Ann on December 17th, 2014
aveda

Aveda’s Scalp Remedy helps with dry scalp.

I have dry scalp, which shouldn’t be confused with dandruff.

I won’t go into all of the details. If you want to know more feel free to look it up.

What I will quote from a blog post titled There is a difference between dandruff & dry scalp is that dry scalp is due to loss of moisture from the skin and can be caused by the application of soap, strong detergents, cold weather, product build up, hard water, and diet (example: caffeine).

When we switch from summer to fall my scalp gets a little irritated. But when we switch from fall to winter my scalp goes nuts.

Over the years I have tried all kinds of things, including dandruff shampoos, which don’t work for my dry scalp.

At the suggestion of my hair stylist (years ago) I decided to try Aveda’s Scalp Remedy.

It’s a spray that I massage into my scalp. I have found it works best right after I have washed my hair (which I only do about twice a week) while my hair is still wet.

If possible I like to have the Scalp Remedy on my scalp over night. But sometimes it is just on for an hour or two.

The spray rinses out with just water but the magic seems to stay on the scalp.

(The Aveda Scalp Benefits shampoo and conditioner add a little bit of a benefit. But I actually use multiple shampoos/conditioners.)

If I get what I call a hot spot–either itchy or flaky spot–I spray the spot and rub out the flakes or itch and then rinse that spot with water.

Leaving the spray in makes my hair look dirty and greasy and I smell like minty fresh toothpaste.

But it works so those negatives are the least of my worries. (Plus rinsing it out of the hair is pretty easy.)

Aveda’s Scalp Remedy is a little expensive at $26 for 4.2 ounces. But a bottle lasts a long time.

And it took me years to find something that really worked and didn’t cause other issues. (I have tried different oils–tea tree, vitamin E, etc.–but those are so difficult to wash out of my hair.)

If your scalp needs a little pick me up or even a big one I suggest Aveda’s Scalp Remedy.

4.5

Aveda’s Scalp Remedy works well for dry scalps. I give it 4 1/2 dumbbells.

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Ann on December 15th, 2014
toys r us

Some of the toys at Toys R Us.

I headed to Toys R Us today, one of my least favorite stores, to see if their holiday layaway program was still active.

Holiday layaways at Toys R Us end tomorrow. (If the full balance of the layaway isn’t paid in full the money already paid is returned to the person who opened the account and the items are put back on the shelf.)

For the past three years I have played Secret Santa at Christmastime. The first year I paid some layaways off at Kmart a couple of days before Christmas.

Last year and this year I made it before the Toys R Us deadline passed. Their holiday layaway cutoff timeline seems to close earlier than other Big Box stores.

The manager who helped me found two families with younger children with items such as Legos, Hello Kitty mike stand and other fun things.

I love knowing two families will be happier and have presents under the tree for their kids this year because of me (and The Husband).

Someone in Massachusetts paid off 150 holiday layaways worth about $20,000 earlier this month.

In Ohio, a Secret Santa paid off $15,000 in holiday layaways this year.

Most of us can’t pay off thousands of dollars for others.

But whatever you can do for others this time of year is a great thing. No matter how big or small.

The holidays are a hard time of the year so many. And whatever I can do to make it easier makes me feel better.

In our families we no longer give each other Christmas presents. We all have what we need and frankly, want.

So why not help others and make their Christmases a little brighter this year? Isn’t that what Christmas is really about?

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Ann on December 12th, 2014
peppermint schnapps

Yummy hot cocoa with a mini candy cane is a nice warm treat in the evening.

Once it starts to get chilly I enjoy warm drinks in the evening.

When I was still working full-time a warm drink helped to get me sleepy and ready for bed. I needed all the help I could get for a good night’s sleep.

I will drink hot water with lemon, tea, hot apple cider or hot cocoa.

I like a little splash of Peppermint Schnapps in my cocoa … that was until I found out how many Weight Watcher’s points a shot is. If you are a WW member, you are welcome to look up the points. If not, sorry, can’t share. Just know it is a lot more than I thought it would be.

So instead of having the caloric syrupy goodness I have been adding a mini candy cane to my chocolatey goodness.

One mini candy cane gives me the minty taste I like with my hot chocolate and is only about 17 calories with about 4 carbohydrates, no fat and about 3 grams of sugar.

I found a website called Intoxicologist, which lists many liquors and their calories (as general guidelines). Peppermint Schnapps is not specifically on there. But other Schnapps are. For an ounce, 72 calories are listed for two different Schnapps. That’s for 1 ounce. The line on a shot class is 1 1/2 ounces. And I think if you are at a bar you get at least 2 ounces. (I have also found 83 calories listed for an ounce of Peppermint Schnapps.)

Besides calories, sugars and carbohydrates can be high. I am finding a variety of information on the carbohydrates. Anywhere from 7-11 grams per ounce.

