Monthly Archives: April 2014

Absence Makes The Heart Say ‘What The Hell Is Up With This?’ I’ve Missed You!!!

Hello my darlings!!!

Holly guacamole, I’ve missed youuuuu! *Secretly, I hope you’ve missed me too! Haha!*

I miss you so much

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A week prior to my vacation, I’d been super super busy, trying to spend as much time as possible with my hubby and our Belly-Button *our almost 6 months old German Shepherd puppy whose name is actually Bella, but who also goes by Belly, Bellissima, Bells, and even Pest, when she is really a pain in the a@@ lol!*; unfortunately, they are not with me on this trip. Anyhow, over the past week, my access to Internet in Ukraine was quite limited. So to make up for this long disappearance, I’ll share with you a few pictures from my trip so far. I am super super sorry for being away for sooooo long!

 Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe
Seine river

Seine river

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower


Ukraine

Easter celebration

Orthodox Easter celebration

In a village

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Independence Square, Kyiv

Independence Square, Kyiv

Currently, I am back to Paris. However, my plane to Spain is only a few hours away. In all honesty, I can’t wait to be there already to relax a bit. It’s been a really emotionally charged trip so far, and it’d be really great to unwind.

The Spartan Race is only 3 weeks away! Eeeeesshhhhh!!!! How’s your Spartan 30 push ups for 30 days challenge going?! I’ve been slacking!!! *Bad, bad girl!*

How have you been? What’s new in your world?

xoxo
Olena

 

20 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Holidays, Travel

Let’s Talk Addictions: How To Wear A Scarf

So today’s post is a little bit out of the left field. I have a revelation: I’m in love with scarves. Yup, scarves!!!

ways-to-wear-scarves-for-wow

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Okay, that’s not exactly how I wear my scarves. But, hey, whatever floats your boat! Haha!

When Justin and I went to Italy 3 years ago, I was blown away.

Colesium edited

I mean, how could I not?! Ahaha! *Just kidding! But those statues were, let’s just say, a great bonus!*

pantheon

The architecture was spectacular, people – welcoming, food – delicious. However, if I said that Italian women wore their scarves as a piece of jewelry, that would be an understatement. They wear it as if it was a piece of art! And let me tell you, even though I love scarves, I am pretty clueless as to how to wear them. *I know! It doesn’t even make sense! RIDICULOUS!*

Also as some of you may or may not know, spring in Canada is non-existent. One moment, it’s winter.

winter in Canada

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The next – full blown summer.

summer in Canada

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*LOL!!!*

That being said, I want to make the most of it, even if only for a week. Check ça! *Look, I went all French Quebecer on you!*

ways to tie a scarf

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Any other scarf addicts out there? What’s your favorite way to wear a scarf?

xoxo
Olena

 

 

24 Comments

Filed under Fashion

Benefits Of A Bicycle: Keep Calm & Ride On

Confession: My 8-mile run did not happen yesterday.

I could give you many reasons, but then why? Yes, my hubby wasn’t there ‘mentally’ as he put it, but I still could have gone. The truth is I just didn’t feel like running yesterday. I definitely can choose to be upset over it, but I prefer to simply move on and not let this affect my mood. I guess, my body needed a break; so I’ll take it at its face value.

I'm Choosing Happiness

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My workout today includes some biking. This brought some good memories back.

Like this little evening trip with my parents over 5 years ago.

Biking with parents edited

 

split edited

*A few of you asked me to do a post on my rhythmic gymnastics days. I promise, I will. I’ll pick up some pictures when I go to Europe next week. Pinky swear!*

Or this little day trip with my brother in Summer 2009.

biking with Bohdan edited

another split edited

*I guess there is some weird correlation between me biking and wanting to do splits. Haha!*

Not all of my bike trips were so nice and sweet, however. At some point of time, I would go biking pretty much every single time after work. Once as I was stopping at an intersection, my foot got caught in a strap. Needless to say, I plummeted to the ground. Thankfully, the closest car was a little further away from me and I wasn’t run over or hit. My ego was shot and so were my hands and knees. But then you know how it is, you fall, people run up to you to ask if you’re fine, and you laugh it off as if nothing happened and you aren’t hurt at all *while weeping silently inside*. Good times!

you forgot to unclip

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TechnoGym provided the following suggestions on how to exercise safely on a stationary bicycle.

