Saturday, September 8, 2018

Acorn Squash & Chestnut Soup


Acorn Squash & Chestnut Soup

1 Acorn Squash
1 5oz bag Chestnuts (look for Gefen brand in kosher aisle)
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Pumpkin Puree
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Seasoning
1 tsp Garlic, minced
Water
Pecans (for optional topping)


  1. In a crockpot, mix your heavy cream, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie seasoning, and garlic.  You can turn this onto "low" for now.
  2. Cut your acorn squash in half "shortwise".  Make sure you have the stem end as one half and the pointed bottom as the other half.  Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds.  In a glass dish (that will fit in your microwave), fill with a 1/2" of water and place one half at a time in the water.  The stem or the point (depending on which half) should be pointing upwards.   Microwave for 10 minutes.   IT WILL COME OUT HOT!  Use oven mitts!  Remove the half from the water to cool.  Repeat with the other half of the squash.
  3. While your squash is in the microwave and/or cooling, get your chestnuts ready!  Hopefully you grabbed a bag of Gefen Chestnuts so you don't have to cook them first.  Dump your 5oz bag into a blender with a little water (maybe a 1/2 cup) and puree them.  If you need to add extra water, that's cool.  Do it.   Once it's done, add it to the crockpot and stir.   Wash your blender because you will need it again.
  4. When your squash is steamed and cooled, use a spoon and a sharp knife to get that delicious squash flesh!  Cut away the skin with the knife.  Scoop it out if you need to with the spoon.  I use both for this process.  Whatever works, right?
  5. Put your squash into the blender with a little water.  You might have to do this a few times depending on your blender.  Puree your squash!
  6. Stir your squash puree into the crockpot and crank it up to "high".  If it looks a little too thick, add a cup of water.
  7. Let this cook for 3-4 hours.  Serve hot.  You can top it off with a pinch of pumpkin pie spice and some crushed pecans, if you choose to be fancy.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Goth WOD #6 - Pointed Boots

Goth WOD (Workout Of Day)
This is put together by myself. I'll have a full explanation below, along with a picture. These are intended to be a HIIT and weightlifting workout. If you are new to working out or aren't sure about a certain exercise, ask someone at your gym if they can demonstrate. Most gyms have instructors or people who can help you out. Also, these are common so you should be able to youtube them. Drink lots of water. Look for the #GothWOD and #BatFit hashtags!


Pointed Boots
If you want to wear those pointed boots, you have to work on your legs and butt!

Warm up - 5-10 minutes of stretching, 2 min cardio, squats, etc.

1000m Row - Row 1000m for a great cardio starter.


3 Rounds (allow 1 min between rounds)

  • 20 Air Squats to Tipey-Toe - Feet shoulder width apart, do an air squat, when you come up rise onto your toes, and then return to your flat foot position.
  • 10 Around The World - 10 rounds.  1 round = Front lunge (foot A), side lunge (foot A), back lunge (foot A), side lunge (foot B).  Switch up the starting foot!  (right, left, right, left, etc)
  • 10 Squat Jumps - Do an air squat, but instead of simply standing you want to jump up. Squat down, jump up.



15-20 min work on Cleans -  So...you don't know how to clean.  No problem.  Start with a pvc pipe, broom, or something else that is lightweight.  Basic foot position is shoulder width apart.  Squat with the pvc pipe at mid-shin.  You want to pull the pvc pipe upwards.  When you reach your sternum, you need to drop into a squat and bring your pipe to your front shoulders (elbows should be facing forward - parallel to the floor), and then stand up.  Make sure your knees don't go beyond your toes.  Keep the bar close to your body.

For the 15-20 minutes on Cleans, spend time practicing with something very light.  Move onto a barbell with no weights.  Barbells are weighted, so check the weight.  Women should be using a 35lb bar, men a 45lb bar.  Once you're comfortable with this, add on 10lb weights.  If you want to add more, go for it.  You may want to stick to lighter weights until you're comfortable with the movement.

YOU NEED TO ASK FOR HELP.  If you don't know what you're doing, ask for help.  Watch these videos so you can understand the full movement.  If you do it wrong, you can hurt yourself.





1 min x 5 Jump Rope - Jump as much as you can for 1 minute.  Take a 30 second break.  5 rounds.

AMRAP Assault Bike - 20 seconds of high tension pedaling with a 10 second break.  8 rounds.

Goth WED - Simplifying Food

When it comes to eating right, it can be a bothersome bitch.  You might look into Whole 30 or the Mediterranean Diet or Paleo.  You find some books, you see smiling people, but making the initial switch is going to leave you stressed out.

Let's break down the Top 5 Diets (ways of eating).

Whole 30 - For the first 30 days you strictly eat whole food, nothing processed.  You get meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, small amount of fruit, healthy fats, and herbs/spices.  No sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol, junk food, baked good, and pre-made foods with "approved" food listed.

Paleo - 35% Protein, 35% Carbohydrates, 30% Fat.  You get meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, small amount of fruit, berries, nuts, healthy fats, and herbs/spices.  No sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, potato, refined vegetable oil, processed food, high starch vegetables, and excessive salt.  There is a push towards game meat (elk, pheasant, bison, boar, etc) and grass-fed meat.

Mediterranean Diet - Every meal requirements: 1-2 servings of fruit, 2+ servings of vegetables, olive oil, and 1 serving of whole grain.  Everyday, make sure you include: 2 servings of dairy, 1-2 servings of nuts/olives/seeds, and 1+ servings of garlic/onion/herbs/spices.  Every week make sure you have: 0-3 servings of potato, 2+ servings of white meat/seafood/fish, 0-2 servings of red meat, 2-4 servings of eggs, 0-2 servings of legumes, and 0-2 sweets/dessert.

South Beach Diet - Eat 6 times a day.  High in lean protein and healthy fats.  Low or no sugars and starches.  You gradually introduce good carbs when you start the diet.  You learn to maintain a healthy lifelong diet if you follow the south beach diet plan, according to the website.

