Marvelous In My Monday – New Year’s Eve!

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I can’t  believe it’s already New Year’s Eve. The end of 2012. This year seriously flew by in the blink of an eye!

First, I need to say thanks to Katie over at Healthy Diva Eats for hosting this super-fun Monday meetup for all of us healthy living bloggers! I’ve been introduced to some great people this year through our weekly MIMM get togethers! Plus, Katie’s got lots of fun stuff going on over at her site (including a new baby-to-be!!) so make sure to go check her out!


Okay – here are some of the marvelous things in my life right now…

Marvelous is my awesome and amazing friend and Zumba instructor Eva! This is us at Zumba Master Class back in October!

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She has totally gotten me addicted to this incredibly fun way to torch calories! I have made some new friends, and now I can hardly listen to the radio without choreographing songs in my head! You can check her out over at her blog Committed2Nutrition  – and if you’re local, feel free to join us for some seriously fun workouts!

Marvelous is my love of experimentation with healthy foods. I’ve found so many new things to love this year – especially now that I have to be gluten-free. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m figuring it out little by little – just like everything else! Here are a few of my favorite finds!


Marvelous is my new cookbook – Practical Paleo!

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I love the way this book is set up – it has a lot of great information, meal plans, and some delicious looking recipes! I am making my first recipe from it as I type… I decided that dinner tonight would be Balsamic Braised Shortribs (YUM!!), so they are simmering away in my slow cooker. They’ve only been in there for an hour, and the house is already starting to smell good! I’m planning on serving them the suggested side from the book – carrots with dates. I’m also going to try making a couple of other things from the book before I have to go back to work on Wednesday so we have some healthy things ready to eat when life gets busy again!

Marvelous is my awesome hubby!


This is us a couple of weeks ago while visiting my in-laws in Florida. This picture was taken in front of a ginormous Christmas tree at the Grand Floridian hotel at Disney World. My hubby is marvelous for so many reasons… We’ve been together for 19 years now – married for 10 of them. We’ve been through so many ups and downs, but somehow we always seem to make it. We work hard at our relationship – and we don’t take anything for granted. I’m so lucky to have him – and I hope he feels the same about me!


So…Happy New Year from us to you – here’s to a happy, healthy 2013 for all!

Me? Teach Zumba? Maybe…


If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I’m a certified Zumbaholic. I get extremely agitated and go through horrible withdrawals if I can’t go to class. I’m there whenever I can manage – usually at least twice a week. If it’s a good week, I might even get in 3 or 4 classes! I’ve essentially recreated my instructor’s playlist and I even Zumba at home. The other night when I was playing music in the house and getting my groove on, my hubby even said to me, “Do you have to Zumba to EVERYTHING?” Yes. I do.

Fortunately, I have an instructor who is open to suggestions for new songs and choreography. I got bored one night and started trolling YouTube for some Zumba ideas. I found this one and sent it to Eva the other night. She was able to get the remix from the person who choreographed it, and we tried out tonight – it was so much fun! We made a few tweaks (mid-routine…yikes!) but it was a hit! Thanks to Nilesh for the inspiration!

I’ve been toying with the idea of becoming certified (for real) at some point in the future. I really love music, I love to dance, and let’s face it – I just can’t stop! I even do little moves in the car when I’m stuck in traffic! I decided to try choreographing a song all by myself, and when I heard this one, I knew it just HAD to be done! (Please pardon the Vodka ad and Nicki Minaj’s crazy outfits and funky lipstick!!)

Eva let me do it tonight for a warm-up at the beginning of class. I was REALLY nervous, but it seemed to go over really well! The choreography is certainly not complicated, it’s fun, and it will probably be easy for people to learn after a couple of tries. It took me a while to figure out what to do for the slow part in the middle (it’s still a work in progress!) but I think it came out pretty well for my first try! I want to try something a little more difficult at some point, but for now I’ll just stick to trying to memorize all of Eva’s stuff, and working out the kinks in my Va Va Voom routine!

So…me? Teach Zumba? Maybe. I’ll have to get over my stage fright and work on a few more songs first. 🙂

Do you ever think about trying something new – out of your comfort zone?

What’s your favorite Zumba song?



Thankful Thursday #2



It’s Thankful Thursday…and first, let me say thanks to Julia at Black Tag Diaries for hosting the link-up!

