When Bloggers Bounce

{by: alicia} We don’t pretend to be fitness queens. In fact, we openly abhor exercise, but as Alexis mentioned in a previous post, it’s a necessary evil. I tend to shy away from anything high impact. I prefer light movement in the way of yoga or doing a handful of crunches in front of the TV–sorry, not sorry. Exercise in general just bores me, so I’ve never looked into anything beyond what I already know. Bad move, me. Apparently, I’ve been missing out.

Thanks to Classpass, I’ve been able to explore different types of workouts and learn about my preferences. So maybe things like spinning and barre aren’t my jam, but I actually like hot yoga (which used to scare me) and FIT JUMP. Until recently, I didn’t know such a thing existed. But after seeing the class added to the Classpass rotation and realizing we’d be JUMPING ON A TRAMPOLINE, I quickly signed up. Alexis and our blogger friend Miche followed suit, and we had the happy coincidence of running into fellow Cbus blogger Morgan for some shenanigans.

The Bounce Club Powell Ohio

We showed up early to sign all of the usual waivers and swap our street shoes for appropriate footwear. Since we were the first arrivals, we had a chance to walk around, take pictures, and get acclimated to the trampolines. Our instructor for the night was also the owner, Trisha Rich, a former Ohio State cheerleader who parlayed her love of fitness into this multi-faceted studio. We were there for a workout, but they also offer everything from private parties to dodgeball (YES) to sports conditioning and Mommy and Me.

The Bounce Club Powell Ohio

Once inside, you’ll see two separate areas. One with the foam pit and mats, and the main attraction.

The Bounce Club Powell Ohio

This was awesome. I want one.

The Bounce Club Powell Ohio

Alexis doing her thing.

We spent time on both, which was nice, because jumping is actually quite tiring. At first, I was like, how hard can this be? Then Trisha put us through our paces, and holy crap. We got a total body workout which included planks, donkey kicks, sprints (where Alexis and I promptly wiped out, luckily we were on the trampoline), weights, medicine balls, and floorwork. Yikes, and here I thought we’d just be casually jumping around for an hour. This is how delusional I am.

By the end of it, we were all sweaty wrecks, but felt a sense of accomplishment–especially after Trisha told us we had done the advanced version. Spend an hour at Fit Jump, and you’ll burn 700-1000 calories (women) with men burning even more. Though this was a tough class, there were plenty of switch ups to keep things fresh, the soundtrack was upbeat, and I liked the sense of community. There were a lot of repeat customers, many of them with relationships with Trisha and each other. Everyone was also very encouraging, which was kind, because the Wander & Whine team was pretty much the worst in the room. Don’t let the workout scare you. And if you’re thinking an indoor trampoline facility is just for kids, you are wrong, my friend. This class was no joke (though I did feel like a kid again at points).

The Bounce Club Powell Ohio

The party room.

If a class environment isn’t your thing, there’s Open Jump and you can make reservations for a private party. No matter how you decide to do it, just do the damn thing.

jeanralphio-bounce

The Bounce Club is located at 3967 Presidential Parkway, Powell, OH. Visit the site for more information on classes, schedules, etc. And have fun!

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A Mental Detox

{alicia}

Happy Monday! (I know, that’s a bit of an oxymoron. Just go with it). With Alexis in San Diego this week, I’m holding down the fort. I have quite a bit of material from the past couple weeks, so this post is going to be a bit of a mishmash.

Lately, life has been chaotic. You know how they say things happen in threes? I’m starting to buy it. In the past month, my husband has shattered an iPhone screen, my washing machine has died, and the contractors who installed the new washing machine caused a slow leak that flooded my bedroom. Blah.

I’ve been surprising zen about the matter (after a meltdown or two), and we are still living in a state of disarray while we wait for the company to process our claim and fix what they’ve ruined. My current mantra is “it could be worse,” and it’s helping me put things in perspective. We’re all healthy, with a roof over our heads, and lot of life to look forward to, like delightful dinners with family.