The only thing you need to remember when using a bike is to adjust the seat properly. 
This will make your workout more comfortable while preventing your joints from being subjected to unnecessary stress. 
This is how to do it:

  •  On an indoor or classic vertical bike: climb onto the machine and hold the handlebars. Then rest the center of each foot on the pedals and make sure that the leg in the lower position is bent by 5/10 degrees
  • On a reclined bike: you have found the right position when, with both feet on the pedals, one of your legs is almost completely extended and forms an angle of 5/10 degrees

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Clearly, there are many benefits to riding a bike. These are some of them *SO CUTE!!!*.

benefits of a bicycle

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So this is how my workout looks like today.

Warm-up jump rope: Skip, high knee jog, skip side to side, skip front to back – 10 minutes

Unbreakable Strength: 

Repeat this 5 times:

Dumbbell Lunge for 30 seconds on each leg
Split-Lunge jumps for 30 seconds
Plank walk for 45 seconds
Shoulder taps for 45 seconds
(Rest for 3 minutes between sets.)

Spartan Bike Sprints: 35 minutes

Warm up for 10 minutes in zone 2
Ride for 20 minutes in zone 3
Every other minute, sprint as hard as possible for 10 seconds
Cool down easy for 5 minutes.

+ 30 push ups for 30 days challenge

keep calm and ride on

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Do you bike? What are some of funny/scary things that happened to you while biking? 

xoxo
Olena

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Dealing With Stress At Work, Reebok Shoes For The Spartan Race, And ‘Sleep Like A Baby’ Workout

Hiya!!!

I apologize, but I will take a few moments to nag. *Please, bare with me!* It was a really stressful day at work yesterday. You know, that kind of a day when things are out of your control, and no matter how hard you try to do the best for your clients, it’s somewhat pointless.

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I was trying really hard to act more energetic/happy, but my thoughts were focused on the negative aspect of the situation. Normally, I would be looking into one of the following ways to de-stress.

50 ways to take a break

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However, this time around, the solution was much simpler: All it took to feel better was a hamburger, fries, coleslaw and BEER! I don’t even drink beer, but I’ve got to tell you, it did hit the spot. I am a happy person again! *Please, don’t judge! lol!*

GIFSec.com

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*Sorry, couldn’t resist! But I really didn’t have much!*

Moving on to some fun stuff, when I was shopping for gifts for my family last Sunday, I FINALLY got myself shoes for the Spartan Race. Buying proper running shoes can definitely be challenging; but I finally settled on this pair.

Reebok

They are super cute and light, with water drainage system. But the selling point for me was definitely the duragrip!

Reebok the grip

Can you tell I am a happy camper? Can’t wait to try them out to tell you more!!!

On the other hand, I paid attention to the issues this shoe has. According to one of the reviews, the ankle cap is somewhat high and can cause blistering, so I will definitely make sure to wear higher socks. Here is a product review by one of the ambassadors who participated and won some of the Spartan Races.

*Just in case: I bought these shoes on my own. I was not approached by the Spartan Race or Reebok to review or advertise their product.*

My workout today is going to be intense! *As always, taken from the Spartan Race guide.* After taking a look, I dubbed it ‘Sleep Like A Baby’ workout haha!

funny-baby-506-2

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Dynamic Warm Up

Start with a 5-minute general warm-up with a brisk walk, slow jog, easy cycle. or easy row. Then perform the following exercises two times for a distance of 25 yards each:

High-knee walk
High-knee jog
Butt-kickers
Lateral shuffle
Straight leg march
Skip
Straight leg skip
Cross-over step
Carioca
Duck walk

Mr. Clean

Repeat three times:

Swiss ball knee-tucks for 45 seconds
Push-ups for 30 seconds
Swiss ball tricep-dips for 45 seconds
Plank for 45 seconds

Super Spartan Run: 8 miles

AB 500

30 push ups for 30 days Spartan challenge

control your mind

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Do you ever eat junk food for a sake of making yourself feel better? What are you favourite trail running shoes?

xoxo
Olena

 

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The Art of Packing Your Travel Bag & The 5-4-3-2-1 Rule To Travel Lighter

OMG! I can’t believe it’s Monday already! And I am actually pretty excited!

Shocked-Face

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Okay, guys, don’t be so shocked. It is indeed possible to be excited about Monday!!!