It was kind of a strange Thursday today…I had to take the day off work to go have an upper endoscopy done. If you’ve never had one, it’s really no big deal – sounds much worse than it really is. Basically, they send a little camera down your throat to check out your esophagus, stomach, and all that good stuff. This was a follow-up to one I had a while ago, so it wasn’t because I was feeling poorly or anything. It’s still a little nerve-wracking when they put you under, but at least you don’t remember any of it! My thankful things pretty much revolve around this strange day.

1) I’m thankful for my hubby – again! Seems to be a theme here… He took time to drop me off at the hospital this morning and pick me up afterwards, and even took me to Panera for lunch since I hadn’t been able to eat anything since the night before and I was HUNGRY! He didn’t even laugh at me when I ordered the kids’ grilled cheese sandwich with my soup. Okay, so he smirked and shook his head, but he didn’t tease me for it. He knows that grilled cheese is my go-to comfort food. He even promised to make me tea tonight if I promised to rest when I got home. I have done NOTHING all day, so I think I’ve held up my end of the bargain…

2) I’m thankful for my awesome GI doc. She is really nice, and takes the time to explain everything really carefully so that I understand it. I’m pretty good with medicalese (spent WAY too much time around doctors/nurses in my life), but I always like to make sure I have it right. She’s patient and just a really sweet person. I also think it’s pretty cool that her name is Rakhee – but it sounds like Rocky. Makes me think of the theme song from the movie every time. I know…dork.

3) I’m definitely thankful that nothing seemed too out of place. There was an improvement in one thing from last time, but she did have to take some biopsies this time around. She didn’t seem too concerned, so I’m assuming that means I shouldn’t be either.

4) I’m thankful for the other folks who took care of me today – the nurses were all really nice, and I liked the anesthesiologist a lot. One of the nurses and I had a conversation about the sedative they use – propofol. Yes, the stuff that killed Michael Jackson. She was telling me that this 80-something year old lady had a fit when they told her they were going to use propofol “…because that stuff is evil! It killed that young man…what was his name? Michael Jackson, right? I don’t want that stuff!!” Once they reassured her that it was okay because she was in the hospital and being monitored, she finally went through with it. When she woke up, she grabbed the nurse by the sleeve and said, “Thank you so much! That was the best sleep I’ve had in 20 years! No wonder he abused this stuff!”

5) I’m thankful for my awesome Zumba instructor, Eva. Tomorrow night is our Zumba master class breast cancer fundraiser. I have been looking forward to this event for what seems like forever – but probably more like a month or so. When I got my discharge papers from the doctor, they said no exercise for 3 days. 3 days?!?!?! That meant no master class! I even clarified with the doctor, and she said absolutely not – there is a risk of bleeding because of the biopsies. I was literally bargaining with her in the recovery room – half an hour? Two songs? No such luck. I sat there and fought back tears as I messaged Eva on Facebook that I wouldn’t be able to come. She convinced me that I could still go – at least be there. She said it wouldn’t be the same without me there! How cool was that? So – I will be going to master class, dressed in pink, cheering on my fellow Zumbaholics! Since I can’t “shake it like Polaroid picture” I’ll just have to take a bunch of pictures instead.

Since I’m still feeling a little spacey from the procedure, I’m going to call it a night. Look for a post tomorrow all about master class!!

What are you thankful for this Thursday??

I think I need ZA…


Borrowed this from Zumba with Fernanda – don’t know you, but you’re obviously a good person…you Zumba! 🙂

I seriously think I may need an intervention or a 12-step program…for many reasons. Here are just a few!

1) Every time a song from class comes on – no matter where I am – I automatically start thinking of the routine in my head, usually start moving along with it, and if the environment is right (aka I’m alone or with fellow Zumbaholics) I just full on break out in dance!

2) I have spent many hours and a decent chunk of change recreating our many different Zumba playlists in iTunes, and if I can’t find a song because it’s from Zumba Fitness I get annoyed because that means I can’t practice!

3) I plan my entire week around when and where my Zumba classes are.

My awesome instructor Eva’s schedule…check out her site (and more complete info) by clicking on the pic!

4) When I can’t get to a Zumba class, I blast my playlist (see #2 above) in my family room (below) and dance away – all by myself!

My “studio” and my “audience” – they don’t have much of a choice do they??

5) I have a Zumba station on Pandora.

6) On nights that I have Zumba my husband is lucky to get cold cereal for dinner.

Love this!!

6) I’m sitting at home on a Friday night with a cold, coughing and sneezing, and all I can think about is how annoyed I am that I might not be able to go to Zumba tomorrow morning!

