coffee cup, laptop, phone, notebook and pen neatly on a desk

Wine for Being Organized

Those who know me well know that I’m extremely organized. At home and at work, I’m usually the one with all her ducks in a row. I truly believe this is the only way I can juggle being a wife, mom, manager, professor, friend and colleague. Since the New Year is really right around the corner, I’m reminded that for many, it’s a time to renew commitments to being organized. For others, it’s a time to make positive changes and sometimes that means figuring out how those changes integrate into daily life. This post will lay out some of the many things I do to keep myself organized day to day.

  1. Google/Outlook Calendars – I use both. Google is my personal calendar, which I share with my husband. It’s color coded by family member to help easily see what’s what. The minute an event or deadline or appointment is set, it goes on the calendar. This way, it reduces the chances of it getting missed. Outlook is the one I use at work. I put all my meetings on it, as well as time out of the office, plus my class times are included. I am careful always to mark down my busy time so people can’t schedule meetings during those times.
  2. Daily Planner – I have a daily planner where I keep lists of all that needs to get done. There are four main sections – workouts, personal items and appointments and work task list. In 2018, I used the Catholic Daily Planner and I enjoyed the layout so much that I ordered another, larger size for 2019. Some people use bullet journals, while others just keep lists. Whatever works for you, I highly encourage. For me, the workouts help me not only keep track of the days I lift but also how much I’m lifting so I continue to progress. I don’t keep track of my nutrition here since I use MyFitnessPal for that but there’s just something about writing down the workouts! I also love the calendar feature that allows me to list all the important activities for the week. I mostly end up putting the personal stuff on there just to keep me sane on that front! I include piano, swim, cheer, field hockey, even Mass on there!
  3. Meal Planning – I do my grocery shopping every Saturday morning. Friday night or Saturday morning, I plan out dinners for the week and write down all that I need to buy. I try to go through the freezer and pantry to use what we have as much as possible but, I admit, I sometimes fall down there! But, planning it all out helps save money and time. If the recipes are online, the links go right into our shared Google Calendar, otherwise the book and page number are listed. I post the dinner menu on the fridge so everyone knows that to expect.
  4. Nighttime Routine – Every evening, I take the time to plan for the next morning. I fill my shaker bottles and set up my gym bag and clothes, set out my clothes for the next morning, get my work bag packed and set out anything else that needs to be ready to go. I make the kids lunches and put the cold stuff in the fridge for them. They assemble them on their own each morning. I lay out Christopher’s clothes for him and he dresses himself. I try to set things up so the kids can be responsible individually for their own stuff to the extent they can. Having everything ready like that is a huge help in the morning and the only way I can get out the door timely.
  5. Do things the minute you think of them or write it down – I try to just handle things as they come to me or write it down immediately so I can’t forget. If I remember I need to write a check for the piano teacher, I stop and do it, or I make a note or set an alarm. I look at mail the minute it comes in or I get home and review it. I write things down at work as I think of things I need to do.
  6. Neat and tidy – I am as neat as I can be. I have a few spots in the house that are not as neat and organized (my closet, for one), but for the most part everything has a place and I try to keep things organized. It’s helpful for me to know where things are and to be surrounding by neat rather than chaos. Sure, sometimes things get away from me but our house and my office are generally tidy with things put away or stacked neatly. Now that I have two weeks off between Christmas and New Year’s, I use the time to clean out closets and the kids’ rooms, etc. in preparation for the new year. Spring/summer is another key clean out time. Other than that, we just try to keep up throughout the year.

When I’m cleaning my house, I love to sip wine. Something easy drinking that can stand on its own works best since I am likely not also snacking or dining while cleaning! One can only multitask so much! I would recommend a fruity Cabernet, semi-dry Riesling or even a sparkly Cava or Prosecco to celebrate your newfound organization skills! Cheers!