The Black Orchid at Ocean Club. Made from St. Germain Elderflower Liquor.

My favorite cocktail ever.

Can someone help a girl out and tell me where I can acquire St. Germain Elderflower Liquor in Ohio? The Black Orchid at Ocean Club is my jam, but at $12 a pop, I’d rather consume glasses of this on my patio for a fraction of the price. Though, in order to have drinks on my porch, it needs to warm up again. This spring has been such a tease, hasn’t it?

Work has also been kicking my ass, but I’ve been able to work from home here and there. It’s made for long, but super productive days, and I’ve managed to knock  some big projects off my to-do list. Lunching at home is another bonus.

Piada cannoli gelato

The epitome of a mouthgasm.

Oh, and when I say lunching I mean eating desserts. I saw that Piada added gelato to the menu, and all of my good intentions went right out the window. Worth it though. The chocolate cannoli marble gelato was out of control. Now I need to go back and try the strawberry marble version (vanilla bean gelato spun with strawberries, granola, and strawberry syrup), but there’s a salty caramel version as well–ahh, the struggle.

What they need is a gelato sampler, so that gluttons like me can have it all. Sort of like this awesome bento box lunch I ordered from Akai Hana this past weekend:

Akai Hana Bento Box LunchThis was the bento box of the day ($11) and almost way too much food for me (I said almost). Unpictured is the miso soup and salad that comes with the meal. Thom went with something a bit less compartamentalized.

Spicy shrimp roll and eel cucumber roll.

Spicy shrimp roll and eel cucumber roll.

Afterwards, we went next door to Belle’s Bread where I almost had a panic attack over the sheer amount of goodness. I WANTED ALL THE THINGS. I have more to say about this place, but I’m going to save it for a separate post.

My spoils.

To the victors go the spoils.

We walked away with a cream puff, chocolate croissant, and a slice of strawberry cake. All were demolished in less then five minutes.

After the wonder at Belle’s, we stopped by another wonder. Samba FRESH, a relatively new pressed juice bar that I have been curious about.

SambaFRESH pressed juice

Full disclosure: I know nothing about juicing, but it turned out to be a non-issue. The proprietors were extremely knowledgeable, and we were offered endless samples once it was clear we were newbies. We started with fruity juices before moving onto green juice and finishing with a protein version. The Proteina Plus was actually one of my favorites–it legit tasted like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal milk.

Thom’s favorites were of the fruit juice persuasion, and after deliberating between Hidrate and Sol, he went with the brighter option.

Thom's juice.

Thom’s juice.

Despite my affinity for the protein drink, I looked towards a compromise between fruits and vegetables, and found it in Belo. I recommend this one for those who aren’t huge fans of “green” tasting drinks.

My juice.

My juice.

After the weeks we’ve had, a detox is sorely needed, not just in diet but mentally as well. This is why my sister and I are going to take a road trip to Nashville next weekend. I can’t wait to skip around the different neighborhoods, drink coffee, stalk Jack White, and eat all the things. First, I need to get through this week. Let’s make it a positive one!

Graze Box Review

{alicia}

If you’ve ever experienced hunger rage (aka hanger), you know the importance of having snacks on hand for such emergencies. With my tendency to rage out from low blood sugar, I try to be good about filling my desk drawer with healthy items such as Larabars and raw almonds. However! We’ve established I’m lazy, and while I do enjoy perusing every aisle of the grocery store, nobody has time for that.

I’ve heard of Graze Box before, and though the notion of healthy snacks being delivered straight to my office was appealing, I never investigated it. I assumed it would be expensive and lock me into a subscription. So when I stumbled upon a code for a free Graze Box (and realized I could cancel at any time) I leapt at the opportunity.

First of all, it isn’t that pricy. Without the code, the boxes are $6 apiece with free shipping, and I have the option to choose the frequency of deliveries. You can have them sent once a month, or many times a month, depending on your needs. I went with every two weeks, and I am allowed to cancel whenever I want.

