Waterfall Workout! Solstice Canyon Hike

I’m late with last Sunday’s hike review, but better late than never, right?  I was eager to see another waterfall with the recent rains and hoping for a good workout and got exactly that!  So after my amazing hiking buddy picked out Solstice Canyon this time from the all knowing AllTrails app which we know and love.  This time it was 3 of us hiking ladies and a little dog too.  🙂   Just driving from the 101 down Las Virgenes Canyon to Malibu is amazing itself.  We arrived around 11am which turns out to be a very popular time.  We needed to stalk the hikers coming out of the trail to get their parking spot.  It kind of reminded me of the chaos trying to park at the mall around the holidays, but finally we pounced and got our spots.  🙂

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The fog rolling in from the ocean was just magical.  It was about a 6 mile hike and my legs were actually tired near the end!  We had a great time, saw lots of dogs and historical sites too.  I really liked this hike because the first part was uphill and challenging with winding roads and breathtaking views.. sprinkled with butterflies and scurrying lizards.

When we heard the rushing water of the falls it was exciting and after we played a bit an enjoyed the gorgeous scene, we were able to return back on a flatter, wider trail.  It was like a nice reward for making it to the Falls.

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I recommend starting earlier – maybe around 7 or 8am, taking one car, and really good hiking shoes.  Both of my hiking buddies were much smarter than me and brought backpacks with bladder pouches for their water along with snacks.  I recommend taking after them (not me, who ended up quite thirsty and sunburnt).  Correction, tired, thirsty, hungry, sunburnt and HAPPY!  🙂

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InstaHAM Etiquette; The Do’s and Dont’s to woo your Crush on Social Media (CRAZY PORK EDITION)

In this day and age, understanding the etiquette of social media on Instagram is a must.  I know a lot of friends who have really blown it when trying to strike up a conversation, especially with the opposite sex on social media.  Here are ten steps to help you with swine tested strategies on the most polite, elevated and mature way to flirt with the object of your desire.  These 10 steps are sure to lure your crush into your hooves.

*The porkers and hypothetical events in this entry are fictitious. Any apparent similarity to real persons is not intended by the author and is either a coincidence or the product of your own troubled imagination.  Should you choose to actually believe or try any of these steps, we are not held responsible for the good, bad or ugly consequences that may follow.

  1. PROFESS.  After “knowing” him for 5 minutes, tell him he is the ONE and ONLY in your life and you’re down to have 15 piglets. Like right now. Strike while the iron is hot. And do this with any cute boy you meet. If you throw enough spaghetti (a.k.a. proposals) on the wall, something is bound to stick, right?26426__pig-wedding_p
  2. THROW TANTRUMS. Send a direct message to your crush asking for his Snap chat or KIK handle. If for any reason he declines, make sure to call him derogatory names to let him know who he’s dealing with. That will for sure change his mind.
  3. BE POPULAR. Purchase thousands of followers to make it look like you are a really popular pig. It will impress your friends, people you don’t know and especially your crush. He will feel like he knows a celebrity pork chop and should be honored to be included in the hoards of faceless, nameless fans.
  4. DEMAND A RESPONSE. When your crush posts something and hasn’t answered your DM yet, send him another message, and yet another one every 5 minutes. It’s important to let him know that you know he is online and that you are feeling ignored. It doesn’t matter how long you have known him, or what is going on in his life. He needs to stop everything RIGHT NOW and give you 100% of his attention! I mean, you are top quality Hamhock after all!
  5. BE ARTISTIC. You’re a deep, mysterious Ham. Be passive aggressive and send odd poetic quotes to your crush with no message or comment explaining it.th
  6. STALK.  Research your crush, find out where he works and surprise him with a message of love and devotion on his voicemail, but don’t leave your name. Just say, “You know who this is.” And a soft grunt for emphasis. He didn’t give you his work number? For a savvy woman privacy means nothing when you’re in love.th-2
  7. PERSONALIZE.  Assume every post is all about you. I mean, it must be, right? Take everything personally and then hold it against him. Send him the post and ask him to explain himself immediately. When he tells you that his cat died which is why he posted the sad kitty, don’t believe him. You know it was really about him missing you, but he’s just not brave enough to say it.
  8. CALL IT OUT. If your crush ignores your SDS tag, assume the worst. He hates you. Period. It couldn’t possibly be because he has a life and cannot answer 20 tags a day. No, it’s you. The way you tag him is offensive and you should confront him about it, especially if he actually answered someone else’s tag.
  9. HECKLE.  When your crush goes on Live, make sure to holler at him to show his junk. If he does, it means he loves you. If he doesn’t, make sure to call him on it and say, “What’s the problem, Gumdrop?”thoudon_NAND153-A14-N01_Gumdrop
  10. CRUSH HIS EGO. Send him a sexy selfie so he feels special and like he’s on top of the world. Then, five minutes later upload that exact same photo to your feed. This way he’s knocked down off that high horse and will know he’s just another faceless fan amongst your thousands of devoted Australopithecus followers. Happy Hump Day!Unknown

