Monday, June 26, 2017

STS Rotation #1: Meso Cycle 1 Week 4

I think I'm seeing changes in my body.  My legs seem to be firmer, for sure.  Either way, I'm definitely more confident in my body and I'm telling myself that's enough.  Because I don't want to get on the scale.  Ha!

As this last week of meso cycle 1 approaches, I must say that the recovery week that'll come after this week is sounding really nice.


Monday: Ilyse Baker's Dancinerate: Burn With the Beat + Pauline Nordin's Butt Bible Lower Level 2 + YWA

I started off with a new DVD today!  I loved Ilyse on FitnessGlo and this video made me realize how much I miss her.  She moves fast in this DVD but I had fun, with what I could pick up on the first try.  After that 20 minutes, it was time for 30 minutes of the Butt Bible.  Considering my bum was still sore form Saturday, this did not sound appealing.  And it really, really hurt.  I upped my hip thrust weight to 14 pounds.  Dang!  After that, stretching the bum felt wonderful!  This YWA was a good way to end the day - lots of balancing.

Tuesday: STS Chest, Shoulders, and Biceps + walk

Wow.  All these push-ups are killer.  There seemed to be so many in this 10th STS disc.  But I got through it.  And I'm amazed at how difficult it is to go up in weights with these exercises - except chest flies.  Sigh.  Oh, well.  I got through it and felt stronger afterward!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center and then did some planking.  It always feels good to move and loosen up the muscles at lunch!

Wednesday: Cathe's Intensity Series: IMAX 2


Wednesdays have been reserved for HIIT but I switched it around this week and will do HIIT tomorrow.  Today, IMAX 2 was on the agenda for steady cardio.  Cathe used a step; I did not.  But I got a great workout.  The step sequences weren't too overly choreographed - only one or two completely confused me.  As it was, I got through them and definitely got through the "bursts" of high intensity work.  This ended up being a good cardio workout!

Thursday: Cathe's Cardio Core Circuit Live + weights + YWA


So I had Cathe's Cardio Core Circuit on my schedule for today.  And I just couldn't do it.  I hate that workout.  So I decided to do the live version instead, to try out something new.  The live one was very difficult.  But I think the tiniest bit easier than the original. All the core work was standing, which didn't feel as effective, but I've always hated going to the floor in the middle of a workout for crunches etc.  So, yay!  I did this workout after work, because I'd felt bad in the morning.  So I also missed weights at the rec center.  I did them at home and it sure felt effective.  Dang!   And, finally, I did a nice, calming YWA.

Friday:  YWA

Finally, a rest day!  This YWA is an earlier one from Adriene, set outside.  But this is the stage in her career when she's hitting her stride so it was good - not too difficult for the morning and flow-y all the same.  It was super nice to get stretched out this morning!

Saturday: Cathe's High/Low HIIT Live + 160 Lunges + STS Legs + abs

Today was tough!  I started off with 160 walking lunges - that got my heart rate up!!  Then, Cathe's HIIT worked me hard.  Dang!  I skipped the weighted exercises - or did them without weights.  But I got a great, 30-minute cardio workout.  After that, STS time!  I was not looking forward to legs and it was not easy - but I got through it!  I even added on some weighted hip thrusts at the end.  Then, about 7 minutes of abs (from Cathe) followed by a lovely, lovely stretch.  I'll hurt tomorrow.

Sunday: Cathe's Cardio Kicks + STS Back and Triceps + abs + STS Extended Stretch

I was looking forward to my last STS workout of Mesocycle 1, let me tell you.  I'm ready for a break.  But first, there was work to be done.  I really enjoyed the 35 minutes I did of Cardio Kicks - an older Cathe kickboxing workout.  It was a ton of fun and I'll have to do it in it's entirety sometime, for sure.  After that, it was time for STS.  I must say that the one area I'm seeing a bit change in, outside of my legs, are my triceps.  So this was a fun 55 minutes of making them hurt - ha!  After that, I did 6 minutes of abs (from Cathe) and then her Extended Stretch, which is very nice!

Calorie Counts:

Not a great week but it wasn't too bad.



Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hello, Energy!

I'm now two months into my desiccated thyroid medication.  When my doctor first mentioned the possibility of NatureThroid, I was a bit skeptical, fearing, mainly, it would cost more than my generic synthetic thyroid meds.   And it costs a bit more but it's negligible...

And worth it.  Earlier this month, I asked Mr. Higgins, "Have said that I'm tired lately?"  He thought for a second and said, "no."  Amazing.  While I was on synthetic thyroid I had no energy - and apparently complained about it so much that it tested my husband's patience. But somehow, NatureThroid has give me back my energy.  

I went to see my endocrinologist earlier this week and told her, ecstatic to see this change in myself.  She said, when looking at my current labs, that numbers that hadn't moved finally moved!  Yes!  She also increased my dosage just a bit, which I'm hoping will help with my inability to lose weight.  


So if you're considering changed to desiccated thyroid, I highly recommend it.  The energy by itself is enough to make me wholeheartedly endorse it.  I'll keep you posted about my weight!

Monday, June 19, 2017

STS Rotation #1: Meso Cycle 1 Week 3

Last week was good - mainly because I wasn't as sore as the week before.  The one workout that really made me sore was the Butt Bible Lower Level 2 workout - OUCH!  

I'm hoping all of this is making a difference with my body.  I really, really hope!

Monday: Cathe's Low Impact Series: Low Impact Challenge + Pauline Nordin's Butt Bible Lower Level 1 + YWA

I keep trying to do Cathe's low impact workouts and they keep getting me flustered with crazy footwork!  At some point in this workout, I gave up and jogged in place.  It was ridiculous.  Sigh.  After that 30 minutes, I did the Butt Bible, which really, really hurt my already sore butt (from Saturday's workout).  Wow.  At least I know my butt is being challenged!  After work, this YWA was nice - movement, for sure, but not too difficult.

