll tax holiday was declared. They rolled back what HAD previously been a 6.2% deduction from your paycheck to a 4.2% deduction.

Since this was on Social Security withholding, it specifically targeted and helped out people who make less than the maximum salary for SS withholding – which is currently around 100k.

In other words you received an additional 2% of your gross salary on the first 100k you made in your net pay if you worked for another company.

If you are self employed, or a contract employee in a situation where you are paid WITHOUT Social Security taxes being withheld than you were not impacted by the payroll tax holiday.

It was – emphasis here – a HOLIDAY. Designed to put more money in people’s hands to stimulate the economy. It is essentially a non-partisan strategy. Yes, it was suggested by Obama and signed into law by him, but there were equal amounts on both sides who either liked it or didn’t like it.

So, it was TEMPORARY and it had tenuous support at best.

I suspected it would go away either in 2013 or 2014 – after the election of course. No way Obama would have let it expire in an election year 🙂 Hey, I support him, but I know when he is playing the game too!

Anyway, with this last tax deal passed for the 2013 year, it was indeed removed so now your withholding for Social Security has reverted BACK to the 6.2% rate that it was just three years ago.

Does it hurt? Yeah, for sure. But, it was NOT a raise in your overall tax rate at all. This is Social Security. Look at those statements you get in the mail every quarter on your Social Security account balances. That’s where your government protected retirement account is. Basically you have been contributing 2% less to your retirement  – now it is back.

If you were in the 20% income tax rate bracket last year, you are still in that bracket this year.

Anyway….

I did my own preliminary 2012 tax returns this past weekend and was thrilled to see that I had planned my own federal and state withholding pretty darn well. Even though I have been doing this for years, I am never entirely sure how it will turn out! Lordy they change laws so much, even small things like deductions that are also, like the SS payroll tax rate, temporary or have a cap on the total. Next thing you know they either let those expire, make them permanent or increase the limits. Aack! It’s a tax preparer/planners nightmare I tell ya.

Anyway…..#2…

So, I think I’ve settled on a new habit to pick up in February. Keeping with the “small increments” rule and knowing that while my running plans for this year will remain fairly steady I do definitely want to continue improving/maintaining my overall cross fit strength. There is a GREAT workout that I will link to in a separate post next week that is actually pretty intense when done as a full circuit, BUT…

It is easy to break down into smaller increments.

It does not require any equipment that I don’t already have.

So my goal is to spend 15 minutes either in the morning (not very likely, but I want to keep my options open) or in the evening doing a segment of this workout. I’ll rotate through them so that I am working out different muscle groups each night.

There are 6 sets in the workout which should take 15 minutes. I am not crazy enough to think I could actually do 6 nights per week AND also do at least one long trail run.

So, for February I will aim for 4 workouts a week.

If I do this properly I will be writing whining posts about sore muscles very soon 🙂

Recovery is fun!

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Especially when your boys are willing to spend many hours playing card games with you to break up the time spent reading on your new kindle or in front of the TV:

Phase 10

 

We’ve had this game for awhile but at first our brains hurt or we were just too tired or something to want to figure it out. But with a long weekend looming for 16 and considering that he was (shock!) feeling a little bored with his Xbox, he brought this out. We’ve since played 6 games, one with 27 and had a damn fun time smack talking and laughing at the whole thing.

Meanwhile, I made the mistake Thursday afternoon of thinking that I could take a walk in the beautiful warm weather we are having. Since that was scarcely 24 hours after my surgery, it was not the best plan. It wasn’t awful, but I did feel some cramping happening as a result so I shut it down completely the rest of the day and on Friday. Saturday I ran some errands with 16 and felt no side effects. Renee checked in to see how I was doing and if I wanted to just walk on the trail while they did our usual longer Sunday run. They had to be out there for 90 minutes. I figured even if I could only stroll for a bit that since it was on my favorite birding trail – especially in the winter – then that would be a great test plus I could enjoy the sunshine.

I strolled for a mile. I mean, really STROLLED. Did stop and try to ID birds from memory. I didn’t carry binoculars or a bird book because I had put on my running shoes and was prepared just in case I felt well enough to pump up the walking pace.

Which, I did, so miles 2 and 3 I sort of started into my previous fitness walking pace of close to 15 min miles. That took a 65 mins and they would still be on the trail for another 25 so I decided to start alternating some light jogging segments with the walking. By the time 90 mins was up I had gone 5.3 miles and felt 100% FINE.

So how about that? I went from doing the K9 5K last weekend under a bit of duress from the fibroid symptoms (36 mins) – evicted the pesky buggers on Wednesday – and then today, a week after the 5k and 3.5 days after surgery – I walked/jogged for 5.3 miles in 90 mins.

I like that kind of recovery a LOT!

Oh, and new habit check in – I added $5 to the total this week so I have $21.55 saved.

After I get into finishing taxes this week I’ll put my mind into coming up with something fitness related. Even though the recovery has been encouraging, I am being honest about my limits to come up with something else until I am totally cleared after the 2 week post-op visit and once the larger tax chore is mostly completed since that will take up time and mental capacity 🙂

New Habit Check In

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We are on the Friday of week 2 of 2013 – so how are those new habits coming along?

Lord knows I’ve got a couple of good excuses were I to not have chosen something so relatively easy to start off! It was precisely because of the Fumication this week and then Fibroid Eviction next week that I only chose the savings goal at this point. I’m already thinking ahead about a February habit to add in more related to fitness.

Anyway, despite being uprooted this week I need focus on where my $$ went. I had to spend out of pocket a bit more since I wasn’t cooking in my own house for two solid days, but thankfully my parents gave me a Starbucks gift card for my birthday so breakfast was covered (thank you!!) and I knew The Boyfriend would take me out for dinner one night. So overall I am pleased that I was able to drop another bit of money out of my wallet tonight.

My two week total stands at $16.55

I did also trip into a bit of extreme good luck in regards to my desired gift to myself. A huge plus to being in a hotel with good internet the other night was space and time to catch up with a few far flung friends. Specifically one who had posted last week on FB about some gadgets he wanted to sell. Including….drum roll please…….

A Kindle Fire! Now, it’s not the brand new HD that I was eyeing, BUT…..at the price he offered it to me I just had to jump on it! Before this month is over I will have the Kindle and also have bought Amazon Prime. I had a head start on THAT thanks to a gift card from co-workers. The total I will spend on that with my mid-month paycheck is completely doable within my normal cash budget SO…I get to keep the little bit I’ve already saved AND will have my new toy!

Now I get to ponder what the fun money will be used on 🙂