Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Road Trip Indulgences

This past weekend I took a mini road trip with my friends from In The Cinema, a folk-tronic band from Minneapolis! The band is two brothers and they were playing a show in Chicago and were only going to be gone 2 days, so I tagged along! 

The trip started with a big coffee and the best intentions for snacking and eating healthy! We all brought a bag of food to save cash on the trip and to keep from eating fast food--it worked! We snacked on:

dried apricots
mini baguette
a kind bar (for me!)
trail mix and
 honey pistachio energy bars from the co-op! 

After my coffee, I had some Kefir which I love!! 

There was a lot of music listening in the car and I have a big long list of new bands to check out, Ryan and Joe have great taste in music. Me? I could use some work! 

Healthy snacking got a bit derailed when Ryan busted out his oatmeal, cranberry white chocolate cookies!!! They tasted like a bakery made them, so jealous of his culinary skills!! 
I had a few...over the course of the 2 day trip of course!! 

In my little cave of the back seat! Surrounded by the snack bags, a bass drum, my books and purse! 

One indulgence for me on road trips is to buy the coolest lottery ticket I can find and see if luck will be a lady for me and bring a WIN! It hasn't yet, but for a dollar per road trip, it's not bad odds. Besides, who could turn down a chance to play BEDAZZLED! Fresh! 

I did start using a new food and fitness journal the day we took off on the trip, it is a very cool combination of short self- help daily readings on health, wellness and food on one side and then a food and fitness tracking page on the other side (blog review forthcoming!).  I really liked the reading that I found on the second day about Wellness being a road trip!  

I will admit that the wellness on my road trip slipped a bit more when I took part in a "snack stick". Seriously, they aren't even called meat or beef sticks, they were labeled SNACK STICK. ICK. But I had 3 over the two day trip, I am sucker for "meat products" and it is not always a proud admittance for me. :P

We made it to the club and ate at a little joint called the Heartland Cafe serving organic eats! I had a grilled cheese sandwich, sweet potato fries and some fresh oysters!! All the pics of my food were too dim to post, sorry. Here is a sweet, artsy-fartsy shot of the boys under the L. 

Joe and Ryan in the Heartland Cafe!

I like to disconnect like this every now and again, it was so much fun to hang out with the boys all weekend and see them play in a new city! Getting away for a while always helps me feel refreshed and ready to tackle life with a new perspective! 

Where is your favorite place to go on road trips, long ones or short ones ?
I even like heading an hour south to my Mom's for the weekend, a break is a break!  

Monday, March 29, 2010

Project Homeless Connect

Today I was able to spend the day volunteering! Project Homeless Connect is an event that I have been wanting to give my time to for about 2 years. There are over 400 Project Homeless Connect's in the US, with the Minneapolis one topping out in 2009 as the most successful!

The idea is to take all of the services and needs that people facing homelessness have and bring them to the person, all in one central place. It's a big challenge for those facing homelessness to go from one service to the next, often across town, without appointments, sometimes without the right paper work etc. It can be discouraging and a big roadblock in meeting their needs. Minneapolis Homeless Connect turns 160,000 sq. feet of the convention center into a one-stop shop for all these services to help those living with homelessness or facing it in the near future.

This is a GREAT video outlining PHC. 
The first 10 min are really clear about what goes on at the Connect event!

Today, I spent the day with my clients, taking them from service to service, making sure their needs were met or at least they started down the right path. After orientation and touring the layout of services, the volunteers sat waiting in a huge convention hall for the clients with our hands raised to let them know we are ready to help!  

 volunteers waiting for the doors to open and the clients to come in! 

It was a really wonderful experience, especially for where I am right now in my life. For starters, I am on a new and uncertain path. I have hope and I have more than enough options for success. To be able to spend sometime with someone and help them find that same hope and start on their new paths was very rewarding. I am not helping people in a gym yet, but was still helping people better their lives.

here I am waiting for someone to pick me so I can help them navigate the services! 
Pick me! Pick me! 

 Secondly, since I am in a bit of a waiting period right now, it gets me outside of myself!  Today, I was able to turn my focus entirely onto someone else and serve them. I actually worked with 4 different people, all who had different needs and all who found some answers or at least got more options in their hands to help them get where they want to be in life. I connected with a few on a personal level as well and was able to encourage them ( I think)!

Some people are starting from square one and have a lot of needs when they come to PHC, while some people are only in need of one or two services. Project Homeless Connect offers: 

State ID/ birth certificate services
Dental Services
Transitional housing / permanent housing / foreclosure help
Eye care
Resume writing services
Job training programs
Employment services
Educational services and 
A hot lunch for all clients ! 
At their 2009 event, there were about 1400 clients served, of which: 400 received housing help, 200 received eye glasses and 305 received on site dental care.  These services are basic needs for everyone and this fits with PHC mission to move from managing homelessness to ending it by getting to the core issues and needs of those facing it. 

