Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

Being a blogger has introduced me to so much.  I’ve made good friends, used my social media influence to help raise money for charities like K.I.D.S, R Baby, The Lamp, Mothers2Mothers, and Women in Need. Sometimes, I’m amazed at how bloggers give back, like Jennifer James and her initiatives for women in Africa, or Elena Sonnino, and her work towards encouraging kids to use social media for social good.

Sometimes, being part of the blogging the community really is about making a difference in this world.

And sometimes, it’s all about the swag.

There are times when, yes, I admit it, I go to an event just because I know there will be awesome swag there.  I’m not proud of it – but there you have it.  Confessions of a swag hound.

Here are some details of last week’s swag-a-licious events!

BirchBoxFirst, I went to the beautiful roof garden at the Gramercy Park Hotel (I went to the Bryant Park Hotel first, by mistake, but let’s not relive my embarrassment, shall we?) for a BirchBox event co-hosted by the always lovely Amy Tara Koch.  BirchBox, for the uninitiated, is the original Beauty Box Delivery service.  Pay a fee, and each month, BirchBox will send you a box filled with sample products tailored to your specific needs.  Go online, and the Birchbox editors will have detailed info on how to use the products in your box, and links to purchase full sized versions.  It’s the super-fun version of try before you buy.

BirchBox’s co-founder, Katia Beauchamp, was there, and she told me that what separates Birchbox from its many imitators is their editorial staff. “We have a bigger editorial staff than Allure (magazine) she told me.”  And I will say, that the full-sized products in my special Mother’s Day BirchBox bag, (they do full sized curated boxes you can purchase throughout the year) did have some awesome stuff in it.  I’m especially fond of the Cynthia Rowley liquid eye pencil. Even I can’t mess it up!

chaise 1My next totally self-indulgent blogger event was Fit, Fab, and Fly at the 92Y on the Upper East Side.  Brianne Manz of Stroller in the City invited me to try a new exercise class, Chaise Fitness, and then to get pampered for my efforts by Priv, a beauty-on-call home service, Blue Print, the famous cleanse, Zen Home Cleaning an upscale, organic home-cleaning service, and Elemental T’s the t-shirt company started by two moms who make shirts so cute I wish my twins were still 4 years old so they could fit into them.

Chaise Fitness was not easy – but the eerily-reminiscent-of-Cindy-Lauper co-founder of the exercise system, Lauren Piskin made it fun.  Basically, Chaise Fitness involves a sort of spring loaded chair/bench thing with bungee cords hanging above it.  You do exercise on, over and across the bench, many of them including working against the springs in both the bungees and the chair (chaise) itself.

If doing the workout will make me look even 1/10 as fit and toned as it founders, sign me up.

Once I was sufficiently sweaty, I headed out to find Priv.  It’s a genius idea: beauty on demand.  Why should celebrities be the only ones with make-up artists and people to do their hair?  The folks at Priv send the beauty professionals to privyou –on short notice. Hair, nails, massage, make-up – you name it.  They’ve got a roster of professionals ready to make you beautiful.

And as if that weren’t enough, Brianne et al also thought to make sure our homes were beautified, too.  Zen Home Luxury Cleaning was there, showing off their all-organic, super elegant cleaning service. Yep, you heard that – elegant cleaning service.  Custom uniformed, fully screened cleaning personnel will come to your home and do everything from re-arranging to downright scrubbing.  All with organic, specially made products.  So your home is clean and safe.

After all this beauty and fitness it was hard to resist the last bit of swag that arrived this week: a case of pop-chips!  Did you know they now come in sour cream and onion, sweet potato, and bar b q flavor?  Good thing I got some free Chaise Fitness classes to help me work them off.



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Sue Wicks’ Coca-Cola Foundation FIT event at the Armory in NYC

My friend Julie’s son is in an after-school football program that meets three days a week for three hours each practice.  He is 9-years-old.  If my son wants to play on his 7th grade soccer team, he needs to commit to practice three days a week, and devote a fourth day to playing games. My daughter would like to try ballet.  Of the four places I called, only one offers a less than three-day-a-week option for kids her age.  She’s 12.

