Monday, December 23, 2013

Michelle Dozois: Body Fit 360 (Review)

You know how much I love Michelle Dozois, especially her Peak 10 videos.  I was super excited to learn about a different video from Michelle that is very complimentary to the Peak 10 series.  It's her Body Fit 360 which focuses on a wide range of exercises to get your blood-pumping and to work on your flexibility by incorporating pilates, yoga, plyometrics and dance. 

As much as I was looking forward to this video, I readily admit that it's a lot more challenging than I anticipated.  I don't love it, yet, but it's challenging in a way that I think I need and can benefit from. 

Michelle begins with a short warm-up and then moves into chair poses and some low-impact cardio.  Your body gets warm very quickly.  Michelle moves you through some balance work and then on to some yoga.  The yoga is challenging, especially the moves that have you going to the floor and back up over and over.

There are some tricky moves in here that Michelle explains in a segment of the video that you can choose to watch at the beginning.  I highly recommend watching these and trying out the moves before you do the work-out.  They're innovative and challenging - and hard to catch on to. 

There is a short ab section at the end, followed by some great stretching.  Michelle is a great teacher and this workout is unlike anything I've ever come across.  It's a challenging combination of stretching and toning that's intense enough to get your heart rate up.  You will not be bored with this one, I promise.  And there's always room to improve.  Flexibility is something we so often neglect and so this video would be a great addition to your workout cycle. 

For a clip, go here.  I cannot wait for more videos from Michelle!

Bottom Line: If you're doing high intensity aerobics and weights, this is a great addition to your video collection.  If you're starting out, the moves may be a bit tough but you'll slowly get the hang of it.  A great workout, all around!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Victorian Tea Cakes

Okay, back to Christmas!

Every year, I try to take cookies to the neighbors. This year, I also wanted some cookies to take to my new co-workers, who deserved a treat.  I turned to one of my favorite Christmas recipes, Victorian Tea Cakes (mentioned here).

Because time was short this year, especially when a week was taken up with a cruise, I made the dough one night and rolled the cookies out the next.  

These are so delicious - not too sweet but great with tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.  Everyone who has them, loves them.  Even my new co-workers!

Happy holiday baking!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Valley Church, Antigua

We're back from our cruise, having narrowly missed the epic ice storm that hit DFW.  Actually, we left a day and a half early to miss it!  

The cruise was wonderful; we saw new and old places, all beautiful!  One of the new spots we found was on Antigua, an island we visited for the first time in February.   For this stop at the island, we decided to hike to several beaches.  We were dropped off at Darkwood Beach and walked around the corner to Ffryes.  Then, we peaked at Coco Beach before climbing up and down a hill to Valley Church.  Our last stop was a thirty minute walk from there, Jolly Beach, the most popular and populated of them all.

Valley Church took our breath away.  I have to share some pictures with you.  The water was unlike anything I've seen.

There were shells on the beach but after a few feet in the water, they gave way to the softest sand you can imagine.  While sitting on the beach, we realized that as the waves crashed over the shells, the shells made a sound akin to wind-chimes.  Just beautiful!

We will definitely be returning to Valley Church - and to Antigua.  It's moving up and up in my rankings of favorite places.  And with 365 beaches, it has a lot to offer!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Checking Out

We're off on a Caribbean cruise this week....  So check back next week to hear all about our adventures!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

More Holiday Baking!

Now that I've introduced you to a new workout video, on to some more holiday baking.  Ha!  

For a nightly snack this week, I decided to make my all-time favorite Pumpkin Bread.  It's so good that I can't bring myself to make any health-conscious ingredient substitutions.  The holidays are about the only time I in went the sugar (instead of Splenda), eggs (instead of egg substitute), and shortening (eek!).  

Betty Crocker knew here stuff: this bread is the best there is.  I love it!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Jari Love: Get Extremely Ripped 1000 (Review)

Among the Jari Love videos I rotate through is her Get Extremely Ripped 1000 (2009).  It is similar in format and setting to her Get Extremely Ripped.

I must say that though it's similar to Extremely Ripped, it's a lot easier for me to get through.  Like Extremely Ripped, Jari divides the video into two 30-minute workouts.  You begin with a warmup of light cardio and weights.  Then a good 30-minute workout followed by abs and a cool-down. 

Both workouts alternate between cardio and weights.  The weights are similar to the exercises in Extremely Ripped but since they alternate with cardio, it's much easier, I think.  So, a weighted exercise followed by jacks, weights and then knees up....etc, etc. 

My few gripes of this video are....  Sometimes Jari does an uneven number of reps, like she's forgotten to count or is surprised by the ticker than comes up onscreen.  I find myself alternating sides so that they're even (I'm a bit OCD).  Jari explains that they decided to do a "tribal" theme for this video.  The outfits are a little out there but this should not keep you from getting a great workout.  

Jari is more conversational in this video and Extremely Ripped.  It's annoying, but I think mostly for her crew onscreen.  She's still very motivating and less annoying than Jillian MIchaels.  So, this does not deter me.  

Even though three of her crew use a step, it's not necessary.  I don't have a step.  Jari and two of her crew in front do everything without a step.  Also, a lady does a low-intensity modification for most of the cardio sections.  Very helpful!  For a clip, go here.  

Bottom Line: This is a great workout for someone who is getting more serious about incorporating weights into their workout.  The cardio is great and keeps your heartrate up throughout the weight sections.