A Yoga Retreat ๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ, and I am the Caterer๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿณ ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

That’s a scary thought huh?! You might be wondering how this happened, I know I was!

Last January we went Mexico to attend a yoga retreat. I did a few posts on that trip. This was the same location as the previous yoga retreat, which we loved! Our yoga instructor, Lisa Shiflerย for both of those retreats, recently moved to Twisp, WA, 4 hours east of our home in Redmond. She told us that she was building a “yoga Shalla” on her property and would be holding retreats this summer.

We were all sitting at breakfast, talking about her plans when she said she was looking for someone to do the cooking for two weekends in June, during the women’s only yoga retreats. I blurted out “I will do it!” And she said “great!” ๐Ÿ˜ณ

What was I thinking!! After my head stopped spinning, I realized that this would be a great challenge and experience for me. And, with the first one in the books, I can honestly say it was a blast!

I had never been to Twisp before, which is located in the Methow Valley. I have heard great things about the area so I was excited to see the area. It is as advertised!

This is the Methow River, and it is so relaxing and I love the sounds of the water flowing along.

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I drank a lot of coffee sitting next to this beautiful scenery๐Ÿ’•

And all the blooms were out. ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒนIt is sunny on this side of the mountains, as they get less rain than the Seattle side.

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Lisa’s yoga Shalla was so cute and inviting!

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Lisa decorated with articles from her two trips to India

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And, bought Mexican blankets, a nod to our other retreats .

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But I had a job to do! I made two desserts, both gluten free, dairy free as one of the ladies has Celiacs. Friday night we had a chocolate cake with bruleed bananas. Saturday’s dessert was this angle food cake with triple berry sauce and ice cream (for the dairy folks). Some of you may remember these from instagram, as I have been recipe testing for the last few weeks.

Then I had two brunches to prepare, both had gluten free options as well.

Our first morning we had crustless quiche, one with cream cheese and one without. There was also fruit salad, mango-orange Greek yogurt, gluten free granola, breakfast potatoes (not shown), cranberry & pistachio biscotti and sourdough bread that I had made a few days earlier.

Sunday’s brunch also included the yogurt and granola option, along with a French toast bake, gluten free pancakes and bacon.

Lisa also made some gluten free steel cut oatmeal both days and I never got to taste it! Hopefully I will next time๐Ÿ˜Š.

I am happy and proud to report that no one got sick!! That was my biggest fear, and we all were pleasantly full for the weekend.

The weekend wasn’t all about yoga, we had some creative time. We painted inspirational rocks from the river. I have a couple weeks to think about the next design and am hoping to come up with a better idea for my second rock!

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We also went into the town of Winthrop to do some shopping. I had never been there before, and found it to be a cute town. I have travel blogged about Leavenworth, a nearby town that has a Bavarian theme. Winthrop is fashioned after an old western town.

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This dude was in front of the Putt Putt Golf Course.

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Like most tourist towns, there were plenty of ice cream and coffee shops. I love the mottos and sayings of these two in particular!

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The weekend was a success! The 8 of us had a great time shopping, eating and stretching!

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The Yogis, relaxing and shopping

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Lisa, (left) is our instructor and Teena (right) also teaches in the Seattle area.

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And I am now thinking about what to prepare for the last week in June, when I will head back for the next, and final, retreat. Any suggestions??

 

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A to Z Challenge: K is for Kickboxing

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Itโ€™s Wednesday and time for the letter K. For me, this has to mean kickboxing. ย I wanted to introduce you to something that you may not have thought about, to give you a new activity to try. After all, isn’t trying something new one of the ways to keep our mental acuity sharp as we age?

I take a one hour class every Wednesday, and I look forward to it each week. If I enjoy it so much, you might wonder why I don’t do it more than just once a week. Well, I also am committed to my rock climbing training program, which has specific workouts three times a week for 2 hours per session, plus I climb on the off days. Add in yoga and hiking and this old body needs a break from time to time ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I also love the trainer that teaches only the Wednesday class!

Kickboxing or boxing, may seem intimidating but here are some reasons to consider adding in a class either at a gym, or a home workout.

The calorie burn ๐Ÿ”ฅย kb2

This is an intense, one hour workout that combines balance, coordination, flexibility, endurance, power and strength. You will be jumping rope, shadow boxing, circuit training and performing conditioning drills. The average 125lbย  person will burn anywhere from 750-900 calories!

