Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fitness Challenge Update: End of Week 3

Week 3 of the Fitness Challenge has come to an end and I can declare it a success!

This week was pretty good, challenge wise. Emily and I switched to Level 2 midway through week 2. Somehow, I always thought Level 2 was the worst. Maybe not for the actual difficulty level but the combination of really annoying moves. I hate having horse-faced Jillian tell me to get into plank pose for the 5,222nd time in 20 minutes then point to her professional helper and say "If she can do it, you can do it!". Jillian, you are a moron. If I pointed to a doctor and said the same thing, would you magically be able to perform surgery? No, because you need training for that.

Emily and I tired of Level 2 quickly. We had originally planned to switch to level 3 today, but we started it yesterday. It is much more intense but I actually enjoy it much more. It seems to go by incredibly fast. I end every work out completely drenched in sweat, but feeling good.

Today was my biggest challenge of the week. I went to a party last night and went to bed around 4am. I didn't want to do anything, much less work out. However, I convinced myself to just suck it up, work out and then have a lazy day of nothing. Oh yes, I worked out, showered and put on comfy clothes, took out my contacts and  proceeded to have a do-nothing day.

So, I ran into an issue this week. I'm not even sure if it can be called an issue since that sounds negative. I realized that several of my shirts are now way too tight around my biceps. I put on one of my shirts and felt like Chris Farley trapped in a tiny jacket. I mentioned last week that Emily and I were both gaining a lot of muscle, but this seemed a little ridiculous. My shoulders and arms have rendered many shirts useless to me now. On one hand, I feel like a beast. On the other hand, I fucking liked those shirts, damn it.

Even though I earned my reward, I decided not to buy one this week. I want to save money and I also like knowing that this blog update was motivation enough to make me get off my ass today. I didn't want to let anyone, including myself, down.

3 weeks down, 1 more to go. Get after it!

Past Fitness Challenge Posts:
Fitness Challenge Update: End of Week 2
Fitness Challenge Update: End of Week 1
30 Day Shred and Yoga Challenge

Friday, January 28, 2011

Baking Myths (or What My Mama Taught Me)

My mother is a baker. I will never get sick of saying that. Some people may love saying their mother is an accomplished lawyer, doctor, accountant, etc. I, however, am so incredibly proud to have a baker as a mother.

Pretty much everyone's mother bakes, but can yours make a bouquet of flowers out of icing? Does she have maraschino cherries on hand at all times? Did you grow up not knowing that Chips Ahoy cookies even existed until you were forced to eat that at a friend's house? I doubt it. My mother went to baking school and she taught me everything I know about baking. Which is why I would like call bullshit on a couple of baking myths.

If you eat cookie dough or cake batter you will get salmonella poisoning from the raw eggs

That is ridiculous. That is something some woman who tripled her chin eating cookie dough made up so other women would live in fear of partaking in one of the most joyous parts of baking - licking the spoon clean. I'm not saying you should make a habit of eating raw eggs or choose cookie dough as a meal (though I have), but there is absolutely no reason you cannot eat raw cookie dough and cake batter. I have been anxiously awaiting the beaters from my mother's KitchenAid mixer since I was a small (abeilt incredibly pudgy) child. I eat at least a half dozen cookies in raw dough every time I make a batch. If you can handle the calories, you can handle the eggs.

You must be 100% exact with all baking measurements or your baked good will explode and/or taste like dirt

Okay, I'll be honest, baking is much more exact than cooking. You don't see a whole lot of "dash of this" or "add salt to taste" in baking recipes. However, people act as if without measuring cups, bakeries would shut down, birthday parties would be cancelled due to lack of cake and everyone would just have to eat Oreos for the rest of their sad, treat-less lives. Let me tell you a secret- I bake without measuring cups all the time. And you know what? My mom approves. Do you know how many times I have misplaced the cursed 3/4 cup measuring cup? Or the whole damn ring of cups, which is meant to be convenient but really just results in the loss of all the tools instead of just one? I have eyed many a measurement and I have never had anything explode or disappoint the hungry audience. Of course, my mom taught me how to do that and I definitely kept her on speed dial for these occasions, but the point is- it can be done. 