It’s no wonder kids are dropping out of sports and other physical activities. (more…)

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Thank goodness for my new super-duper souped up high-tech pedometer-that’s-so-much-more Striiv.

You see, what with little things like starting up a new website, raising capital for said website, raising twins, writing for my blog, recording with the Blogging Angels,worrying about my neck, I kinda let a few things slip. Like exercise.

Basically, what I am doing now – sitting and typing, is pretty much the best exercise I get. And while my fingers move pretty darn fast (74 words per minute on this typing test), I doubt that I’m burning any serious calories.

But I live in New York.  And New Yorkers walk.  Everywhere.  We just don’t count it as exercise.  Well guess what? Striiv does. (more…)

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It’s finally NOT hot and muggy in NYC, and what better way to celebrate than by taking a run?  How about taking a run to help combat childhood obsesity?

Obesity among children has become an immense problem, bordering on epidemic. The New York City West Side Y has organized a run to raise funds for  education and fitness programs.  In keeping with the Y’s mission to educate and promote health in the city, these initiatives will be available to families — especially in low-income areas -  where obesity and lack of exercise is more prevalent.

The Fit for All 5K, will take  place on Saturday, October 1, 2011 – TODAY! -  at Riverside Park, and will encourage children and adults, through their participation in a fun walk/run, to raise funds and awareness for the growing obesity epidemic. Registration will begin at 8:00 am and the 5K race will begin at 9:00 am. The kids’ race (free of charge to kids) will begin at 11:00 am. Prizes and participation awards will be given out after the last race.
Currently, we have a bid from an anonymous donor that will donate $20 per child/teen that finishes the kid’s race.

Too busy to run?  Click here to find and more or donate.: www.fitforall5k.org

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Congratulations are in order.  Because I have accomplished the impossible.  I now weigh what I weighed when I returned home from the hospital after giving birth to twins ten years ago.

Yes, it’s true.  What it took nine months and two actual human being growing inside of my body to accomplish, I’ve managed to do all my own!!!

Yay me.

In case you, too, would like to achieve this milestone, here’s how I did it:

1. The Internet -I spend five to six hours a day sitting on my butt staring at the computer screen writing for this blog, or for TravelingMom.com.  Or podcasting or posting for Blogging Angels. Or working on the business plan for my soon-to-be-announced new venture.

Which all means that my butt is completely mushy, but my fingers are in remarkably good shape – -what with all the typing.

2. Orlando – Now I’m not complaining, but I just went on a three night all expense paid trip to the super luxurious Waldorf Astoria in Orlando. (yes, you read that right, Orlando, Florida has a Waldorf.  And yes, it really is super luxurious, not tacky luxurious.)  The trip was basically eating punctuated by events that involved little to no physical exertion: massages, shopping, lounging by the pool. (you can read all about it here.)

So – and I repeat – I AM NOT COMPLAINING – But (you knew there was going to be a butt but.) all of that eating, and OK, drinking, my two trips to the empty and well-equipped Waldorf Astoria gym notwithstanding, did not do a lot for my bottom line.  Well, it did a lot.  Just the wrong a lot.  If you know what I mean.

3. Trader Joe’s.  Trader Joe”s:  I love you.  I love your prices.  I love your vibe.  I love your funny little signs.  Sadly, I also love all of your nut-filled (i.e. fat filled) trail mixes.  Damn you, NY Landmark Preservation Society.  Had you acted faster, Trader Joe’s would not be tempting me with it’s delicious snacks!

4. My Kids’ Laptops – Before my kids were required to bring their laptops back and forth from school, I walked them to school, then walked home, then walked back to school to get them, then walked home again.  For a grand total of  5.5 miles.

Now, they have laptops.  And even with the wheely bags, it’s too hard to schlepp across the park. So now the kids take the school bus, I walk the dog for 30 minutes, and then it’s back to the computer – aka sitting on my ass.

5. Me.  I am not above taking responsibility for my own actions.  I eat too much.  I don’t exercise enough.  So sue me. Please. Because a law suit, that might cost me so much money I wouldn’t have anything left for food, and I would LOSE weight.

So what am I gonna do about it?