Tuesday: STS Chest, Shoulder, and Biceps + walk

Wow, I felt this one today.  I really challenged myself on weights, especially with curls and overhead presses.  The most daunting thing about these Chest days....the push-ups.  There are so many.  My arms were already hurting so bad that I skipped the last bout of push-ups.  I just couldn't do them with good form.  So my arms were aching on the way into work.  At lunch, I walked the track at the rec center and it felt good to loosen up my muscles after sitting at my desk for so long.

Wednesday: Cathe's HIIT Pyramid + Low Impact Series: Low Impact Challenge

The last of Cathe's HIIT series was on the schedule for me today.  I didn't quite know what to expect....but I survived!  This pyramid style is interesting - you increase the time of the HIIT moves and decrease your rest time as you go along.  It was definitely a challenge so I'm glad I was able to to do it!  After that, I found that my Workout Blender started playing the Low Impact Challenge again (from Monday).  I didn't remember scheduling this for two days.  Sigh.  At least I finally picked up on some of the difficult-to-master combinations.  Work and life kept me from working out any more today.

Thursday: Cathe's Body Blast: Kick, Punch, and Crunch + weights + YWA

Yay, cardio!  I was excited about this kickboxing workout today and it was a lot of fun.  In the Workout Blender, I was able to pick and choose the chapters I wanted to do and the order in which to do them. So I did: high-impact, kickboxing, and then intermediate impact.  That was a good format because I gradually cooled down.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center - not fun but I got it done.  And after work, I did this lovely 16-minute YWA to combat anxiety.  I wasn't anxious, just worn out and it was a nice way to end the workday.

Friday: Cathe's Yoga Max

I was a bit disappointed in Yoga Relax, which I did two weeks ago, so I had high hopes for this yoga workout.  It was alright.  It was more intense because you went down and up from the floor more....but I didn't love it.  YWA is now my favorite yoga and she's hard to compete with.  

Saturday: STS Legs + Pauline Nordin's Butt Bible Lower Level 2 + 140 lunges + YWA

Another painful Saturday for my legs.  I started off with STS, knowing anything else would burn my legs out before the hardest part.  And my legs were literally shaking after this STS workout.  So I went and did 140 walking lunges.  Ouch!  Then, 30 minutes of the Butt Bible.  For the hip thrusts, I upped my weight to 13.  Ouch.  I can't tell you how much these hurt.  I stretched a bit afterward and did my sit-ups...  And then used the last bit of energy I had for a short YWA.

Sunday:  Cathe's Tabatacise + STS Back and Triceps + abs

I can't say I was looking forward to my second run-through of Tabatacise but I needed to burn some serious calories.  I got through this, huffing, puffing, and happy to be exhausted. My legs were so sore from yesterday and, unfortunately, after that 40 minutes, there was still work to do.  STS Back and Triceps was good - and it really burned out my triceps.  Ouch!  I like this one, though, because there are always few push-ups and nothing crazy to dread (like in the leg workout).  After that, five minutes of abs and then a stretch.

Calorie Counts:

I had a few good days of around 1250 calories, but the others were a bit higher.  We're trying to have fun this summer, which means more food than usual.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Amish Bread

Another birthday at work meant another baking opportunity this past week.  Cool!  I'm not getting to bake nearly enough lately!

I searched around for recipes and had almost decide on my scones when I saw this post about Amish Bread.  Growing up, Amish Friendship Bread was very popular in my mom's kitchen and, though I didn't remember the exact taste of that bread, this one sounded good enough to try.


I made no substitutions except for using Splenda for half of the sugar for the loaves.  My one recommendation - put enough cinnamon/sugar in the insides of the loaves as you can do without more on top.  This make it extra appealing when you cut into the bread.

Mr. Higgins loved this bread so I though it safe to take to work.  And everyone seemed to really enjoy it.  It's not quite what I expected but I still liked it and will keep the recipe.

Monday, June 12, 2017

STS Rotation #1: Meso Cycle 1 Week 2

So considering how sore I was ALL last week, I think that STS is going to be a very effective system.  I just hope I'm not sore for it's entirety!  

I'm looking forward to week two!  It's amazing how changing up one's workouts can really keep you motivated and excited!

Monday: STS Chest, Shoulders, Biceps + DanceFit + XTrain Core Bonus 1 + YWA


I was still sore from my Butt Bible on Sunday - my inner thighs were aching - so it was good to focus on the upper body today.  I did all this at the end of the day so I started with DanceFit - which I did last week and really enjoyed.  Then, STS - which was much more challenging than last week.  I upped my weights, as directed, and that really made a difference.  Ouch!  And so many push-ups!  After that 55 minutes of pain, I tuned into Adreine's Upper Back yoga - lovely!  And to finish off, ten minutes of abs (Cathe's XTrain) - ouch!

Tuesday:  Cathe's Low Impact Step + Pauline Nordin's Butt Bible Lower Level 1 + walk


So I'm waking up 15 minutes early on Monday and Tuesday to get in either an STS workout or a Butt Bible. Today, I started with 30 minutes of Cathe's step - it was alright.  Then, Butt Bible!  Level 1 is so much easier than level 2!!  But it's still painful, especially since my inner thighs still hurt.  I got through it and had a nice 5-minute stretch afterward.  At lunch, I walked at the rec center just to get some steps and feel more active.  Life interfered after work, which meant no YWA.  

Wednesday: Cathe's HIIT 30/30 + Hardcore Series: Low Max

I was a bit nervous about this HIIT....but it wasn't too bad.  In fact, it was a bit easier that last week's 40/20 HIIT.  Cool!  I'm glad I'm not getting out of shape since I've decreased my cardio!  After that 30 minutes, I finished off my workout with Cathe's Low Max - an oldie but a good one.  Of course, I have no step but that didn't matter!  I moved and jumped just a bit and got a good workout!

Thursday:  Cathe's Keep the Cardio Coming + weights + YWA


The times I've looked at this live workout, I've written it off because Cathe uses the stability ball for a cardio sequence - and some light weights.  I did it without either one and got a great workout!  It's good to do intervals on Wednesday and sustained cardio on Thursday - the variety is good.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center - whew!  Glad that's over with for the week!  After work, this YWA got me all hot and sweaty!  Nice!