It’s a total body workout ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธย images

The movements necessary to punch, jab, kick and slip a punch require a coordinated effort from several muscle groups, all ย working in unison. You will work your arms, core, legs, glutes and back. Working muscles from different angels is the most efficient way to build strength. And no ladies, you will not bulk up! You will tone and lengthen the muscle fibers.

This is also a cardio workout๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ2932-01P_MMY_RBG_JUMPROPE-hpr-2_u99ynl

The intensity level is high, as you raise your heart rate and maintain that throughout the entire workout. Of course, you will need to start slowly and build that endurance, just like any other sport. Eventually, you will be able to keep moving during the complete hour. Cardio, not only torches calories, it will also help to remove stubborn abdomninal fat that has been linked to so many health complications.

Kickboxing can improve your overall mood๐Ÿ˜

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Kickboxing is an excellent stress reliever. Participants report better quality of sleep, better mental clarity and lower stress levels throughout the day. Both men and women often site learning basic defense skills as a source of self confidence, and better self esteem.

You don’t have to join a pricey gym

I do love my gym and I appreciate my trainer and fellow students. You really get to know someone when trying to kick them in the head!๐Ÿ˜œ But, I will only have access to this gym when I am in Tucson. When I am in Seattle, I will be doing the Core de Force program from Beachbody on Demand. There are several levels and skill sets to choose from.ย I also recommend this for anyone who would like to start slower, or learn some basics before making the monetary commitment.ย core-de-force2

Is there a sport or activity you have always wanted to try, but just haven’t pulled the trigger? Go for it ๐Ÿ˜Š

References:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/fitness/benefits-of-kickboxing-for-women/view-all/

https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/a-z/kickboxing-benefits

https://www.livestrong.com/article/155221-kickboxing-belts-gradings/

A to Z Challenge: E is for Excuses

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“There isn’t enough time in the day to workout”

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“Organic food cost too much”

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“I will take my dream trip when I loose some weight”

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“I am too old to workout”

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“lifting weights is boring”

 

 

 

 

 

“I don’t like to work out alone, but I can’t afford a gym membership”

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Do you see your favorite excuse on this list? Perhaps you have more than one “goto” reason that keeps you from getting started on your fitness goals? Maybe you love to start a new health/fitness program, but find that you loose your motivation quickly thereafter.

You may have heard that it takes 21 days (or three weeks) for a lifestyle change to take root. And that timeline may be true for a committed individual who is making a modest change (let’s say, drinking a glass of water before a meal). However, when the change is more complicated, like adding in walking for 30 minutes a day, the time frame shifts dramatically. Study participants took anywhere from 50 to 84 days to incorporate just a simple 10 minute walk after breakfast! Clearly exercise habits are tough for people to add into their already hardwired routine.

The study I am referring to was published in The European Journal of Social Psychology. Study participants were given modest exercise goals, such as 50 sit ups after dinner, or a 10 minute walk after a meal. The subjects reported their success at maintaining the task. The results were quite varied, and it took anywhere from 18 to 254 days to create the new habit. 254 days! That is almost 1 yearย ๐Ÿ˜ณ.ย ย This study puts that average closer to 66 days, nowhere near the 21 days that we have all heard about!

If you had been expecting that your new goals would get easier in just 21 days, and after 5 weeks you still have to struggle to accomplish the task, you might be thinking that this just will not work for you. It will work! It will get easier! Persistence is the key. We just need to understand that this is a lifestyle change and not a quick fix!

If you are interested in stopping the excuses, I would like to direct you to a blog that I find really helpful.

Beachbody On Demand has articles, recipes and simple, healthy food swaps to get you going in a healthier direction. The link below will take you to a discussion on breaking those excuses!

 

12 Top Weight-Loss Excuses and How to Stop Making Them

 

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References:

https://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/fitness/slideshows/fitness-excuses?slide=5

Good habits

https://fee.org/articles/how-long-does-it-take-to-form-good-habits/

Breaking a habit

https://www.blackmores.com.au/everyday-health/how-long-does-it-really-take-to-break-a-habit

A Nanosecond of Fame?

HI All, and I hope you are having a wonderful Monday๐Ÿ˜Š

I have a tiny bit of excitement to share. A little bit ago I was contacted by ModernFit Magazine. I was asked to participate in their online coaching spotlight, which is a segment (way in the back) were they mention women who are into fitness.