The website itself is user-friendly. After a quick sign up (they do require you to save card information for future orders), you can go through your snack preferences. If you’re not picky, then this won’t matter. But I am (surprise, surprise), so it was worth going through every single category and marking off things I wouldn’t enjoy (I’m looking at you dried apples).

For my first go around, I selected the standard nibblebox since it has the most variety (90 possible options). Is anyone else a fan of mystery boxes and grab bags? Part of the fun for me was finding out what rando snacks Graze had chosen on my behalf. I was happy with my first box:

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Dark Rocky Road, Salt & Vinegar Nut Selection, Herby Bread Basket, and Fruit & Seed Flapjack.

My order arrived with four snacks and a friendly card with nutritional information. I tore through each and confirmed that anything doused in salt and vinegar is a win, but I wasn’t a fan of the Rocky Road (dark chocolate buttons, dried fruit, and nuts). No worries. This is when you log into your preferences and demand more salt and vinegar things and remove your least favorite snacks out of the equation.

Round two was the calorie counter box, which has 50 snack options between 50-150 calories. The Flapjacks (soft oat bars) are not included in these boxes, which is a shame, as they are tasty (though calorific). My second box was also a success:

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Coco Paradise, Pina Colada, Tomato & Basil Pizza, and Chili & Lime Pistachios.

Though you can’t go wrong with either box, I would suggest ordering a nibblebox for the sole reason of having more snacks to choose from. Between the affordability, level of customization, and convenience, this snack service is one to try (another win for us lazies!). I’ve already converted Alexis and many others to the wonders of these deliveries, so if you would like to try a Graze Box of your very own (for free!) click here.

An Afternoon at the Arnold

{alicia}

Let me preface this by saying I am probably the worst person ever to recap the Arnold. Yoga is as intense as I get, and I consider doing lunges while watching television a victory. What I’m trying to say is that fitness expos aren’t my thing.

If I haven’t lost you, let’s delve into my personal account of the Arnold this past weekend. Now, why would a couch potato like me even get tickets to such an event? For one reason. My oldest friend, Kristin, was invited to work at the X-Pole/Bad Kitty booth, and I wanted to support her.

Kristin is a professional pole instructor/pole enthusiast. For you naysayers, believe me when I say the sport is incredibly physical and demands an absurd level of strength. She’s given me a handful of lessons, and it was no joke. I was sore for days.

There are people who can’t get past the negative connotation, but the pole community has made great strides in being taken seriously–like at the Arnold this year.

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But let me back up a bit.

Kristin’s shift was on Sunday, but with the threat of “Winter Storm Titan” hitting us, I panicked, and went on Saturday lest the tickets go to waste. My husband was supposed to come along, but after a bit of a mishap, the lovely Cherise escorted me instead. From there it was issue after issue–the biggest being parking. I did not wish to pay $20 to park, but neither did anyone else, so we spent an hour gridlocked downtown looking for a reasonable rate. Somehow, I got corralled into a parking garage and stopped caring. I would have paid $50 to get out of the effing car.

Delirious, but free from our metal prison, we walked to the Convention Center. Though we didn’t luck out on parking, we did luck out on the weather. The Capital City was a beauty that day.

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Once we got inside our destination, we ran into a sizable crowd:

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Yikes.

There were 700 booths and 175,000 attendees that weekend, so why was I surprised by the horde? Oh yes, because I didn’t plan ahead.

We squeezed through the crush to watch a jump rope competition and stumbled upon the X-Pole demonstration. These ladies put on an incredible show of strength and skill, and I was hellbent on finding their booth–I had to see where Kristin would be spending her day. So we fought our way into the main room of the expo and ended up in a claustrophobic situation.

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Whyyyy.

