Friday, May 29, 2015

The B Behind The B

Often times I see people posting about the 'Boy Behind The Blog'. Well it's been about nine months since we've been together, so I thought I'd introduce you all to the B behind my blog.

Friends, meet my bike Polly!

This is just a picture of a picture of Polly. She was gifted to me from my family for my 30th birthday. She's a single speed, gold finch yellow, Schwinn Cruiser. Someday she'll get a basket.

When Polly was first delivered to my home we had a quick ride up and down the alley before she hibernated in the bike room for the past  9 months. Last night she called me up and begged to stretch her wheels so I took her down and we went cruising!

Minneapolis is a HUGE biking city with paths for miles and miles with a bunch of bike gangs, so it was a bit intimidating at first for Polly to find the right time to enter the Greenway.

Once Polly found her stride she cruised like she's never cruised before (probably because she's never cruised before). We discovered parts of Minneapolis that we've never seen before.

A hotel off the Greenway that has a back deck with a DJ during happy hour and has bikers specials.

A rather large soccer stadium.

Public gardens, both produce and flowers.

A bike/coffee shop where bikers can stop in and fix their bikes or chat with other bikers over some coffee.

Lot's of different artwork.

And a homeless man peeing under a bridge.

Our final stop was the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge. I've seen this bridge in pictures, but never in real life. I came around a corner and there he was!

Polly took me across the bridge where the view of downtown Minneapolis is phenomenal.

At this point ol Polly's wheels were getting a little tired so we decided it would be best to turn around and take a more leisurely cruise back home.

I don't know if it's Polly's bright yellow color, the turquoise in my helmet or the shit eatin grin I had on my face, but Polly and I got quite a bit of attention down on the Greenway. I don't think they see too much of our kind around those parts.

Bikers whizzed by us, luckily they didn't whizz on us, one even said, in his Speedy Gonzalez voice 'nice yellow bike!', I yelled back 'thanks!'.

I wonder where all the cruisers hang out? I think Polly needs some more friends.

I have plans for me and Polly, big plans. Like cruising to movies and music in the many parks. All I need is that basket to hold my wine.

I hope you all liked learning a little bit about Polly and our first ride together. If you see her out on the Greenway or the lakes, make sure to say hi!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Weekend Review 56: Memorial Weekend 2015

I decided to take an extra long holiday weekend so on Thursday night Mike and I drove up to the cabin and were able to miss most of the holiday traffic that was sure to come the next day. My dad was already up with the dogs so after we arrived we went to Jed's for taco night! A lot of the locals were there, so Mike was able to get a sneak peak in to what our nights at Jed's typically entail.

Friday's weather was 99% perfect. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if the water was warm and we could have hung out on the rafts or at the sand bar.

We had a leisurely morning waiting for the rest of the family to arrive. Once Kari showed up we loaded up coolers and took a nice boat ride. Not long after we docked the boat, Kayla and Joe showed up, so we took another ride, since we weren't sure what the weather was going to do the rest of the weekend.

Every weather report showed rain all day for Saturday and Sunday, so when we woke up to mostly sunny skies we once again loaded up the boat with some snacks and beverages so we could soak in the sun as long as possible.

We aren't on a huge lake, but it is big enough to have an effect on systems coming through. For most of the afternoon we watched the weather stay just to our South or split around the lake, with just a few sprinkles here and there, but nothing to force us off the lake until early evening.

Some sprinkles started to spit at us so we called it good and I went and made dinner for everyone. My dad and I grocery shopped earlier in the week and found a delicious habanero and pineapple sauce at Costco we marinaded a pork tenderloin in. It was quite delicious.

Just as we finished dinner, the sun started to peak through the clouds again so we thought we better take one last boat cruise. It was so much fun! Kayla, Kari and Joe fished, while my dad, Mike and I took in the scenery and one of the best Spotify channels, Tranquility with a Beat. Check it out.

Sunday morning half of the crew went back to the cities which left Kari, dad and myself. We spent the majority of the day hanging out in the neighbors garage to stay dry, sharing silly stories, throwing poppers at people and just enjoying good company.

