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April Goals


Welcome April!  I don’t do the pranks on April 1st, do you?

I have to tell you about my bargain. A few months ago, I saw a chair at TJMaxx that I just loved the color of.  It was only $99. However, we were thinking we were going to be moving soon and didn’t want to buy more stuff. Every time I went to that store over last last few months, I would always look at ‘my’ chair. Finally, Sunday I was browsing after getting my hair cut and at first I didn’t see the chair, but it was moved and the priced marked down to $79!  Again, I didn’t want to buy a piece of furniture before we move, but since we don’t know how long it will be, I decided to get the chair. We went out last night and picked it up.


I think it is a pretty snazzy chair for $80.  Pixie loves it, too, unfortunately. I already had to brush hair off it.  I am in love with the color. Good thing we are moving because it doesn’t go with our living room wall color winking  We have the next contract extension in the works for another 30 days, sigh, so no move in the near future.

On to April goals:

1.  60 minutes of exercise a day.  I don’t necessarily mean all out stuff for an hour every day, but on days where I am not lifting, I need to be biking or walking for 60 minutes. That’s my goal.

2.  Clean the windows! It’s spring cleaning time. John is enlisted to help with this, but I would like to get the winter grime off the windows this month. Just in time for pollen season :D

3. Figure out my eating plan.  I am doing the FBB, which will continue, but I am not seeing the results that I want to see after 6 weeks. Strength is progressing, but no change in how my body looks or fits in clothes. I need to tweak something, which means the eating plan since the lifting is good. Not sure quite how yet, but I have set forth the goal.

4.  Experiment with my sourdough starter. Breadipus Rex is alive and kicking after being dormant in the fridge for a while.  Quite so – I fed him and he went and exploded all over.


It’s alive!! Gonna need a bigger jar…

5. Start my for-hire contractor businessOkay, that’s an April Fool’s joke :D


I think that is a good set of goals to work on this month. Have you got any plans for April?

March Goal Wrap Up – with guitar!

Time for the wrap of the month!  This ended up being a really busy month for me, I have to say. Only 4 written goals, but I also managed to finish up our counters and helped install flooring at my folks’ house. No wonder I deserved that spa day ;)

Here were the March Goals:

1.  Continue with the Female Body Breakthrough program, really sticking with the 90/10 eating planWell, the workouts have been great – the eating not so much. Not sure why. I do really well for a week or 2 and then overeat. Sigh.

2.  Work on paring down my closet. After putting this on a monthly goal several times with no results, I actually got some done!  I purged out some things from the closet and my sock/undies drawer getting rid of everything with holes :D

3.  Ride my bike – outsideNo, dammit! It was just too cold. I will bike in the 40s, but we couldn’t even manage to get temps to the 40s and if it did, it rained. Argh!

4. Do another guitar videoEnjoy below big grin  I almost didn’t do a video because when I sliced my finger doing the counters, I could not play my guitar for a week because it hurt so much! That was a long delay without practicing.  So, this is not the piece I was hoping to play, but good enough. I even memorized it for you.

Waltz in A by Matteo Carcassi

I always find it interesting watching myself play because I don’t notice how much I bobble my head around while I am playing. :D

Now to figure out the goals for April.

Spa Day!

Spa Day!  John was out of town this weekend, so it was girl time :D  My sister had given both my mother and I gift certificates to the Crystal Spa for Christmas.  She does this with the ulterior motive that we will invite her along when we go.  Of course, since we decided this weekend and her birthday is this week – my mother and I gifted Colleen with spa services.  See what Colleen did there?


The spa is in Saratoga. Long-time readers may remember us going here before.  Saratoga has a long history of mineral baths and was the place to go for ‘health rejuvenation’ in the mid 1800s to early 1900s. 

This is the waiting area.


I am a sucker for stained glass, too.



My mother had a reflexology treatment and Colleen and I had a sauna and then a mineral bath.  The attendant first takes you to your private bath area before the sauna. 