Friday: Peak 10 Dynamic Flexibility + Cathe's Xpress Leaner Legs Abs 

Rest day - yay!  I started off my morning with Michelle Dozois' Dynamic Flex, which I love!  You move in every direction and really get your muscles nice and stretched out.  After that, almost 10 minutes of abs with Cathe - ouch!

Saturday:  STS Legs + Pauline Nordin's Butt Bible Lower Level 2 + 120 lunges + YWA

OMG.  Talk about a tough morning.  I started off with STS Legs - which was 60 minutes of leg torture.  In a good way, of course.  Then, to move for a bit, I did 120 walking lunges with cardio interspersed to keep my legs happy - that took 10 minutes.  Next up - Butt Bible level 2, which is not easy.  Ouch!!!  I got through it but let me tell you - the lunges at the end were a special kind of torture.  I then did some sit-ups, stretched a bit, and finished off with Adriene's short hip routine.  Nice!

Sunday: Cathe's Hardcore Series: Kickmax + STS Biceps and Back

I was ready for cardio this morning and Kickmax was fun!  I did 35 minutes of the kickboxing which included a high impact blast.  Fun!  My thighs were definitely tight after yesterday's leg torture session.  At the end of that nice little cardio session, I was good and sweaty!  I then moved on to my STS workout for the day.  Triceps are always painful and today was no exception.  But I felt super accomplished after this hour of weight work.  I did a nice stretch to make my muscles happy!

Calorie Counts:

I had a few good days but it was Mr. Higgins' birthday week which meant some bad eating.  However, I'm doing my measurements every Sunday and I was done - again - in all areas except arms this week!  Awesome!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Morning Workouts

When I switched jobs about four (!) years ago, I switched up my workout routine.  I went from working out in the evening, as soon as I got home, to working out five minutes after waking up every weekday.  

That's a big change.  And it was for the better.  Let me tell you why...

--I have no time to dread my workout or talk myself out of it.  I just jump out of bed and do it, purely on auto-pilot for the first bit.  On the rare occasions that I wake up before the alarm, I dread working out only if I hate my workout for the day - and that's rare.

--I never miss a workout.  Nothing comes up - except the rare illness - at 5:30am to keep me from working out.  I love it!  

--It limits the time I can dread a workout.  As stated before, I rarely dread a workout, but if I do, I don't have time to talk myself out of it because by the time my brain is fully functional, I'm already jumping, jogging, or punching.  

--I never overthink a move or a step - I just do it.  My brain is simply following the moves for the first 15-20 minutes.   

--My workout is over and done with before I know it.  No more dreading going home and NOT relaxing - and working out instead.  I hated those days and now they're no more.

--By the time I get to work, my workout is like a bad dream with no influence over the rest of my day.  I love getting it over and done with before I can think about it.

--I have more energy in the morning than after a long day at work.  On the rare times I do an evening workout these days, they exhaust me.  I'm literally a zombie afterward.  Morning workouts are energizing and give me the confidence to feel strong and powerful throughout the day.

If those aren't enough reasons for you to give morning workouts a try, then I don't know what is.  That being said, I've never hit a snooze button on an alarm.  If you're a snoozer, morning workouts may be difficult.

Monday, June 5, 2017

STS Rotation #1: Meso Cycle 1 Week 1

STS (Shock Training System), here we go!  

My rotation is based loosely upon 2 Lazy 4 The Gym's Glute-focused playlist.  I don't have all of her DVDs and some are just too expensive or me.  But I'm going to do what I can with what I have.  Wish me luck!

And I'll need luck as I'm on the tail end of a cold.  Ugh!  The challenge will be keeping my snot to myself.

Monday: STS Chest, Shoulders, Biceps + DanceFit + YWA

I started the morning off with light cardio - Dance Fit, which is a Latin and Retro dance workout led by Tracey Mallett.  I hadn't touched this in years and it was more fun than I remembered.  After that 30 minutes, I did my first STS workout.  Wow.  50 minutes of push-ups and lots of weights.  My arms and shoulders were aching.  This is going to be an effective system, for sure.  After that, and a stretch, I did Adriene's quick yoga ab workout.  

Tuesday: STS Legs + walk + YWA


My first STS Legs went well!  I had to improvise some of the riser movers with a step stool....  And there was no improvisation for one move (stability ball wall squats)...but that's okay!  I was able to do the rest!  And OUCH!  This is going to be a challenge, for sure.  At lunch, I walked outside for 30 minutes.  Then, I did a nice, short stretch after work with Adriene.  I meant to do a longer video but it wouldn't load.  First world problems!

Wednesday: Cathe's HiiT 40/20 + Low Impact Circuit + YWA + Cathe's STS Ab Circuits

Back to cardio.  And I couldn't believe how sore my arms and shoulders still were from Monday and then, a new ache today: my bum.  It made some of these HiiT move difficult!  But this was a good HIIT routine with an appealing run time - 25 minutes!  So, afterward, I did 20 minutes of a Cathe step video.  Some of the steps (on the step) were a bit too complicated for me but I still moved.  After work, I was inspired to do more so I did this 27-minute YWA - though it's not my birthday - and then 15 minutes of Cathe's yoga ab workout on Ab Circuits.  Ouch!

Thursday: Cathe's Solid Cardio Plus HIIT + weights + YWA

This was my second time doing Solid Cardio and it was fun - despite a headache this morning.  Ugh.  I just can't get well, it seems.  But at least I got a good workout in!  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  I even changed something up - for good.  I'm back to doing leg presses - though our trainer took me off of them for reasons unknown - and I'm NOT doing calf raises anymore. I like my skinny calves, thank you very much!  I was super proud of myself for getting through weights - because I was still sore from Monday AND Tuesday's STS workouts.  YWA was alright - that one is not my favorite and I need to remember that next time.