 

little winds team picture at nysasa

Wine for Cheerleading

This school year has been busier than previous ones mostly because the kids have gotten more involved in extracurricular activities, such as field hockey, in addition to their regular saxophone, piano and swimming lessons. Plus, our church has been offering more activities for them so we try to get to those as much as possible. On any given week, our Google Calendar is a rainbow of color; I color code per family member to help me keep track of who is who and what is what. Jon is green, I’m red, Maria is blue, Lucia is pink and Christopher is purple, all our favorite colors, making it easy to quickly identify. The vast majority of the pink entries have to do with Lucia’s new favorite activity, cheerleading.

One day last spring, Lucia came home and said, “Mom, I want to be a cheerleader.” Just out of the blue. I asked her if her friends were doing it and she said, no. I asked her if she knew what it entailed and she said, no. So, over the summer she enrolled in a FUNdamentals cheerleading camp to see what the sport was all about. She ended up not only completing that six-week session, but also participating in a weeklong cheer camp, too. After seeing that she was enjoying it so much, I asked the gym what her options would be going forward. They suggested she join a competitive prep team. Fast forward a few months and she’s in the midst of training for her first competition with Little Winds, a mini prep team with girls ages 5 to 8.

little winds cheer team photoShe tumbles, stunts and dances. They have a routine they are working on and they spend two hours every Sunday perfecting it. A couple of weeks ago, they participated in their first exhibition and they did really well! It was their first time in front of judges and a crowd. In addition to the Sunday practice, she also has the opportunity to enroll in extra classes during the week or clinics with nationally-recognized cheer coaches, such as the one she took part in this morning to work on her tumbling skills. All in all, it’s a lot of time and resources but I can see the payoff. She’s learning to work as part of a team, meeting new friends and developing good discipline.

Come January, we’ll be starting a four-month long series of competitions and exhibitions, some as far away as Erie, Pennsylvania and Buffalo, New York. If she continues with the sport, she may even have the opportunity to travel to bigger U.S. cities and even Canada. Time will tell.

CNY Storm

The cheer gym she is a part of is called CNY Storm, an all-star gym with the distinction of being the first in New York State when it opened in 1996. I had done a great deal of research before deciding to enroll her here. It’s run by a mother-daughter team with a great deal of experience. I was in awe of the championship banners throughout the gym and how friendly the other cheerleaders and parents were. While it’s been a challenge learning the all-star cheerleading scene and all that is expected and all that goes on, it’s been interesting and fun! I’ve even met a few new people!

New Experiences

Developing a new hobby is a little bit like searching for that elusive amazing  wine that you haven’t experienced before. It can take time and resources to find a good one. I read Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast, as well as follow hundreds of wine influencers, distributors, winemakers and enthusiasts like me. It’s the main way I learn about new wine, and hear about ones to try. Tonight, I’ll be trying a new Barolo I picked up at Maximum Wine and Liquor this morning. Plus, I’m certain there will be lots of wine when we go on those cheerleading trips next spring. The other cheer moms and I are already planning! Give “cheers” a whole new meaning!

fitness balls piled up

Wine for Speedball

As many faithful readers know, I love to workout. Lifting weights is my jam. Typically, I do my own thing, waking up early and lifting weights with a little cardio thrown in. Very rarely do I participate in group fitness classes. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, but I guess it’s that I don’t enjoy them enough to adjust my schedule to attend them. Over the years, I’ve tried different classes, mostly before I had children.

Back then, I loved a good kickboxing class. In fact, I still remember the one I used to take at Gold’s Gym in Liverpool, New York. I think the instructor’s name was Meghan? She was a spitfire and I always left feeling sore and spent but really, really great!

I also took a lot of Body Pump classes which were basically weight training group classes. Then, I went through a yoga phase. But after that, nothing. It was mostly due to the fact that I could never make it to the classes due to my schedule. Then, I had children and wasn’t working out at all. Fast forward to now — I have been lifting weights for more than two years on the regular and now when I try a group fitness class, it’s super easy and not worth it at all.

For example, our local YMCA has a PiYo class, which is totally boring and not at all challenging. I pretty much wrote off group classes. But, a few weeks ago, I ran into a fellow gym goer who mentioned this Speedball Class that I had never heard of. She said it was led but an awesome instructor and that it worked muscles she never knew she had. So, this past Saturday I gave it a shot.