I had to look up Orenda and thanks to Miriam-Webster, I found out it means: ” extraordinary invisible power believed by the Iroquois Indians to pervade in varying degrees all animate and inanimate natural objects as a transmissible spiritual energy capable of being exerted according to the will of its possessor.”  Fascinating!

Here is my room (no water in the tub yet). 



Our attendant was MaryAnn. It’s nice to be pampered!

Then to the dry sauna.  Boy was it hot in there!


My sister and I had this room all to ourselves with a pitcher of ice water.  I started sweating immediately.  I haven’t sweated so much without exercising in forever LOL!  Then it was off to soak in a hot mineral bath.


The water is this color because of the dissolved minerals in it. Like my unremoved polish?  I was experimenting with a holiday design before Christmas on my big toe and never took the polish off. :oops:

It was so nice to lay there in the warmth and let a lot of tension and stress just float away.  Our attendant was very nice and she gave us extra time in the sauna and bath. Not sure why, but it was nice.

We were provided with cucumber slices for the face, which felt cool and refreshing.


I haven’t felt that warm and comfortable in months.  I think that spa visit erased at least a couple of months of bone chill.  I was totally relaxed after that.  And sleepy!

After the spa, we headed out for coffee and some chatting. 


Yay Spot Coffee!  Now if the one in Glens Falls would ever open up, we would be all set.

We need to do this more often :D

Hooray Weekend!

Man am I ever glad for the weekend to arrive.  I need a break. It’s been a while since I have had ‘me’ time and down time.  I am ready for some pampering!  We have a spa day planned for Saturday with my sister and mom. I can’t wait. With all the home improvement stuff between doing our counters and my parents’ floor to my hard lifting work, my body could use a recharge.

On that note, I thought I would lighten up Friday a bit.

Have you seen this video of the cat caught sneaking in a drawer?  This makes me laugh every time.

I wonder what he wanted with the red netting? 

My orchid stem keeps growing – look how big it is now!


I am dying to find out what color it is. You can’t rush these things, but I want blooms!! :D

And, one last bit of humor – cat related, of course:


Cats win the internets every time.

FBB Stage 2 Workout B

It’s just not getting any warmer around here! We can’t seem to get out of the 30s, if we even get to them.  I saw this in my Pinterest feed today and it made me laugh…then cry.


Yeah – how about the snow melt first!!!! :mad: So over this.

Anyhoo, this is the B workout to stage 2 of Define Yourself. 

Exercise Set/rep/weight
Reverse Cable Wood Chop (low to high) 3 sets of 8 each side at 15#
Jackknife on stability ball 3 sets of 8
Step Ups 3 sets of 8 each leg with 20# DBs
T Pushups 3 sets of 4 each side
Single-leg Squats 3 sets of 8 each leg
Alternating lateral raise 3 sets of 8 each arm with 8# DBs
Reverse Row 3 sets of 8
Supine Hip Extension to Leg Curl (SHELC) 3 sets of 8

There is a lot of balance work in this month’s workouts. The step ups I tried to do on a higher step. This is about 18 inches high (maybe taller?):


That didn’t work out so well. It was really hard and I couldn’t keep my balance, so I went back down to the shorter step.

The T-pushups weren’t bad, I have to say. I was doing sets of 10 last month, so dropping down to 8 helped, although the last set was quite difficult.

I am not sure what I will do with the single-leg squats. I have almost no range of motion doing these on the left side and it hurts a little in a not right kind of way, so I might be better off just doing regular squats or deadlifts. I don’t want an injury right before biking season starts!

The SHELC is best explained by doing a hamstring curl lying on the floor using a stability ball. This is a good exercise because it works the hamstrings and it also works your core because you have to keep your feet on the ball as well.

Now I will be alternating these 2 workouts for the next 4 weeks.

FBB “Define Yourself” A workout

This week begins Stage 2 of Female Body Breakthrough!  I hope you enjoy seeing the workouts. I also decided to start tracking my food again. I was just eating portions and following the 90/10 eating style and doing really well. However, last week PMS hit really hard. I was a real crabapple and my cravings were out of control.  This isn’t an excuse. I was not eating the way I planned and I didn’t care. Some months I get horrible PMS and others I barely notice. I don’t think that had anything to do with me not tracking my food, however. I just feel more comfortable right now doing the tracking.