Housing services was very busy today

Dental care is one of the most needed services and there were MANY of these mobile dental units offering cleanings and exams onsite! 


Clients were also able to speak with volunteers from the Minnesota historical society to tell their story of who they are and how they became homeless. It is a way to not only capture their history, but also provide insight into causes of homelessness. After, they could get their portrait taken with their friends, family or child and take a copy of the photo with them. 

I was SO happy to see that PHC offered holistic care for the clients as well in the form of Chiropractic and Acupuncture. I hope many took advantage!

This was SUCH a wonderful event to take part in and wonderful way to give back, especially since I have been given so much. In all my years of living in the city, living paycheck to paycheck and even being without work, I have been blessed to always have a place to live and food on my table (even if it was pb&j!) I am blessed beyond anything that I am in a position to be able to give back and to give my time. 

Do you guys volunteer your time? What are YOU thankful for today? 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Amazing face mask!

When I was younger, I concocted face masks all the time!  Roes hips, oatmeal, oils, salt scrubs, I made rose water toner! I loved creating natural remedies and using them in place of the store bought, chemical filled products and because the organic products are a bit pricey!

But if your natural foods store has clay you can do your own face masks right at home! 

Green Clay is a deep cleansing and toning clay found naturally in the earth. It can be used on any skin type and is inexpensive and leaves your skin feeling smooth.  I did a mask this week before a big meeting and used Amazing grass in it! The green super-foods such as chlorophyll are a strong detoxifier and have been known to counteract acne.

I also added Rosemary oil which is used for toning on normal skin. I added 5 drops to the clay mixture. I cleansed my face with witch hazel first then applied the mask, super aromatic! I loved it!

Amazing Green Mask: 

2 1/4 teaspoon green clay
1/2 teaspoon amazing grass
1 Tablespoon water
5 drops of rosemary essential oil

Mix and apply!

 I applied the mask, careful to keep it away from my eyes and then let it dry. That took about 20-30 min. I like to crack the mask right before I rinse it off. Only because I like the way it feels, like I am inside an eggshell and busting out! Rinse with warm water and pat dry. I let it get some air for 10 or 15 min and then apply my usual moisturizer!

Fresh and Clean! 

DO You make your own masks at home or do other home remedies? 
What is your favorite remedy to pamper yourself? 

Friday, March 26, 2010

AIS: Active Isolated Stretching

Yesterday was a great day at the internship! I was rocking cool shades as I hit the ground running! 
It was a beautiful day! 

I brought some snacks with me, a banana, papaya spears and some vegan chewy crackers! 

And had oatmeal from Starbucks to start out! 

The trainer that I shadowed started out by stretching ME using a method called Active Isolated Stretching. It was such a great learning experience and such a great way of stretching! 
 Sorry, no pics! AIS involves holding each stretch for only 2 to 3 seconds and works with the body's natural ways to increase circulation and natural elasticity. 

He stretched my calfs and hamstrings and when I stepped off the table I felt as if I had just run five miles. It was a very intense 30 min stretching session. You start out by stretching the muscle as far as you can and then the trainer will give you that extra push for 2-3 seconds allowing the muscles to lengthen. It's a short enough time to keep the muscle reflex from activating the opposing muscle which can cause tension where you don't want it,  it really isolates the specific muscle fibers you are stretching. 

My legs felt fatigued because the stretching brings so much blood and oxygen to the area. 
You can read more about it here at Stretching USA. The technique is something I will be looking into more in the future for my own use. Thanks Doug for teaching me about AIS! 

Before I caught my bus, I got a little reading, planning and coffee drinking in, of course. 

This weekend I am taking a quick 2 day road trip with my buddy Ryan to see his band play in Chicago!
I have a book, mags and a bag of snacks! 

What do you take with you when you are road trippin'?  
Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fit Sok review

I think a good pair of socks are ones that you can't even tell are there. I have had socks that bunch, that rub or are rough, or the sock itself moves so your shoe rubs, socks that slip and make the running/walking experience not so hot in general. So, I was excited to see that there is a fitness sock company local to me in Minnesota that I could try on for size.

I contacted Jeff at Fitsok and he was kind enough to send me their product to review and to giveaway!! 

Fitsok has features that are unique to its brand including airflow channels, right and left food construction and perfect toe fit (no bunching!) 

The first pair I tried were the F4's, which have compression and wicking material, precision fit for the right and left foot and back and front tabs to provide additional padding--I loved that feature! Overall they were comfortable, breathable and had a barely there feel, plus they kept their shape nicely when I took them off:

The F4's: 

Next up were the Cf2's: Good ole gray! 
They are a thermally balanced sock and move moisture and heat from the highest to lowest concentration.  