Sugar grams also seem to be anywhere from 7-11 per ounce.

I’m glad I looked this information up as I would be adding a lot more calories (and WW points) unknowingly to my nighttime treat. Plus, this is a way for me to eliminate alcohol from my diet. (Don’t worry, I didn’t give it up completely. It’s just about moderation.)

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Ann on December 10th, 2014
bibimbap

My version of bibimbap, which was rather tasty.

When I worked in South San Francisco there was a restaurant my co-workers and I frequented, Mom’s Tofu House. It was good and cheap (service isn’t great).

We nicknamed it hot pot, as the food we ordered came in a hot pot (really a hot stone pot).

I decided to recreate my favorite dish, tofu bibimbap. (Bibimbap is pronounced BEE-beem-bop.)

I found a recipe online that seemed pretty close to what I used to order and experimented.

According to the Food Network recipe page bibimbap is one of the most popular dishes in Korean cuisine, bibimbap is a nutritious rice dish of steamed rice and pre-cooked vegetables (usually spinach, bean sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, and lettuce) and egg. It can also contain ground beef but can be ordered without meat. Dolsot bibimbap is the same dish served in a hot stone pot (the pot is pre-heated in oven) to make the rice on the bottom crunchy and to keep the dish hot for a longer time.

The recipe appeared to have a lot involved with its list of ingredients.

I altered some of the recipe for myself. I didn’t use sesame seeds or make the Gochuchang Paste. There were probably a few other minor alterations. I did use the optional lemon-lime soda, but I went with diet.

I made what is called Bulgogi, which was essentially the marinade for the tofu or meat. I marinated half the recipe with tofu and the other half with beef as I wanted to try it different ways. I didn’t make the Gochuchang Paste.

At “hot pot” I always ordered it with tofu.

So the first version I tasted I tried with tofu, which is pictured above.

It wasn’t quite as good as what I usually order. But I was surprised at how tasty it really was.

I tried to make my rice crispy, which worked OK. (I don’t have a hot stone pot). I didn’t attempt crispy rice for the leftovers.

The longer the tofu and beef marinated the tastier it became.

This recipe is rather healthy and delicious. And can be made in large amounts and stays around well for leftovers.

Read more about this on GFG’s Recipes tab.

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Ann on December 9th, 2014
Ardha Balasana

Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose) is a favorite of many. But not for me. I struggle in this pose as I feel like a T-Rex with my short arms and long torso. I use a block under my head to help eliminate the tilt of my head and major stretch in my neck.

We haven’t had a Comment Contest Tuesday in some time.

I need your help.

I am nearing the end of my teaching stint at Alameda Athletic Club.

I have decided for my last two weeks of classes I am going to ask for student (and GFG! reader) input.

It’s pretty easy.

Tell me your favorite yoga pose.

Tell me your least favorite yoga pose.

You can definitely have more than one of each.

If you’ve never practiced yoga or are new and don’t know a lot of the poses and/or the names you can still participate. Check out the yoga for beginners on the Yoga Journal website for some ideas.

ardha uttanasana

Ardha Uttanasana (Half Forward Pose) feels so good for my lower back.

When I write a sequence I try to have a well-rounded yoga practice of standing poses, seated poses, balance, challenging and easier poses, twists, etc.

I also make sure there are poses I truly enjoy and others I would really rather not do. The sequence I teach for the week is the sequence I practice at home for the week.

I am starting to ask my students what are their favorite poses and what are their least favorite poses to give me ideas for my last few classes at the gym at the end of this month.

For every pose you add to the comments you will have your name put in a random drawing. Each pose must be entered as a single comment to get your name thrown into the drawing more than once.

So the more times you comment the more times your name gets thrown into the random drawing. You can comment as many times as you want to increase your chances of having your name picked.

Comments must be made below. They won’t count via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, etc.

This contest starts today, Tuesday, Dec. 9 and ends Friday, Dec. 19 at noon my time (Pacific).

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Ann on December 3rd, 2014
fuller brush

Fuller Brush’s Veggie Brush works so well and it only costs $7.99.

For at least the past five years (maybe a little longer) Curt and I along with our families have stopped giving each other Christmas presents.

We have decided we all have what we need. This helps to ease the stress of getting each other gifts.

So instead of giving to others we give to charity.

Curt and I still give each other small gifts, aka stocking stuffers.

Over the past two years GFG! has occasionally had Review Wednesday, where I review items for myself and my readers.

Many of the items I have reviewed would make great stocking stuffers.

I am going to do a quick review on the Fuller Brush, which would fit in a  stocking just great, before I summarize items in past Review Wednesdays.

A friend gave me Fuller Brush’s Veggie Brush as a gift. Let me just say this thing is amazing. It cleans carrots and potatoes strongly and quickly.