Take 2 Zumba classes and call me in the morning!

Oh who am I kidding…

Hairspray is dangerous!!

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Ok…so anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I am not the most coordinated person in the world. In fact, I’d consider myself downright clumsy. Some would even say accident prone.

This brings me to my “nobody could possibly do something so stupid…except me!” story of the day. Thursday is one of my favorite days of the week because I get to go to Zumba at 5:45 with my friend and awesome instructor Eva (check her blog out here). I was especially looking forward to tonight because I know I won’t make it to class on Saturday because I’m going to visit family. ANYWAY…I was getting ready for work this morning and was just about ready to walk out the door. I was putting the final touches on my hair when I DROPPED the can of hairspray ON MY BIG TOE!!

How much could a can of hairspray possibly hurt you ask? Enough so that I sounded like the dad from “A Christmas Story” weaving a “…tapestry of obscenity that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan.”  I won’t even mention the blood (yeah…not good). I think it was just the way the edge of the bottom of the can caught the top of my toe…and it was a full can.

Long story short, I’m sitting here with a bandaged up toe in no shape for Zumba tonight. There is a point to this story. The fact that I’m really pissed about missing a class at the gym is something new for me. It used to be that I’d use any excuse to get out of going to the gym. Now that I’ve found something I really love (and that TORCHES calories by the way – over 800 per class for me!!) I get upset when I can’t go. I know life gets in the way (stupid hairspray!!) but in the past, something like this would have completely derailed me. Now that exercise (dare I even call it that??) is a habit, and I truly LOVE what I’m doing, there’s not much that can keep me from it! I have done Zumba classes with headaches, colds, and even plantar fasciitis – and if you know what kind of nasty heel pain that means, you understand! Now this, I can’t really do much of anything because I can’t even put my shoes on. At least it was 80+ degrees today so I didn’t look like a complete idiot wearing my sandals to work today!

Needless to say, from now on, I’m going to have to keep a tighter grip on that can of hairspray… 🙂

Is there a class or type of workout that you just can’t bear to stay away from? Have you found your “soulmate” workout?

My New Toy and Zumba Math…


Hi. My name is Brenda, and I am a Zumbaholic. 🙂  No, really. I am powerless over Zumba. Every time I hear a song from our class playlist, I automatically start thinking of the routines in my head, and moving my arms and legs – even in the car! I actually get annoyed when I can’t go to class. When I can’t get there, I Zumba in my living room!! Last night I did two classes in a row – that’s right. Two glorious hours of non-stop fun! Who can say that they are still smiling and having fun in the second hour of a workout?? Now, I did wake up with a kind of “Zumba hangover” this morning – I was exhausted and sore, but it was so worth it!

I’ve always known that Zumba was a great workout, and there are estimates out there of how many calories you can burn in an hour – ranging anywhere from 300 – 1,000 depending on your weight, the intensity, etc. I wanted to find out the real deal, so I bought myself a new toy – a Polar FT60 heart rate monitor! It was really easy to set up and use. I got mine here. I wore it for the first time during one of my training sessions, and it was very simple to operate. I sync it with the Polar Personal Trainer website, and it keeps track of all of my data! It’s even easy to see the results of a session on the watch itself. For example, here is what it looked like after Zumba class number one last night…

…and here is what it looked like after Zumba class number two!

Yes, that is a total of 1,751 calories TORCHED in just under two hours! Even Eva (my amazing Zumba instructor) couldn’t believe it!!  So my Zumba Math equation is Zumba x 2 = -1,751 calories!! 🙂

Ok…so that’s not a real equation (my day job is as a math program coordinator for a pretty decent sized school district), but I love numbers. I’m a data geek. I love comparing stuff like this! I was really surprised that I burned more calories in the second class than I did in the first, because I thought I had let up a little bit on the intensity. Not according to the data, though! My intensity was actually HIGHER in the second class! My max heart rate was higher in the first class, but my average was higher in the second. I could do this all day… 🙂

I’m not going to bore you anymore with my data analysis, but I wanted to post this for a reason. It’s not just really cool to know all this stuff, but in the course of trying to become healthier, it’s important. I want to know how many calories I burn so I can better determine how best to fuel my body AND keep burning fat. I want to keep track of my intensity so I know when to ramp it up, and when to let up a bit.

I’ll keep posting about this from time to time – and we’ll see what new things I find when I crunch the numbers!