1. Zumba Fitness® Classes -A few weeks ago, I went to an event for the Zumba Fitness® videogame for Wii, Playstation Moe, Playstation® 3 and Xbox Kinect.  I tried it.  It was hard.  It was fun.  It was really really good exercise.  And since – with the new game – I can do Zumba Fitness® in my living room, I will no longer have the excuse of not being able to get to the gym.  See the new Zumba Fitness® game (and yes, they told me I have to keep on using that little copyright symbol EVERY SINGLE TIME I SAY ZUMBA, I mean Zumba.®) lets you pick the length of your routine, the difficulty level, the music – even the setting.  And you get to dance around like a lunatic without anyone getting to see your jiggly bits.(like Niecy Nash says)

Check it out:

I like this idea.

When the Zumba Fitness® Game finally comes out,On November 18th, I will buy it — yes, with my very own money.  And I will do it.  Not only to lose weight, but because it was fun.  Yes – I have called a form of exercise fun.  Call the papers.  Or the FBI – someone has kidnapped my exercise hating self.

Until Novmeber 18th, until, that is, the Zumba Fitness® Game is available,  it’s the gym for me.  And ballroom twice a week, and yoga.  Because there are no Zumba fitness® classes during the day in NYC, and daytime is my workout time. Just the way it is. Plus, by the time November 18th rolls around, I’ll have – well, less rolls around, and I won’t feel so awkward playing the game.

And how will I have lost the rolls?  By replacing one meal a day with a Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers frozen entree.

Full Disclosure:  I am going to use my Healthy Choice coupons for free frozen diet food that actually tastes…like food!  That actually has an ingredient list with a normal number of perfectly pronounceable ingredients. (I like the mushroom risotto) And that has – wait for it – NO PRESERVATIVES.

And because I am so nice, I’m going to give away a few of those coupons too.  Leave a comment below – telling me what caused you to need to eat Healthy Choice, and I will send two lucky winners two coupons each for a free Healthy Choice entree. (If you just leave a “I want to win” comment, you won’t be entered. )

So – wait – I’m going to eat right, and exercise?

Call the papers!

Contest open to US residents 18 and older. Contest ends Oct 22nd at 11pm eastern.  Two winners will be picked at random by random.org.

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So it’s the first day of school. And here’s what I’ve learned already:

1. I clearly, really, and truly, must have sat on my ass all summer.

How do I know this? Well, this morning, after cabbing it to school for a meet your new-student buddy breakfast at 7:30 (never mind that our new student buddy didn’t show up until 8:00), I walked home.  1.5 miles.

Then, I grabbed the dog and walked  1.5 miles round trip to run an errand.

Then, I walked back to school to pick up the kids, realized I didn’t have enough time, and took a bus for the last leg of the trip.  1 mile.

Then I walked back home with my son and his friend, feeling tortured as they discussed, in rousing detail, the height of every single child in the fifth grade.  1.5 miles

And in a few minutes, I’ll grab the dog again and walk to pick up my daughter from her playdate 1 mile.

And I’ll take a cab home. Cause by then, I’ll have walked 6 miles. Six!

See, contrary to popular belief, people in NY get a lot of exercise and (somewhat) fresh air. We walk.  A lot. And normally, this amount of walking would just be a part of my day.  A part that I wouldn’t even include as exercise.

Only today, it feels like exercise.  Today, my legs hurt, my feet hurt, and I’m tired.

Which can only mean one thing: I clearly, really, and truly sat on my ass all summer.

And said ass is paying for it now.

It’s only the first day of school and already I’ve learned a lesson: if you sit on your ass eating pie and ice cream all summer, and then try to resume your normal life when you return, your body will not be happy.

Maybe the only thing to do to make me happy is to have some pie and ice cream while sitting on my ass.

Or maybe not.

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The day before yesterday I left my parents’ country house and drove into the city where the first thing I did, as usual, was weigh myself.  Way to ruin my day.

At least it’s blog fodder, I thought.  I can write about how everyone always talks about how easy it is to lose weight in the summer – but I gain.  I can talk about how everyone says living in the city is unhealthy, but the second I get to the country I stop exercising and get my very own suburban sprawl.

And then I paused – because something about it rang a bell.  I felt like I’d written it before.  You know why?  I had.  Twice, as a matter of fact.

