Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Stay Warm and Prosper

This morning, my Twitter was full of posts like this:
This doesn't include the -30 windchill! Baby it's cold outsid... on Twitpic

And this:
Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

And these:

"It's -2 outside right now. Awesome!"

"So on my way to the gym this morning my car told me it was -10 degrees. That is butt freaking cold!!!!!!! I need it to warm up a little."

"No one should have to go outside when it's -6 degrees. I'm moving so much slower this morning."

"Alright who wants to bail on this -9 degree stuff w/ me and go spend the rest of the month in Florida?"

I do. I want to bail and I'm not sure I even like Florida. It's like I don't even know where I am anymore. In Colorado, we have snow but it is supposed to melt. We have sun, all the time. Sun. All the time. This sub-zero, cloudy, blizzard siege is kind of killing me softly. I have been desperately wracking my brain for ways to go and warm up and created a little mental list.

Then, I was inspired by Maggie (of and her list of "7 Ways to keep Cozy in San Francisco" and decided to share how I plan to stay warm in Boulder during this hellish freeze winter.

1. Have a Cup of soup and homemade artisan Bread at Oliv You & Me at Pearl and Broadway.
This boutique specializes in olive oil and olive oil accessories.  I absolutely love stepping into the shop on a chilly day.  Patti Scott, the owner, has cultivated a shop that feels like a mini-vacation.  She usually has a couple of soups on, and always has a variety of olive oils to sample.Olive it! (Get it guys?! Oh witty!)

2. Have a Latte and a Gingerbread Stout Cupcake at Tee and Cakes.

Tee and Cakes is one of my favorite places to head during my work week.  The carefully selected music combined with the great art and creative baked goods is a refreshing break from all things corporate.  Also, I kind of have a crush on their intern. Follow Tee and Cakes on Twitter and get VIP deals. Mmmmcupcake!

3. Slurp fancy noodles and inspired cocktails at Happy Noodle and the Bitter Bar.
Happy Noodle is one of Big Red F's newer Boulder spots. I love Big Red F and all the things they do. I mean that. Happy Noodle has a menu full of diverse and inventive dishes, complete with Ramen (The ultimate Happy Noodle, no?) and their specialty Hot and Happy Soup. The Bitter Bar is somewhat a force of it's own. It defines itself as the "marriage of a speakeasy and...lounge." Warm it up with a hot sake, Brandi or Denver's own Leopold Absinthe.

4. Duck into a reading nook at the Boulder Book Store upstairs.
Boulder's largest independent bookstore started with only 10 bookcases and 5 employees.  Roughly 36 years later, it is a three story haven for book-loving locals.  The picturesque "annex" or upstairs is my favorite place to hide out on my lunch breaks, especially when the weather is going ballistic and hanging out below zero. I, it's zero- you really can't go below it.  You're just being a showboat, and no one likes a showboat.

5. Frequent the West End Tavern  for a Hot Toddy
The West End Tavern is arguably one of my favorite places in Boulder. Period.  It could be the hot wings.  It's really hard to say.  What I do know for sure is there are not many places I want to go when the snow is coming down in buckets, but I'll always go for a hot toddy at the The W.E.T.

6. Lurk by the fire and listen to Live Jazz at The St. Julien
In my last year of college I took a class on the History of Jazz.  The class was incredible, and now I can look extra cool when people ask me about jazz. You know, when that happens someday.  This class required we attend a certain number of live jazz performances; I attended all of mine at the St. Julien.  This started a love affair with the St. Julien lobby.  You can walk in, sit in a a velour slipper chair, listen to jazz, sip a cocktail or a latte, feel fancy and do so next to one of the best fireplaces I know of. 

7. Actually go to Hot Yoga
Few things undo the core freezing walk to the busI don't care if you get under your covers WITH the space heater and pour buckets of hot tea over your head; sometimes that bone chill is just going to linger right in to forever. Why? Because it's Colorado, and mountain living comes at a price my friend.  Luckily, this is Boulder, and you are never too far from a heated studio pumping Thievery Corporation and the heat cranked to 105. Glorious. 