With how work was today, I decided to work out after lunch.  Here was what I had:


Cashews while cooking.


Turkey burger with laughing cow (and hot sauce!) and sauteed broccoli.

The plate is a product I will be reviewing in a couple weeks or so :D

Then it was time to work out. Here is workout A from the Define Yourself stage.  The idea for these next 4 weeks is lower reps and heavier weights.

Exercise Set/rep/weight
Cable Wood Chop (high to low) video 3 sets of 8 each side at 20#
Plank 3 sets of 70 second holds
Dumbbell squat with offset load 3 sets of 8 with 15# DB
Alternating dumbbell overhead press 3 sets of 8 each arm with 10# DBs
Single-leg Bent Knee Deadlift (video) 3 sets of 8 with 20# DBs
Assisted Chin Ups 3 sets of 6 with band
Alternating Lateral Lunge 3 sets of 8 each with 10# DBs
Two-point dumbbell row 3 sets of 8 each arm with 20# DB

Okay, this workout is much harder than stage 1.  Yikes! The dumbbell squat with offset load just means that you do a dumbbell squat, but only hold a dumbbell in one hand. This makes you work on balance as well. Always good for me.

My chin-ups – or attempt at such = LOL! I used a band around my leg for assistance and really could barely get my chin to the bar – so I have a ton of work to do there.  It’s much, much harder to use a band than an assisted chin-up machine.  I remember back in the day when I could do 3 chin-ups by myself ;)

I was happy for my latte snack when I got back!


It helps with work, I tell you. It’s gotten frustrating at my job again. Like last spring. Seems like this cycle happens where there is not enough work, then too much work, then fine and the cycle repeats. We are now in the too much work cycle and the screaming emails are coming again. It’s kind of stressful, especially when you do your job like you always do. The blanket emails yell at everyone and it is discouraging.

A good lifting workout also helps get rid of that stress, too! Plus getting out of the house, which will happen after I press ‘publish’  :D


Side flooring project

Something that we were able to do since our house closing is delayed is helping my parents install a new Pergo floor in their house.   My parents moved into this house a little over 5 years ago.  The original carpet was a dark green color and had seen better days, so it was time to put in a new floor. Since John and I are the experts at laminate flooring now, it made sense for us to do this rather than have them pay several hundred dollars to have it done. We only asked that they buy us dinner out. What a bargain!

They removed all of the old carpet and pad so the floor was ready for us to rock and roll over the weekend.


It took 2 days of work.  I have to give a huge thanks to the last month of Female Body Breakthrough I have been doing because I was hardly sore at all after a weekend of crouching, bending, kneeling and hammering.  Poor John was not as lucky. He is really sore. He needs to lift more consistently, which is my one :ahem: gentle hinting that I do to him.

We finished all but replacing the the last bits of trim and the door transitions, which we left for my dad to finish up.


It came out really nice!  This is Pergo Max (good for dogs) handscraped Richland Hickory.


It’s hard to get the good color of this.  It’s dark, but not too dark and had a nice textured finish.


That was a weekend of work, but it should bring many years of enjoyment for my folks!

FBB Stage 1 Workout B summary

Happy Spring!  I put up my flag:


It just doesn’t look right, though…


We have a looooong way until tulip time.

So I finished up stage 1 of Female Body Breakthrough today.  Normally I would have worked out yesterday, but I was gone all day taking my sister to Albany and back.  Today worked just as well. 

Workout B.  Like A, I did this 6 times during the month and here was the end progression.