Friday: Cathe's Yoga Relax


Rest day - yay!  I've never done a Cathe yoga video so I was curious to try one today.  This one was definitely more stretching than actual yoga but that was fine by me.  I was still sore - every part of my body ached - so this was a nice way to get moving on a Friday morning.  I can't wait to try her other yoga video!

Saturday: Cathe's MMA Fusion + STS Back and Triceps + STS Extended Stretch

I was looking forward to more pain today!  Ha!  But to start off, I did 30 minutes of cardio with Cathe's MMA Fusion.  Her MMA workouts are boxing and I'm curious to try them.  This one was a bit slow at times but the combinations were good and complicated.  I wanted low impact and this fit the bill.  Next up: my first STS back and tricep workout.  Dang!  I'll be feeling my triceps tomorrow and for days to come!  My only modification was pull-ups/chin-ups because I have no way to do these.  I pulled on my band instead.  After that (55 minutes), the Extended Stretch - very nice!  And then some sit-ups!

Sunday:  Cathe's XTrain Tabatacise + Butt Bible Lower Level 2 + Lunges + YWA

Lots of firsts today!  This was my first time doing Tabatacise. I was dreading it...and though it almost killed me, I got through it without hating it.  Too much.  Ha!  That was a good, solid 45 minutes of cardio.  After that, I did 100 walking lunges.  Oy.  My heart was pounding.  Next up: the 30-minute long Butt Bible Level 2.  Ouch!  I don't remember my bum ever hurting so much. I skipped the jump lunges and had to do a few less side lunges near the end.  And to finish it off, a 14-minute YWA.  That was nice.  Anything to stretch my bum was awesome.  Ouuuuuch.  

Calorie Counts:

Monday - bad
Tuesday - 1302
Wednesday - 1837
Thursday - 1259
Friday - 1152
Saturday - 1361
Sunday - 1407

So I was bad for Memorial Day but other than that, I did pretty well, considering.  And only one day of eating my minimal calories - and on a good day, my rest day.  

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Russian Winter

On our cruise, I read a really good piece of historical fiction: Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay.  It was one of those novels you can easily escape in to...perfect for vacation!

My Goodreads review:


Daphne Kalotay has written a beautiful novel about life in Stalinist Russia. Through the lens of a Bolshoi ballerina, the reader is taken on a journey of hardship, starvation, tragedy, love, and hope. Nina rises to the top to become a principal of the Bolshoi but just as her career peaks, Stalin's harsh grip on Russia finally becomes inescapable for Nina. As she witnesses tragedies all around her, her world collapses.

Told from the perspective of an older Nina, now bound to a wheelchair, who is selling off her gorgeous Russian jewels, we learn of the many secrets of her past. Included in those secrets is Grigori, a Russian poetry professor who assures older Nina that their lives are intertwined.

I really enjoyed this novel but my one complaint is the abrupt ending. You come to love these characters and to have the story stop so suddenly feels wrong.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Post-Vacation Workout Week

We're back from a wonderful cruise out of Tampa, which really impressed us.  With all the fun came many drinks and a lot of unhealthy food.  Frankly, I'm terrified to step on the scale - so I'm not going to.

Before my Cathe STS rotation, I have a week to lose some of this weight.  We arrived home on Saturday night and I was up, working out, on Sunday morning....


Sunday: Dozois' Rockin Body Cardio + YWA

I felt bloated and heavy-footed this morning as I tuned into my traditional back-from-vacation workout, an older Michelle Dozois video.  It's a lot of fun, with old school aerobics but Michelle definitely challenges you with a lot of squats and jumping.  After that 45 minutes, I did my own cardio for 15 more to get up to 60 minutes.  Yay!  Then, a nice stretch, some sit-ups (oy), and a YWA (ah).

Monday: Shape's Bikini Body Camp Transforming + Mallett's Leg and Booty Shaper + YWA


Back to work and to harder workouts.  This workout, in which Dozois leads a cardio segment, is a good pre-cursor to advanced workouts.  It works you hard....but not too hard. After that 25 minutes, I did Mallett's BeFit streaming video.  I expected more barre than what this video provided - a lot of squats and lunges - but it was definitely effective.  After work, I did a nice, calming YWA - all about stretching.  Just what I needed!

Tuesday: Cathe's Cardio Circuit Mashup

Though I'd done this workout before, I didn't remember it.  Some of these workouts are just too similar to remember. But it felt good to do weights and all the squats were felt later in the day.  Ouch!  I like some of Cathe's compound exercises - they really help to make the workout more interesting!  No yoga today - life happened and kept from away from the mat.  Sigh.

Wednesday: Mallett's Fuse Dance Cardio Lean + Mallet's Fuse Dance Cardio Melt + walk + YWA


I have a new DVD!  This is the first new DVD in a long time!  I found Tracey Mallett's Fuse Dance for a really good price and bought it. This morning, I tried out the 25-minute cardio section.  Dang!  Talk about working the legs and booty!  After that ended, I did another Fuse Dance online - that one was a bit more fun and less painful.  LOL!  At lunch, I walked outside, enjoying a rare cool day. After work, I did a lovely YWA for lower back pain.  I've had a bit of pain there lately.

Thursday: PeakFit Pure Cardio

Cardio morning!  Unfortunately, I woke up - after a horrible night of tossing and turning - with what appeared to be a cold. I told myself to get through this workout and tomorrow is my rest day....  And I got through it.  And it's so much fun!  I love this workout and I like doing it outside of a Peak 10 Challenge - much less stress!  At lunch, I walked to a cafe and back - so 20 minutes total of activity.

Friday:  YWA + Popsugar 10-Minute Barre Abs Workout 


I still felt sick this morning but I could breathe....so that meant I could do yoga!  Once I got to forward fold and everything went to my head, I thought I was going to die.  But it got easier.  And I love Adriene and it's just so good.  After that, however, this barre workout almost really killed me.  Dang!  I couldn't even do a few of these - my abs just refused.  Ha!  But I still got a great workout.  No additional workouts today as I felt icky.

