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 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!

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!

runners posing before the course

Wine for Hope

Just more than 10 days ago, my daughters and I joined our pastor, Father Joe O’Connor in his “Run for Hope,” a challenge he issued to help drive donations to the annual Hope Appeal for the Syracuse Diocese. Each year, parishes are given a fundraising goal, which they are expected to meet by year end. This year, Fr. Joe decided he wanted to meet the goal sooner rather than later. That’s when he issued the challenge – if our parish met the goal by June 30, he would run the perimeter of the parish boundaries – a total of 11.3 miles.

It sounds nuts but as an¬†Ironman¬†alum, he was up to the task. What he didn’t expect was the more than 100-degree temperatures that awaited him July 1. Still, he pressed on. Parishioners manned water stops and sprayed him with water balloons and super soakers. Some even joined him for a mile or 11! My daughters and I decided we’d do the first mile. We joined Father along with three men, all three of whom continued through the entire course. My husband followed in the “pace minivan” with some tunes appropriate for the occasion.

It was hot on the course. We took every opportunity to run on the grass or in the shade rather than on the hot pavement. My younger daughter jumped in the cool minivan at around 3/4 of a mile. My older daughter made it just shy of the first mile. I stopped shortly after that in solidarity with the girls! Father kept on going! He and a few men (I joked they were like his disciples!) ran the distance through neighborhoods in the Clay and Baldwinsville, New York areas. They stopped for water at various locations and visited with parishioners. For the last bit of the course, jet skis were arranged to take them across the Seneca River, but they ended up swimming it instead. The cold water was refreshing after running in all that heat!

I’m glad I convinced the girls to go with me. They were proud of themselves for doing it and as it turned out they were the only children to run with Father. After running in such heat, wine is not such a great idea. I had loaded up on Gatorade and water prior to the run, following it with more water and a cold beer! But, later in the evening, as we relaxed on the couch as is our evening custom, we enjoyed a nice bottle. We’re blessed to have air conditioning at home so the cool air and yummy wine was a nice end to a busy day/weekend!

newspapers stacked on a table

Wine for Changing Times

Over the past 24 hours there have been two things that have made me pause to think about how much has changed with the world in my lifetime. Things that never changed for my grandparents for decades have changed within years for me.

For example, yesterday Sears announced it would close 72 stores, including one that anchored a suburban shopping mall near where I live. As the director of media relations for Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, of course I facilitated interviews for local media with one of our professors who is expert in the field of supply chain and retail. As he explained Sears’ demise, he harkened back to the way it used to be. Sears was “the Amazon of its time,” he said in one interview. Wow. The Amazon of its time? But, yeah, think about it.

People ordered EVERYTHING from their Sears catalogs starting in the 1800s. Houses, cars, tools, farm supplies, clothing, you name it. Kind of like how we interact with the Amazon giant today. But, even when I was a kid, I remember Sears being the place my parents bought so many things from appliances to clothing to tools. We were in there all the time. We even used to have our cars repaired there or tires put on. So many things from just that one store.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I have a refrigerator and stove from Sears and possibly our washer/dryer, too, although they were a housewarming gift. What’s more? I actually visited a Sears store a few weeks ago to purchase a First Communion dress for my daughter. In fact, I am a big fan of Sears for children’s dress clothes. It’s the only place I’ve ever been able to find a suit that fits Christopher well and looks appropriate for Easter Mass.

This morning, on the way home from the gym, Big D and Bubba, a country radio show, based in Nashville, Tennessee, discussed another thing of the past – paper boys. One of the DJ’s explained that his teenaged son was up early and saw a car driving very slowly, then stopping, then driving then stopping. He was concerned and asked what the car could possibly be doing. His father, said, “Delivering the newspaper.” The son had NO idea that was a “thing.”

It was a “thing.” I remember receiving two newspapers a day – one in the morning, the Post-Standard, and one in the evening, the Herald-Journal. The Herald-American came on Sundays. We got them all at my house and I read them religiously. It’s where we got all our news. There was no internet (yes, I was alive when there was no internet).

What’s more, there was a newspaper delivery person, usually a boy but it could also be a girl, who delivered the newspapers to special plastic boxes hanging under mailboxes, because you couldn’t put the newspaper in the mailbox. It used to be the job of one of the kids in my house to go “get the paper.” The delivery person, who we called the “paper boy,” since it was always a boy in my experience, also came weekly to collect payment for the papers. He’d ring the doorbell and say “Collecting!” It was a huge treat as a kid to be able to give him the money and get the tiny stamp-like receipt in return.