When I arrived at Athletic Apex just before 8 a.m., I was a bit worried. No one was there and the instructor, Tisha, said there typically are only a handful who show up. Thankfully, two others showed for a total of three in the class! I was a bit nervous with it being my first time but honestly it wasn’t too bad. There were a few moves I had trouble navigating (did I mention I have two left feet? Yeah, no Zumba for me!), but for the most part I kept up! The abs section was a burner but in a feels so good sort of way. Despite everyone saying I’d be sore for a week, I only had slightly sore glute muscles for about 24 hours or so and that was it! I’m actually thinking I might give it another go this weekend!

Who knows? Maybe I’ll even try kickboxing, too. It’s nice sometimes, as one of the trainers mentioned to me a few days later, to see how you compare to others in terms of fitness level. I feel like I was in excellent shape compared to the others in the class and judging from the fact that I was not sore all week, it wasn’t too difficult for me. It’s good for me to try something new once in a while and get out of the weightlifting rut.

What kind of wine goes with Speedball? Well, that tiny two-pound ball was quite heavy by the end of the 45-minute class! But, instead of a heavier wine, I was thinking more along the lines of something signifying a transition to other types of fitness activity. So, later that day, I tasted The Crossings’ Sauvignon Blanc at Harbor View Wine and Liquors and purchased a bottle. It was a grapefruit bomb, my favorite characteristic in a Sauvignon Blanc and very refreshing and enjoyable. If I try that kickboxing class, I’ll let ya’ll know how it goes! Cheers!

 

maria on the field hockey field

Wine for Field Hockey

This year, all three of our children attend school and are involved in activities outside the classroom. Christopher takes swimming lessons, Lucia takes piano and swimming lessons and participates on an all-star prep cheerleading team, and Maria takes piano and saxophone lessons and plays on the 7th/8th grade modified field hockey team for Liverpool Central School district.

Team sports is a new thing for me as I did not play any sports while growing up besides a short stint with summer volleyball camp in 9th grade. So, this is all new – making sure she has the right equipment for the sport and getting her picked up from games, as well as attending as many as I can. Luckily, though I never played field hockey besides in gym class, it’s relatively easy to figure out the rules. Sometimes we get a bit confused on all those whistles but for the most part, as Coach Carla Hacker told us, “it’s soccer with sticks!”

Benefits of Team Sports in Middle School

  1. Physical Fitness: Team sports are incredibly important to a young girls’ development. Physically, they’re growing like crazy during the middle school years and staying active is helpful for their growth.
  2. Mental Health: They meet and bond with other girls like them, giving them a ready-made social network. It’s hard enough entering 7th grade in our district, which brings together three large elementary schools of children who have never met before. Having a safe place where a girl knows she has friends is critical.
  3. Time Management: Middle school is a big leap from elementary school in terms of classes and homework. With so much to keep track of and new ways of learning, including practice and games is complicated, but it’s a great way to quickly learn time management. Girls have to maintain solid grades while playing and are encouraged to do homework in between school and sports.
  4. Family Bonding: We try to go to the games as a family. Siblings need to see that the family supports each other in whatever activity they are doing. It’s a great way to spend time together, too, during what can be hectic weeks. Even extended family can choose to attend the just more than an hour long games.
  5. Marketability: When it comes time for students to apply to college, having a team sport on their resume helps. It shows they are well-rounded, can function on a team and care about their well-being.

While it’s been busy and stressful at times, I’m actually sad the short two-month field hockey season draws to a close next week. While Maria will continue to play indoor once a week to keep her skills fresh, it won’t be quite the same. I am hopeful she will rejoin the team in 8th grade, continuing her momentum and further developing all the skills that team sports allow one to develop. The family and I will be watching!

rainbow over the field hockey game
Courtesy: Lauren Naum

Wine Selection: This week, one of the games was rough. It was played in 42-degree weather with driving rain, hail and wind joining the party. One of the players’ moms took a gorgeous shot of a rainbow over the field that evening but that was about the prettiest thing on the field. Those poor girls were frozen! They only played two periods instead of the three to four usual. As for the parents? We were huddled up against the shed, protected from wind, covered with blankets and wearing hats and gloves. We all really needed a hot toddy! But, instead I enjoyed a Chardonnay, Bread and Butter, from California, that evening. The classic full-bodied white grape somehow warmed my soul and was a tasty ending to a long day. Next time, maybe I’ll sneak a “water” bottle on to the sidelines with a bit of vino to keep me warm while watching the sticks fly!