Here's a little video of the weekend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Weekend Review 55: Duluth

Over the weekend I went up to Duluth with my little sister to assist her with her volleyball team since the other coach was getting married.

We stayed at the Edgewater Hotel and Waterpark that was right across the street from Lake Superior and not too far from Canal Park or Downtown Duluth. When we arrived we found a local restaurant to grab a quick dinner at before we had to meet the girls for our team meeting.

The mom that was the team chaperone was great and made the girls, and us, snack bags and bagged lunches to bring to the tournament.

The first day, we didn't have to be to the gym until 8:30. The girls came ready to play and we left the day winning all three matches!

Since the first day went rather quick, we were back to the hotel by 1:00 and ready to start exploring Duluth.

Kari and I headed to Fitgers for some beer. They had an Apricot Wheat that I really enjoyed. Then we walked down to the board walk and took in the lake. The wind started to pick up so we found another brewery to stop in to, Canal Park Brewery, and we discussed what our next move should be.

We had to meet the team for dinner at 6:30 at a nearby restaurant so we decided to walk through a few more stores, grab some fresh cheese curds and then make our way to dinner.

On Sunday we had to be at the gym by 7:30, which meant a 6:00 AM wake up call. Our morning pool was mostly teams from our own club and the girls struggled a bit, but we took most matches to 3 games. By 2:00 bracket play began and we were placed in the Silver bracket. We won our first match, then our second, then the third!

The third match was so exciting all the way to the end. We won the first game, lost the second game, we were the first to 8 in the third game and then the other team started to bring. it. Next thing we know its 16-16, then 17-16, then 17-17. I can't remember exactly what happened during the next two points, but we finally got the lead 17-18 and rallied hard to make it 17-19 and take first place in the last tournament of the season.

The parents from both teams were on their feet just going nuts those last few points. When the final ball dropped, the girls cheered, cried, hugged each other and cried some more.

This was such a different experience then I had throughout my season and I wish I could have had. It was such a treat to be at this tournament with this team, the very first team I ever 'coached', and to see them take their bracket and fight to the very end.

Enjoy this little video I put together from the weekend.

Friday, May 15, 2015

She Sweats Week 5

I've officially started the third segment of the She Sweats 12 Week Transformation Program, the gym version and let me tell you, it's going to be one hell of a ride.

W5D1 - Legs. Leg day in segment 3 is pretty similar to leg day in segment 2 only you are adding an extra element to most moves. Step ups added a knee lift, walking lunges added a pulse and deadlifts went to one leg. The number of reps and sets increased as well to give that extra burn.

I live on the second floor of an old building, so I don't have an elevator to use if I wanted. To say that my legs were shaking by the time I entered my apartment would be an understatement. I burned a whole heck of a lot of calories too!

W5D2 - Chest, Triceps and Cardio. I did this workout on Mother's Day right when the gym opened and it was the best time to workout. There was NO ONE at the gym! I was able to get all my exercises in that needed weights without waiting for a bench to open up and then I was able to move right on over to the treadmill and get in the cardio portion of the workout.

I used to think I was a runner, I've ran 5k's, 10k's and even a half marathon. My knees hate running, so when I saw 30 min of cardio I was a little hesitant and thought maybe I could just walk at a quick speed. I gave it a go though and went with the interval suggested and felt so flippin good when I was done.

Do you ever finish a workout and just feel like a complete rock star? Because that's how I felt.

W5D4 - Back, Biceps and Cardio.  If there's one thing I can't stand at the gym, it's when a group of guys take over 3 benches in the free weights section and only use one bench because the one guy who is actually lifting weights he can barely carry, needs 3 spotters and then they all proceed to stand in front of you and 'flex'. Not impressed, buddy.

The cardio in this workout was stairs. So many stairs! Since I work in a high rise I was thinking I could just walk the stairs on my lunch, the problem is that I work on the highest floor so it would just be going down and not up. So, I went to the stair stepper. I tried doing this once before and after 3 minutes I was so winded I quit, but I made it 20 minutes this time and had beads of sweat rolling down every inch of me. It felt awesome.

W5D5 - Legs. I was able to move through this workout pretty quick, except following squats with lunges is just stupid. My legs were shaking so bad! It's a pretty quick day with only 4 moves to do, but very effective.