You cannot bake without the proper tools

While you are going to need some basics, you definitely do not need top of the line stuff. I was spoiled with my mom's fancy baking tools, the ever-present 10 pound bag of flour, the freezer full of butter and above all, her KitchenAid Mixer (insert photo of me hugging that beautiful piece of machinery here). However, I grew up, moved out and had to work with what I had. In college, I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies with some dollar store measuring cups, 1 wooden spoon, a cereal bowl and a Halloween punch bowl. They were delicious.

I also conquered Cookie Day 2010 in my tiny Argentine kitchen. I made 300 cookies in a kitchen no bigger than a closet (seriously, see my Apartment Tour video). I mixed those babies by hand. Here's a list of the tools I used:

  • 1 shallow but wide salad bowl
  • 2 deep but narrow plastic bowls, both of which cracked during the mixing process
  • 2 soup spoons
  • 1 teaspoon
  • 1 plastic pitcher with vague measurement markings
  • 2 flimsy baking sheets
This was the result:
300+ Cookies. 1 Day. Limited supplies.

So, in conclusion, I call bullshit on the aforementioned baking myths. My mama taught me well. However, there is one thing she was never able to teach me and that is how to properly decorate with icing. 
Sorry Mom, some things aren't hereditary and cannot be taught.

Anyone else love to bake? Or perhaps just love to eat the tasty treats other people make?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

No Ladro en Español

For those of you who do not know, I have a dog named Padfoot. Yes, like the Harry Potter character. He's a very special dog, the kind that involves a lot of explanation. He has always been special but moving to Buenos Aires has only made him more so.

After being shaved he tried to run from my camera.
Let's take a look at Padfoot's issues before we moved.
Padfoot was abused, left in a garbage bag in the woods along with his brother and mother. He was rescued and I received him as a gift when he was almost 9 months old. I later found out that if dogs do not socialize with other dogs and humans before 8 months, they will be slightly off, forever. Curses.
So, my little Padfoot has some oddities, such as his long list of fears:

  • Cameras. Flash or no flash, he will run away and hide. He knows the sound of a digital camera turning on, he recognizes all camera like objects. That is why, in the 3 1/2 years I have had him, I have taken so few photos. The only ways around this fear are to use a cell phone, webcam, zoom in from far away, or ambush him and hope to snap one photo before he sprints away.
  • Basketballs, Kickballs and Ping Pong balls. Please note that tennis balls, footballs and soccer balls are not on this list, he seems fine with those. My best guess is that the fear has something to do with the sound the balls make when they bounce. If he hears them, even in the distance, he will go absolutely apeshit and try to get close enough to destroy them.
  • His reflection. He simply cannot grasp the fact that it is himself. He seems to become filled with confusion driven anger at the sight of his reflection. He is infinitely perplexed by his inability to smell or touch this other dog.
  • The Drummer Boy. No, not a person with drums, but the song. He truly hates the song. It is amazing that I can turn it on, watch him bark like crazy, then turn it off and see him calm down immediately.
  • Unfamiliar exit strategies. Seeing as he was abandoned, his whole abandonment complex is not all that surprising. However, it is not all exits that bother him. In all the places he has stayed and lived, he has understood that if I exit through the front door, I will return. However, glass doors tend to freak him out. If I exit through anything bur the front door, he assumes he is being left, forever and ever, with no hope. He also will not accept being tied up outside a store or even our own house, for that too equals infinite abandonment in his mind.
  • Rain. This is a common fear among dogs. What I find interesting is his need to be in tiny spaces during rain storms. I also like to be in small spaces when I am upset, it was something I realized when I was a kid. Padfoot mimics this and follows me from room to room, hiding in closets and under beds.
  • Falling Snow. Note the "falling". He's totally fine with it on the ground. In fact, he loves snow on the ground. However, if it begins to fall, he will bark at it and jump in the air, attempting to snatch it all from the air. 
Padfoot loves sledding with Abby and I.

Padfoot moves to Buenos Aires

All those fears remain now that we are in Buenos Aires. However, I believe his ride beneath the plane shook him up a bit but more than anything- it's the language barrier.
Yep, I said it, it's the language barrier. In the United States, Padfoot ignored other dogs. He did not want to play with them and if they attacked him, he would lay down in defeat. However, ever since our arrival to Buenos Aires he has become incredibly aggressive towards local dogs. He nearly chokes himself at the site of them, lunging toward dogs 3 times his size, growling and barking viciously.