Saturday: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster + YWA

My workout got pushed to the afternoon today and it wasn't too bad, doing it then.  I love this CIB that Michelle Dozois put together.  It's so much  - and a serious conditioning challenge.  You never stop going and going and going...  But it's fun!  After that hour of non-stop action, I did some ab work and then a nice YWA.  I love tacking on yoga after a hard workout - it soothes my mind and my muscles!

Sunday: Cathe's Rock It Sock It Live + Pauline Nordin's Butt Bible Lower Body Level 1

I had on my schedule to do a Cardio Strength today....  But I start STS tomorrow with arms so I didn't want to do any weights today.  Kickboxing sounded great and I hadn't seen this workout on Cathe Live until today so I did it.  And it was a lot of fun!  Lots of kickboxing and drills and then plain cardio for ten minutes at the end.  Very nice!  After that 50-minute video, I did my first of many Butt Bible workouts.  More on the later, but dang!  It doesn't take much to get those glutes screaming and mine were screaming in the first 5 minutes of this 20-minute workout.  This bodes well for the Butt Bible series!

Calorie Counts:

Sunday - 1264
Monday - 1264
Tuesday - 1395
Wednesday - 1353
Thursday - 1255
Friday - 1199
Saturday - 1389
Sunday - BAD

I'm upping my calories and only eating under 1200 a few days a week now.  Maybe not even more than one day.  I'm trying to figure out what it takes to make my body lose weight. We'll see if more weights and more calories works.  Stay tuned!


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Empress Of The Seas


We've just returned from a lovely cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's smallest and oldest ship, Empress of the Seas.  We're veteran cruises, as you know, so we were curious about this ship, which Royal Caribbean sold and bought back in order to go to Cuba.

We did not go to Cuba.  We went to Mexico!  And the ship was very nice.  It had everything that makes us happy - shade outside and quiet places with windows inside.  It boasts the largest Schooner Bar in the fleet.  The other bar, Bolero's, was gorgeously unique: I loved the colors - yellow, white, and black - and the Cuban theme.


The pool was small - but it's a small ship.  The three hot tubs were very nice and many people seemed to enjoy them.  The quality of the TV screen outside far surpassed that of Royal Princess' screen.  And the full length promenade deck was awesome - except for the smokers who rarely stayed on the smoking side. 

The food was outstanding!  They had shrimp in the buffet at least twice and ceviche once.  They also had sushi in there, crepes, fish burgers...  All were delicious (that I tried!).  

Alll ships have character and charm.  Never be afraid to try a small one!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Cathe Live Review

Cathe Friedrich - or just Cathe - has been a giant in the home-fitness world for years and years.  As an at-home fitness addict, I've known about her for a long time but her videos always seemed to require way too much equipment.  Even her cardio almost always requires a step.  

Several years ago, I bought two of her DVDs - Intensity and Cardio Core Circuit.  Both are very good workouts but they're so intense, I dread doing them.  And neither has much fun-factor.

Fast forward to late last year when I learned that Cathe streams her live workouts from her gym in New Jersey.  She posts about one a week and, with a $10/month subscription, you can watch any of them at any time.  There are over a hundred.


Cathe is more fun in her Live workouts - in my opinion.  You begin to recognize the regulars in her classes as you keep doing the videos and that's always fun.  It makes you feel like you're in the room with them.  One of the biggest pluses is that she gives you water breaks in her Live workouts, unlike in her DVDs - because she needs them.  This is a big deal.

The sheer breadth of workout types in these Live videos is incredible - strength training, cardio endurance, kickboxing, HIIT, metabolic circuits (cardio + weights), cycling, barre, abs....  Many of the workouts take on the same format as her DVDs - for example, there's a Cardio Core Circuit Live.  

Other advantages to Cathe Live is just exploring the website.  There's a great forum in which you can ask Cathe lovers any question about any workout or any fitness/health problem you have.  Cathe's blog is great.  She is so smart and intelligent about all things fitness- you can tell she does her research.  This makes me respect her more and more.  Also, she provides you with rotations for her DVDs.  This is really good if you're not inspired and need direction for your at-home workouts.  


If I have a complaint about Cathe Live it's Cathe's workout style.  Most of her cardio is predictable - she draws upon the same moves over and over.  And it's not at all dance-y.  That's a plus for most people, but I like dance - and the style of Michelle Dozois more.  However, I see the advantages to Cathe's dynamic style - results, especially in the legs.  Her workouts sculpt your body.  This is something to consider. 

Bottom Line: Cathe Live is a great resource for any home exerciser or any Cathe lover.  There's also an option on her site to subscripe to Cathe On Demand, with which you have access to every DVD she's ever recorded (for $20/month - which also includes access to the Cathe Live workouts).

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cathe Challenge: Week Eight

My last week of Cathe!  And not even a full week: we leave on Saturday morning for our cruise!!  Eek!

It's been a fun eight weeks with Cathe.  I've really gotten to know her style better - and seen the benefits of that style.  Look for a review soon.

Monday: Cathe's Gloved Up and Ready + YWA

Ugh, Mondays are always hard - and even harder when you don't sleep well.  And I didn't.  But today was kickboxing and that made me happy.  This workout contained some fun punching combos and plenty of cardio intervals to keep my heart pounding.  My one complaint: this workout, like some of Cathe's other kickboxing workouts, had no kicks.  None.  I like kicks; I want to kick!  After work, I did a nice YWA from Yoga Revolution.

Tuesday: The Gymbox's Extreme Cardio + weights + YWA

This morning, it was time for mega cardio with Ashli.  She always works you hard and this workout was no exception.  You jump so much in her workouts!  I skipped some of the mid-workout ab work and did cardio instead - I don't like integrated ab work.  But other than that, it was good!  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  So glad to have that over with - again!  After work, I did this 33-minute YWA for relaxation and it was so lovely!  I love stretchy yoga!