8. Sherpas for garlic naan, Vindaloo, and Chai

I don't know how to explain Sherpas. They have incredible chai tea.  You simply must go.  The victorian house is a one-stop shop for Himalayan expeditions and cuisine, and authentic chai.  Their website paints the best picture:

"As the name implies, there are genuine Sherpas from the Himalaya here to bring a little of Nepal & Tibet to Boulder. In addition to great food & atmosphere, we offer a truly unique "traveler's lounge" with plenty of books to help get you started planning your next (or better yet first) adventure. Keep an eye out for our list of guest speakers and slide shows. If experiencing the Himalayas (or Thailand, Africa, or South America for that matter) appeals to you - you're in the right place. Sherpa's is the place to re-live the glories of past adventures and plan new ones."
 Have I mentioned their chai?

So if you are looking for me and I'm not cuddled on the floor with a space heater and every pair of socks I could find in the house (at this point I don't care if they are even mine), you might find me at one of these Boulder warm-ups.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I have girly-man triceps and Hamstrings of Inflexible Steel

(It has been over a month since my last post.  Let's just pretend like we don't notice.)

This Monday has been one of the more painful Mondays I have had in a while.  It isn't entirely due to the excessive amount of needy callers who still do not understand that when I say I will transfer them to a voice mail and then do it, it is not a mistake. Seriously.  Calling back will just yield the same results. Even if you call back twice. Leave a message Jethro.

Anyway, I'm a little extra pained because my muscles are sore due to the Bar Method class I took on Saturday.  I think they're still kind of angry that I found them because they are the muscles that never get worked extensively, except for a day I spend snowboarding (aka using extreme acrobatic prowess to hoist myself back to my feet 30-40 times per run). Hello my wimpy triceps, I have found you and I shall torture and exhaust you.

The Bar Method is a relatively new workout regime as far as dedicated studios and DVDs go.  It consists of three basics types of exercises that target your muscles, work them to exhaustion, and then stretch them while they are still warm.  It is supposedly a really effective way to build lean muscle of the non-bulky variety.

I campaigned on Facebook and via text for a workout buddy to come try the basics class with me this weekend as it was both of the following: a. Free;  b. Bound to reveal my severely inflexible hamstrings.  You'd think that no escort would have discouraged me, but let us not forget how entirely shameless and slightly delusional I can be. Indeed, I showed up alone and was the only person do to so. Holla at a loner.

Despite my loner status, the Boulder location is really inviting.  It is modern, light and airy feeling. As an added bonus, they offer each class attendee a locker free of charge (yoga studios should take note).  The studio itself has floor-to-ceiling mirrors around the room, a ballet barre along the mirrors, and any of the equipment you would need for the workout.  I showed up in some socks and I was set to go.

The class seemed to consist of four different phases: a warm-up; the upper body and arm workout; the barre work out (focusing mainly on legs and the glutes); and some serious core work. Each phase was followed by stretching the muscle groups that were just worked.  The class is meant to work you "head-to-toe," and it certainly did.  I felt about two inches taller and was definitely aware of my abs.

I loved the class overall.  Certainly my amazingly inflexible hamstrings proved a challenge for the barre stretches (it has to be said that the forward stretch in middle school PE was always what made me hate the presidential fitness test), but, other than that, all of the moves were relatively easy to learn.  They were fairly easy to do as well, however; doing the 90 reps (yes ma'am, 90) got the old heart rate right up there.  I could definitely see this class yielding its promised results of lean and toned muscle groups.

The only real drawback of the bar method is the price range.  At $18 per class it is difficult to wiggle into the budget.  The upside to that is the DVDs, which feature the method's founder.  This kind of knocks out the self-concious trial period and the high price tag problem in one fell swoop.

I will definitely try the Bar Method again since it was such a stellar workout.  I felt like like I could freely indulge the cheddar cheese stored in the cheese drawer in my fridge.  Ahh, cheese drawer.