Padfoot walking alongside Francis, his US buddy.
 I thought it was the plane ride, until I took Padfoot on a walk with Francis, my friend Sara's dog, who is also from the United States. Padfoot was 100% normal. He basically ignored Francis and was totally calm. 
On two other occasions, Padfoot has encountered dogs on the streets and taken a liking to them. When I began talking to the owners, I realized immediately that they, too, were from the United States. 

So now, I imagine Padfoot frantically barking at other dogs and the translation being something like "WHERE AM I?! WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!". I imagine him, walking the streets of Buenos Aires, in a state of pure panic. My poor, lost puppy. I hope that after 7 months he has at least learned how to tell the other dogs "No ladro en Español!" (I don't bark in Spanish).

Do you think dogs have a language?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fitness Challenge Update: End of Week 2

Week Two- Nailed it.

One more week down in the Fitness Challenge. I have some highs and lows to report but first I would like to let you all know that I can officially declare week two a success!

My proudest Fitness Challenge moment was at 9am on Wednesday morning. Why, you ask? Well, if you read my Rags to Riches post you would know that on Wednesday morning I was sleeping in a king sized bed in the fanciest hotel room I have ever seen.

I, of course, knew I was going to be at this hotel. I packed my yoga DVD for Tuesday night and my Shred DVD for Wednesday morning. I even brought empty 2.25 liters bottles so I could fill them up at the hotel and have weights. I was ready. However, you have no idea how much dedication it took to go through with it. First of all, I went to bed around 3am. I simply did not want to waste time sleeping in the awesome hotel room. However, at 3am I set my alarm for 9am and went to sleep. Sometime early in the morning I heard a thunderstorm brewing and smiled at the relaxing sound of the rain on my window and went back to sleep. At 9am, my relentless alarm sounded, breaking through the lovely sounds of rain. I hit the snooze and lay there, contemplating my options. I could trade my rest day, I thought. Yes, sleep now, work out on Friday. That's not against the rules, right?

The answer is no, it's not against the rules. However, we never mentioned any sort of rest day trading, so it would fall under the category of shady loophole in my mind. I pondered this, arguing with myself. In the end, I decided that if I could drag myself out of my glorious bed it would show true dedication, it would take my will power to a whole new level. I did it. I did it guys, I worked out in a 5 star hotel room on a few hours of sleep. Rejoice and be proud!

My lowest Fitness Challenge moment was this morning. I was crabby and pessimistic about the end of the week. I woke up and did my Shred, going through the motions. I knew when I measured my waist it would be the same. Here's the issue, Emily and I's muscles are sculpted and toned. We could definitely beat you up or at least give you a few bruises. However, the aim was not just to beef up, but to also slim down. We have realized our Fitness Challenge is giving us results, but not exactly what we want. Seeing as I was already crabby, this threw me into a very irritable mood indeed. However, one of our rules is no negative talk about ourselves, so I re-focused. I spent a lot of time going through workouts with my brother (who happens to be a personal trainer and badass boxer, in case you happen to need one) and devised a new plan for the next 30 days. Emily and I will be finishing out this challenge as planned, but in February we are taking it up a notch.

Last week's reward was Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. I finished it today and I really loved it. This week's reward was Annabel by Kathleen Winter. No thoughts on it yet.

Past Fitness Posts: 
30 Day Shred and Yoga Challenge
Fitness Challenge: End of Week 1

Keep the positive thoughts coming, Emily and I are hard at work! Also, my friend Lexi joined our quest, though she has a slightly altered challenge. She started a week after us and will also be doing some running and doesn't have all the same rules. Go Lexi, Go!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Rags to Riches

A little while ago a PR rep contacted me saying that she understood that I was a freelance travel writer living in Buenos Aires. She offered me a free night at the CasaSur Art Hotel (one of her clients) so that I could do a review, if I was interested.

Of course, I was. On Tuesday I stayed in a 5 star hotel right here in Buenos Aires. I already finished my glowing review for Travelated, it will be up on the 27th and I will post a link here. However, I thought I'd post some of my non-travel writer thoughts as well as photos. I made an album on facebook with all the photos I took, feel free to check it out.

Let's just start off with saying I have stayed in a hotel room maybe 3 times in my adult life. I am frugal. A stay at this hotel was exciting enough, but seeing as I am a travel writer, I was treated to the absolute best. The hotel has 4 levels of rooms, the best being the Executive Suite which takes up the entire 12th floor and is over 700 square feet. Guess which room I got?