W5D7 - Abs, Calves, Shoulders and Cardio. I'm a big fan of days that include cardio. I like ending my workout drenched in sweat. This particular day was an interesting one in the free weights department. It was ALL GIRLS! It's pretty cool to see the ladies rocking the free weights.

Next up is week 6 and the half way point!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Weekend Review 54: Mother's Day

In a nutshell, you could call this past weekend, perfect. I love it when you find that balance between staying busy/socializing and relaxing, especially when you can combine the two.

On Friday night Mike and I went to his friends house for a birthday get together. They had a great spread of food and we all hung out on their deck until the sun went down and we brought the conversation inside.  I tried a new to me beer, Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat and really enjoyed it. I love hard cider, but there's just so much sugar and I feel really heavy drinking too many, that I'm glad I found a beer with a nice apple flavor that isn't too heavy or full of sugar.

Saturday morning was nice and lazy, but since it was a gorgeous day outside I headed over to Mike's to watch him do yard work. My apartment doesn't get much sun light, and the temperature on my phone read 65 degrees outside so I thought it would be necessary to bundle up. By the time I got to his house I was over heating. Luckily I'm slightly lazy and have yet to drop off the three bags of clothes in my trunk to Goodwill and I had some alternative tops to wear.

I wasn't totally useless, I did clean off his patio table and ran to the store to get food to grill,  but I felt guilty watching him mow and clean out some rocks as I sat and soaked up the sun.

Sunday morning I got to the gym right after it opened and I loved it! There was hardly anyone there and I didn't have to wait around to use any weights or anything. I'm on to the third segment of the She Sweats 12 Week Program and so far it's proven to be a butt kicker and my favorite segment.

After the gym I got ready to meet my family at Grand Cafe for brunch. It's a small restaurant in South Minneapolis with a simple, yet absolutely delicious menu. Just as we were ready to wrap up and head outside to take our group Mother's Day picture, the sky's opened and we weren't able to get a good group picture this year.

Weekends like this make me so excited for Summer and all the warm weather activities to come!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Pic Drop

I've been taking more random pictures lately that get lost on my phone, so because it's Friday, and I don't want anyone working too hard by having too much to read, here's a bunch of pictures from my phone.

Pretty blooming trees on my walk to the morning bus.

Nico's Tacos & Tequila for Cinco de Mayo

Two dogs, one bed. they don't look like they were forced to be in there together, do they?

Too much beer. Drinking is tough!

Just before the WI border is a cheese curds and french fry stand at a gas station. Of course we tried some.

Chapstick for daaayyyysss!

I'm pretty certain this is Leonardo as a boy. TMNT shoes, backpack, sunglasses, hat and a stuffed turtle friend. Waiting at the bus stop with his body guard...or he was trying to find his way back to the sewer.

Big fire in North Minneapolis. For the past five weeks I've seen at least one fire burning from my office windows. We need rain! But at least I can flush my toilets.

When you get courtside seats, you run in to some silly characters with style that's on #fleek. No, he did not have a big red nose.

Safety first when drinking. You don't want to hurt yourself.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

She Sweats Week 4

I'm not sure what it is, but after my week three was thrown off, it's been hard getting back in to my gym groove. Regardless, it's week 4, the final week in the second segment and I'm ready to bust it out.

W4D1 - Legs, boy oh boy was it leg day. When I've been doing my weighted step ups, I usually just go in to the empty class room and put together a step about 4 blocks high. This day the gym was pretty empty, I think it's the awesome weather, so I did my weighted step ups on a bench and that height difference burns! Then I felt like a fool because I saw there is actually a step machine where you can change the height. I'll throw that in the ol memory box for the next time one of the workouts calls for step ups.

W4D3 - Chest and back, chest and back, oh how I don't hate chest and back. My alarm went off at 5:10 AM and I snoozed it while internally arguing with myself about how tired I was because I had to stay up and watch the three part mash up with Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Law & Order SVU. I eventually got myself out of bed, quickly dressed and scooted over to the gym. I love going in there when it isn't very busy because it means that I'm able to get through everything pretty smooth. I'm still using the same amount of weight as the previous week, but I felt good and I can feel the burn, 371 calories burned that is!