dumbbells on a rack

Wine for Workout Woes

New season means new busyness and with that comes a few new workout challenges. Recently, I’ve been finding that I’m absolutely exhausted. I mean, I’m so tired I nearly fall asleep reading aloud to my 8-year-old. How is that even possible? At first, I chalked it up to change of season, being really busy and stressed at work and general busyness at home. Then, I thought it might be the fact I seem to get up around 3:30 a.m. and then proceed to keep waking up every 20 minutes until it’s time for me to get up for real around 4:45 a.m. But, last evening I was scrolling through the Train with Lyzabeth secret Facebook group timeline and came across a challenge another girl was having – she was sore and super tired all the time.

There was a lot of advice shared, including my own about how to beat soreness and keep lifting (make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep, take glutamine, lift lighter and stretch). But, it was Lyzabeth’s comment that made me rethink what’s happening with me. She said “make sure you’re getting enough calories to fuel your workouts.” Wow. I’m not sure I am doing that! It’s especially challenging when I am so busy at work running from meeting to meeting, drop-in visitors to my office and impromptu discussions with colleagues about various projects. I have been finding it difficult to eat lunch let alone squeeze in a few extra snacks.

What’s more, my latest macro breakdown is for 2,046 total calories per day. I have been as high as 2,400 and maybe that is a better choice for me. At any rate, to increase the calories, I have to eat more. Plain and simple. Thus, I need to find a way to figure out how to do that. This weekend, as I meal plan and grocery shop, I’ll be scouring Pinterest for some easy snacks and in-between meals that I can grab and go. My goal has got to be to eat more, then we can see if it improves my fatigue.

Being so tired in the evening makes it difficult not only to get things done that I need to do, but also hampers my “wine time” with my husband. I’m just too tired to enjoy a glass. He brought home a couple bottles to choose from for #WineWednesday and we enjoyed one, leaving the other for #ThirstyThursday, which never happened. I was asleep by 8:30!

Tonight, I hope to make it to that glass of wine. We have The Dark by Cosentino Winery, which is a red blend from the Lodi region of California. Hopefully by enjoying The Dark, I can find the light. Cheers!

P.S. For those who are interested in my fitness journey, please follow my Instagram at @prchick75 where I include stories and posts from my gym sessions and various musings about curve building, hard gaining life.

Wine for a Change of Times

We’re at the first day of school, finally, and the girls are getting ready as I type this post. With a change of season we slowly move into cooler months and busier times. This year, our busy takes on a new meaning since the girls have each picked up a sport. Lucia will do cheerleading on a competitive cheer team with CNY Storm, while Maria is on the Liverpool Modified Field Hockey team at school.

They both continue to take piano lessons and Maria also takes saxophone lessons at school. Christopher and Lucia are both in swimming lessons at the Northwest YMCA, as well. I haven’t even mentioned the extra activities associated with each of these things, as well as religion and youth group activities at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Baldwinsville, New York. Just a crazy calendar of chaos for the next few months!

I have taken to color-coding the family Google calendar, and Maria now has access to it, as well, as she is getting older and increasingly responsible. Below is a screen shot of how our September is shaping up so far.

IMG_3644

Interestingly, last night I opened a bottle of wine called Opal that we purchased from Hillsborough Winery in Virginia last month. I googled the word “opal,” and learned that it was derived in part from the Greek word “Opallios,” meaning “to see a change of color.” Well, if that’s not serendipitous, I don’t know what is! Fall is the season for changing colors. The colors of our environment and, in my case, the colors of the calendar! So, here’s to transitions and entering the busy time of year again. As for the changing leaves? We’ll have to wait until this summer heat subsides a bit! Cheers!