I could tell when I showed up at the desk that the employees were surprised to see me. Of course, they had been told a travel writer would be staying that night and checking in 3 hours early so she would have plenty of time to explore the premises. They had not, however, been told that writer was 23 and covered in tattoos. And hey, let's be real, I don't even look 23. To their credit, they hardly skipped a beat and they made absolutely no cracks about my last name which is, unfortunately, the same as the hated president.

When the bellboy, Gastón, took me to my room I did not immediately realize my room was the entire floor. When I entered, there was a huge bedroom suite. It had an LCD TV mounted on the wall, a desk by the window, a mini bar, and a massive king sized bed with endless pillows. There was also a pretty sizable bathroom with a sweet rain shower and mildly confusing bathroom fixtures. The decor was so modern that it took me a minute to figure out how to turn the faucet on.

Once I had seen the bedroom, he showed me the really awesome part of the suite, which was the lounge/business area. This side had another TV, bathroom and mini bar. Instead of a desk and bed there was a couch and a little table. Next to the couch was my own personal espresso machine with 4 different types of coffee. There were not one, but two balconies. The smaller of the two faced the main street, Callao Ave. It was a really cool view from 12 stories up, I spent some time sitting out there soaking up some sun. Of course, the back balcony was what truly amazed me. It was enormous, it had to be, it held a personal jacuzzi and 2 spa lounge chairs.

Once Gastón left I was able to drop my professional travel writer face and just show my pure, amazed joy. I walked through the suite with a huge smile on my face, already knowing I would have a very hard time leaving it the next morning. On the table in the business suite I found a plate of fresh fruit waiting for me. Second breakfast with some espresso you say? Don't mind if I do! It took me a while to figure out the machine, turns out I don't make coffee all that often either. Right as my first cup was brewing, I heard some weird musical tune. After a couple seconds I realized it was the phone. The manager, Mariano, was calling to welcome me. While I believed the welcome letters and even the free welcome drink at the bar were something all the guests received, I got the feeling only the 12th floor guests got special phone calls.

After I enjoyed my fruit and espresso I changed to go to the Relax Room, which is a spa area in the basement of the hotel. I had my own private Jacuzzi but I wanted to check it out so I could review it for the readers. I also saw the pseudo gym, just a treadmill, bike and some free weights. Oh well, I got the feeling no one staying at that hotel had any intention of working out.
The spa room had the same spa lounge chairs I had upstairs, but also had a giant shelf of towels, robes and water bottles. Being a budgeter at heart, I made sure to grab several bottles of water for later. I saw two buttons by the Jacuzzi, I pushed one and the jets started. I chilled out in the water for about an hour, reading on my Kindle. (I had it wrapped in a little hand purse which I had looped around my wrist, my pseudo-protection from dropping it and destroying the latest love of my life). When I had had enough, I went to push the other button, which I assumed turned the jets off. Wrong. There was a giant shower head thing above me that I had not noticed. The button I pushed sent a powerful waterfall out of it. Luckily, I was not hit, but it certainly caught me off guard.

Pretty Liz on the balcony!
After the Relax Room I went and tested out my shower. Please keep in mind that at home I have a sad little shower with mediocre pressure and water that only gets to slightly above lukewarm. The shower was glorious and so was my discovery of the slippers and robe which I put on, for no reason other than I felt like I should.
I read and watched some TV, testing out all the soft surfaces and taking in the delicious smells of all the fresh flowers spread about the room. Eventually I ventured out of the hotel to check out the area. I already had a vague idea of where I was, near the famous Recoleta Cemetery. I noticed lots of other hotels, all with huge entrances and scary guards. I was happy to get back to CasaSur, which looked more like an apartment building and the only men around were the familiar bell boys. I picked up some medialunas while I was out and also stopped by the convenience store to pick up things that were in my mini bar. I knew I’d want them later, so I saved myself the money by buying the at a normal store.

The cheese spread management sent me.
I informed the desk that my friend Liz would be visiting. When I opened the door to her a little bit later, she exclaimed, "Oh my God you have the whole floor!". I had so much fun showing her around. We had some espressos and ate a few of the medialunas I bought while we got some sun on my balcony. After that we hung out on the comfy couch in the AC, another luxury I do not have in my apartment. It was lovely to have a visitor and pretend like I lived there.