W4D5 - Legs and shoulders. The free weights area was surprisingly busy this morning so I didn't use free weights for my shoulder press and instead used the machine. I feel like with a machine I push myself a little harder with how heavy of weights I use, so I was definitely feeling the burn when I completed my reps.

Since I haven't been as consistent these last two weeks, I started to use the Pact app. You make a pact with yourself to go to the gym 'x' times a week and if you miss your goal, you pay 'x' amount in to the pot.

Example: I have a pact that I will go to the gym 4 times a week and each day I miss, I pay out $10 per missed day.

You can also make pacts that track your food intake. It syncs with My Fitness Pal and you have to enter a whole days worth of food with a minimum of 1,200 calories. I passed on that pact because I'm horrible at tracking my food over the weekends.

I am however, participating in the veggie/fruit pact. You just take a picture of yourself eating a serving of fruits or vegetables and other 'pact-ers' vote on your picture to verify that it is in fact a healthy choice.

Pacts run from Monday through Sunday so when your pact is complete, you are awarded in $! Who doesn't want some extra bills as an award for living a healthy lifestyle?

*These thoughts are 100% my own and I am not being compensated in any way. I just really like the idea of being rewarded for staying on track and living a healthy life.

W4D7 - Biceps and Triceps. This has proven to be one of my lest favorite days mainly for the moves that I need to use the cable rope. It's so awkward and rubs the skin of the outside of my hands. Definitely a struggle too, after using the shoulder press machine and using heavier weights than I'm used to.

I am glad I used the should press machine though, I'm really feeling the soreness and I feel like that's proof to myself that I pushed myself as hard as I could.

Tomorrow starts Segment 3: Secure and I'll be doing this for three weeks as well.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Weekend Review 53: WI Fishing Opener

Don't let the title fool you, I did zero fishing even though it was fishing opener in the great state of Wisconsin. I did however, take a nap under the sun lake side, launched the pontoon boat, took my first voyage of the season, played a game of bags, got a tad sunburned, splashed in the lake with my cousins kids, played with a baby turtle, watched the Wild lose the first playoff game against the Blackhawks and more.

This was a big weekend since it was the first time Mike has been to our cabin and the first time he met my mom, sister and brother in law. I wasn't too concerned about everyone liking each other or getting along. The weekend went pretty much as good as it could get.

He wasn't drilled with 1,000 questions under a spot light, and he was very helpful when it came to any chores we had to do, like putting the decking on the dock and getting in the not quite warm lake in just his trunks to dig a hole for the boat lift tires.

I know I keep talking about the weather we've been having, but this weekends weather could not have been more perfect. It was upper 70's and sunshine the whole weekend, with a nice breeze off the lake. Definitely t-shirt and shorts weather.

When we arrived on Friday night, everyone's focus was finding a way to stream the Wild game and after a few attempts we got it! Unfortunately the Wild lost (and lost again last night).

Saturday was a typical early morning for me. Once a few more people woke up, I made breakfast while Kayla, Joe and my dad put the fishing boat in the lake so they could get some fishing in. Then we spent the day like we would any other hot summery Spring day, minus the swimming part. Music, beer, yard games, misc chores, cleaning up the shore line, etc. For some reason, working outside by a lake, doesn't quite feel like work.

On Sunday Kayla and Joe left in the morning to beat the traffic home and the rest of us took a boat ride around the lake to show Mike different points. I was getting a ride home with my parents since Mike was leaving from the cabin to go on a business trip, which meant I wasn't driving anywhere and could enjoy a glass of wine on our mid afternoon cruise.

Since the day just kept on getting nicer and nicer, mom, dad and I lingered a bit and just took in the sun and scenery before packing up and heading home.

Miley takes after her mom and likes to be in the sun no matter where she is.

April and May have really spoiled us with some nice weekends, so Summer has some big shoes to fill. I can't wait to spend most of my weekends soaking in time at the cabin with friends and family. Unfortunately it will be two weeks until I am back up, but it's the kickoff to Summer, Memorial Weekend!