Nowadays the paper still comes, but only a few times a week, plus Sundays. And you pay online, not in person at your front door. In my lifetime, I’m watching print newspapers all but disappear. But in my grandparent’s lifetime, all they knew was newspapers. Imagine that pace of change exponentially accelerating as the years go by.

Anyway, it made me nostalgic for the way things used to be. I mean, there was an extra side job for a kid, delivering papers, that doesn’t exist anymore. They even got tipped when they came to collect! The responsibility that bred in young people was so valuable to them. Nowadays, I find it difficult to find a teenaged babysitter who is willing to and responsible enough for the job. What we had as responsibilities as teens in the 1980s is so different from what the teens have now.

It’s fascinating to see change happen before your eyes and valuable to look back and think about the past. Wine is a great way to sit back and ruminate on days gone by. I think a good choice is what we enjoyed on Memorial Day, Clean Slate Riesling. It’s an old standby and a traditional Riesling, but it allows you to start again or think anew. Best of both worlds.

What do you remember from your past? Comment below and cheers!

the Peanut Butter Club gathered in the Matthew 25 farm tractor

Wine for a Good Cause

Last week was a gorgeous week weather-wise in Central New York. One weeknight, our family traveled south of the city of Syracuse to a very special farm in Lafayette, New York, called Matthew 25. Founded 10 years ago, the farm is completely run on donations of time, talent and treasure. The farm grows crops and gives them away to the poor.

We joined the Peanut Butter Club from St. Mary’s Church in Baldwinsville, New York to work for an hour on the farm. After enjoying some pizza and meeting everyone else, the kids got right to work hoeing and planting carrots, four long rows worth! The children’s ages ranged from 2 or 3 to 11 and they needed a bit of guidance. That’s where the parents came in. But, they managed to get all the seeds in the ground with time to spare.

I’m super glad we took the kids. They definitely learned a valuable lesson about helping others in need. In fact, when asked what she did last week, Lucia, who is 8, said, “We planted carrots for poor people.” Message received!

When we arrived home, after getting the kids in bed, we enjoyed a Pinot Noir I found at the corner liquor store. Cline was excellent! Cline Cellars are located in Sonoma County, California, a hotbed for excellent Pinot Noir. I even bought another bottle a few days later – it was that yummy!

Matthew 25 is always taking donations. You can sponsor a crop, volunteer to tend the crops or even harvest them, which we plan to do come August. There’s nothing better than to model the behavior you want to see in your children while helping those in need. We felt good about what we did and enjoyed a rare evening together as a family with no electronics. If you live in the CNY area, I highly recommend looking into Matthew 25 and seeing how you might be able to help its mission. Cheers!

farmer Rick shows the kids how to plant carrotsLucia and Christopher help another girl cover the carrot seedsMaria and Christopher plant carrot seeds

 

cross stitch

Wine for Celebration

We celebrated over the weekend, just a tiny bit. What did we celebrate? Well, for starters, there was a royal wedding! Well, maybe we didn’t quite celebrate that but we did watch; hard not to get absorbed in all the pageantry of the event. Even Christopher enjoyed the soldiers and white horses! No, we celebrated the fact that we’re finally making some progress on things around the house and the busiest of days are behind us.

remnants of a tree branch felled in the backyardOn Friday, a tree company came to take down a large tree branch that had been precariously hanging since last fall’s terrible storm brought down a section of it. It took four experts mere minutes to take care of something we never could have done ourselves but to save money, a huge mess was left behind. I arrived home to see everyone in the back yard picking up leaves and branches. I decided right then and there that we should have sparkling wine!

I bought a Ruffino prosecco from the corner liquor store, nothing fancy. But while there I spotted two more wines that looked interesting. So, I picked up a Pinot Noir¬†from Liberty School wines on the Central Coast of California,¬†and a rose of Malbec, too. After drinking the rose with dinner, we didn’t actually pop the cork on the Ruffino. We saved that until Saturday night and pretended to toast the royal couple instead!

Although a tree branch down is not a huge cause for most people to celebrate, I also felt like celebrating because most of the major events of spring are over, meaning I have time to reorganize, reenergize and clean out! I spent hours Sunday cleaning out my craft room. In hindsight I should have taken a “before” picture because it was pretty bad! The “after” picture is a thing of beauty, if I do say so myself!