If you check out the last page, and don’t blink, you might see me๐Ÿ˜œ

Ducks in the Desert?

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I am still in search of signs of spring for Roda’s Challenge, so last weekend the hubby and I set out, once again, to hike in Sabino Canyon. This time we went further and higher into the canyon.

We went to Seven Falls, which was 1800 feet up and an 8 mile round trip. I had been assured that there would be water when we arrived, but being from Washington, I was skeptical for what passed as a waterfall in Tucson. I was completely amazed at the transformation!

Everything looked pretty normal as we entered the trail.

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A mile or so in, we saw our first pools.

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We actually thought that this may be the most water we would see. Along the way I tried to snap a couple shots of the stream.

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We were rather impressed by this! Normally this is dry sand. As we continued up, and up, we were moving above the Saguaros. These are huge and we normally can not see the new growth on the top of the cactus branches. But now the spring growth was visible. It looked as though they were covered with cotton.

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We could hear water, and then as we rounded a switchback, we saw the source of the sound. Can you see the multiple falls!

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Getting a little closer.

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This is where everyone was hanging out! It was like an oasis ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒŠ๐ŸŒต

Kids, and some crazy adults, were jumping into the freezing water. A few folks were feeding the ducks! What are Mallards doing in Tucson?? They had to be lost, of course men never ask for directions ๐Ÿ˜

 

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I took a video and happened to capture one of the boys jumping in around 20 seconds, see if you can spot him!

Everyone was having a great time, as we all know this won’t last forever. Already the temps are in the 80Fs and by late May it will be closer to 90F.

I am so glad we went up this trail, it is currently one of my favorite hikes in Tucson ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Roda’s Signs of Spring Challenge๐Ÿ€

There is a very short window for spring in Tucson. This week is in the 80Fs already and it is only March 9th. That means it will be too hot (for me anyway) to be hiking at the end of the month. So the hubby and I are out as much as possible right now. Soon there will be rattlesnakes ๐Ÿย and scorpions ๐Ÿฆ‚ย out and about too!

We set out to hike Soldier Trail on nearby Mt. Lemmon. The out and back trail is just under 6 miles, but has some hefty elevation gains. It was rated difficult with an 1800 ft. climb. Eventually, it does crest! And, that is where we recorded our evidence of spring in the desert ๐ŸŒต

New growth on this prickly guy!

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And at the tips of this spiky plant!

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As with Sabino Canyon we found water flowing in Soldier Canyon! Look at that green color near the top of the steam, leading to a series of pools. That color won’t last long.

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The canyon itself is quite deep, and plants grow in any crevice they can find. This one is hanging off the edge.

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We went on our way and saw many examples of foliage that, somehow, thrives in this harsh environment.

 

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Here is an old, craggy life form, hitting a modified tree pose now ๐Ÿ˜œ

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We are heading back to Sabino Canyon this weekend, to the Seven Falls Trail! Hoping to find some bigger waterfalls before they dry up for the season ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿ’•

 

Roda’s Signs of Spring Challenge!

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I hope this works! This is my first post from my new, and highly improved, computer!

I am so sorry to my blog buddies, I am so behind on many of your great articles, recipes and stories!! My old lap top just couldn’t keep up with anything anymore ๐Ÿ˜’! So after 2 hours at the only Mac store in Tucson, and a few grand lighter in my wallet, I am back online ๐Ÿคž.

The amazing Roda, from Growing Self Blog has issued a challenge! The mission is to find signs of spring as we say good bye to winter!ย ๐Ÿฆ‹

The weather is fabulous in Tucson (80Fs all week!). I had to get outside the other day and decided to head over to nearby Sabino Canyon. I have been there many times and while it is a great place, it has always been extremely dry. Not this time! Apparently spring in the desert means water, and lot of it.

This is the Sabino Creek trail, where I usually walk straight through the dry sand. Today there was no way to cross over to the other side.

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The top of the dam, which is never wet!

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We have never seen water trickling over the dam, but now it is in torrents!

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There were families out enjoying this anomaly!

I had to take a video to prove to my family that this really did happen! Remember this is dry and dusty most of the year, and this was the first time we have had any evidence that the dam was more than just ornamental โ˜บ๏ธ

I will be out looking for more signs, if this post works! ๐Ÿ’•