Wednesday: The Gymbox's Extreme Cardio + Tracey Mallett's Core Conditioning + YWA

I needed low impact this morning so I combined two of Dana's low-impact circuit workouts to get a full 45 minutes in this morning.  And though these were low-impact, I worked hard - lots of squats and lunges.  Dana does not disappoint!  At lunch, I walked outside for 20 minutes - though not too fast as I was trying to not go too hard.  And at the end of the day, I did Adriene's Freedom Flow, which was much more intense than I remembered.  I got all hot and sweaty!  And following that up with Mallett's core workout did not help the sweat factor!

Thursday: Cathe's Metabolic Mashup 

So this morning, I decided to do all weights.  I haven't done a pure strength video in some time so I thought I was due.  Cathe's Mashup was tough!  I used only my 8-pound weights and could barely finish some exercises, there were so many reps!   My arms ached on my drive into work....so at least I know they were working hard!  At lunch, I walked outside again - but nothing too fast or crazy.  After-work commitments meant no YWA.

Friday:  Cathe's 80s Style Cardio with Low Impact Blasts Live + walk


This was my second time doing this Cathe Live workout and I liked it a lot more this time around.  It seemed easier than before so maybe my fitness level has improved.  Or maybe I was just happy to have something different for a change, rather than Cathe's normal circuits.  Anyway, it made for a good morning.  At lunch, I walked around outside - getting some good exercise.  And that was good because my diet was blown today because of work!

Saturday - Sunday: vacation


Friday, May 12, 2017

More Cathe to Come!

I've been reading a lot about thyroid stuff, metabolic conditions, and calories.  When I recently asked my endocrinologist about workouts, she suggested a do 50/50 cardio/weights.  I'm sure not doing that now; I do a lot of cardio, as you can tell.  So I'm wondering if I'm doing too much cardio and eating too little, which can seriously mess up your metabolism.  

By browsing Cathe's fitness forums on her website, I've decided that maybe I should just re-think my workouts.  Perhaps a really big reset is needed.  And because I'm OCD and crazy, I've already planned out this reset....


After vacation, I'll take a week to get back into the groove of things.  Then, I'll start a 3.75 month rotation of Cathe's STS program.  This is her weightlifting program.  My days will look something like this...

Monday - upper body 
Tuesday - lower body 
Wednesday - HIIT
Thursday - cardio and then weights at the rec
Friday - rest/light day
Saturday - upper body and some cardio
Sunday - lower body intensive

I'm going to hit my legs hard because I've always wanted better legs.  And I'm going to try a few tricks to not have to buy any more weights.  They get to be just too expensive.

Also, I'll be eating more.  The summer is the one time of year we're not prepping for vacation so we're generally more lax in our diet.  That should help as weightlifting requires more calories if you want to build muscle.  


So that's my plan.  If you're curious about Cathe's STS program, look into it online.  I'll see my endocrinologist at about the 1-month mark of the rotation, so that'll be good.   

Let's hope this has a positive impact on my body!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Samoa Blondie Bars

At work, one of our lovely admins decided to quit work in order to finish her degree.  I'm so proud of her....but I'll miss her.  She's one of those bubbly people of which I'm envious - where do those bubbles come from!?  Ha!

Anyways, she always complimented my baking so I decided to bake something for her during her last week.  I'd seen this recipe for Somoa Blondie Bars and decided they would be perfect.

I couldn't find caramel chips so butterscotch was substituted.  Also, I was iffy on her liking of coconut, so I left that out.  Because I was leaving that out, I added about a 1/3 cup of milk chocolate chips (one can never have enough chocolate).  As these were baking, Mr. Higgins could hardly wait to test one for me - they smelled so good!  I added on an additional 5 minutes of cooking time (and lowered the heat by 25 degrees) but these were so puffy!  Wow!

We allowed them to cool and them sampled one - er, four.  They were delicious! Just like a cookie but softer and oh, so buttery and yummy. 

I can't wait to try them with coconut next time.  Now, these are not at all healthy but sometimes, calories be darned!  And it was so much fun to bake something new and different - and tasty!


Monday, May 8, 2017

Cathe Challenge: Week Seven

I'm actually a bit sad that this Cathe Challenge is winding down.  Thankfully, my subscription to Cathe Live doesn't end until September....so I can keep doing these awesome workouts.  

With only two weeks until the cruise, I'm super motivated to work out as much as possible.  

Monday: Cathe's Long and Sculpted Legs + The Gymbox's Beginner Kickboxing + YWA

Today, working out in the evening, I had a bit more time.  Cathe's leg workout (be sure to click the link - it's a preview!) was insanely effective.  My legs were screaming after the barre.  The standing work lasted thirty minutes and then I tuned into Dana's kickboxing on The Gymbox.  That was really good, and not slow at all, despite being a beginner class.  That lasted for 30 minutes so I got a good all-around workout.  I finished off with YWA's yoga for cyclists - perfect after all that leg work!

Tuesday: Cathe's Fitness Fusion + YWA


I forgot what my Cathe workout would be like today and was excited to find a bit of kickboxing in this one - along with plenty of cardio and some circuits.  It was a good cardio workout!  Once Cathe started on legs, I picked up my weights and did arms for five minutes.  After yesterday, my legs were doing quite well. After work, I did a more flow-y yoga that got me a bit sweaty.  That was nice!  

Wednesday: The Gymbox's Cardio Dance + YWA

For my weekly low-impact workout, I did another one of Michelle's (not Dozois) Cardio Dance workouts on The Gymbox.  It was fun - she is definitely spunky!  And chipper!  But that's good in the morning...especially these mornings when I've been so tired.  It was a good workout. After work, I did this yoga, meant to start my day.  It was a good finisher - a way to do something to calm down after traffic and reset for a night at home.

Thursday: Cathe's Cardio Boxing with Stability Ball Abs + weights + YWA

Boxing time!  Yes!  I always look forward to Cathe's boxing and this workout did not disappoint.  Lots of boxing plus cardio bursts to keep my heart pounding.  My one small complaint was a lack of kicks - but otherwise, I had fun!  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center - I'm up to 60 pounds in some of my arms exercises.  Dang!  I was glad to be done with this for the week.  After work, Yoga for Swimmers!  Why?  Because it looked to have some good arm stretches and it did!