Vegetarian - You get vegetables, fruit, nuts, eggs and dairy (optional), and whole grains.  No meat, though some vegetarians will opt to eat fish and/or other seafood.


There are a lot of different ways of eating out there.  You need to find something that suits you.

How To Get Started
I'm a book person, so I'm going to tell you to go get an official book on whatever dietary habits you choose to have.  For instance, if you go with paleo, pick up Dr. Loren Cordain's book The Paleo Diet BEFORE you pick up a cookbook like Nom Nom Paleo.  This way you have some solid information on the ins and outs of the diet.

Another good thing to do is make a pinterest board and be super picky about what you pin there.  Is that potato salad REALLY paleo-friendly, Karen?  Really?   (No, it's not.)

One thing that makes me nuts is when people immediately try to find ridiculous replacements right off.  Don't go looking for bread if you're doing paleo or whole 30.  Just don't.  You will make yourself crazy.  Instead look for healthy things you can snack on or something.

Before you even start a new way of eating, do your research and figure out like 5 or 6 quick meals for each meal.  This will help out SO MUCH.  I have a crockpot that I use all the time for soup, paleo chili, and meat.  I might put a soup on in the morning, so it's ready after I get home from work and the gym.

I also highly recommend My Fitness Pal (website and app).  You can log your food, log your workouts, log your water intake, etc.


I have a question for you: What Are Your Favorite Raw Foods?

I have found that I'm more of a fall food palate sort of person.  I eat a lot of pumpkin, coconut, tomato, nuts, seeds, berries, zucchini, apple, cherry, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, brussel sprouts, various squash, and onion.  One reason why I loved living in Oregon is that the pumpkin season was long.   Anyway, I've tailored my eating habits to reflect this natural choice like: pumpkin-bison chili (paleo/keto), pumpkin soup, pork tenderloin with roasted brussel sprouts, smoked salmon over cheesy cauliflower, Italian zucchini boats, etc.

People ask me about sweet potato and why I don't mention it.  Simple.  I do not process sweet potato and it makes me feel sick.  It's too starchy for me anyway.  I also have to watch it with carrots and other root vegetables.  Instead, I replace all this stuff with various types of squash like pumpkin, zucchini, spaghetti, delicata, acorn, etc.


My typical diet is restricted paleo, but currently my doctor has me on keto.  I drink a minimum of 8 cups of water a day (64oz).  Keto, in case you're wondering, is high fat, moderate protein, and very low carb (nearly no fruit).

  • I typically have plain greek yogurt with a tablespoon of flaxseed in the morning.  On the weekends this usually changes to scrambled eggs with cheese.  
  • For lunch, I tend to have salad with meat and seeds - like chicken and sunflower seeds or something.  
  • For dinner, I almost always have whatever is in the crockpot.  Since I go to the gym after work, I tend to get really lazy during the week with dinner.  On the weekends, I tend to try new recipes and make non-crockpot dinner.
  • Snacks.  I am definitely a person who needs a snack here and there.  I tend to go for almonds, pecans, pistachios, salami pieces, snack size cheese (1oz), pork rinds (only sometimes), chestnuts (if available), pickles, pickled okra, olives, and dark chocolate.  In all honesty, I think I spend more time opening the fridge, deciding on nothing, sighing, and settling with a cup of tea.
  • Drinks.  On top of my 64oz of water a day, I will also reach for: sparkling water (counts as water), coffee, and tea (loose-leaf preferred).  I drink black coffee and 2-shot dry cappuccinos (~8oz...any bigger and YUCK).  I use a French press for my loose-leaf tea.  I highly recommend checking out Adagio Tea for fun types.
  • Desserts.  I don't usually have dessert nowadays.  Sometimes I treat myself to keto cheesecake or Coconut Bliss ice cream or pan-fried apples or baked apples or paleo pumpkin pie.  I really just tend to grab a snack and have some tea.  I will admit to treating myself to pie or regular ice cream every once in a great while.


Well, I think I rambled on enough.  I totally had this ready for Wednesday, but I got really busy.  Sorry for that.

3 Dark Songs for Your Playlist
We're going with some dark, not-quite-goth stuff.

  1. "Survivalism" by NIN
  2. "Black No. 1" by Type O Negative
  3. "Hard Rock Hallelujah" by Lordi


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Goth WOD #5 - Zombified

Goth WOD (Workout Of Day)
This is put together by myself. I'll have a full explanation below, along with a picture. These are intended to be a HIIT and weightlifting workout. If you are new to working out or aren't sure about a certain exercise, ask someone at your gym if they can demonstrate. Most gyms have instructors or people who can help you out. Also, these are common so you should be able to youtube them. Drink lots of water. Look for the #GothWOD and #BatFit hashtags!


Zombified

Warm Up - Stretch, 2 min vigorous cardio, etc.  5-10 minutes.

1000m Row - Use a rowing machine and row for 1000m.  5-6 minutes.

3 Rounds
20 Walking Lunges - When you lunge, you want your forward knee to be above the toes, creating a 90-degree angle.  Sink into the lunge a little bit creating your back leg to also form a 90-degree angle.  Stand up and "walk forward" by putting the other foot forward.  See gif below.
20 Ball Slams - For this you will need a medicine ball (aka slam ball) that's roughly 15-20lbs.  Start with the ball on the ground in front of you.  Feet shoulder width apart.  Bend down, pick up the ball, raise overhead, and slam it to the ground.  This is great for relieving aggression!
10 Burpees - We've gone over this before, but here it is again.  Stand, quickly get down to a plank position, do a push up, bring feet towards hands, then jump upwards. Repeat.


weighted walking lunge
ball slam

burpees


3 rep max Front Squat
Front squats are not my favorite squat.  It's very similar to a back squat, except the barbell goes along your front shoulders (like where the collar bone is).  Be aware that you will not be able to lift as much as your back squat.  If you know how to do the set up for the back squat, you will have minimal things to change for the front squat.