It’s amazing how much dirt comes running into the sink compared to other brushes I have used to scrub my root vegetables.

I got this as a gift but the cost is reasonable at $7.99.

This would be a great stocking stuffer and it is a great kitchen aid.

5 dumbbells

The Veggie Brush gets the highest rating of 5 dumbbells.

Keep reading a list of past Review Wednesday items with their dumbbells ratings as potential gifts and or stocking stuffers and a link to the original review and post.

There were a few items I have reviewed and I didn’t include in the gift/stocking stuffer gift list. I don’t know, maybe you do want to give someone dry shampoo (second review) or Certain Dri anti-persperient.

I hope this helps give you some fun ideas for gifts.

If you are stumped on a charity gift to give someone I highly recommend Charity Choice gift cards. You buy the gift card and recipient gets to pick up to three different charities to donate the money to. And they have more than 250 charities to chose from. So whatever their passion is, it should be on the list.

Happy shopping …

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Ann on December 2nd, 2014
thanksgiving meal

My plate of food on Thanksgiving. I love my dad’s stuffing recipe so I decided to have more stuffing and a smaller roll.

I know that there are so many things challenging about the holidays. There is stress, overeating, over drinking … etc.

But we can overcome a lot of that and stay on a healthy track.

When I quit my job a little more than two months ago I thought the weight would fall off and I would easily fall back to my goal weight rather quickly.

Well, that didn’t happen and then I went on vacation.

Once back from vacation I got back on the healthy eating and regular exercise routine with indoor cycling and yoga (both public classes and my own home practice). I was also able to control my stress levels much more at that point.

I have been at it for about six weeks and am pleased with my results.

Yes, it can be difficult to maintain healthy living during the holidays. But it is possible.

When I first started on my weight loss track eight years ago I lost weight over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So far this year I lost weight over Thanksgiving. I made sure to get my exercise in last week while still enjoying food and wine, all in moderation.

I stuck to my plan of exercise and moderate eating and drinking and I saw results. It doesn’t always happen. And all we can do is our best.

Healthy choices … one day at a time.

The month of December is much more challenging as we celebrate all month long with various parties.

And this week I am continuing with healthy eating, exercise and my first holiday party on Saturday. Yesterday I had a lunch date with friends and a dinner date with The Husband in the City and I made healthy choices.

I had a glass of wine at lunch and we ended up at sushi. So I went for the nigiri, which is a really easy and healthy way to go.

At dinner I just had one glass of wine (I usually like two) and had fish for dinner. I didn’t order dessert and instead shared a small serving of cheese with Curt and had some tea.

I am determined to get back to my goal weight before my life turns into complete chaos next month when I completely pack my life up and move to another state. That’s stressful and there tends to be unhealthy eating and a lack of exercise in that timeframe. But I don’t foresee it lasting long.

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Ann on December 1st, 2014
december monthly challenge

It’s December 1 and the countdown begins to Christmas day–a little more than three weeks away.

Well, we have been launched into a month of crazy. Yup, it’s December 1.

And that means parties, stress, overeating, gatherings, over drinking, standing in long line, baking, cooking, shopping, mailing …

During this month of nuts-O we need to remind ourselves to take a breath and relax (when we can).

It’s important to try to keep our healthy lifestyles this month. And that can be challenging and difficult.

Healthy choices: So for GFG’s December Monthly Challenge make ONE healthy choice every single day this month.

If you can do a whole day of healthy I say go for it.

And of you fail one day, one week or the whole month don’t be so hard on yourself. You can always give it another go.

I took a Restorative Yoga workshop yesterday with one of my favorite people and teachers. I believe Restorative Yoga is important for all of us to take the time to slow down, rest and take care of ourselves.

Vickie gave us a 31-day challenge (for the month of December) to commit to 15 minutes of Savasana each day, which can be easily described as conscious relaxation.

Supported Savasana is even yummier. It’s nice if you have yoga props. But you can do this pose with a folded blanket under your head and and rolled blanket under your knees.

In this video, Vickie talks about the importance of practicing Restorative Yoga.

Taking on conscious relaxation for 15 minutes a day can be your one healthy choice for the day.

Charity: I try to be charitable all year long, but December seems to be a good time to make it part of the Monthly Challenge as well.

And recently I have noticed so many more people standing on street corners asking for money.

I have made it a habit to hand out coffee cards to people asking for money than actual money. I know that they can get something warm (or cold if the weather is hot) to drink and something to eat.

I also put together some Chico bags with water bottles, tuna and crackers, Cliff bars to hand out to those asking for help. I plan to keep those in the car and hand them out this month.

There are so many charities we can give to. And I know each of us has something we are passionate about.

The past couple of years I have played Secret Santa and paid off layaways for people who were very likely not going to be able to pay it off in time for Christmas.

The first time I did it I was in Tucson for Christmas and Marilyn, my mother-in-law, went with me to share in the awesome experience.