Exercise Set/rep/weight Week 1 Set/rep/weight Week 4
Plank 3 sets of 30 second holds
3 sets of 70 second holds
Prone Cobra 3 sets of 45 second holds 3 sets of 60 second holds
Lateral raise with external rotation 3 sets of 10 with 5# DBs 3 sets of 10 with 8# DBs
Overhead Squat 3 sets of 10 with wooden bar
3 sets of 10 with 20# bar
Single Leg/Single arm Romanian deadlift 3 sets of 10 with 15# DB
3 sets of 10 with 25# DB
Single arm cable lat pulldown 3 sets of 10 each arm at 20#
3 sets of 10 each arm at 30#
Bulgarian Split Squat (so glad to be done with these) 3 sets of 10 each leg 3 sets of 10 each leg with 10# DBs
High Cable Row 3 sets of 10 at 40#
3 sets of 10 at 60#

This was a little tougher than workout A, I think. The overhead squats are hard for me because of my left leg issues.  I noticed such a big discrepancy in leg strength when doing the single Romanian deadlifts.  Since there is nerve damage, I can’t really build up strength in the damaged area, but only around it. So, it will lag behind my right leg. I could go with heavier weights for the right, but then I don’t want to be any more lopsided than I already am ;)

I definitely feel like I have a good base of strength going forward with the meat of the program. I don’t notice any difference in my clothes or the scale, so we just move on to stage 2!

FBB Workout A summary

This week was the last of Stage 1 for the Female Body Breakthrough. I thought I would share the progression of this stage and where I ended up.

The goal of this stage was to do 2 to 3 sets of each exercise and do a maximum of 12 reps for each set.  Progress each workout with increasing a couple exercises in either weight or reps.  Pretty standard stuff.

This is the comparison of Workout A from week 1 to week 4,  which I completed 6 times.

Exercise Set/rep/weight Week 1 Set/rep/weight Week 4
Bird Dog 3 sets of 10 each side with body weight 3 sets of 10 each side with 8# DB
Forward Ball Roll 3 sets of 10 3 sets of 12
Step Ups 3 sets of 10 with 15# DBs 3 sets of 10 with 20# DBs on a higher step
Dumbbell 3-point row 3 sets of 10 with 15# DB 3 sets of 10 with 20# DB
Partial Co-contraction Lunge 3 sets of 10 each leg 3 sets of 12 each leg
Pushups 3 sets of 8 at incline 3 sets of 10 regular style
Hip-thigh Extension (single-leg bridge) 3 sets of 10 each leg 3 sets of 12 each leg
Reverse Dumbbell Fly 3 sets of 10 with 8# DBs 3 sets of 10 with 13# DBs

The way I worked this was to increase the reps to 12 with the weight, then the next time I would increase the weights and drop back down to 10 reps.

My thoughts? I made sure to really challenge myself for each workout and not phone it in. My goal is strength. I haven’t been in a formal gym in some time. Sometimes I looked in the mirror and was not totally happy with what I saw, but I tried to let that go. Some days are better than others, as you all know.

I was super, super happy to get back to doing military style pushups instead of inclines. It’s been a couple years since I have worked at them after I sprained my shoulder, partly from the injury and partly from laziness (being honest here).  I do have to admit that they are much harder now than they used to be for me, but I was doing them. I probably don’t go as low as I should, but just to be doing them normally is a big plus for me. 

Friday I will wrap up  Workout B of Stage 1.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day with colcannon!

Happy St. Patty’s Day!  We have an Irish family and this is always a fun day for us.  No green beer, but we do like to make some special dishes.

John made some Irish soda bread:


I had put some corned beef in the crockpot to simmer all day and we tried to make colcannon for the first time.  This is a traditional potato/cabbage dish. Kale is often used in place of cabbage, but I am not a fan of the kale.


  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled (if desired) and cut into large chunks
  • Salt for boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 lightly packed cups of chopped cabbage or kale (I used coleslaw mix)
  • 1/2 small onion minced
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes in a large pot with salted water (a couple good pinches of salt) until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain into a colander and set aside.

Place the pan back on medium heat and add the butter.  Lightly sautee the cabbage and onions together for 3 or 4 minutes until wilted.  Add the potatoes and milk, then mash with a potato masher until the desired consistency of mashed potatoes – lumpy or smooth!  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Then serve.  Most traditional recipes call for you to make a well in the center and add melted butter, but I left this step off for calorie sake.


Good, no?  It was very tasty. An interesting way to get in some veggies :D Ours looks more colorful because the coleslaw mix has carrots and purple cabbage.