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Tabata Sprints and Streamlining Work Outs

August 4, 2011
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My younger brother enlisted in the marines this past spring and will be shipping off to Paris Island in Janurary for boot camp. He’s been whipping himself into shape to prepare, with the knowledge that he can probably never be fully ready for what he will go through.

So when I was home last week I decided to do him the kind favor of kicking his butt down at the track with a quick, painful sprinting workout. Your welcome Matty!

I’ve been reading about high intensity interval training (HIIT) and Tabata sprints for some time but hadn’t given them a try until the other day. I really do love a good challenge, and don’t necessarily hate the pain of pushing myself to exhaustion, so once a week I’ve been doing stair sprints or hill sprints, but Tabata sprinting is a bit different… in the worst best way possible.

We jogged a half mile to the track and began the workout, which sounds MUCH easier than it actually was…

20 seconds of maximum all out sprinting followed by 10 second rest.

Repeat for 8 repetitions and a total of 4 minutes. You can do more than one cycle but we were spent. Instead we finished up with some body weight exercises and jogging.

A 4 minute workout that will bring you near puking! I never once was near puking during marathon training (except the 4 hours post race- the most nauseous I’ve ever been). 

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I’m starting to realize that working out does not need to take over one’s life to be effective. Training was practically a part time job last year, and I’m honestly glad to be in the next phase of my athletic pursuits. I went from 2 hour runs to 4 minute sprints and couldn’t be more content.

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Lately my typical routine has consisted of biking everywhere I go, an occasional longer bike ride, 2 full body strength sessions outdoors, and one day of sprinting. Nothing else. Less than 3 hours of dedicated exercise a week coupled with lifestyle movement is all I need. I’ve loved not being tied down to a training regimen and having the freedom to experiment with fun kinds of fitness!

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How many hours a week do you consciously workout? Have you ever streamlined your workouts or anything else in your life?

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9 Do’s and 1 Don’t for Bacon Grease

August 3, 2011

There are few better smelling things in the world than bacon frying up on a Sunday morning… and one of them is garlic sauteeing in bacon grease on a Tuesday evening… but that’s besides the point.

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Oh wait, no its not…. this post is entirely about all things good in the world that result from a little bacon grease love.

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When I arrived home last week, my younger brother proudly boasted that there was some thick center cut bacon waiting for me in the fridge, and that he had saved the bacon grease for ‘other stuff’. (I’ve taught him well.) But as we pondered what ‘other stuff’ to use said bacon grease for, I figured others may have a similar dilemma. Although a container of bacon grease is hardly a dilemma if you ask me…

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If you’ve ever cooked up bacon you know that quite a bit of grease is created, and this is commonly something people save for later use. In fact you may have grown up in a home that kept the renderings in a tin Folgers can on the stove top. We didn’t, but no time like the present to start traditions.

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Bacon grease keeps practically indefinitely in the fridge, and if you eat enough bacon (me! me!) it can accumulate quickly… p.s. it’s the same calories as olive oil if your counting, but in my opinion adds worlds more flavor. And if your eating bacon, well then you’re probably not counting calories in the first place.

So here you go, if you’re having the same ‘dilemma’ that we were… 9 Do’s and 1 Don’t for Bacon Grease

Fry eggs in it. They crisp up perfectly and hold a hint of smoky flavor.

Drizzle over popcorn and add some smoked paprika or cayenne pepper.

Roast sweet potato fries in it for a perfect crispy texture.

Add a spoonful to homemade dressings.

Use as part of the oil for a mean chex mix. (Great way to make friends at a party)

Mix some into pasta or rice and add veggies or cheese as an alternative to butter.

Season your cast iron skillet with it. Just don’t tell the vegetarians why that veggie stir fry tasted so good…

On that note, sauté up or roast veggies in it.

Rub on chicken or other meat before grilling or baking for a depth of flavor.

Whatever you do, don’t throw it down the drain. Oh an also don’t pour it piping hot into a plastic container….

oops…

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Do you save bacon grease? How have you used it in cooking before?

Light Painting

August 2, 2011

Something I love about photography is the ability to make art that the human eye cannot create alone. Sometimes I get frustrated that those cookies I just baked look so much better in person than they are appearing on my camera. But other times I am pleasantly surprised by how my camera can capture a certain moment in time, a perfect pocket of beaming light, or an emotion on one’s face that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

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One camera technique that I’m always pleasantly surprised with how pictures turn out are long exposures. Many people use long exposures and tripods to get stunning shots of nature when light is low. But it can also be used in a fun way to create trails of lights from fireworks, cars wizzing through city streets, or my new favorite: light painting.

I’m actually a piro-phobiac…but in the name of taking some cool shots I decided to tag along with my brothers as they took their homemade torch down to the beach to have some fun. Who makes homemade torches? Yeah I was thinking the same thing…

I am not condoning this behavior, but it does make for a great opportunity for a budding photgrapher to test out some different settings. So next time your siblings or friends put together a flaming torch, make sure you’ve grabbed your camera first.

On manuel mode I dialed the shutter speed to the slowest option; BULB. This option allows you to hold the shutter down for as long as you want the exposure to last. Tripods always help with long exposures, but I wasn’t about to lug my (non- existent) tripod to the beach for a of couple shots.

So as my brothers swooshed and swirled the lit torch around their bodies, I kept quite the distance holding down the shutter for a couple seconds to let in fun traces of light. This was not a time for shaky hands, so I sat down and used my elbows resting on my knees as a stand- in tripod.

