Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Return of the 1980s Toys!

I recently saw a survey on Facebook that asked you to name your favorite childhood toys. A friend of mine had done it and posted her answers. I noticed she had a Chubble on there, which I found hilarious! I had a Chubble as well and loved him dearly! He was a little Star Wars-esque creature wearing a hooded robe, and he made a silly electronic giggling sound and his eyes lit up. It sounds maniacal, but really it wasn't.

Anyway, the point is that it got me interested in all my old toys that I used to love as a child. I was quite sure somewhere online I could find people buying and selling all the things I used to play with when I was a kid. In particular, I wanted to see if I could find a stuffed dog that is quite literally my most prized possession. If my house was burning, I would immediately run to my closet to grab Sweet Puppy (yes, this is his name...I was a creative child). He is an adorable, cuddly stuffed dog with brown fur, chocolate colored ears, and thin felt eyebrows above hard plastic eyes. I must have gotten him when I was tiny because I can't remember ever NOT having him. He went everywhere with me when I was a kid. Once I set him down and accidentally left him in a Mervyn's (ooooh, Mervyn's, the classiest of department stores). After my mom and I had left, I panicked and cried, thinking I would never see my Sweet Puppy again. Of course my mom, being the awesome mother that she is, immediately raced back to the store so we could search. SP was safe and happy in the store's lost and found, and I never misplaced him again!! And when I got too old to tote him around, he never got shoved up into the attic with all my other toys; he has always held a special place of honor somewhere in my room or house. Currently he resides on a shelf in my closet with Jeff's Kermit the Frog.

ANYWAY, long story short...I found him on eBay by searching "1980s stuffed dog"! Apparently the brand name is "Dakin Drooper," and there is quite a market for the little guys online. I saw some upwards of $60-$90!!! They all looked to be in great shape, too. It made me wonder - do people just buy up random toys to keep for decades, never allowing their children to play with them, thinking they may one day be valuable? I can see that with some toy that was all the rage, like the ridiculous Furby or Tickle Me Elmo, but a random brown stuffed dog? Strange!

I am glad I held on to Sweet Puppy, but I would never EVER sell him. For one, he would only fetch about 50 cents. His eyeballs faded long ago, and I colored them on with a permanent marker. But to me he is perfect.

Here is the e-Bay version of my little friend and a link to the page in case you just can't resist owning one yourself:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Boot Camp Weeks 1 & 2

Over the past 2-3 years, I have noticed subtle changes in my body composition that I am not particularly fond of. My hips are wider than they used to be, and it is harder for me to keep the flat, toned abs that seemed to be effortlessly present throughout high school and college. I have never loved my somewhat shapeless legs, but recently I've been downright hating them...jeans just don't look right and shorts are not even an option. Well, enough is enough! I am too young still to feel like I have a frumpy, unattractive figure! Now, it's not like I am a huge fatty or anything; I won't be filling out my application for The Biggest Loser just yet. But I probably have 15 pounds that I could drop to get to my ideal weight, and my body could use an all-over tightening up. I just want to be able to throw on an outfit without worrying about finding something that will make me look thinner or emphasize the good areas.

So, two weeks ago, I decided to fight back against age and slowing metabolism. I joined a boot camp called Camp Gladiator after doing some research on various boot camps in the area. Between my 3+ years as a fitness instructor and my frequent attendance in group exercise classes, I do have some experience with classes like this and wanted to find one that was just right for me. I definitely think I've made the right choice because I am loving this camp!

It kicks my ass four nights a week. We run a ton of drills that improve agility and stamina, and we perform a variety of strength training moves using resistance of our own body weight or light hand weights. Each day the trainers come up with different ways to challenge us. One thing I've figured out by taking this class is that I am very competitive with myself. Even if something we're doing makes me feel like my legs will just give out and I will collapse, I push myself through it. I have a hard time allowing myself to take a break or do something half-heartedly if I am tired - I am like "no way, don't be a freaking can do this!" Which I guess is a good thing since it means I don't give up. The more miserable I am during a workout, the better. Sprints? Fantastic. Mountain climbers followed by push-ups followed by planks? Bring it on. I love the soreness permeating every inch of my body. Masochistic, I know, but true.

Luckily I also have a couple friends who signed up with me - Lolly and Nicole. We laugh at ourselves and good-naturedly complain about the torture we endure in each class. It's way more fun to work out with a friend by your side, so I am very glad they decided to join with me.

Aside from having an absolute blast, I am pretty sure it is going to give me some great results. After just two weeks, I can already see a difference. My stomach is flattening out, and I am beginning to see a hint of the vertical lines on either side of my abs. The disgusting jiggly skin under my arms is tightening up, and my butt is well on its way to being rock hard (or at least not mushy).

I am keeping a journal that chronicles my progress. I have a soft tape measure that I use to take the measurements on several areas of my body each week. I'll let you know how many inches I've lost after my first 4-week session.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Read me on Yelp!

Most of you who know me know that I love to write. LOVE it. My blog posts are more like novellas, and if I've ever sent you an e-mail, you've probably stopped reading it before you get to the end. I have a lot to sue me (not really).

Luckily there are tons of places online where I can just write about stuff...and the best part is that other people actually read it! For instance, this blog. Well, actually, not so much - I am pretty convinced nobody reads this, but they COULD if they wanted. Another thing is - have you been there? You should go. It's a great site where you can search for restaurants, services, hotels, etc in your area. Real people who live in your city (or have visited) write reviews of pretty much everything you can imagine. And the thing is, they are super helpful! If I want to try out a new restaurant, I just go to Yelp and see what others are saying about it.
I always make sure to give good press to my favorite places. The hilarious part is - they actually notice! I have been called out at a couple different places - they will say "hey, aren't you the person who wrote X, Y, and Z about us on Yelp? Why, yes I am. It actually led to a very awkward moment in my favorite sushi restaurant where I became confused at a friend's proclamation that his sushi had cheese in it and I yelped about that...oops! The point is, restaurants actually read these things! Hopefully they take tips so they can offer their customers the best service possible.

I have written about 50 reviews on here over the past year. They recently made me an Elite member (pretty cool if I do say so myself) so I have been trying to write reviews more often. It is really funny because every time I am in a restaurant, I am constantly thinking of how my review is going to go. So watch out, businesses of Dallas - you better give me good food/service or else I'll knock a few stars off on my yelp review!