Start off by trying 10 front squats with just a plain barbell.  You will want to keep your elbows up to keep the barbell in place.  The barbell itself is going to be nestled between your finger-grip, deltoids, and your neck.  If you're new to this, you may be like "hey, I feel a little choked"....yep.  You're not being choked, it's just pressure on your neck base.

As always with these workouts, gradually add weight to your barbell until you hit your 3 rep max.  Take as many breaks as you need to.  There have been times where I can only do 2 squats at a high weight, so I rack my barbell and wait 2 or 3 minutes, then try again.  I can usually do it.   Definitely watch the video below for tips.
front squat


10x3 75% of 5 rep max Deadlifts
We did deadlifts for #2 Pallbearer.  You will need your calculator for this.  Take your 5 rep max weight and multiply by 0.75.  Here's mine: 185lbs x 0.75 = 138.75  All gyms have weights in 5lb increment minimums.  Some have lighter increments.  If you want to round to the nearest 5lb mark, that's cool.  In my case, I could go to 140lbs or 135lbs.

These deadlifts are going to be a little faster than the ones you did for the 5 rep max.  As always, I recommend starting with a light weight on the barbell and doing 10 just to get the motion down/warm up.  You want to do 3 sets of 10 reps.  Go ahead and take a 30-60 second break between each set.

You can read about proper deadlifting by looking back at #2 Pallbearer.



AMRAP Assault Bike (aka 20/10 8-rounds on High Tension Bike)
At my gym we have Assault Bikes. They're high tension stationary bikes. AMRAP indicates 8 rounds of 20 seconds work with a 10 second break. If you don't have access to an Assault Bike, just use a regular stationary bike with the tension up high. This only takes 4 minutes and is a great "cool down" exercise.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Goth WOD #4 - Lovely Bones

Goth WOD (Workout Of Day)
This is put together by myself. I'll have a full explanation below, along with a picture. These are intended to be a HIIT and weightlifting workout. If you are new to working out or aren't sure about a certain exercise, ask someone at your gym if they can demonstrate. Most gyms have instructors or people who can help you out. Also, these are common so you should be able to youtube them. Drink lots of water. Look for the #GothWOD and #BatFit hashtags!


Lovely Bones

Warm Up - Stretch, 2 min vigorous cardio, etc.  5-10 minutes.

1000m Row - Use a rowing machine and row for 1000m.  5-6 minutes.


3 Rounds
10 Air Squats
10 Box Jumps
10 High Knees

AMRAP Hollow Body & Superman - Remember AMRAP indicates 8 rounds of 20 sec work and 10 sec break.  It takes 4 minutes.  A hollow body hold is done on your back.  You lift your legs about 12 inches off the ground while lifting your head and shoulders off the ground.  Your back and butt should be flat on the ground.  Hold this position.  Yes, there are variations.   A superman hold is done on your stomach.  Lift your legs off the ground and squeeze your butt (it will help you keep your legs up).  Lift your head and upper chest off the ground.  Hold this position.
Hollow body
Superman


5 rep max Back Squat - A back squat is a weighted squat with a barbell held along your back shoulders.  Start either with a piece of PVC pipe or a plain barbell to practice the move with minimal weight.  Your feet should be shoulder width apart and facing forward.  Keep your knees in-line with your movement.  Don't let them collapse inward - this is NOT good for you.  It's important to note that this is a strong position.  You'll probably surprise yourself with how much you can squat if you're new to this.  This will take you about 20 minutes or so.

Start off with 10 back squats with just the barbell.  Make sure your go down into a proper squat and end it by fully standing upright.  Add 10lbs to each end of your barbell and do another 10 squats.  Keep adding weight and squatting.  Take your time and don't be afraid to take a break for a minute or two.  In fact, breaks are encouraged the higher your barbell weight is.  When it comes to back squats, ASK FOR ASSISTANCE.  You really want to be nit-picky on technique.  You will want to know how to rack and unrack your barbell, foot position, hand position, and movement technique.

Watch the video.



30sec x 5 Plank - A plank position is pretty much like the top position of a push up.  Technically, you're supposed to be holding a hollow body position (so your core is fully engaged) when you're at that top position of a push up.  Hands should be directly under the shoulders and your legs are tightly held together.   For this exercise, go 30 seconds plank, then 30 seconds break...5 times.  It will take 5 minutes.
plank position

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Goth WOD #3 - Lil Bat

Goth WOD (Workout Of Day)
This is put together by myself. I'll have a full explanation below, along with a picture. These are intended to be a HIIT and weightlifting workout. If you are new to working out or aren't sure about a certain exercise, ask someone at your gym if they can demonstrate. Most gyms have instructors or people who can help you out. Also, these are common so you should be able to youtube them. Drink lots of water. Look for the #GothWOD and #BatFit hashtags!


Lil Bat

Warm Up - Stretch, 2 min vigorous cardio, etc.  5-10 minutes.

1000m Row - Use a rowing machine and row for 1000m.  5-6 minutes.


15-12-9 for 3 Rounds
NOTE: 15-12-9 indicates 3 rounds, but for different reps each round.  First round you do 15 of each thing, second round is 12 of each thing, and third round is 9 of each thing.  Marking a group of stuff with Number-Number-Number should let you know how many rounds you're doing and how many reps per round.

  • KB Clean & Press - 25-35lbs is good.  Make sure you switch sides, so Right, Left, Right, Left, etc.
  • Burpees - Stand, quickly get down to a plank position, do a push up, bring feet towards hands, then jump upwards.  Repeat. (see gif)
  • Box Jumps - Jump onto a box and move into a full standing position, then step down.
Box Jump
KB Clean & Press


Burpee












50 Pull Ups
Full pull ups or assisted pull ups. I recommend the toe assist pull ups for beginners. VIDEO  This is going to take you a little time.  It's okay to break this down into 5 sets of 10 or whatever.  Get your little bat wings going and get all 50 done!