 

wine glass sand sculpture

Wine for a State Fair Experience

Labor Day weekend has come and gone and with it, the end of another iconic pastime in Central New York, the Great New York State Fair. We skipped it last year due to a busy schedule and lack of funds (it can be pricey to visit the fair with three kids!) so this year, the kids insisted we make the trip across Onondaga Lake. While we only spent about five hours there, the kids made memories that will last a lifetime.

Henna Tattoos

One of those memories belongs to our daughter, Maria, who had her heart set on a henna tattoo. Two years ago, she saw the booth and we told her we would head back to get one and then couldn’t find it again! So, she was determined to do it this time. We spotted the booth relatively early in our visit and stepped inside.

The artist has dozens of pre-created designs to choose from, including those ranging from intricate to extremely intricate! You can choose where to place it; Maria wanted one on her hand. She chose a simple design and sat down to wait as the artist finished up the client before her who was allowing the artist to “freestyle” on her arm. What an amazing thing to watch!

She allowed me to film Maria’s henna tattoo, offering to go a bit slower so we could capture it better. Keep that in mind as you watch. She actually went slower! Usually she whips these up much more quickly. Amazing.

Maria has carefully protected this work of art, hoping it will last until the first day of school in a few more days.

Wine Slushies

A second memorable fair activity belongs to my husband and me – wine slashes. We enjoy these masterpieces and can’t wait to try all the flavors. This year, we opted for Montezuma Winery’s concoctions, which were a lot less sweet and still excellent. I preferred the one made with the Diamond white grape, although the twist with the Fat Frog Red wine was also delicious.

wine-slushies

There are many more fair traditions that I remember from my childhood but as I grow older, they fade into new memories made with my family. The kids can’t leave the fairgrounds without seeing all the animals, eating yummy treats and riding a few rides. They also enjoy the games although this year, we skipped those. The end of the fair means the end of summer vacation. While we’re looking forward to new routines, we’re going to miss the laid-back summer fun. Wine slushies are a nice way to celebrate the transition between seasons and a wonderful treat on a hot summer fair day.

school-lunch-prep

Wine for Meeting Your Macros

It’s back-to-school season. The kids start next week and I have already finished one week of teaching at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. For me, this time of year is a reset, much like the New Year is for most. It’s a way to get back into a routine and try to recommit or commit to something new. This year, my new commitment involves trying for the 98th time to be better about my diet.

Training with Lyzabeth

I have my gym game down. I go train regularly and have been for more than two and a half years. Since May 2017, I’ve been following Lyzabeth Lopez’s Hourglass Shaper program, both her original program, as well as her app workouts. I am at the gym religiously at 5:30 a.m. every morning and have only taken a week off each of the last two years. I have made significant progress in what I can do and how much I can lift. I  feel like I do very well with the gym part of this equation but I can’t seem to get my nutrition down.

Meeting my Macros

Since starting the Train with Lyzabeth program, I have tracked my macros. For the uninitiated, this means figuring out how many calories I should be eating each day and breaking those calories down into protein, carbohydrates and fat. Basically, I use a BMR/TDEE calculator to figure out my total calories, eat a gram of protein per pound of body weight, then try to stick to 25 percent of calories as fat and the rest as carbs. I have fluctuated a bit here and there. I tried doing a higher carb diet for a while, taking in (or trying to) 300 grams a day! And I’ve gone up and down with the calories, too. I do think my current formula, which I’ve been on since March is working but my issue is making sure of two things – 1. I meet those macros daily. and 2. I eat healthy foods.

Meal Planning

The weakest link for me is making sure I plan carefully so that I can meet those macros in a healthy way. The days I plan my meals, including snacks, I am much better and feel better than the days I fly by the seat of my pants. But, life gets in the way all too often. I get busy at work, stressed out at home or just plain tired. But, I feel like if I could battle through and stick to my plan better, I would have more energy in the long run. So, this fall, I’m trying to come up with a plan to streamline this process. Find ways to easily meal prep to save time, as well as make better choices on what to eat. With the new back-to-school routine, it should provide a strong framework for me to do this. So far, I’ve done the following:

  1. Investigated freezer meal prepping – I asked my social network and browsed Pinterest to figure out if prepping a bunch of meals ahead of time for the crock pot and freezing the ingredients actually tastes good and works. Most say it does. I’m trying to create a list of the ones to try first, paying attention to how long they need to cook and whether they need to be defrosted.
  2. Purchased at least one book on meal planning – So far, I’ve reviewed on book, which was interesting because it included the macro breakdown for more than 70 meals or snacks. The drawback is the ingredients are a bit off the beaten path in some instances plus the book is only an eBook, which is challenging to use in the kitchen. I plan to look for some more, preferably in hard copy.
  3. Reviewed eatthismuch.com again – I learned about this website a while back from the TWL Group, a private community of ladies who are doing the Train with Lyzabeth program. I remembered it recently and looked at it again to see if it might help me plan better. You can customize your day, adding the total calories and macro breakdowns, as well as ingredients you want to avoid and even the total number of meals you plan to eat in a day. This might also help with my planning.
  4. Learned that I can’t fully meal prep – I know that I can’t eat the same thing day after day. Many meal prep plans have you create the meals and store them, eating the same things for each meal. I just know I won’t be able to stick to it because I need variety in my life! So, this is an important lesson for me to learn and consideration as I move forward with my new plan.

While these steps are moving me in the right direction, they are not the end game. I still need to decide what will work best for me once and for all. Will I meal prep on Sundays? What will that look like? For example, I could simply chop up ingredients and get ahead that way, then continue to use Instant Pot and other fast, healthy recipes for family family dinners. Or, I could do freezer meals. Or, I could decide to plan out breakfast or lunch for myself in a more methodical way. The possibilities are endless.

The biggest thing I need to remember is what I tell my students and staff – chunk it down. Everything looks easier when you break it into smaller steps. If I choose one or two things to focus on, I can get into the habit before adding more to the plan. I need to figure out what will be doable and achieve some small successes. Then and only then will I be able to stick to this new nutrition regimen.

What about Wine?

As far as wine? I am still only having a glass or two once during the week and then on weekends and only if it fits my macros. I don’t want to give it up and so far have not needed to, provided I keep it in moderation and don’t snack too much while I have some. Last night, we celebrated #NationalCabernetDay with 76, a bottle that we’ve had before, which is an easy drinking, simple cab. Luckily, I stayed within my macros to enjoy it!

Wine for A New Gym Review

Last evening I returned home from work to an early birthday present from my husband – a one-month trial to the new Athletic Apex gym, located in the DestiNY USA complex in Syracuse, New York. I had heard positive things about this gym, which opened in June, and with a Syracuse University discount, I had been wanting to give it a try. I now have the excuse!

I wasted no time and visited last evening for a quick tour. This morning, promptly at 5 a.m. I was in the new gym doing my usual Train With Lyzabeth workout for the day. Now, I should say that I arrived at 4:57 a.m. and the gym was already open and running! This is a far cry from the Northwest YMCA in Baldwinsville, New York, which doesn’t open until 5:30 a.m. and most mornings opens a few minutes late. I was constantly waiting outside the door. What’s more, my fears about safety in that area of DestiNY were unwarranted. There was enough activity and folks going into the gym at that hour, plus I even saw a security vehicle on patrol.

Locker Rooms and Amenities

The locker rooms are spacious and centrally located. There are showers with stall doors on them, which included shampoo, conditioner and soap in a dispenser. There are also plenty of towels for member use. While I didn’t use the showers this morning, I was pleased to see it would be no problem should I decide to in the future.

The water fountain was a bit of a challenge as it was designed for the quick drinks from a paper cup and I was filling my 20-ounce blender bottle but I made it work and made a note to myself to find the water fountain or another source tomorrow! Other amenities I noticed on my tour included a lounge with free Starbucks coffee. They also have a private free Wi-Fi for member use.

The Equipment

The gym is larger than any I have ever belonged to. I started out just outside the locker rooms in an area that had mostly machines, a Smith rack and free weights, along with an area to do warmup or ab work. What was really cool was the fact that at that hour, I was the only one in that area of the gym for about 20 minutes. I could easily set up my super sets and not have to travel far to reach equipment. Plus, no waiting! Heaven on earth for a gym-goer. Most machines exist in duplicate, too, which definitely helps the no waiting issue.