Last year I made sure I made the Toys R Us deadline to pay off the layaways before they closed.

I plan to do it again this year.

Many stores will participate in Secret Santa. My experiences have been positive and the people you work with at the store get as much joy out of it as you do playing Santa.

I know money may be tight and this may not be possible for some. But there are so many other ways you can contribute to others this time of year.

It truly is a blessing to be able to help others in any way you can. Whether you donate money, time, skills, etc. It all makes a difference.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself over this month.

You can post any updates below or try out the Go Fit Girl! Monthly Challenge Facebook Group page and comment, update and converse there.

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Ann on November 27th, 2014
the jar project

The jar project is part of this month’s GFG! Monthly Challenge.

For many of us in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving today.

I try to remember to be thankful and grateful every day in my life.

And today  I am going to write about it.

One of the GFG! November Monthly Challenges is the jar project.

Throughout the month I have been adding slips of paper every day to my mason jar (see picture to the left) with positive things I have experienced.

Most of the things I have been grateful for this month have been small. But it’s the small and simple things that we sometimes forget about.

Since this will be my last Thanksgiving in the Bay Area (as we are heading to Portland in the new year) I thought I would focus today’s grateful/thankful list mostly on the Bay Area.

(That doesn’t mean I am not grateful for my family and the friends who don’t live here and lots of other stuff. I am just getting nostalgic about leaving the Bay Area.)

I am grateful/thankful for:

  • My GFG! readers, friends, supporters. (I know you guys will follow me wherever I go.)
  • My spin friends.
  • The yoga girls!
  • Sushiya (our favorite sushi place).
  • The Husband.
  • All of my amazing yoga teachers.
  • My amazing and close Bay Area friends. (I am lucky to have some amazing and supportive people in my life.)
  • My yoga students.
  • Gas only bring $3.07 when I filled up today.
  • Thanksgiving Day yoga (where the money goes to charity).
  • The awesome opportunity I was given to teach three regular yoga classes at a gym for months while the regular teacher was on maternity leave. I feel really lucky and grateful for this, especially as a new yoga teacher.
  • McNally’s (our favorite dive bar).
  • All of the amazing text messages I saw this morning as I was leaving Thanksgiving Day yoga. Thanks for the smiles, friends.
  • All of my Onyx friends.
  • Piedmont Yoga Studio.
  • My gym friends and others who were willing to let me teach a cycling class when the regular teacher didn’t show up. (I’m getting really good at this being bossy thing. Though, I will admit, it’s pretty natural.)
  • Namaste Yoga Studio.
  • Girl dates!
  • My yoga teacher training friends.
  • My hobby of knitting.
  • Restorative Yoga workshops.
  • The neighborhood I live in (Rockridge).
  • My yoga classes (where I am a student).
  • Cheesemas (and its inventors).
  • Cato’s (where the yoga girls go for drinks after yoga).

I hope everyone has a safe and warm Thanksgiving. And get ready to prepare yourselves for a crazy month ahead of us. There will be a December challenge to hopefully help everyone get through the crazy times and remind ourselves to take a breath and relax.

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Ann on November 25th, 2014
made in oregon

I love hitting the Made in Oregon store for fun gifts.

If you didn’t take the chance to visit us while we’ve lived in the Bay Area unfortunately for you, it’s too late.

After being in the Bay Area for almost 10 years Curt and I are taking the plunge and moving to Portland in mid-January.

It’s exciting and scary. I have lots of good friends here and have established a great yoga community. That will be hard to leave.

Talk about a lot of big decisions and changes in my life lately. Totally taking myself out of my comfort zone.

It has been our goal for years to get back to Portland. It’s where we want to settle. We will actually be able to buy a house one day, which just isn’t possible for us in the Bay Area.

I love the Bay Area and all that it represents (except for earthquakes). I have made a lot of amazing friends and that’s what I am having a hard time saying goodbye to.

The yoga community I have developed is also something pretty special. I feel lucky to have made so many friends through yoga. And many of my regular yoga teachers also taught me how to be a yoga teacher.

But the opportunity has come upon us and this is the time to take it. It’s sooner than I thought it would be. But that’s life.

Besides missing friends and the yoga community and the amazing Bay Area I will miss BevMo. In Oregon, you have to buy your booze at state-run liquor stores. I might have to learn how to make limoncello.

But I won’t miss paying sales tax or pumping my own gas. I can’t wait to be able to shop again at Freddies (Fred Meyer) and Winco.

We have lots of good friends in Oregon and some special, close friends in Portland. And I already have connections to make with fellow yogis/yoginis in Portland.

It’s bittersweet to leave. But I think it will be a good move for us.

Thanks East Bay: Berkeley and Oakland for letting us live in your fine cities. And on to another fine city I will be happy to call home.

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