Friday: Sweaty Betty Ballet Bootcamp Workout


I've run across a lot of free, online workouts lately and thought to give one a try - just for something new - on my rest day.  This one was different and not too intense, so it seemed perfect for my tired self today.  There's about 25 minutes of low impact cardio in this workout before you go to the floor to finish off the full 42 minutes.  The ballet-inspired moves were fun and different - which I'm always up for.  I didn't love the instructors, but oh well.  I don't know if I'll do this one again but I'll keep the link, just in case.  At lunch, I walked outside for 20 minutes - but not at my usual fast pace since it was a rest day.

Saturday: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn Remix + cardio + 5-Minute Low-Abs and Obliques Workout + YWA

Major working out today!  I started off with CIB Remix - which is my favorite CIB.  Love it!  I then added on 10 minutes of my own cardio for a total of 65 minutes.  Yes!  Then, I did a Popsugar ab workout and that really did the job.  Dang!  I could barely finish the thing, my abs were screaming so.   And finally, a stretch and then YWA.  I really like this YWA - it's calming with just a bit of stretching and flow.   A good day!

Sunday: Cathe's Boxing with Leg Blasts Live + Fit n' Firm Live

I was looking forward to Cathe this morning - and then she thoroughly wore me out.  (I've found previews of the workouts so click the links above.)  I did all the standing work in the Boxing workout - about 50 minutes.  Lots of cardio and lots of boxing - then HIIT with legs and weights.  Oy.  After that, I tuned into Fit n' Firm - all weights - to get some arms and weights done.  It was good!  I only did 15 minutes but need to come back to this one!  After that, a stretch and ab work.  

Calorie Counts:

Monday - bad
Tuesday - 1206
Wednesday - 1174
Thursday - 1174
Friday - 1353
Saturday - 1690
Sunday - 1320

Not the best week.  But my weight is the exact same.  No change, no matter what I eat or don't eat.  Ugh.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Let It Go Already

I have a new theme and it's very Frozen-esque: Let It Go!  

If you follow my weekly workout blogs, you know that I put a lot of pressure on myself.  Well, I put that same amount of pressure on myself in every aspect of my life.  Work, crafts, reading, knitting, hair....

Yes, hair.  All of this can be tied, metaphorically to my hair.  I hate it.  Well, actually, I like the color is used to be before it got darker - auburn - but I've always hated my curls.  They're never consistent enough, never not-frizzy enough, never poofy enough, or too poofy.

Well, I went to the salon on Saturday and told my stylist just how disgusted I was.  We discussed habitually straightening it, a Brazilian blow-out, a relaxer....  And just about the time my highlights (auburn/blonde!) were set and she was ready to start cutting, she had an idea.  She changed the shape of my hair and used a new product in it.  Once I got home and my hair had dried, I loved it.  It was a bit messy, a bit wavier rather than curlier....and it had volume.  


I was done.  I went out and bought the product and however my hair looks now, I'm fine with it.  It's never going to be perfect.  But I'm going to live with it.  I'm not going to OCD-out.  

Now I just need to apply this new attitude to different aspects of my life. I'm just about there with my weight, but more to come on that later.  

For now - just let it go and be happy, for gosh-darn-sakes!  Ha!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Cathe Challenge: Week Six

The last five weeks have flown by.  Why does time go by so fast - except when you want it to go fast? Ha!

I'm excited for another week of Cathe.  I need to make it to the rec center at least twice - to walk and to do weights.  That's my mini-goal for the week!

Monday: The Gymbox's Cardio Dance + walk + YWA

I tried a new instructor today, Jenny, and she is a huge improvement over Jodi.  Her moves are relatively simple, easy to follow, and she keeps you moving.  Jodi would have you watch too much without actually doing.  So, it was a good low-impact morning.  Just what I needed!  At lunch, I went to the rec center and walked the track.  I also did some ab work.  After work - and a rough day - this yoga for mood strings looked good and it was!  Very nice!

Tuesday: Cathe's 2015 Road Trip Kickboxing Class + weights + YWA

This morning, kickboxing sounded lovely!  I wanted to work hard and Cathe made sure that I did.  There was plenty of cardio mixed in with this kickboxing and it kept me working!  Very nice!  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  I'm really, really dreading weights these days.  I've gotten to where I'm lifting some heavier weights and all that work and sweat...it's just not fun.  Ugh.  At least it's over for one more week.  After work, I did a super short (nine minutes) YWA.  My legs were burning by the end - dang!

Wednesday: Cathe's High/Low HIIT Live with Step + YWA

I'm running out of cardio workouts on Cathe Streaming - 85% of the videos use weights!  So this morning, I did a video that uses the step amidst HIIT blasts.  It was good, despite my not having a step.  I could easily modify the moves and still got a great workout.  The video was a bit shorter so I added on my own cardio to get a full workout.  After work, I did a video from Yoga Revolution and it was soooo good!  

Thursday: Cathe's HIIT Fit Circuit Live + walk

Cathe excels at cardio + weight workouts.  I'm loving them lately!  This one was a great one, just like last week's Boot Camp Blast Off.  Cardio then weights, cardio then weights....with lots of compound exercises. Love it!  In this workout, the tricep excercise almost killed me.  I can't remember my triceps hurting so much!  Wow!  At lunch, I walked outside.  And, as usual, my FitBit had me at a higher heart rate walking than during circuit training.  WTH?!  I really need to just take my pulse sometimes, I guess.  

Friday: YWA 

Rest day!  This YWA for Weight Loss was great!  Lots of flow - so much flow that I was getting worn out!  But it was good and really tested my thigh strength.  What a nice way to start the day!

Saturday: The Gymbox's Extreme Cardio + Beginning Kickboxing + barre

It's hard for me to do Ashli's Extreme Cardio at 5:30 am so I did it today instead.  Dang!  So much jumping.  Instead of doing all the core she did, I jogged and jumped rope instead.  It's hard for me to do that much core in the middle of cardio.  After that 40 minutes, I tuned into Dana's kickboxing, which I made more high-impact.  It was fun!  I really like Dana's workouts.  And after that full hour of cardio, I went back to Cathe's workout that I did on Thursday in order to do the 10-minute barre section I couldn't do the other day.  Wow, it hurt!  Finally, after all that, a stretch and sit-ups.