After Liz left I watched some TV and started convincing myself to go back to my apartment for a bit to take care of my dog, Padfoot. While I was watching TV the turn down service came. A guy swooped in, put all kinds of new fluffly towels in the bathrooms, replaced the dirty coffee cups with new ones and handed me a fancy white chocolate. Less than 10 minutes later, there was another knock at the door. A woman stood outside with a huge platter of cheese, dried tomatoes and nuts with the biggest glass of red wine I had ever seen. She told me it was compliments of the management. This was a clear attempt to win me over and let me tell you, it was working. I sat down and gorged myself on fancy cheeses and some delicious Malbec. Cheese is outrageously expensive here, so I savoured every bite. 

After tending to Padfoot I returned to the hotel to relax in my giant bed and read a bit before heading down to dinner. I was given a free dinner as part of this deal, so I was planning on making the most of it. The cheese plate had served as my appetizer, which is good since all the appetizers on the menu had meat. I immediately ordered another glass of red wine and a bottle of water. I hate paying for water here, but during my meal I ordered 4 different drinks (wine, 2 bottles of water and an iced coffee) just because I could. For my main course I ordered Lobster Risotto. It was creamy, delicious and not at all lacking in lobster. For dessert I ordered -- you guessed it -- ice cream. The Crema Americana and Dulce de Leche were rich and creamy. I especially enjoyed discovering that the cone bowl was able to balance on the plate due to the layer of dulce de leche beneath it. Genius.  

I was absolutely stuffed after dinner so I didn't even want the snacks I had bought earlier. Instead I decided to enjoy the cool night outside in my jacuzzi. I spent the next hour and a half reading and relaxing, playing around with the water settings and looking at the night sky. It was amazing. 

My favourite photo of the night, playing in the jacuzzi.
When it got too dark to read, I went inside to do some yoga and get ready for bed. Of course, I never wanted to sleep because my room was too awesome. I ended up jumping on the bed, watching TV and reading some more. I fell asleep around 3am, though my alarm was set for 9am. You'll hear more about my 9am hotel room workout when you read my Sunday Fitness Challenge Update. Let's just say that when my alarm went off it was pouring rain and my bed had quite a firm grasp on me, but I still stuck to the rules of the challenge and did the work out. After working out and showering I hit up the free breakfast, where I had fresh fruit, medialunas, toast, coffee, orange juice and cocoa puffs. 

I had to check out at noon, which was so incredibly sad. However, the front desk held my bags and let me go down to the Relax Room to read in the jacuzzi for about another hour. Awesome. When I was leaving, Gastón made another appearance. He was in a rush to ask me some last minute questions, about where I went to school and how I ended up being a travel writer here. He said he had looked at my check in card and saw I was only 23 and didn't understand how that was possible. I am pretty sure he is in no way allowed to be looking up my info like that, but I was flattered that he was interested enough to look. 

It was definitely an excellent 24 hours. My full review will be up on the 27th, but I think it's clear the hotel will be a good review from me! I'll sign off with a few photos of me jumping on the bed. Sorry about the quality, keep in mind I had to set a timer to take these!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fitness Challenge Update: End of Week 1

It's time for a Sunday Fitness Challenge update. I would like to declare Week 1 a success!

I'm really pleased with how this is going. I find the most difficult part is the "Shred before the clock hits double digits" rule. For 23 years I have been a morning person, always the girl who woke up hours before everyone else at slumber parties, the annoying early riser. While I still sleep lightly and wake up quickly and easily, the sleep routine is very different here. Going to bed before 1am is basically unheard of some waking up early to Shred is not always easy. I'm proud that I managed to do it every day. I often said "just get up, you can nap later" but I didn't nap once.

I also went to Boot Camp 3 day this week, as planned. That meant Monday and Wednesday I had to go to Boot Camp from 8-9 and then immediately come home to do the Shred. It was hard on Monday, but Wednesday I actually felt really excellent while shredding. Thursday I did Shred in the morning and Boot Camp at night. The double work out days were not nearly as hard as they first sounded.

Emily and I agree that adding yoga to this challenge was an excellent idea. Since the Shred is an intensive circuit training work out, you feel fine the day of but the next day you are terribly sore. The yoga really helps keep my muscles toned and well stretched. Also, with my Boot Camp stuff I am in danger of over-training or injury, the yoga helps protect me. In fact, before this challenge started I was having some bad pains in my left hip. Thanks to the yoga, the pain is almost gone. 