Because I was so efficient, I decided to trek back downstairs to the larger strength and turf area. I jumped on a stairclimber for 10 minutes to survey the room. I noticed lots of equipment that Lyzabeth Lopez includes in her workouts that I had never been able to use before since the Y didn’t have it, such as TRX, sleds, battle ropes and even a Booty Builder hip thruster machine. Who knew that even was a thing? I tried the TRX and the hip thruster just because I could!

Any Cons?

There were a few standard items in my routine that I had trouble locating, including foam rollers, a Bosu ball and kettle bells. A quick message to the gym helped me understand they are in favor of sand bells, which work your grip more. Still waiting for the verdict on the other two pieces of workout gear. Both should be easy additions, if enough people request them.

Overall Rating

So far, so good on this new gym. It was a quicker commute from my house at that hour and even though I was back-tracking to shower before work, it still was an efficient trip. I enjoyed the openness and appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to wait to use equipment and it was more co-located in terms of design so I didn’t waste time running back and forth to do my supersets. The staff is friendly and the place is clean and inviting. I’m looking forward to the remainder of my month trial period and perhaps my eventual permanent move to Athletic Apex!

What kind of wine celebrates a new gym experience? Anything new and slightly uncomfortable, of course! I think I’ll convince my husband to open one of the dessert wines we picked up at Langanore Wine Cellars earlier this month. Port wine is wine but not wine I normally have, which makes it different. Just like a new gym, trying a new wine can feel normal and uncomfortable all at the same time. You just have to get used to the new taste! Cheers!

frederick, maryland

Wine for a Bed and Breakfast

During this year’s family vacation, my husband and I were able to sneak away for an overnight without the kids. We chose to head to Frederick, Maryland, a location chosen for its proximity to the Maryland and Virginia wine trails. As we hadn’t been there before and we knew we wanted a quiet, relaxing place to stay, I searched for bed and breakfasts and stumbled upon Hollerstown Hill Bed and Breakfast. The reviews were wonderful and it looked like a nice place to stay. The room I booked had its own private balcony porch and everything.

We arrived a bit earlier than our check-in time but learned that the owners were actually on their own summer vacation, ironically in Delaware, where our home base was, too. So, we waited about an hour until the hostess arrived to unlock the door. Turned out we were the only guests for the night, which was a nice surprise. In fact, we had the whole giant Victorian to ourselves that night, though we didn’t realize that until the next morning.

Frederick, Maryland

Prior to checking in, we started to explore Frederick a bit, enjoying a delicious lunch at Hooch and Banter, as well as hitting some neat shops, including an olive oil emporium, unique toy and book shops and a few other small town businesses. We noticed several restaurants and decided it was a foodie’s paradise, really. One of our stops was a small wine store, Viniferous Wines, where we asked the owner for a recommendation for a red wine in the $20 to $30 dollar range. He recommended an Australian Merlot, which we had never tried. In fact, the only Merlot from Australia that I had had prior to this one was Yellow Tail! It didn’t disappoint.

We opened it after dinner that evening and enjoyed it while we played pool and chess in the game room of the bed and breakfast. The wine was a unique flavor, light but full bodied in a way. I really wish I had documented the name of that one, but we were having too much fun to be recording our wine! That chess board was super cool because it was a Civil War one, where one of us was North and one of us was South.

There also was a 60-disc CD changer in the pool room, so we decided to see what kind of music was inside. After going through about 10 to 15 Christmas CDs, we found some classical, followed by some Sarah McLachlan. It was an eclectic mix and we found ourselves wondering about the back story behind all the holiday music!

Our stay was wonderful. Very quiet, clean and unique collections of items on display throughout the large Victorian. Although we were unable to meet the owners in person, we enjoyed our hostess who was chatty and fun. Our breakfast was served promptly and it was the perfect fare in preparation for our day. While, thunderstorms prevented us from being able to use our private porch, we could see why our room was the most popular room in the b and b. Located on the back of the home, it was quiet and private. If we ever return to Frederick, we will definitely look this place up once more. Highly recommend it!