“The Shire” Hike

First of all, I just want to share that my hiking buddy swears by this APP called AllTrails to find new trails to hike each Sunday.  Like me, a true Gemini, she gets bored easily and wants to explore different scenes and difficulty levels.  I have to say this app is SO helpful in finding great trails near by.  It’s nationwide and really for everyone.  Hiking is a great family activity.  I imagine bringing a picnic of pastrami sandwiches, alfajores, ginger ales and a kite along, but that’s just me. We see families, couples, pet owners, runners, bike riders, young and old out there each weekend enjoying the fresh air and best of all quality time together.  And it’s FREE!  alltrails

Losing my first 30lbs in the beginning of my fitness adventure , it was 80% dieting and 20% walking.  And let me tell you, walking on the treadmill gets boring real quick.  I would bribe myself with lattes and netflix episodes to watch each morning… however walking outside is a great stress reducer.  If you have a friend with you that is even so much better!  Time goes by and you don’t even realize that you got your 10K steps and cardio in.

Last weekend we tried the Victory Trailhead in Woodland Hills.  The longer name is the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space.  At first we took a wrong turn and ended up at the Hidden Hills gated community (which I know Jennifer Lopez and several other celebrities live), but eventually got back on track and found the trail.

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The weather was a but chilly, overcast and drizzling on and off,  but it also it made all the green grass look even brighter and greener.  I’m calling this hike “The Shire”.  I really felt like we were on a fairy tale adventure and any minute around the corner we would encounter a Hobbit door.  There were beautiful rolling hills, spooky looking gnarled trees, lots of easy paths to walk up and get better views.  There is a stream there that still needed more rain to really flow.  We spotted some California poppies on one hill and I got excited imagining later this spring all the blooming flowers that will be sprinkled along these hills.

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I wore the wrong kind of jacket (water resistant, not proof) so it stuck to me and I was a freezing piggy… but got a waterproof one later that day at a thrift shop.  I’m getting smarter though in other areas because this time I brought a back pack, wipes, chapstick, water, and a clean pair of socks, shoes, and a plastic bag for my muddy ones.

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Overall even though it was overcast and rainy, it was just stunning.  The slopes were gentle and I definitely recommend this for later this Spring when the warmer weather sets in for a family day together.  We got a great hike in, so did our canine friend, and by the end, were all ready for second breakfastes.

The Muddy Adventures of…

So I’ve been under the weather lately.. and my darling hiking friend was kind enough to find a nice “easy” trail for us to go on.  And it had a waterfall! This time with her adorable dog.  I was super excited!  She found this amazing app called “All Trails” where it tells you all about the different hikes.

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This one was in Malibu and it’s called Escondido Falls Trail.  All Trails rated this one as “Easy” level.  HA!  Maybe in dry weather!?  What it doesn’t tell you, however is what the difficulty level becomes after a fresh rain when the trail becomes a sticky, slippery muddy obstacle course.  Actually it was tons of fun and had I felt better would have even wanted to go further up the mountain.  We probably got a better workout from the resistance the mud gave us on each step.  In fact, I am pretty sore today.

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After walking through the residential area (with gorgeous ocean views) and I named like 5 of my dream homes, we entered the real trail.

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It started out uphill and sort of dry, but not for long.  The ground grew wetter and muddier as we made our way down the path.  The stream was running fast because of the recent rain and it cut through the walking path in lots of places so we had to balance and walk across muddy logs to go over them.  A large walking stick we picked up along the way helped so much!  There were lots of dogs, some on and some off leash.  Many families too.  My favorite moment was watching a guy carrying a squirming 6 month old Husky puppy while trying to balance crossing the little river.  Surprisingly he made it (that time).  There were still about 4-5 crossings to get through.  Eventually we just walked directly through the stream and got drenched.