Fine, I’ll admit to it. There IS a reason I am happy today. I’ve been keeping it from you for a while and I can’t hold on to it anymore out of my pure excitement!

don't put off your happy life

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I’ll be travelling to Europe in a week and a half!!! I KNOOOOOW, this is so excting! I haven’t been there in almost 3 years, and this time around I have Ukraine, France and Spain on the itinerary. I’m super stoked to see my family and friends, and explore all places I’ve never been to before. Woop woop!

travel does the heart good

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Needless to say, last two days were spent brainstorming on what gifts I should get and for whom. I might have had a bit of a panic attack and a mental break down, but then I decided to be a big girl and took the situation under control. I was surprisingly lucky when I went shopping, I am almost done! The only big tasks left are: to book a couple of bus tickets between cities in Spain, hotels in Paris and Barcelona, and… well… PACKING!

packing-men-vs-women

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I really liked the idea behind the 5-4-3-2-1 rule to pack lighter.

pack lighter

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Obviously, I need to make sure to include my workout gear too: a sports bra, 2 tops, jogging pants and light-weight running shoes *more on that tomorrow*. I am super excited to go for jogs in new places, therefore, it’s a must. Also, the Spartan Race is only 6 weeks away!!!

Here are some more suggestions I came across online.

the-art-of-packing-your-travel-bag

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What are the things you can’t travel without? How do you avoid taking too mucg with you?

xoxo
Olena

25 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Holidays

Weight Training 101 & Arnold Strength Workout: Act Like A Lady, Lift Like A Boss

The truth is, weight lifting has intimidated me for the longest time. It might have been all that iron or maybe all those bulk guys in the ‘guys section’ of the gym.

my arms are kind of big deal

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You know what I mean! But then, I thought to myself, enough is enough! The Spartan Race training calls for strength training, so I’ve got to put my big girl pants on and suck it up. And what’s awesome is that nowadays there are more and more girls who lift. And I’ve got to admit, they look totally bad@ss!

Lifting for womenSource 

But then, on the other hand, you see all these ridiculous behaviors there! Grunting, loud noises, swearing! Gosh, guys looooove to show off. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to show off your skills. However, very often all you see is bad forms of people who have no idea what they are doing *Yes, even with my uneducated eyes! Imagine!* , and the only thought on your mind is, please don’t hurt yourself, please don’t hurt yourself! Haha!

bad form

 

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Clearly, I don’t want to be one of them! Why get hurt because of lack of knowledge, especially that there’s so much information out there?!

I found some great rules of lifting etiquette and a few common mistakes to avoid at Bodybuilding.com. Here they are.

A FEW RULES OF LIFTING ETIQUETTE

  • To start, always bring a towel and be kind enough to wipe off the machines, benches and equipment you use.
  • Be sure to re-rack all the weight and replace all the dumbbells or barbells that are used.
  • Don’t rest for extended periods of time on a machine that someone is waiting for; if possible work in with them between sets, most people are more than willing to share when asked nicely.
  • Finally, please, leave your cell phone in your locker or car; nothing is more distracting than listening to another person’s conversation, unwillingly.

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID

  • Using too much weight, too soon; always start lower than your expected ability and work your way up that first workout. If your form suffers, you are swinging the weight, or using momentum, this indicates you may be using too much weight. Greater momentum increases the potential for injury and reduces the effectiveness to the muscle group being targeted.
  • Not using enough weight; always play it safe, but if you can perform 30 reps with a certain weight, it’s likely time to increase it a bit. Tip: Increase the weight no more than about 5% at a time.
  • Moving through repetitions too quickly, going too fast; there is nothing gained by lifting weights ‘fast’ some of the perks of lifting weight in a slow and controlled manner, include more total muscle tension and force produced, more muscle fiber activation both slow and fast twitch fibers, and less tissue trauma. *Remember, a joint is only as strong as the muscles that cross it; if you haven’t lifted in a long time, or ever, be careful what you ask of your joints.
  • Not resting long enough, or resting far too long; both can be a workout killer. Tip: The recommended rest period is between 30-90 seconds, for overall fitness.