3 Rounds
10 High Knees - Stand and bring your knees up as high as you can. Right side and Left side = 1
10 Air Squats - Feet should be shoulder width apart.  Squat down.  Knees should be over toes.  Stand.
10 Ring Rows - Rings should be level with each other.  Grab rings, lean back, and pull yourself up to the rings.  Try to bring your hands to the sides of your chest.  Slowly bring yourself back to the starting, leaned back position.


air squat
high knees

ring row

How was your workout?  Leave your questions and comments below!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Goth WED - Health Goth?

Recently I came across the term 'health goth' and that kind of inspired me to start posting my workouts.  Everything I post here is stuff that I've already done.  I'm actually 2 days ahead of what I post here.

I am not a personal trainer or fitness expert.  I'm just a 35 year old lady who has been working out for a long time.  I'm tempted to film myself, but I don't have the gym equipment at my house and I feel that it would also take an extra set of hands.  For right now, you're going to have to deal with my workouts as they are.  My workouts tend to be focused on weightlifting and HIIT (high-intensity interval training).  It's intended to burn fat, increase strength, and promote cardio.  ALSO, everything I list in my workouts can be googled or youtubed.

Am I A Thin Person?
No.  I have a short, stocky build and I'm a little overweight (size 8/10) due to a hormone imbalance.  It doesn't mean I don't know what I'm doing.  I just have significant trouble losing weight right now.

Aren't Goths Supposed To Be Super Thin...Ideally?
Sure, if that's what you like.  I'm never going to be super thin and waif-like.  I'm just not built that way.  Even when I got myself down to a size 4, I was thick - if that makes sense.  Trends nowadays tend to lean more towards a "strong is beautiful" mentality and I completely agree.  I wanted to be a chick who looked like she could kick some ass when I first saw "Terminator 2".  I grew up watching Linda Hamilton in "Beauty & The Beast" (tv show) and her physical transformation for "T2" was AMAZING!


If you want to be thin and waif-like, go for it.  If you're not built for that look, or if you want to change that look, you may enjoy my workouts.

Should I Eat Healthy Or Something?
Yep.  Everyone should.  You need to figure out what is healthy for you.  I fall somewhere between restricted paleo and keto.  That's not for all people.  Figure out your ideal diet and eat that for the rest of time......seriously.  Diet simply indicates your normal intake of food; example: a tiger's diet consists of meat, water, and some plants.  I'm not suggesting a 4-week fad "diet".  I'll get into food some other time.  If you want some paleo or keto recipes, find the tab above called RECIPES.

I highly recommend drinking at least 8 cups of water a day.  You can have your other stuff - coffee, tea, etc - on top of that.  Water will flush your system and often it can be enough to start making significant changes.  Stop drinking soda.  All that sugar or fake sugar is really bad for you.  Reduce your alcohol intake to maybe 1 or 2 drinks a week.

Eating healthy starts by making smarter choices, reading labels, etc.  Instead of white flour, go with whole grain flour.  Instead of white rice, go with brown rice or quinoa or lentils.  Instead of potato, try squash.  Try zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash instead of noodles.  Choose lean meat over fatty meat.  Increase vegetables.  Do your own cooking.  Instead of chips, try a handful of nuts.

Danzig works out
Body Image
You need to be confident about your own body image.  If you are size 24 and you are 100% comfortable with yourself, then kudos for you.  Most of us want to be a little slimmer, a little stronger, etc.  Your body is your own work of art, so work at it.

I get sick of the "body positive" movement where "all bodies are beautiful".  Honestly, when I see a fat person, I immediately think "they don't take care of themselves" and then I start to wonder if they're happy, if they're confident, if they have trouble shopping for clothes, if they're just lazy, etc.  It's a roller-coaster of thoughts that happens in a split second.

I'm sure I just pissed someone off.  *shrugs*  It is what it is.

Goth WEDNESDAY
Wednesdays are reserved for my ramblings about health, working out, etc.  If there is something you would like me to cover, post in the comments.  I'll get on that shit!  I'll also leave you with 3 playlist recommendations.

3 Dark Workout Songs

  1. "Am I Demon?" by Danzig
  2. "Religious As Hell" by Marche Violets
  3. "Hurricane Fighter Plane" by Alien Sex Fiend

Goth WOD #2 - Pallbearer

Goth WOD (Workout Of Day)
This is put together by myself. I'll have a full explanation below, along with a picture. These are intended to be a HIIT and weightlifting workout. If you are new to working out or aren't sure about a certain exercise, ask someone at your gym if they can demonstrate. Most gyms have instructors or people who can help you out. Also, these are common so you should be able to youtube them. Drink lots of water. Look for the #GothWOD and #BatFit hashtags!

FYI, I take a Wednesday break because sometimes things come up in the middle of the week that need taking care of.  Instead of a WOD, I'll post something useful for exercising purposes.  If you have questions, let me know.  I'll get them answered.

Pallbearer

Warm Up - Stretch, 2 min vigorous cardio, get yourself ready to workout! 5-10 minutes.

1000m Row - On a rowing machine, row 1000m.  Typically takes 5-6 minutes.

3 Rounds
20 Air Squats - Stand with feet shoulder width apart, squat, stand, repeat.
20 Sit Ups - So many variations...do your favorite sit up.
20 Push Ups - Try to do full push ups.  Here are 82 push up variations you can try.
20 Jumping Jacks - I feel like I don't need to explain this one...You should know how to do this.

deadlift

5 rep max Deadlift
Just like the first WOD, you're going to run through the motion with the barbell first - 10 times.  Add on weight gradually until you can only lift 5 times.

This is the act of standing up with a weight and it works just about everything.  When you put your first weights on the barbell, you want it to be close to your legs.  My general rule of thumb is the barbell is over the top of my shoe - where they are tied.  Squat down (knee should be above the toe) and find a comfortable hand grip.  Now, stand up and keep the barbell close to your body.  Squeeze your butt as you stand.  Squat back down.  Repeat.

Grip properly or you will have problems!!!


1 min x 5 Jump Rope
This is a fun way to finish up the workout.  Simply grab a jump rope and watch the clock.  Jump for 1 min followed by a 30 sec break...5 times.