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Her dog just loved it and kept running into the stream and back out.  At one point, the pooch got so excited, she actually got pulled through the mud like she was skiing.  It didn’t last long, but it was really funny.  It got a little confusing at one point, but my friend’s AllTrails APP and some fellow hikers helped point us in the right direction.  I kept thinking how great it would be if I could walk a little piglet in all this mud so we could all be piggies together.

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So after a pretty slow, mud packed filled adventure up the hill, we finally spotted the beautiful waterfall.  Ahhhh the mist spraying everywhere, dogs running around, happy campers taking pictures and the beautiful sound of the water rushing down was amazing!!  I may have even heard “Nothing Else Matters” playing in the background… not sure.  It was beyond a great reward for making it through our muddy adventure.

I would recommend this trail for families, dog owners, and pretty much anyone in dry weather.  You should probably wait a few days after the rains so the trail can dry out a bit more though. If not, and for any muddy trail, bring a walking stick (or 2), baby wipes, shoes with some traction that you don’t care about (the mud will come off after hosing them off and throwing them in a laundry machine), a plastic bag to throw all your wet clothes into, and an extra pair of clean socks and shoes.

Happy Hiking!

 

 

 

The Dress – Part II – And my weight loss

So it finally happened. The moment of cold, hard truth. Could I pull it off wearing my first Herve Leger dress without looking like a red hot stuffed sausage?

Before I tell you… you have to understand that once upon a time I resigned to the fact that I probably could never wear a tight dress again. Tipping the scales at over 200lbs, I was all about finding A line, stretchy and flowy tunics over leggings or flouncy, poofy skirts to hide my bulging belly. Spanx were a must even for a flowy dress in order to smooth out the bulges. I cannot tell you how many times people would stop me to congratulate me on my pregnancy. That was my favorite question. “When are you expecting?” “Oh, haha I’m not. I’m just a fat ass.” Ughhh!!!

To back things up even further, all my growing years and through college, I was highly involved in sports which honestly when I was playing 5 games a day on the weekends and working out 3-4 hours daily with a young body and metabolism I could pretty pork out on whatever I wanted and burn it right off!

After college, I entered the work force. Sitting at a desk for long hours yet continuing to eat whatever I wanted slowly but surely caught up to me. I think many athlete-turned-workers encounter this issue and balloon up once their sports career is over. The weight gain was slow and stealthy… seemed to just creep up out of no where. Until before you know it, I was waddling instead of walking. Out of breath after one small flight of stairs. Buying plus sized and flowy clothes. Hiding behind other people in pictures. Eventually my body revolted and I ended up having all kinds of health issues eventually landing me in the hospital and having gall bladder removal surgery. Ugh this was not the kind of life I imagined! I needed to be healthy again and completely change my life.

My weight loss/fitness journey began in March 2015.

Before starting, I thought to myself, “OK I need to just give up my love for food and anything delicious.” But how wrong I was. I consulted a physical trainer on how to get started and after that picked it up on my own. At first yes, going cold turkey on pizza, donuts and other comfort foods was stressful to say the least. The cravings were horrible. It was like a little whiney piglet was screaming in my head saying “But but I WANT IT!!! I WANT IT NOWWW!!!!!” I had to write down everything I ate and how I felt about it. I cried, pouted, threw tantrums, and thought hateful things about my trainer. But I did not give in. Not even once for the first three months. It was the first time I “dieted” and yet I thought to myself, if I don’t follow her plan, why did I just waste this money to hire her?

But after the first month of hell, it got easier little by little. Turns out there WERE in fact things I could stomach that were healthy like cucumbers, apples with almond butter, salmon, yummy frozen protein shakes, steak salads, Crunch protein bars, low sodium tuna packs, egg white frittatas, and vegetable with cheese on it. I am still discovering new foods and recipes to try that are relatively healthy for me to this day, and hope I will always be.

Finding the compromise and balance between total deprivation and total indulgence was the most difficult part and it took much trial and error. I learned the difference between Emotional and Physical Hunger, how to meal prep a balanced day and what kind of proportions to use, even the difference between the best and worst types of fruits and veggies (see photos below). As you will I am sure read from many sources, weight loss is at least 70% diet.  Below I am posting some basic charts on Emotional Hunger and Food choices for weight loss as a reference tool.