Okay, I lied I didn’t keep my distance the whole time. I had to give it a swirl. I was more concerned about my brother handling my camera next to the rushing ocean than I was about a flame circling my head…

One of my other favorite long exposure shots…

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What’s your favorite thing to take photos of? Have you ever tried slowing down your shutter speed for a certain shot?

13 Miles Out

August 1, 2011

I had a beautiful weekend with friends, visiting the tiny island I called home for the past three summers.
But life sure is different 13 miles out…

A typical summer job is nannying children at the beach day in and day out. Yes, I’m jealous of her life. Although it was eye opening; seeing how difficult just getting out the door was with children under the age of 9.

13 miles out… there is the best sushi I’ve ever eaten. Freshly grilled swordfish, spicy red pepper, scallions, avocado.

There is barely a sense of time when your distracted by this view and best friends to dine with.

The sunsets are fierce and burn in the sky.

Margaritas are sipped anytime, as it always seems to be 5 o’ clock.

And dancing into the morning is the only competitive sport around.

Beach days are drawn out into the evenings until the sand cools off and you can make it back to the car without burning your feet.

Riding in the back of pickup trucks is a preferred mode of transportation.

And the pace of life is slow.

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I miss that island dearly, and it’s strange how life just ticks on when your away. Work to catch up on, gas tanks to fill, and groceries to be bought. Back to Vermont tomorrow!

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Where is your ‘happy place’? Where no matter what’s going on in life you can escape to and not have a care in the world.

Home Means…

July 28, 2011
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Home means being trampled greeted by this lovebug every time I step through the door…

Oh wait…

There, that’s more like it.

Home means laughing hysterically with these kids throughout the day, and being thankful I get to see them more than once a year now…

Home means free food. Sorry Mom I mean, food that has been so graciously worked hard for and thoughtfully purchased to my liking.

Home means the beach. The beach soothes me, and I never want to live more than a drive away…

Home means getting together with friends, air conditioning (!), free laundry, comfort, quiet mornings, a break, and love. And it also means I finally have my camera back!

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What does home mean for you?

Crispy Air and Crispy Homefries

July 27, 2011

 

 

Sundays are my favorite day of the week currently. Most of my friends have the day off and we have been making a routine out of treating ourselves to a leisurely brunch (2pm counts as brunch still right?) followed by some outdoor fun. This past Sunday was no exception.

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We had some extra visitors for the weekend, so Sunday afternoon we gathered the troops for a beautiful walk in the crisp air (relative to the past few days of oppressive humidity) downtown to Magnolia’s Bistro, my favorite restaurant in Burlington.

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By 1pm we finally sat down to some deeeeelicious food. Apple, sausage, cheddar omelet, crispy homefries, and GF(!) toast for me. I love that many restaurants are beginning to carry gluten free substitutes that don’t taste awful!

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Later, three of my friends, our dog, and myself went for a quick hike up a nearby mountain. My Mom said the picture looks like wine country. I wouldn’t know, but it was one of the prettier views of the hikes we have gone on. Ilovermont.

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We basked in the late afternoon sun at the peak for a long time. It was so nice to slow down. And yes, I wear pretty much the same outfit every time I hike if you were going to ask…

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I’ll be driving home later this afternoon for the rest of the week. I’ll finally be getting my camera charger and all the other long lost items from the abandoned vehicle back. I’ve been itching to take pictures with lots of new props, some photo editing software on its way, and an exciting potential job/project for the fall!

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Do you have a certain day of the week you set aside for simple fun and leisure meals?

How to Eat (Gluten Free) for 2 Dollars a Day

July 26, 2011

When my brother lived in Prague for a few months last year he often went days only eating rice, as he spent his last dollars on traveling through Europe and dodging a few near death experiences… This makes it sound like he’s a neglected child but that’s really not the case, he can just make do with very little and doesn’t mind a good stroke of hunger every now and then. He was also the same brother who challenged my younger brother to fast for 7 days to prove he could handle Marine training.

{So happy for food…}
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My brothers are a little radical, but they both survived these stunts of hunger and even said they felt great after the initial 3 days of intense fatigue and headaches. Sure.

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Now I’m not about to tell you I’ve been living on only eggs for a week (although that’s not far from the truth), but I did give myself a bit of a challenge over the past few days…

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Sine I’ll be leaving Wednesday morning to drive home for jury duty, I’ve put off buying groceries for about 4 days. It doesn’t sound like a long time until you realize thats 12 meals and all you have is some tuna and some frozen vegetables.

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But I like a good challenge. It must run in the family.

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Of course there was that lovely Sunday brunch out with friends…..oh yeah and going out for (half priced!) burgers the night before. But other than that I’ve been roughing it, and have had to get a little creative in the process.

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How to Eat (Gluten Free) for 2 Dollars a Day  

  • Meal 1: 3 Eggs cooked in butter, lots of brown rice, coffee ($.40 cents)
  • Meal 2: Can of tuna with mustard, frozen broccoli cooked in butter, spoonfuls of tahini until satisfied ($1.20)
  • Meal 3: 3 Eggs cooked in butter, more frozen vegetables, lots of brown rice ($.50 cents)
  • Meal 4: Soft serve with sprinkles from your roommate who works at an ice cream shop. (Priceless… literally)

The key here is butter. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, everything tastes better with butter. And it’ll keep you more satisfied. Maybe it’ll even distract you from missing that whole avocado and dark chocolate you can’t seem to go a day without… oh wait, just me?

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*Not recommended unless your traveling around Europe, trying to prove something to your cool older brother, or are just too cheap to go grocery shopping. With that said, I’m looking forward to a few hearty (free) meals at home.

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Have you ever had to ration food or go hungry for an extended period of time?