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act like a lady lift like a boss

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As you have probably noticed, my workout for today is called Arnold. *The Spartan Guide is very creative when it comes to workout names!*

According to the training guide, some may say that this isn’t functional, but Arnold says. “you’ll be back,” for this change of pace! Repeat this 3 times, using a weight you can lift within the desired range.

10-15 reps each:

Alternating backward barbell lunge
Alternating dumbbell chest press with overhand grip
Alternating incline dumbbell row with neutral grip
Back extension on machine with arms across chest
Cable lat pull-down with underhand grip
Alternating dumbbell shoulder front raise
Barbell wrist curl with arms on bench
Barbell wrist extension
Alternating dumbbell bicep curl with neutral grip
Seated 1-arm dumbbell tricep extension
Bridge and leg curl on stability ball
Bicycle
Dead bug
Leg raise with flutter kick on incline bench or floor

*For dead bug and flutter kick make sure the lower back stays neutral.

+ 30 push ups for 30 days challenge!!!

I'm just strong

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Now I’d like to hear from you, my weight-lifting friends! What are the most valuable lessons you learned while lifting? What are the errors I should avoid? Any tips or tricks?

xoxo
Olena

 

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My First 8-Miler, 7 Power Foods To Beat The Slump At Work, And Yoga Sequence For Runners

Guys! I did it! I ran my first 8-miler yesterday!!!

I know, it might sound like not a lot, but I am proud of my accomplishment. I was a bit worried after my last tough 4 mile run last week, so I took it easy and ran 8.16 miles in 1 hour and 20 minutes. To my surprise, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Here is my somewhat surprised, tired and proud face. Haha!
after the run

At some point of the day, I got a little nervous though. It was another busy day at work and I felt tired and ready to hit my bed. But then I thought of yesterday’s post and the importance of acting energetic… and ummmm… well… I got myself a bottle of Vitamin water… There! Guilty as charged!

guilty as charged

 

I know, I know! I am a bad girl, and that stuff is really not good for you. But you gotta do what you have to do, right? Haha!

There are actually other ways to recharge your batteries while at work that do not involve drinking stuff you shouldn’t be drinking. According to Live Strong, the following are 7 power foods you could have at work to beat the slump:

  1. Walnuts and almonds.
  2. Low-fat diary.
  3. Avocado and olive oil.
  4. Hard boiled egg.
  5. Blueberries.
  6. Dark chocolate.
  7. Citrus fruits.

Also it is very important not to skip breakfast, eat well-balanced lunch, get proper sleep, and avoid sweets to prevent midday sugar crushes.

full-of-positive-energy-and-its-gone_o_814242

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Today is my active rest day. I will try out the following 10-posture yoga sequence from PopSugar. Here is an instruction from the website: Move through each pose, holding for five breaths, and then repeat on the other side. *Not sure I’ll be able to do the last pose though! LOL!* Also, don’t forget the Spartan 30 push ups for 30 days challenge: Day 3!

be3a267c403f4129_yoga-for-runners-pinterest-poster-350

 

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What achievements are you proud of? How do you maintain your energy levels at work?

xoxo
Olena

31 Comments

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The Happiness Project, How To Be Organized & De Sena Cross-Train Workout

It’s a HUMP day!

Hump day

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I say, what can be better than starting a day with a giggle or two?! That’s right.

I’ve been in a very good mood this week, despite the busyness at work. I guess, it’s a spring effect. The sun has been shining brightly for the past 2 days, and today should be the warmest day of the year so far! And you know what happens when it gets warmer…

spring harvestSource 

No, please, don’t get scared away! I don’t have any spring harvesting to do, I simply couldn’t resist putting this picture up. Haha!

By the way, did you have the chance to prank someone yesterday? My colleagues decided to fill up the office of one of my coworkers with 4 big bags of balloons. Can you imagine? Such a brilliant idea!!! It put a big smile on his face.

April Fool's

To top it all off, I started reading a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I kept on seeing good reviews for a while, and decided to give it a try.

The happiness project

The timing couldn’t be better, the author pursued a different set of resolutions each month in order to amplify the happiness in her life. So as you can imagine, the chapters are organized by month. Not that you have to follow it, but I decided why not? Extra happiness is always welcome in MY life. *You might remember one of my previous posts that looked into the benefits of laughter and why you should laugh more. If you missed it by any chance, you can read it here.*

laughter

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The first chapter is focused on how to boost energy in our lives. The solution is actually pretty straight forward:

  • Go to sleep earlier. *Read more on how to sleep better here*
  • Exercise better: All it takes is to get moving.
  • Toss, restore, organize: my biggest challenge!
  • Tackle nagging task: We all know how great it feels when one of those gets done.
  • Act more energetic: Sometimes we need to work on getting more energy, even if it starts by acting energetic.