Navigating through the throng was a challenge, and we kept getting stuck in queues that would randomly appear. It also didn’t help that we went to the wrong area (why didn’t we grab a map). We were at the opposite side of where we should have been, and it had taken so long to get there. I could have wept in frustration (and hunger), but we gathered strength from free samples of protein drinks and bars. I maintained sanity by taking the odd snapshot during our trek back to the correct side of the building.

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What felt like an hour later, we found the Bad Kitty/X-Pole booth. Success!

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Kristin was there in spirit.

We took a breather from the chaos, and Cherise read up on the various X-Pole offerings and features.

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Mission completed, we struggled towards an exit to hunt down sustenance. Here’s some friendly advice, don’t go to the expo hangry–you become a bigger brat than usual.

Looking back, I wish I had planned better. The Arnold website offers an interactive map as well as helpful tips. Learn from my mistakes! Go early, scout parking in advance, and come with a plan. It’s no wonder we ended up frustrated and wandering aimlessly. We also missed out on some cool demos and events because of our naïveté. So in hindsight, foresight was important. Don’t be like me, or this guy:

hindsight_o_99133

On Eating

{alexis}

In winter, I’m a big fan of soup. It warms you up, and you can eat a ton of it without feeling like you have to swap your jeans for sweat pants. (Though there is something unsettling about hearing that slosh in your stomach after eating too much. What, just me?)

So I was going to share one of my favorite soup recipes with you (don’t worry, I will!), but it occurred to me that I should let you in on my deep, dark secret. Ready for this? It’s shocking!

I’m on Weight Watchers. Okay, I know: This is not exciting, especially if you know anything about Weight Watchers. Truly, the plan is a model of how humans should eat on a regular basis. Yes, you can have those six thin mints (WHY, GIRL SCOUTS, WHY?), but then you get lettuce for dinner (this may or may not have happened to me on Tuesday night). Sure, drink a bottle of wine: DO YOU. But say goodbye to those french fries. Generally it’s about balance, something most people could do better.

diet-plan

I did the plan in college with my mom to lose five or so pounds, and I recommitted two years ago while I was planning my wedding. I was able to get down to my dream weight before the big day (no, not goal weight, my dream weight), but I started undoing all that work the day of the wedding. Hors d’oeuvres? Give me seventeen. Waiter, I know there’s more cake back there; I paid for extra. I am the bride who required the pretzel rolls out-weigh the plain in the bread basket, who drank beer out of a wine glass to avoid shaming my mother (it passes for white wine, no problem), and demanded several hundred meat balls at the day-after brunch. Needless to say, I ENJOY A MEAL.

Alas, after the holidays (Christmas calories aren’t calories), my jeans are tighter and my gym pants — honestly, who bought these gym pants? Surely it wasn’t me. So here we are again. Calculating food points and earning activity points.

But it’s fine, because the good news is, Weight Watchers actually works. To be clear, I am not overweight, and never have been. But I know myself, and I know that, with my love — nay, ZEST — for food, I have to keep an eye on that scale if I want to wear a certain size.

Essentially, this whole post is to warn you, brave reader (+100 if you’re still with me), that many of my recipes are going to be Weight Watchers points sensitive. (Though not that Valentine’s day shirred eggs recipe. IT WAS A HOLIDAY.) The recipe I’m posting here is no different. This lentil soup is quite literally my favorite soup recipe. It is good EVERY TIME (except that one time the lid came off the pepper). It keeps you full and is the best lunch ever when there’s snow on the ground (we can only count on our space heaters for so much).

You’ll need a bunch of vegetables and a slow cooker for this delicious recipe. I always add a ton of celery seed as well because it makes it more delicious. You’ll get 5 PointsPlus per 1.5 cup serving, which, for those of you who don’t speak WW yet (you will, reader), is great. Let me know what you think!

Credit to Weight Watchers

Credit to Weight Watchers for the photo.

Weight Watchers Slow Cooker Lentil Soup

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. I am a real-life user of the plan. For more information, check out WeightWatchers online.