Yes, it’s true.  This is the third year in a row that I’ve been out in the country for the summer and gained weight. And it’s the third year in a row that I’m shocked, I tell you.  Simply shocked! That such a thing could happen.

In a post called “My XL Problem with Suburban Sprawl,” I wrote about how much time I spent that summer sitting on my every-growing ass.  In another post,(and another year) I wrote about how my parents meal-time extravaganzas had taken their toll.

And here I am, year three.  Still surprised that it’s happening all over again.

What’s really shocking is my stunning inability to recognize the reality that driving everywhere whilst sitting on my ass + eating big meals + not owning a decent scale = Love handles and a lovely double chin.

Oh.  And back fat.  Gotta love the back fat.

You know the funny thing?  I went shopping yesterday and bought a pair of pants…in a size eight.  Size eight?  ONE of my ass cheeks is a size eight right now.  Vanity sizing is NOT helping me.  It is just deluding me into believing that I am still  – 7.5 pounds later –  a size eight.


Maybe I should put on a bathing suit and look in the mirror.

That should be a reality check.

And if I faint from the reality – don’t wake me up.  Maybe I’ll lose a few pounds if I stay unconscious through a meal or two.

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It’s time for true confessions:

1. I don’t like chocolate.  Perhaps that makes me weird.  I don’t care.

2. I recently went to a benefit for a local high school only because Tony Dovolani from Dancing with the Stars was hosting.

3. When I get Wii and DSi games to review….I give them to my kids, so they can figure out how they work and tell me all about them.  Because the truth is, no matter how hard I try, I stink at video games.  All of ’em.  I stink at Wii Fit, which tells me, even though I am a three-time a week yogi,that I can’t do Yoga.  I stink at Fossil Fighters, one of my son’s favorite games. (he gives the graphics big thumbs up) mostly because I have absolutely NO idea how to play it, no matter how hard I try. I stink at all the Mario stuff, because I can never remember what I’ve learned in earlier levels, so when I have to start from the beginning…I’m really starting from the beginning.

But now, my kids are away at sleepaway camp, and while they both played Atari’s new Sandlot Sluggers DS game, they are not here to tell me all about it, and somehow I think that the camp directors would frown upon me calling them up and asking them to clue me in.

But I got my (full disclosure) free copy of the game from my friend Beth at Role Mommy, and I wanted to write about it. So there was only one solution: I played the game myself.

First a little background: Backyard Sports: Sandlot Slugger, the latest title in the Backyard Sports series, includes not only the typical pickup games and season modes, but adds to the experience with a bunch of mini games – including a home run competition you can play against others – and  a  full-fledged story mode.

Stories?  This, the English Major in me can do.

In the story, a bunch of bullies has taken over the sandlot, forcing all the other kids in town to stay inside playing   video games ( kudos to the makers of this game as portraying that as a bad thing!). And that’s where you (or in this case I) come in:  you’re the new kid in town who forms a new team to show those other guys who rules the diamond. But since  the town is already filled with teams, so you must defeat each of them in their own neighborhoods to show them you’ve got what it takes, and win their best players over to your team.

So where was I in all of this? Loving it.  There was reading to do (a story has words!), there were great, fun graphics that didn’t try to look realistic. (My son called the graphics awesome.) And so far, nothing for me to suck at.


Then I tried my first game.  I picked my team name. Easy.  I picked my location.  Also easy.  Then the game began. I had no idea what to do.  And here it is, the biggest confession of them all: for the first three batters I had no idea whether I was pitching or hitting. Yeah.  Scary.

I did like the scenery.  And I thought the commentators were hilarious.  And I appreciate that this isn’t one of those games that’s striving for realism. (I often wonder what’s next: a secret door into the steroid room?)  These players are cartoony, the commentary is too.  So it seemed like a good match, this game and me. I mean, I like a good game of let’s pretend as much as the next girl. There’s nothing like escaping from reality.

But as for the playing.  Well, I guess it was realistic.  Because I sucked.

Atari’s Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers game is available in Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo Wii, Windows, and Xbox 360.

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She flies through the air with a grunt and a wheeze,

That middle aged-mom, on the flying trapeze.

Yes, that would be me. In this, the middle aged-crisis part deux post.