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For cardio, all I did was walk or hike whenever my schedule would allow. At the gym on week days I would wake up at 4am so I could just walk for an hour, then get home and ready for work. I am NOT a morning person but I had to do this because my work hours were so long I was too exhausted by the end of the day. On weekends, my mom would take me hiking. I remember could barely make it up the first incline on Fryman Cyn. It was really hard, but I went slow, and little but little it became easier. Over time, the fat started melting away and every now and then I would need a new pair of jeans when the old ones started falling off again. What a great feeling!

Here I’m posting my progression photos from last year here to show that once I decided to really focus on my food choices amazing things happened. I still have my binge days and cheated now and then, but I also learned to forgive myself and move on to the next day afterwards.  In the progression pictures, the last black dress is a size Small and fits me. Granted, it’s a stretch knit material so it was forgiving, but I used to be at least an XXL!

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I now know that if I want the scale to move lower, it’s all about food choices (and a little cardio). If I want to actually get smaller and more toned, this is strength training/weights/resistance, etc.. Which finally brings me back to the red Herve Leger dress I bought a while ago as inspiration to fit into and fill out properly.  I cannot tell you how proud I am, what an amazing moment it was to step out of the bathroom and see my best friend’s eyes widen with approval.  I did it!  Here I am… along with some progression pictures so you can see the difference between what just dieting/cardio did to my body and what added strength training did.  In the long black dress I am lean and slender, and in my red HL dress I got my curves back.  🙂

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After all the time, meal prepping, self discipline, workouts and dedication to getting healthy the past two years, seeing myself in this red dress is just an unbelievable feeling.  I wore it with some open toed blush Sam Edelman sandals that acted as nude against my skin color.  That is ME!  I DID IT!!!!   It’s really me!  I cannot even believe it but it’s true.  We danced the night away and I couldn’t have felt happier or more confident in a dress that 2 years ago I would have never even dreamed of fitting into.  This is proof that if I focus long enough, stay consistent and not allow excuses to derail my progress, I can meet my goals… Even my Herve Leger goals!!!

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Runyon Canyon Hike

“OMG you’ve never been to Runyon!!??” This is the usual reaction I get whenever I’ve spoken to a local Angelino about hiking trails. No I’m sorry! I have not! In fact, I haven’t been to many spots in LA for hiking, shopping, dancing, you name it.  Although this is my home, my life the past 10 years has been very restricted… almost like living in a cave. Happy to say that I’ve been venturing out more, slowly poking out my hoof and discovering the beautiful trails out there thanks to finding my amazing hiking buddy.  🙂

Every Sunday morning we pick a new trail to explore. Yesterday time was limited so we couldn’t go on a 3 hour hike (which we have been known to do in the past). In fact, on one of our hikes through the underbelly of Fryman Canyon just past the Rainforest section we proceeded to get lost. We ran into an elderly, portly woman with a small dog wearing a little cape no less.   She made sure to look me up and down and tell us the way out was treacherous and I might want to watch myself. For the record, I am 38 years old, now in decent shape, and an ex D1 scholarship athlete. I believe that was the same hike we ended up bear crawling down a steep hill… the adventures have been numerous.

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So we drove down to Hollywood and hiked Runyon Canyon.   Parking was crazy… but oh well who minds a few extra steps? These hammies need to get moving! I know it’s the weekend before Valentines Day but WOW was it crowded! Lots of Hollyood types (duh) and I think it would be easy to spot celebrities here. There were tons of small fluffy dogs with ridiculous outfits on (which of course I loved). My friend told me she saw someone walking a pig on this hike before and I almost fainted at the thought. One lady got in a huff because we weren’t giving her enough room coming down the steps. “Just so you know, people coming down have the right of way!” she pretty much yelled. Whatever! Well this is L.A.. What do you expect?

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The hike was easy for us. Just an hour long, uphill the first half with giant stairs too. I chose to walk around them because my porky rump was already sore from my other workouts.  At the top of the hill was a great view of downtown LA and a clear shot of the Hollywood sign.

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My favorite part was when we were almost to the top, passing by the fence full of love locks. So many different love locks with notes and engravings on them sure to warm even the coldest of hearts. As I stared at them… I tried to imagine each couple… Where did they first meet? What their secret jokes are with each other and will they come back on their anniversary?  Can a Gemini and Cancer really beat the odds?  Will they add little baby locks some day? Or will one of them come back with bolt cutters and throw it off the cliff? I could have stood here all day staring at these beautiful love locks musing over such things.

