Monday, June 27, 2011

Celebrations, Dinner and 30 Days

This weekend was my dear friend Amy's birthday. I've known Amy since I moved to Nacogdoches nearly seven years ago - we first met in a yoga class at the college and bonded over a home practice and bottles of wine. Since then I've had a lot of friends and been a part of a lot of groups, but Amy has been one of my most treasured constants. When we say goodbye to Texas in just four short weeks, Amy will be one of the biggest reasons that I sob half way to North Carolina. But this weekend was not about goodbyes. This weekend was about birthdays!

Even though Amy's birthday was Sunday, we did most of our celebrating on Saturday. A bunch of the ladies headed to a friend's backyard, where he graciously allowed us to take over his beautiful pool and drink all the mimosas we wanted. Later, the guys showed up and there was beer, snacks, volleyball and a dip in the hot tub. I don't have a lot of photos to post, because my lady friends are modest and my friend is private about his home, but just know this: it was a perfect day, in a perfect place. And because I'm not modest, here is how I enjoyed it:

Drinking a(nother) mimosa and smiling big, toothy grins. Perfect.

Despite the swimming, the sun and the beverages, we all managed to meet up at 8:30 the next morning for our newest tradition - a birthday tribute of sun salutations, one of for each year of the birthday person's life + one to grow on. This meant that for Amy, we had to do 34 salutations. That is a lot of sun salutations, but we made it through them and by the time we reached the 20's, it became strangely effortless and magical. I'll already be in Wilmington for my 29th birthday in August, but my friends have promised to do salutations in my honor from afar. The best part is, I know that they will.

The birthday girl is in the center, in black. I'm on the far right, in brown pants and a gray tank. Just in case you were wondering.

After our yoga tribute, we had coffee and vegan blueberry banana muffins (baked by yours truly) before finally parting ways. I love birthdays so hard! 

Saturday, while not quite as exciting, was no less satisfying. I was finally able to clean out our fridge (a terrifying process which I'd been putting off for way too long) which allowed me to plan our weekly dinners and restock the kitchen with fresh, healthy things that I will actually prepare and eat. Summer this year has been tough - the onslaught of 100 degree days came early, and any desire I had to cook went out the window. Because eating out in East Texas is expensive and unsatisfying, this needed to change. I scoured my cookbooks and found some lighter recipes that don't require much oven time and yet seem tasty and filling. Last night, I made portobello mushroom sandwiches and spicy sweet potato fries, and friends - success! I have high hopes for the rest of the week.

And last but not least, I decided to try out the 30 Day Shred. In case you don't read way too many healthy living blogs, the 30 Day Shred is a DVD program that features three, 20 minute workouts. You do level one for ten days straight, then level two for ten days straight and then finally level three for - you guessed it! - ten days straight. It's supposed to deliver great results and after reading a few testimonials last year, I purchased a copy and placed it on my bookshelf, where it sat until this weekend.

So why now? Since I'm quitting my job in July I'm also quitting my gym, as my membership is linked to my status as a university employee. For the last few weeks, I've been strength training twice a week on lunch breaks and I don't want to lose the progress I've made while I'm between gyms. I also have almost exactly 30 days before I move, which fits nicely with the whole "30 Day Shred" concept. Basically, the universe has aligned in such a way that the time to shred is very clearly now.

So far, I've completed two days of the challenge at level one. And y'all - it's hard! 20 minutes might not seem like enough time to complete a decent workout, but my thighs and chest would beg to differ. While I shred this month, I also plan to continue practicing yoga and running as usual. While I won't follow the eating plan that the shred recommends, I've been trying to clean up my diet a bit. Less beer and more greens, mostly - that's the extent of my "dieting" and it usually works. I took measurements of myself this weekend so I can chart my progress and will definitely report back in a month and let you know if the shred is worth it. Conducting experiments on yourself is fun.

And that sums up my weekend. How was yours?