You’ve already read about my hair and my calamitous (if courageous) pole dancing escapades…but now you get to see me on the trapeze.  Yes, really.  That’s me up there in this video from the TD Bank Flip event at The Trapeze School of New York.

(Full disclosure: TD Bank invited me and some other great bloggers like Jessica from  Momma’s Gone City to attend.)

So which one is me?  Right after they’ve strapped us all in, that’s my rather copious  butt climbing up the ladder, then me, jumping off the platform, and me, hanging by my knees reaching out my arms. At 2:11 in, that’s me again, clearly in need of a little highlighting help (hello roots!), trying a new release trick where I’m supposed to swan dive into the net.  Stop smirking – I said “supposed to.”

A few weeks ago I went to the Trapeze School of New York with my friend, Rachel, climbed the ladder, grabbed the bar, and jumped.  You know, just in case there was any doubt that I was deep into mid-life crisis mode. This is me doing a back flip dismount off the trapeze. And doing a catch with an instructor.

Pretty impressive, huh?

Well, I thought so, except that there were other people in my class who were REMARKABLE.  A dancer/gymnast type who had the most perfect, graceful, 2% body fat form ever, a woman who could hang upside down in a SPLIT! And they’d only done it once before.  Of course they were both about 15 years younger than me.  And had’t given birth, but still. I guess I should be used to it.  I have always been “last picked for the team” girl. (or at least “last picked of the not total losers” girl) So the fact that I was there at all, swinging through the air, well, I was pretty happy.

But then last week, I went again as a guest of TD Bank. Now, there are lots of reasons to love TD Bank.  They open early and close late.  They count my kids’ coins for free.  They give out dog biscuits. (oh, and they have a lot of great banking stuff, too, including the opportunity to get a new Flip camera just for opening a checking account.  You only have until June 5th – so hurry!) But the real reason I love TD Bank and always will is this:  For the first (and let’s face it, most likely only) time in my life – I was the best one there!!!!!

I know I had the advantage, I had done it before – but let’s not dwell on technicalities, shall we?  Because of TD Bank, I got to feel, for the first time ever, what it’s like to be considered the best athlete in the room.

This might not seem important, as say, the fact that all of their checking accounts include:

  • Free Online Banking and Bill Pay
  • Free TD Bank Visa® Debit Card with Visa Extras reward points
  • Free ATM access at over 5,200 TD Bank and TD Canada Trust ATMs, plus they reimburse other banks’ ATM fees when you maintain a minimum daily balance of $2,500.

But to me it’s BIG.  Come on, you remember those days – standing out in the field during PE, praying that you’d at least get picked before that girl who was always talking to herself  about rabbits while she incessantly twirled a lock of her hair? You don’t?  Well, I do. And it wasn’t pretty.  And it wasn’t fun.  But last week, at the TD Bank event, I got to feel like the first picked for a change.

Yes, for one, brief shining moment — I was a star.  I even considered running away from it all (what all?  I have no idea) and joining the circus…the middle aged circus.  Instead, I just decided to hold on to the feeling by buying a ten class card.

I might not be the best one the next time I go (ok, ok, so I won’t be ) — but I’ll always have the memory.  So TD Bank, thanks for the memories. I”ll think of you every time I flip out!

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I think I’m having a midlife crisis.

Why else would I have cut off my hair, gone Pole Dancing and and taken a trapeze class all in the last month? Yep, that’s me on the trapeze…though not me (I mean , seriously) on the pole.[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=pole+dancing&iid=3013396″ src=”5/0/f/b/Sydney_Contestants_Prepare_291a.jpg?adImageId=12854904&imageId=3013396″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]

I think it all started with my 7th annual 39th Birthday. You know, one birthday nearer to “closer to 50 than to 40.”  One birthday closer to “invisible to men under the age of 70.” Closer to a serious debate on whether or not to get Botox. Closer, let’s face it, to the complete demise of my face. Is it just me, or is it true that every year, the day after your birthday, you develop a new physical flaw?  The day after my fortieth, I noticed my first age spot. The day after my forty-first: two little creases between my brows.  Forty second? Wrinkly knees.

Hair cut?  It’s a wonder I didn’t shave my head like Brittany Spears. (more…)

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