How was your workout?

Wednesday's will be for answering questions and talking about food and whatever else I decide to talk about.  Post questions in the comments and I'll be sure to address them!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Goth WOD #1 - Rise Up

One of my new things that I'm going to start posting is Goth WOD (Workout Of Day).  This is put together by myself.  I'll have a full explanation below, along with a picture.  These are intended to be a HIIT and weightlifting workout.  If you are new to working out or aren't sure about a certain exercise, ask someone at your gym if they can demonstrate.  Most gyms have instructors or people who can help you out.  Also, these are common so you should be able to youtube them.  Drink lots of water.  Look for the #GothWOD and #BatFit hashtags!


Rise Up - Goth WOD #1

Warm Up - Stretch, air squat, sit ups, push ups, 2 min vigorous cardio, etc.  Your warm up should be 5-10 minutes.

1000m Row - Use a rowing machine and row 1000 meters.  This generally takes me approx. 5-1/2 minutes.  You can break it up to 2 500m rows with a 1 minute break or whatever.

3 Rounds
20 Box Jumps - From a standing position, jump onto a box.  If you are not a vertically inclined person, start with a 12" tall box.
20 KB Swings - 35lbs is a good weight for most people.
10 Pull Ups - Full pull ups or assisted pull ups.  I recommend the toe assist pull ups for beginners. VIDEO
20 Wall Balls - Use a soft wall ball (not a hard medicine ball).  12 or 15lbs should be good.  Stand 1-1/2 feet from the wall with the ball.  Squat, then spring to a standing position while tossing the ball about 12 feet up along the wall.  Catch the ball, squat, and repeat.

kettlebell swing
wall ball

overhead press

5 rep max Overhead Press
This one is easy to understand.  You use a barbell, held at front shoulder level, and you simple press upward, then bring it back down.  Feet should be shoulder width apart.  Your grip should be just slightly wider than your shoulders.  You will have to move your head when you press upward, unless you want to smack your chin or nose.  Do not hyper-extend your arms.

Start by getting your barbell racked a little lower than your shoulders.  This way you can get underneath it, stand up, and your barbell is where it needs to be in a comfortable manner.  Take a step back from the rack, get your footing to shoulder width, and begin.

Start with just the barbell.  Do 10 overhead presses.  Increase your weight by small increments until you can only do 5.  This becomes your 5 rep max.


AMRAP Assault Bike (aka 20/10 8-rounds on High Tension Bike)
At my gym we have Assault Bikes.  They're high tension stationary bikes.  AMRAP indicates 8 rounds of 20 seconds work with a 10 second break.  If you don't have access to an Assault Bike, just use a regular stationary bike with the tension up high.  This only takes 4 minutes and is a great "cool down" exercise.

8x
20 sec Vigorous Pedaling
10 sec Break


How was your workout?  Leave your comments below!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

What I Learned While Writing A Comic Book

After a year or so of forming an idea for a comic book, I decided that I would just sit down and write a comic book script.  I won't lie.  My thoughts were: Maybe I can sell it and make a few thousand so I can get myself out of this rut.  I had the first 6 or 7 issues really worked out on paper, the rest was all blocked out in a loose outline.  By the time I added more details to the outline, I figured that it would take about 20 issues for my main story arc.

I have written film and television scripts (that never sold), some non-fiction (can be found on Amazon), and I always have some fiction in the works.  Writing a comic book script was new territory for me and I wasn't familiar with the formatting, so I asked my friends who work in the industry.
The Working Writer's Guide to Comics and Graphic Novels by Nick Macari (on Amazon) was recommended by my friend Ed Watson, who did some art for the book.  This book gets right to the point for writers.  It covers basic formatting and what you need to know for writing and selling your story.

Is it the only book you need?  NOPE!

It is enough to get you started.  When I got started I was able to pump out an issue in a day for the first 4 days, then I slowed down to 1 issue in a day and a half.

If you have a long story arc (more than 5 standard comic book issues) then I highly recommend putting together a story binder.  This way you can work on your writing and have something tangible to flip through, so you're not interrupted.  Also, it allows you to go back and edit at your leisure or place of choice.

A Story Binder should include:
  • Basic Outline
  • Character profiles, preliminary sketches, artwork
  • Sounds - Specific sounds for specific things
  • Language - If your character uses a particular term, slang, or foreign language, have terms listed.
  • Locations - If there are specific locations that play a major role in setting, have a write up about it.  Perhaps certain details that are vital, floor plans, etc.
  • Random Facts - These are little factoids that might be important later.
  • Each Issue - When you're finished with an issue, print it out and put it in the binder
By the time you finish issue 3, you'll want to start looking for an artist.  Here's a BIG catch in the world of comics: You MUST submit your work with 6 sample pages of art.  It has to be an artist-writer combo.  You CANNOT submit your story by itself.  This can be really difficult, but if you think you have a story that you can sell then invest in the artist.  Talk to people.  Talk to art students with a narrative art background.  Talk to the Joe Kubert School because they specialize in comics and narrative art.  Be ready to pay an artist for 6 pages of work - black and white, inked.  You should expect high-res digital copies that you can attach in an email.  You should expect to pay $25-100 a page for the art.  Students are going to be cheaper than established professionals...duh!  Whoever you choose to do your sample pages is going to be the person to work on your issues if you sell your comic.

When I asked around for an artist, I ended up paying $300 for 6 sample pages.  It might seem a little backwards to pay for art, when you haven't sold the story yet.  Get over it.  If your story is good and you sell it, you can make that money back.  If you mention "doing it for the exposure" most artists will turn you away.  Don't be an asshole, pay the money and get better art.

While writing, I found that I really had some issues with sound effects.  That might sound trivial, but let's say that you have a pot of boiling water that you want to include the sound effects for.  How do you write that?  You might listen to the sound of boiling water to try figuring it out OR you can look for an onomatopoeia book.  Here is one online that is useful (pdf format).  You can also get: Descriptive Words For Writers by Piper Bradley (there are 2 volumes) or Ka-Boom! A Dictionary of Comic Book Words, Symbols, & Onomatopaeia by Kevin Taylor.