Personally, I could improve on all of them. Thus, it wouldn’t hurt to try this Happiness Project out! I’ll try to review each chapter and a new set of resolutions *I prefer to call them goals though* at the beginning of each month. So feel free to join in!

Since organizing is one of my biggest challenges *mostly because of my laziness haha!*, I looked online for some help *as always*. Look what I found!!!

how-to-be-the-most-organized-person-in-the-worldSource

Isn’t it neat?!

My workout for today is as follows.

De Sena (cross-train)

Jump-rope for 10 minutes.
Repeat this cycle twice:
– 15 walking lunges on each leg
– 15 push-ups
– 15 stone deadlifts
– Belly crawl 10 yards
– 10 stone squat chest-pass

Run

Warm up 2 miles with heart rate in zone 2;
Run 4 miles with heart rate in zone 4;
Cool down 2 miles with heart rate in zone 2.

you can do it

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How did your April Fool’s go? Did you prank someone or got pranked? What are your thoughts on the Happiness Project?

xoxo
Olena

17 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Health, Motivation, The Happiness Project

The Success Indicator: Setbacks & How To Deal With Them

Happy Tuesday y’all! *In my mind Southern accent = warm = Summer!!! Could you tell I’m fed up with cold?!* It’s April Fool’s Day, so beware! Haha!

Today, I’d like to write about something that each and every one of us stumbles upon at some point of our lives: SETBACKS. The reason why I decided to bring this subject up is because one of my fellow bloggers, Laura from The Gluten-Free Treadmill, who is my big inspiration, attempted to run an ultra marathon this past weekend. It was super windy and as a result Laura was able to complete 75 out of 100 km. It’s not really surprising that she was feeling upset, frustrated and disappointed.

one defeat

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Obviously, running 75 km is a HUGE accomplishment in itself, and Laura definitely should not feel this way. That being said, it’s very easy to be a bystander and give advice on how to feel or not feel. However, let’s just think for a moment of how many expectations we have of ourselves. It is important to have goals and dreams. The problem is, however, when those dreams and expectations fail to motivate us and on the contrary make us doubt our abilities and alter our progress.

giving up on your goal

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So how do we move on from setbacks? According to Huffington Post, there are a few things we can do:

  1. Put it into perspective.successSource
  2. Evaluate: What is the lesson learned from this situation?

    strengthSource

  3. Do something differently: ‘Do you want to try again to achieve the same goal or relationship or career change with a different tactic? Or maybe you want to achieve something totally different the next time. Whether you want the same thing or something else, you need to take what you discovered in tip number two and figure out how you are going to approach working towards the goal differently this time. And although you cannot plan out all of life and its obstacles, you can decide to try something new such as taking on a new attitude, or being more flexible to changing course sooner, or being more open to whatever comes your way.’

    do something you've never doneSource

  4. Commit to self-integrity: ‘Hold yourself up to not repeating the patterns that are stopping you from getting what you want, and follow through on the new ways that you have committed to doing things. Making this commitment is important for two reasons: First, it builds confidence because you learn that you can have some control over the direction of your life, and second, it stops you from backsliding and repeating the past experience (and then saying “see, I knew this would never work”).’

    commitmentSource

  5. Be all over the place: Change it up, spread your possible options.

    possibilitiesSource

  6. Always be your best friend: Don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay to have setbacks. What’s most important is how you come back up.

    love yourselfSource

In other words, it’s okay to be upset, but just for a little bit. Be proud of your accomplishments and your journey. Don’t let any setbacks get you off the road to success and happiness! *Love you, Laura!!!!!*

My workout for today is Bourbon on the Rocks (cross-training) and Ab 500 (strength). Also, do not forget that today is the first day of the Spartan 30 push ups for 30 days challenge!!! *Woop woop!*

successful people

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How do you deal with setbacks? Have you ever had a roadblock that you weren’t sure you could overcome?

xoxo
Olena

 

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Filed under Fitness, Health, Motivation