Overall Runyon Canyon hike was quick, easy, great views and crowded. A beginner hiker should take it slow up the first half. The rest is downhill so no problem. I recommend this for tourists and also if you are a woman it does feel safe to walk it alone because it’s so crowded. And one more thing if you do go, and that lady yells about the right of way again, please feel free to bitch slap her for me. Happy waddling… err I mean hiking!

Swine Tested Secrets for Catching (and keeping) Mr. Right

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, today I’m sharing some of my piggy secrets in nabbing the man of your dreams.  Trust me, as a swine who knows how to chase down and hog tie her man in 10 seconds flat, I know what I’m talking about.  There are two parts of this process, Reeling him in and Keeping him Happy.

REELING HIM IN…

1. SILENCE THE SNOUT

Play hard to get… real hard. Roll your eyes as you size him up and answer your cell phone that never rang right after he starts a conversation with you. When he finally texts you, leave him on read and go to bed. He needs to realize there are many other better looking and more interesting men out there vying for your attention! Men love to chase piggies with their snout in the air, acting completely disinterested. Whatever you do, don’t give him any compliments. He may get too much confidence and think he can do better than you.

2. DISPLAY THE HAMMIES

Who wants class? Not the man of your dreams, that’s for sure. Make sure to post full frontal nudes on all your social media channels and it’s always nice to throw in an upside down, backwards porky rump shot while licking a lollypop staring over your shoulder. But don’t forget to leave something to the imagination! A strategically placed carton of Newport’s will leave your crush’s lips craving you instead of a drag. The added bonus of all your friends and family seeing you in these poses will only add to the intrigue and make any gentleman proud to have you on his arm.

3. KEEP YOUR HOOVES TO YOURSELF

No man wants to be touched by a beautiful swine. They shudder at the thought of your delicate hoof brushing their shoulder, or even smelling your bacony aroma as you lean towards them to adjust their tie. One time I went around at a show asking the salesmen if it was OK to touch their shirts? They huffed and they puffed and sent me squealing all the way home.

4. POISON HIM

When he’s not looking, slip something he’s allergic to into his drink. Hopefully he will get deathly ill and then you will be right there to take care of him. He will see that you have such amazing maternal instincts that you might even need to prepare for a death bed proposal.

AFTER HE’S YOURS… KEEP HIM HAPPY!

5. BRING THE DRAMA

Men love it when you can add an unnecessary amount of drama to their lives. Broke a hoof nail? OMG same as dying! Some dude looked at you in line? Tell your man immediately that he hit on you and took a picture of you bending over and what is he going to do about it?  Question his sexuality if he doesn’t confront the guy.  They gave you 2 pumps instead of 4 at Starbucks!?   Scream and vent to your boyfriend for 45 min. on the phone and then insist that HE call the manager and make them apologize to YOU. I mean, come on, everyone needs this kind of excitement in their life, right!? Bringing home the bacon with a side of drama will always delight and fascinate him.

6. STALK HIM

Whatever you do, do not give him any personal space. Follow him wherever he goes and don’t let him have a moment to himself. Comment 5 times on every status he posts and make sure to call him 10 times a day, but never say anything. Just hang up. Keep the mystery alive.

7. SINGLE WHITE PIGGY

Identity theft is the ultimate form of love. Adopt all his hobbies and opinions to be your own as well. No need for your own separate set of interests. Just agree with everything he says with a bright-eyed smile. No man wants a piggy with her own life, mind, or opinion. Why would you want a partner adding a different perspective or introducing new areas you never would have imagined trying? So overrated.

8. STAY OUT OF THE KITCHEN

Never cook him dinner or make him special treats.  Don’t believe everything you see on TV.  Men generally do not get too excited over sexy hammies bending over in an apron.  They also hate food in general, especially home cooked meals.  Hungry?  I see a coupon for Arby’s on the fridge.

9. THREATEN HIS MOTHER

Want to really let him know you care? At your first family gathering, get his mother alone and confront her. Bonus points if the topic can be doling out constructive criticism on the meal she just made. It’s important that you take a stand so he can see how strong you are. Maybe give his mom a little push and grunt while you’re at it to make your point. She’s no longer the woman in his life and needs to back off. This will tell your man you are total wife material.

piggy-valentine-stepsThank you for reading my swine tested secrets on catching Mr. Right.  Please do not feel the need to contact me to thank me.  You’re welcome, from the bottom of my porky heart.