Once you get your issues written and your sample pages (digital copies), you'll want to have a full outline written (1 page per issue), a cover letter, and whatever else may be asked of you when you check submission guidelines.  Submission guidelines vary from company to company.  They may ask for you and your artist to sign release forms or to submit the first issue, etc.

I always find that the cover letter is probably the hardest part.  I actually procrastinated for a month or so because of the damn cover letter.  I think it's due to the fact that I've always had a hard time selling my work.  I always faulted my cover letters.

Cover Letter Basics:

  • Keep it to 1 page
  • Date, Dear Editor, your letter, and Sincerely (Your Name).
  • 1 paragraph about your story.  Break it down to brass tacks and really sell it.  It MUST capture attention and cause the editor to want to read your work!
  • 1 paragraph on the more technical side to your comic.  Who is the demographic?  What sets your comic apart from the others?  What's your story arc issue number? (My full story arc is 20-issues with potential for future stories.)
  • 1 paragraph about the writer and the artist.  This isn't a full resume, but it should have some key points.  Be sure to list some previous projects.  Really sell the team!
  • Don't forget to list contact information for the writer and artist.
  • Thank the editor for taking the time to review your work.
  • Have at least 3 people look over your cover letter and ask them to edit the crap out of it.  Hand them a red pen and tell them to "make it bleed".  Let your artist read it too.
After you have your basic package, you need to check submission guidelines and get it sent in EXACTLY HOW THEY WANT IT.  Just do it how they want it.  Some editors will be like "hey, this has an extra page.  If they can't follow rules, I won't work with them.  DELETE."  Just like that, your work will be ignored.

So you send your stuff in, then what?  Basic rule of thumb is to give them a month to respond.  Mark on the calendar who you sent stuff to and when, as well as a month's time from that date.

As I'm writing this, I am getting all of my stuff ready to send in.  I have some people reading over my cover letter.  I'm making sure everything is ready to go on my end.  My artist already gave me his sample pages in digital format.  I'm going to make a list of who I'm sending stuff to first.  Once my cover letter is finalized, it's off baby!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Moussaka

Moussaka is one of my all-time favorite Greek dishes.  It's easy to make if you have the stuff on hand.  This is an American version since I add in tomato - so fair warning.  Also, my bechamel sauce is made to be paleo/keto.  If you don't like that, google how to make authentic bechamel - it uses a little flour.

Moussaka (Paleo/Keto)
1lb Ground Beef or Lamb
2 TBSP Greek Seasoning (if you make your own use: dill, basil, oregano, rosemary, paprika, nutmeg)
1 can Petite Diced Tomato (or 3-4 fresh tomato diced)
1/2 White Onion, diced
1 tsp Garlic
1 Eggplant, sliced
Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
1 cup Heavy Cream
3 Egg Yolks
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Butter


  1. In a frying pan, start browning your meat.  While you're waiting for your meat to cook, you can prep your veggies!  Also, pull out a 10" pie dish or rectangular cooking dish.
  2. Once your meat is mostly cooked, add in the onion, garlic, tomato, and seasoning.  Let this simmer until the juice is virtually gone.  Set this meat mixture aside.  Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. In the same frying pan, you will want to cook the eggplant slices.  The flesh should change color from white to a cooked yellow color.  You will want to add a little oil to the pan as you cook the eggplant.  Flip each one, so you cook both sides.  After each slice is done, place in the baking dish - I use tongs for this.
  4. When you are done with the eggplant, cover it with your meat mixture.
  5. In a pot or small frying pan, melt your butter.  You'll want the heat to be medium-low.
  6. Once your butter is melted, quickly add the heavy cream and cheese.  Stir!  Don't stop stirring!
  7. Add the egg yolks and continue to stir.  Don't let it boil!  Once your mixture is homogenous, pour over your meat.  You can top with extra parmesan if you so choose.
  8. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

Plain day at work
Hey everyone!  I know I haven't posted in a while.  I kept meaning to, but I really didn't feel like I had much to post about.  But hey, I'm back and I have some ideas for this blog and for a new blog and a youtube channel for that other blog and I have a bunch of things going on....

You might be saying to yourself: "I've heard that before.  What's different now?"

My doctor told me "You are severely bored."  Then, he promptly gave me homework.  Seriously.  I am on a restricted keto diet.  I workout all the time; in fact, I have been going to a personal trainer because I was like I must be doing something wrong.  Now, I have to write out 3-7 do-able things to make my life more exciting...and it's really had me thinking about things.

My first and only thought for like 3 days was TRAVEL.  I think I wrote "travel" down on a few different pieces of paper as my #1.  Since I was pretty stumped, I decided to make a different list - What I Do That Is Interesting.  I wanted to keep it brief and ended up with a 2-page bullet list.  That actually helped me create a list of 4 do-able things.  Oh shit.  Am I supposed to make a poster too?  That might be something I have to do.  Guess I'll have to check my paperwork when I get home...cause I'm at work.  (It's a really slow day at work.)

What's on my list?

  1. Travel.  I plan on going to 2019 Viva Las Vegas.  I also am thinking about taking a trip to NOLA in November of this year.
  2. Montly Game Night.  I've been wanting to do this for a while.  I'm not invited to my sister's game night.  I finally got some people to say 'YES'.
  3. Write More.  Yes, write more and more and more...just write until your bones wear through your flesh; then, PUBLISH!  I've been procrastinating on some projects lately, so this is a big one for me.
  4. Blog More.  Yep, get back into blogging and maybe create a youtube channel for vlogging.

So...You Think My Doctor Is Weird...
Someone out there is going to think that my doctor is weird.  Who the hell tells a patient that they are "severely bored"?  I go to a natural medicine doctor.  He's a real doctor.  I had hypothyroidism, but he fixed it naturally.  Now I don't have a thyroid issue (as long as I watch what I eat) and I'm not on medication for the rest of my life.  That was fixed in 2008.  Now in 2018, I found out that my hormones were really out of whack.  Progesterone levels at post-menopausal levels.  Estrogen on the low end of normal.  Yep, at 35 I've had some pretty crazy hot flashes and stuff.  It's been a few months, but I think it's evening out now.  I rarely have a hot flash.  