I keep my sticker sheet right where I can see it while I work out.
Since I finished the week, I got to reward myself. I bought myself Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford for my Kindle. I really like it so far.

I'm pumped for the next week. Halfway through we have to switch to Level 2 on the Shred. Bring it on!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Casa Rosada Adventures

A couple days ago I went to the Casa Rosada (Pink House-- the government house here. The presidents don't live there anymore but they used to). My friend Magu's mom, Mirta, works there and let us check out some non-tour sights, mainy related to the Perons. These photos are from her blackberry but I thought you guys would want to see them anyway.

In Evita's private elevator
Sitting at Evita's desk with her photo.
Full view of the fancy desk. Note the barrier I was allowed to duck under.
Hanging out on Peron's balcony. No big deal.

Friday, January 14, 2011

And on the 5th Day, We Rest

Actually, we'll generally be resting on the 7th day (just like the God) but as this is the first week of Emily and I's Fitness Challenge and Friday is the agreed upon rest day, we shall rest today. I actually started doing the Shred last Saturday so it has been 6 days for me on that, 4 for the yoga.

The challenge is going great. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday I even managed to go to Boot Camp and do my challenge stuff. My sheet is full of stickers. I'll save the details for my Sunday update.

I've had a pretty excellent couple of days. Here's some highlights/small victories:
  • I was interviewed for Cheap Talk Radio. (I start at 31m)
  • I finally got my Christmas present package from Abby. She included some squeak toys for Padfoot (one of which he immediately destroyed) and this amazing book called How to Be an Explorer of the World. It has all kinds of adventures and exploration challenges. It's so much fun and totally me, a combo of art, scrap booking, collecting and general child like joy.  
  • I always seem to get double Hendren love. When I came home from picking up Abby's package I had one waiting from Mama H. She sent me Monster Cookies and (of course) treats for Padfoot too.
  •  I went to the Cosa Rosada, which is like the White House (Cosa Rosada means Pink House). The president doesn't live there anymore but they used to. Magu's mom, Mirta, works there and she was helping me out with some paperwork. She took me and Magu to some restricted areas, we got to stand on Peron's balcony, ride in Evita Peron's personal elevator and sit at Evita's desk. Mirta also made me a beautiful necklace with bird charms all over it, just because she is nice. Magu and her mom might be the two cutest and sweetest people alive. 
  • I managed to get ALL my paperwork in order and Fed Exed to my mom and the FBI (my mom has to get an Apostille, I need a background check from the FBI).
  • I'm about to have wine and chat time with Liz who is finally back in BA. 
  •  After wine, Liz and I are meeting up with Sara to try the new pizza place by my apartment and going to the movies. I even made it to the movie theater earlier to buy our tickets in advance.
  •  I got my Kindle! I am so amazed by it, I feel like a grandmother who is constantly talking about the magic of technology. I bought The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. When I finished my first week of the challenge I can buy myself another book. Yes! 
  •  Fed Ex just happens to be next to this amazing ice cream place that makes legit sundaes, a rare find here. The guy recognized me from my visit to Fed Ex/the ice cream shop last week (mildly embarrassing?) so he challenged another employee to make a better sundae for me. This resulted in the guy going totally over the top with the portions and extra fruits and cone cookie things. Kindle and ice cream = Heaven.

Monday, January 10, 2011

30 Day Fitness Challenge

Rease and Emily's 30 Day Shred and Yoga Challenge

I would first like to say that my fitness challenge has nothing to do with the New Year. I don't make resolutions and I certainly don't think fitness is a quick fix thing. If you know me, you know I work out a lot, that I enjoy it and that I certainly do not strive to be a bikini model.