I love making things look neat and love purging even more. Sometimes I think I hoard just so I can have the pleasure of getting rid of stuff later. Actually, I’m not too much of a hoarder because the things that get saved are useful. My issue is that I forget I have said things and end up buying more! But, between what I have and what I recently inherited in the way of craft supplies, it all needed to be organized and straightened up.

I am of the believe that you don’t need as much space as you think you need because if you have the space you will fill it. I think being a little bit squeezed is a good thing because it forces you to be strategic about what you acquire and keep. I didn’t think I had the space for all the new stuff but when it came right down to it, I had plenty of room.

Sunday night, we capped off the weekend with Hawkes Cabernet Sauvignon, a glorious, full-bodied red that has a dry, but not too dry finish. Ready to hit the next spring cleaning project next weekend! Cheers!

person pulling a friend up a hill as the sun sets

Wine for Motivation

It’s been a while since I posted. Seems that happens every spring. This spring, though, is different because it’s been a rough one weather-wise and in terms of all the activities. It’s been snowing in Syracuse since last October. Yesterday some of us woke up to a few inches on the ground! Today, May 1, the weather is supposed to be sunny and mid-70s. Let’s hope we’ve turned the corner.

Because, honestly, I think not having the nice spring weather has hurt my mojo. I never realized how much I counted on spring fever to propel me through the end of the school year. Believe me, I could have used that extra spring in my step this year. Between performances and birthdays, we have First Communion and graduation, two things that don’t happen annually. Plus, work got nuts with a crisis university-wide, in addition to all the normal end-of-the-academic year craziness. Somehow, I’ve managed not to go crazy myself!

This morning, as I grabbed my usual coffee at Starbucks I reflected with a friend on how unmotivated I am. I have so many things to do and work on, some exciting projects and even things at home, such as spring cleaning. None of it is really being done. Not that I’m not working at all but it’s just not my normal pace. I need something to jump-start my energy levels and get me motivated!

My gym time is still going strong; I started a new fitness challenge this week, with a personal goal to really focus on progressive overload. That’s the idea that you lift heavier each time you do the workout, making more impressive muscle gains. I had gotten lazier about that so it’s time to redouble my efforts.

I’m still enjoying my wine but even that isn’t exactly a motivator. For example, the other night we had Walking Dead wine! I mean, Walking Dead? That doesn’t scream high energy! It wasn’t bad but a little on the fruit-forward side so it was a better sipping wine than anything else. Apparently there is a whole line of them; we had the red blend.

This weekend is a birthday party and my daughter’s First Communion; next weekend is Jon’s graduation from his master’s program and the remaining May events include science fair and open house, as well as a few other activities for the kids. The pace isn’t slowing any time soon. Hopefully my spring fever will kick in.

What motivates you when you’re in a slump? Share below! I need all the help I can get! Cheers!

workout-wear

Wine for Workout Friends

As I have mentioned, I belong to a private Facebook group of women who are all on the same workout journey. Train with Lyzabeth’s program comes with exclusive access to this group. At first, I didn’t think I’d participate in it at all. Boy, was I wrong! I think the primary reason I’m still active on Facebook today is my involvement and interaction with this terrific group of women.

First of all, they come from all. over. the. world. Seriously! And, they all have different jobs, backgrounds and lives! Some are going to school, while working and raising families. Some are entrepreneurs, such as one of the group’s superstars, Alicia Mayi, who owns Ali of all Trades.

She recently created a bunch of tanks and tee shirts for the girls in the TWL group to wear at the gym. We’re all from the same tribe even though we’re from all over the world! I purchased a few tanks, as well as a fun t-shirt for my husband. Alicia added a fun surprise to my shipment, as well; a decal of a wine glass that says Wine for All Times!

This is a great example of her thoughtfulness and is illustrative of all the girls in the TWL community. They are supportive, understanding, caring individuals. I’m so glad to have virtually connected with them and look forward to perhaps meeting them someday soon!

When we do, we definitely have to have sparkling wine. I mean, what’s a girl party without bubbly! We could toast our commitment to our own health and whatever else our hearts desire. Some of my favorite sparkling wines are Italian Proseccos and I love a good Cava from Spain, as well.

In fact, writing this reminds me that I want to try some more sparkling wines in the future. I recently read a blog post about Austrian sparkling wine. Hmmm. Maybe my next review? Cheers!