The question remains: why am I having weightloss issues?  It's the reason why I went back to the doctor in the first place.  We fiddled around with my diet.  I'm working out doing weight lifting and HIIT.  A normal person would have dropped like 20lbs by now.  I've dropped 5lbs, according to the scale.  Now, acting as life coach, he's having me create a more exciting life.  If you've been reading this blog for awhile,  you'll know that when I lived in Portland I dropped down to a size 6.  I might have been alone, but I was doing stuff.  I really am bored and actually have spent the last 5 years joking that I suffer from "excessive boredom".


Get Over It
Just because I'm bored does not mean I'm boring.  I'm really tired of doing shit by myself.  I mean, I don't mind, but sometimes I want to hang with a friend or go do stuff with a friend.  And not my parents...

Most people like to tell me to "get over it" or "you shouldn't rely on others to alleviate boredom".  I would like to point out that I spend most of my time doing things by myself.  I'm to the age where the majority of my friends are married and/or have kids.  They like to use that as an excuse for not doing things.  I really REALLY get tired of hearing all of this from people.

When it comes down to it, not having people to do things with is leaving me more and more socially awkward.



More Blogging

Expect more to come on this blog.  The "other blog" I was talking about is a club that I'm trying to form called the Banger Society.  Its for people who have a strong interest in the afterlife, death, funerary topics, etc.  You can click on the link for more information.

If you would like to keep in shape with me, you can find a daily workout posted via Instagram.  I workout Monday through Friday, not on the weekends.

I'm going to try to do more so I start getting feedback.  It helps if I know that someone is actually reading my stuff.


👉DO YOU have any suggestions for me?  Any places in NOLA that I should check out?  Any blog requests?  Did you check out Banger Society?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Egg Roll Soup

Egg Roll Soup

2/3 head Green Cabbage
1lb Pork, Ground
8oz Water Chestnuts, Sliced
1/2 Yellow Onion
2 TBSP Bragg's Aminos
1 TBSP Beef Base
1/4 tsp Fennel Seed
1/4 tsp Basil
Water


  1. In a crockpot, add 1 cup of water, bragg's aminos, and beef base.  I use a small crockpot with two heat options - low and high.  I turn it to high.
  2. In a large frying pan, place your ground pork, basil, and fennel seed.  Start browning it.
  3. While your meat is cooking, go ahead and dice up your onion.  You can add this and the water chestnuts to the crockpot.
  4. Check your meat, make sure it's broken up into small crumbles.  You will want to make sure your pork is fully cooked!
  5. Chop up your green cabbage and put this in the crockpot.
  6. Once your pork is crumbled and fully cooked, add it to your crockpot.
  7. Add more water until you just barely see it.
  8. Let this cook in the crockpot for 4-6 hours.
I made this with the intention of having something that was like the inside of an egg roll.  I just can't have soy and I can't have the wanton wrapper.  I was super happy with this recipe.

Tuesday

Nothing big to report on today.

Got through the weekend.  We had the 3rd Annual North Pole Pin-Up Pageant at the Cruis'n With Santa car show.  It seems like it was weeks ago, but it was just a few days ago.  How crazy is that?  After the pageant, I went home and changed, then went out with some friends.  I never really do that and it was appreciated.  We hit Hoarfrost Distillery and had a chance to sample their new beet and allspice infused vodka.  It was SO DELICIOUS! 

I started The Great Purge, as promised.  I have my etsy shop up and running.  I want to see if I can sell anything before getting rid of it.  Lonely Hepkat ETSY Shop - Online Garage Sale!  Everything is $35 or less (except for the Shirley Temple dolls).  I'll be adding more stuff tonight.  I have a few retro men's shirts that I've made from vintage patterns.  You can also find some of my vintage-inspired hand painted fishing lures.

PAINTING

I've decided to start pinstriping again, so after work and the gym today I will venture out for thinner and mineral spirits.  I finally found a supplier in town who sells 1-Shot paint.  I can't believe it took me so long.  I figure that should give me plenty of new stuff to do when I'm not writing.

Ed's self-portrait
COMIC BOOK

I am almost ready to put the finishing details on my comic book pitch.  I just have to crank out two more issues before I feel good about pitching my comic.  The artwork is being done by my friend from art school, Ed Watson.  You can check out his artwork at The Art of Ed Watson. I snagged his self-portrait so you guys can see how talented he is.

The comic book story is a sci-fi/adventure set in space.  Much of it is based around UFO literature, so you may learn something or you might pick up on a few things.  I'm pretty excited about it.  Ed almost has the sample pages done.

GOALS

I've made it one of my new future goals to move -- always looking for suggestions!  If things go as planned, then: I sell my comic within 4-8 months, visit and make plans for moving to where ever, go to Viva Las Vegas 2019, and then I move.  Once I move, I can get to work on my other comic book idea.

Short term goals: put together a local AK Rockabilly art show with people from the local rockabilly community.  Really work on getting pinstriping under-way.  If I get really good, there is work to be had around here.  At least, that's what the guy at the paint store told me.

MOVING SUGGESTIONS

If you leave me a suggestion for where to move to here are some things to know:

  • No super big cities
  • Heavy traffic makes me absolutely crazy
  • I have two labrador retrievers
  • No southwest, tornado alley, or deep south.
  • Stuff to do is kind of important - I like to bowl, roller skate, hike, walk around a cute downtown area, spend time in cafes, etc.
  • I am interested in opening up a shop, so there has to be room for economic growth
  • I like being near an airport, at least within an hour of one.
  • I don't mind a little snow, I just don't want extremely cold temperatures.
  • I don't mind the rain.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Angry Times

There is a lot going on in my personal life.  For the last few months, I've been the new specialized bookkeeper at work - working with Masterbuilders, if you're familiar with it.  One day it was basically "Guess what?  You're the new bookkeeper and you still get to remain office manager and there is no immediate raise! Congratulations!"  With a deer in headlights look, I was pretty much like "Well I know what money is and I can write a check.  I know which bank we use.  Credit cards.  Payroll. Progress billing.  I know these words."     Just like that *snap* I was thrown into the pit of specialized bookkeeping.   I was not thrilled then and I'm not thrilled now.