The Cf2's: in white! 
They are also antimicrobial, fighting against odor and bacteria so they stay fresher and cleaner!

I love the feel of Fitsok and have been wearing the ones they sent me to try, like there is no tomorrow! They are on the wide side for socks, but don't bunch in shoes even so. I don't mind because I have a bit of a wide foot, but if you are really narrow, you may find them roomy. I tested them both out running and in group fitness at the gym.  They didn't slip, they kept my feet comfortable, cool & cushioned. 

If your company or race would like, Fitsok also can customize socks for you with you logo. They do this  for a lot of the races that they sponsor throughout Minneapolis! Such a cool company to have in the hood!  You can contact them here about creating something unique for you!  

Wondering where to get Fitsok near you? Check out this map and see if they are available where you live, if not, you can order them online

OR, you can enter below to WIN a package here at Fit this Girl!    Fitsok only comes in packages of three's since they understand how much we fitness lovers go through socks!  
I have three packages to give away, so there are three chances to win!  

2 packs of the Cf2's and one of the ISW Isowool technical sock (which I didn't test)

* UPDATE: These are women's sizes 7-9 
Men's 6-8!! Sorry for the oversight!

How to enter: 
1) Leave me a comment telling me your favorite brand of running sock so far (assuming fitsok will top your list soon!)

Optional entries: 
(leave one comment for each item, 2 additional entries possible) 
1) Become a follower of Fit this Girl
2) Become a fan of Fitsok on Facebook 

Three options to enter, three socks in each package, three winners! Ready, set...go! 

This contest is open to readers in US and Canada only. Three winners will be selected by Comment number using an amazing random generating number machine and the giveaway is open until Tuesday, March 30th at 7pm Central time!  Thank you to Jeff and Fitsok for donating my trial pairs and the contest items. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The results are in... Epic win!

I have been checking gmail, every hour or so when I can to see if my Personal Training test results are in. Refresh, refresh, check spam, repeat. It's been 2 hours: refresh, refresh, check spam, you get the idea! 

Waiting for news on something is SO hard, but today I was met with an Epic email! 

I would have liked higher scores on the 3rd and 4th area's, but I was well beyond passing overall and the test questions were like any other test--tricky!! Plus I found myself reading into the questions too much and getting TOO detailed for what they were looking for. Either way, it's official and now I can finish up my internship and get in gear to find a job helping people be motivated to exercise! 

I spent six weeks hunkered down at my command central studying and working hard! I learn in a very tactile way, so it was a challenge to face the text book and flash cards, but with the help of the hands on class room time, I came out on top. 

We met once a week over the course of 6 weeks. During that saturday class we had 3.5 hours of lecture followed by roughly 3.5 hours of practical labs where we practiced on each other. We ran fitness assessments, walked each other through proper warm up techniques, proper stretching and resistance training, all things we would be tested on during the practical exam. 

Here are two of my partners I worked with! 
We are practicing the YMCA sit up assesment. 

Working with my classmates hands on was overwhelmingly the best part of the learning experience for me. When concepts and things from the text came into play in the gym, it really made me feel like I was going to get the swing of things! By the end, I could tell that the hands on increased my confidence as well. That will play such an important role in my journey! 

I have about 2 more weeks of interning and am already excited to say that I will have a number of paths and options that I am going to have to chose from. The farther into this 'leap of faith' career change journey, the more that I can see it is completely the right thing to do. You can read my awesome and vauge post about the career change decision here

I will say, this is truly an experiment in faith. I am placing one foot in front of the other, and seeing where I land! I know that all my steps are ordered of God and I can see that when I move forward in faith in him, he honors that and answers by directing me:

 An email offering my next step on my last day in the office
a right person crossing my path when I am running an errand
 someone offering me free services just because they think I am nice (!!)
In moving forward I know He has my back but I come to find He has His wing covering ALL of me and is keeping me closer to him than I have felt in a long time. Didn't I know that? Why don't I live like that every single day? Srsly...  

It makes me wonder: 

WHY haven't I been following like this in everything I do? 

I don't know the answer to that, probably just that I rely on myself so much. I mean, I'm a capable, smart, independent single chic, been living in the city for ten years. I can hold my own. But by going to God with my decisions, it's like having the best career counselor, doctor, financial planner, matchmaker and sponsor in one.  (don't read that as belittling the holiness and righteousness of God, but he is our provider!)

We are all destined for greater things than we can know! 
What do YOU feel you are destined to do? 

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Although Mary from Fit this girl is a CPT, always consult your physician or health care provider before beginning any nutrition or exercise program. Use of the programs, advice, and information contained in this website is at the sole choice and risk of the reader.