That being said, Argentina is not a healthy place. I work out every day, but it's not enough to battle all the sodium, carbs and sugar packed into everything in this country. I don't start my new job for at least another month, so I was planning on doing an intensive fitness routine. Just in time, Emily asked me if I wanted to do some kind of 30 day challenge with her. We outlined some rules for ourselves, but here are the basics:

  • The challenge will last 30 days (January 10th-February 6th)
  • Each morning we must complete the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred workout before 10am
  • Each evening before bed we must do a 20 minute night time yoga routine
  • Friday is our only rest day
  • At the end of each week, if we have done both workouts every day we get a reward. It cannot be food related so it will likely be something like a new book. The final week is a new outfit.
  • Every Sunday we must report our progress on our blogs. It makes us accountable to people other than ourselves and each other. Also, you guys can cheer us on!
We wanted to do measurements and weight but I'm having some issues with that. Mainly, I don't own a scale or a tape measurer. I did a rough measurement using a jump rope, a dry erase marker and a ruler I printed offline. Obviously, it wasn't very precise. I'll attempt to find something better.

I will also be doing Boot Camp classes 3 times a week because I love them and I already bought my membership. This makes things especially hard because twice a week I will have to come straight home from an early boot camp class and immediately do my Shred workout. I did it today. I'll just admit it-- it hurt.

I'm really excited about this. I made a chart for me to check off each work out. It will live on my wall for the next month. I like working out and I really like checklists. I hope you guys will check up on Emily and I each Sunday and cheer us on!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Rant of the Moment: Creepsters

If you are a woman, you will surely be able to relate to this post on some level. Creepsters happen to all of us.

During my time in Buenos Aires I have had 4 fanáticos of varying degrees of creepiness, dangerousness and general ability to annoy the crap out of me. They ranged from ages 19-40 and were all pretty different. However, they all had these things in common: arrogance, persistence and creepiness. Their persistence is what really made them stand out because let's face it, creepsters are a part of any woman's life, especially women in Argentina. However, admitting that fact does not pardon creepsters, so here is my open letter to the creepsters of the world.

Dear Creepsters,

You are pathetic. No self-respecting woman would even walk on the same dog-piss stained sidewalk as you if they could avoid it. No one cares if you have money, it certainly couldn't buy you class and we can earn our own money and buy our own damn dinner. Quit staring at our chests and acting like our breasts should be honored to have your grubby eyes' attention. Your gaze makes us want to shower for days on end. Calling us queens and sweethearts while you drool all over your dirty face is not going to win us over. Believe it or not, we are not flattered by your use of pet names while you try to get our attention as we speed walk through your Creepster stench. We know you think you are God's gift to women and we would be so lucky to be graced with your company, but chances are you live with your parents and expect us to relish the idea of cooking you dinner. Turns out we went to college, have our own apartments, practice proper social etiquette and are and always will be better at life than you.

To those creepsters who were lucky enough to weasel some sort of interaction out of us: please do us a favour and forget what we look like, where we live, our phone numbers and that you were ever allowed to interact with us in any way.

Lastly, stop making excuses for our rejection by calling us prudes or lesbians and saying we need to "get some". We would rather let the entire human population die off than go through the agony of a night with slimy loser like yourself.

The women of modern society.

Ladies- What was your biggest Creepster nightmare?

Men- Have you ever been guilty of being a Creepster or being friends of one? Also, please note that I'm not saying Men=Creepsters. It's a separate breed.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010: Blog Stats

I completely stole this idea from Emily Sims, but I knew she wouldn't mind.


I started this blog on June 28, 2010. Since then I have published a total of 39 posts. I definitely want to up that number in the next 6 months. The longest I ever went without posting was 12 days, between 7/27/2010, Crazy Nights and Lazy Days and 8/8/2010, Re-ocupada


Since the birth of this blog, it has been viewed 2,189 times. Those viewers came from all over the world, the top countries including: United States, Argentina, South Korea, Russia and the United Kingdom. I like that I can probably guess that all those South Korea views were Cole, but I don't know a single person in Russia so I find that stat really interesting.

Most people found this blog through Facebook, Travelated, 20 something bloggers, Emily's blog, blogger, or Jorge's blog.

This blog received a total of 77 comments. I hope to up that number as well.

What I wrote about

My most used tags were:
Emotional Goodbyes

Silly Searches

This was my favourite part. I love looking at searches that lead people to Travelated, I don't know why it didn't occur to me to look at the searches for my blog as well. Here are the top searches:
"the plane i didn't i expected"
"the years the loss of kathy"
"the years the"
"'cecilia whitaker' or 'patrick farbiaz' or 'kirchner'"
"'feria americana' 'buenos aires' records"

Somehow I doubt those people found what they were looking for most of the time.

Thanks for reading everyone. More to come in 2011.