That keeps me in a mildly uncomfortable state of being annoyed.



My dad and uncle have gotten themselves into a HUGE investment mishap.  I won't get into details about it, other than the fact that it's still ongoing and they keep paying the person they "invested" with.  It's probably NOT a good investment if the SEC has been round and round in court with the person/company.

Today is Day 2 when my dad/boss has asked to cash in some hours so he can pay this fraudulent woman.  I feel like an enabler and I do not know what to do.

I first heard about this when I was still in Portland (2012).  My first instinct was "this sounds like a scam, you had better stay away".  It was easy to stay away because I was in a different state.  Parents are super great at guilt-tripping their kids into doing shit.  I moved back to Alaska in Feb 2013.  It took about 2 months of convincing.  Now I feel completely trapped.

I feel like I can't get ahead on things.  I feel like I am trapped.  I need to escape.  I actually feel like I might need to severe ties with my parents until this "investment" thing is over and dealt with.  (NOTE: If you mention that to a sibling, they will tell you that running away is not a good answer.)

I would quit my job, but that's not financially viable at this time.

I have a comic book that I'm writing.  I'm getting the pitch put together while my friend in NYC is getting the sample pages drawn up.  All I can think of is that if I sell this, maybe that can help dig me out of this little hole and I can then move get the fuck out of here.

I'm so stressed out that I'm stress eating food that is not good for me (I try hard not to) and I constantly feel tired and like I'm on the verge of puking.  I don't want to talk to my dad.  I stopped talking to my uncle (he was never really around anyway, so he hasn't really noticed).  I want to punch the investment lady in the face and break her jaw.  I want to slam a coffee mug (not my new one) into someone's face (though I won't because of the headache of the justice system that it would bring on).

I am definitely looking for advice.

This bad investment isn't MY investment.  It really shouldn't be my problem, but...it's my parent's problem.  When is it okay to distance one's self and be like "it's not my problem"?

Also, I'm okay with pissing people off.  I would love to quit and be like "Dad, only YOU can fix this by cutting ties with that investment lady" -- would he listen?  He hasn't listened when the SEC called him regarding the investment.  YEAH.  CRAZY.  I know.

I try so hard to keep personal drama really low.  Bookkeeping - I'm getting it.  I have notes on how to do things and I have help from two other bookkeepers who know the software, if I need them.  Dad and Uncle's fraud "investment"....I just don't know how to deal with it.

On a more personal note, I've been seeing the doctor to figure out what the fuck is wrong with me.  I workout all the time with zero weight/fat loss.  Turns out that I have super low estrogen and my progesterone level was equivalent to a 65+ woman post-menopausal.  Now I'm on some hormone stuff to get everything back to normal, so I now randomly cry if I get too stressed and I get super moody and shit like that.  It does not help me deal with any sort of drama.  In fact, it leaves me wanting to live in sweat pants and a baggy sweat shirt all the time.


ANYWAY -- ADVICE PLEASE!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Thoughts on Shops

I have often thought to myself "Jess, you should open up your own store".  My biggest problem is that I honestly never feel 100% about it - so I guess it's a good thing I haven't opened anything yet.  I have gone round and round since....meh.....2005, I suppose, in regards to opening up a rockabilly/retro type of shop.

If you're new to this blog, then let me tell you a little about where I live.  I live in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Around here, we consider Fairbanks, Fox, Ester, Nenana, North Pole, Ft. Wainwright, and Eielson AFB to all be part of our community.  There's roughly...130,000 people give or take a few thousand due to the military bases.

We have a '50s themed restaurant in Fairbanks, a real aluminum-sided diner out in North Pole, a top-notch Chinese restaurant with tiki bar cocktails in North Pole, and a sizable rockabilly community.  Surprisingly, it seems that the majority of rockabilly folk are in the Fairbanks-area.  Most would automatically think Anchorage.

We have no stores that really offer rockabilly/retro clothes, aside from a few thrift stores and some vintage options from the antique stores.

I keep going back and forth with myself on all of this.  I could set up a pop-up shop over the summer to see how it goes.  I could just open up a little store.  Will there be enough interest to keep me afloat?  Would there be more interest because a shop would be there?  Should I look for a business partner?

I know the products.  I know the wholesale options.

I could use some advice.


On a side note: Have you checked out my friend's blog?  Nostalgia a la Mode!  Fellow Alaskan and very good friend of mine.  I'm actually trying to figure out what to make for her annual birthday/tiki party....which happens in like 2 months.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Finds!

It's another Friday Finds!  This time around the focus is on swimwear since summer is just around the corner!

At SwimOutlet.com - check out these Sporti brand swim caps!  These run $4-$10 and each design comes in a rainbow of colors.



Also on the same website, check out the brand Creative Sunwear.  These also come in a rainbow of colors and generally run between $4-$12.



For Luna has swimwear ranging from £60-£80.  One pieces, swimdresses, and two pieces.




Esther Williams Swimwear is popular for the Esther Williams suit style.  Prices range from $40-$80.


 Bettylicious is another great brand of retro swimwear.  Prices range from £24-£80.


Wanting something more 20s and 30s?  Sarina Poppy Vintage makes and sells swimsuits that range from $100-$125 range.


Merman Designs on etsy only sells men's designs for $57.33.


Unfortunately, there aren't many options for men when it comes to retro swimwear.

Before I sign off, I would like to tell everyone about my friend's FB blog called Nostalgia a la Mode.  She posts about vintage stuff, but really likes to make the occasional vintage cocktail.  Her latest one is The Aviation.