Sunday: Cathe's Intensity Bootcamp + Peak 10 More Cardio Strength

Major hurdle passed and a HUGE accomplishment today.  I upped my cardio weights to the 12-pounders!  I started off with Cathe's Bootcamp track on her Intensity DVD to test the 12-pounders.  It lasted 15 minutes and alternated cardio spurts with compound weighted exercises.  Then, Michelle and a very difficult CS - using the heavier weights.  And I did it!  I did it all!  It was tough and I was sweating like crazy but I got through it.  The major difference - I was sore before the workout ended.  Tomorrow will be an achy day.  But, yay!  After all that,  a stretch.

Calorie Counts:

Monday -1177
Tuesday - 1177
Wednesday - 1169
Thursday - 1172
Friday - bad
Saturday - 1297
Sunday - 1289

I did not get on the scale.  Ugh.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Iron Maiden


It's been a while since I've had a FO.  So long, in fact, that you probably forgot what FO stands for!  That's finished object in knitterspace-verse.  Ha!  

I was so excited to knit this pattern with such a lovely yarn.  I bought this stuff two years ago at a Fiber Fest and it's gorgeous and super soft.  The color is amazing - purples, pinks, yellows, and dashes of bright red and bright purple.  Love it!  

Pattern: Iron Maiden by Marisa Hernandez
Yarn: Dye2Spin 50/50 SW Merino Silk Fingering

Needles: US 7 circs
Made for: me
Time to completion: 7 months


This project is the beginning of a new quest for my knitting self.  I can't do lace.  There are so many mistakes in this thing, you only get to see the part that looks okay.  By the end of this project, I was disgusted with myself and my knitting.  So, a break from lace.  Until then, I'm going to google every stitch that I read before making it (except knit, purl).   I'm that annoyed with my lack of knowledge. Things I thought I knew how to do, I obviously don't.  Ugh!

So!  Watch for more knitting talk and, hopefully, more FOs, as I begin my quest to become a better knitter.  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Cathe Challenge: Week Five

I'm trying to stay positive about my thyroid - but that's easier said than done.  

Thankfully, I'm enjoying Cathe's workouts and how different they are from my normal Michelle Dozois/Peak 10.  


This week is a little messed up due to not working out last Saturday but hey - changing things up is good, right!?

Monday: Cathe's Cardio Mish Mosh + walk + YWA

This week, I'll be doing weights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday.  So, today, I tuned into Cardio Mish Mosh, which is 95% cardio and 5% weights.  I added on a few extra minutes of weights at the end to feel like I did some work.  Cathe's cardio is typically the same so I was happy to see some different moves in this workout.  At lunch, I walked outside for 25 minutes since it was a nice day.  Then thunderstorms rolled in, cutting our internet at home, which meant I did a downloaded YWA from Yoga Revolution.  It was nice and - gentle!

Tuesday: Cathe's High Energy Kickboxing + YWA

Kickboxing day - my second favorite day of the week (after my rest day!).  This workout was fun - it focused on kickboxing instead of straight cardio.  So, I jumped a bit less than usual, which was nice.  Cathe also did more kicking than usual - also a nice change.  I'll definitely have to do this workout again!  After work, I did a lovely YWA.  For quite a while, Adriene forced me to stand straight, with my legs far apart - do you know how difficult this is to do properly?  Dang!  My legs were shaking!

Wednesday:  The Gymbox's Cardio Dance + weights + YWA


A low-impact day today - yay!  I tuned into this Cardio Dance with Jodi, for the second time. And it may be the last time.  It's a little too light.  I tell you, I really miss Ilyse Baker's Glo workouts.  Sigh.  Nothing, so far, can compare to her.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec center.  There was one scary moment when I felt like my shoulder displaced - yikes!  Thankfully, I corrected it and kept lifting.  After work, this YWA for hamstrings was very nice!

Thursday:  Dozois' Body Fit 360 + walk

Today is my light day (instead of Friday) so it was fun to do the original Body Fit with Michelle.  Though I call it "light," you work hard in these videos!  I didn't do all the cardio so I could finish the full stretch, but it was still a great workout!  At lunch, I walked outside for 20 minutes.

Friday:  Cathe's Boot Camp Blast Off + YWA

Time for weights today!  Cathe's Boot Camp was great!  This is one of my favorite Cathe workouts so far!  This workout had six segments.  Each segment contained one (or two) cardio moves followed by three weighted moves.  The compound exercises were really nice and it was a great workout!  Yay, Cathe!  After work, I did this nice YWA to aid digestion - only because it was the right length of time for today.

Saturday: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster

Today was an awful day.  I'm lucky I got to work out.  And it was a struggle to get through this CIB because I was exhausted and achy when I did it - at 2pm.  But I love this workout.  And as I was doing it, I remembered reading a scathing review which criticized the overly complicated choreography.  Yes, it's more complicated but on the third try, it's a lot easier.  Michelle evolves a lot in her workouts; she has become more innovative.  I really appreciate this after doing so many similar Cathe workouts.  I added on 5 minutes of my own cardio to get a full hour of work in - then ab work and a stretch.

Sunday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength Remix + The Gymbox's EDI: Walking + weights

I wasn't really looking forward to this workout because my body was super sore.  But I got through it, doing all the peaks and all the weighted moves.  Yay!  I like it when I do something 100%!  After that 50 minutes, I tuned into an easy walking workout by Dana on The Gymbox for 10 minutes.  I really upped the moves to make them more dynamic but still low-impact.  After that, five minutes with the 12-pound weights followed by a stretch.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1161
Tuesday - 1161
Wednesday - 1140
Thursday - 1316
Friday - 1155
Saturday - bad
Sunday - 1188