Booksmart was the Best Movie of Summer 2019

I left the theater after seeing Booksmart and immediately texted my best friends from High School that I loved them.

Booksmart is a film that as soon as it’s finished, you immediately want to watch again. It is raw and honest commentary about the harsh reality of being a teen in today’s world and the importance of having a solid grasp on who you are. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is a beautiful balancing act between the pain and humor of being an overachieving teenager. Wilde’s selection for the stars of the film, Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, deliver an unbridled, honest, look into the life of Type A students and best friends. At first glance the plot appears to be about two high school seniors who were all work and no play utilizing their last night in high school to let loose; but after the opening scene it is revealed that this is more than a movie about high schoolers realizing they should have partied more. It’s about the importance of female friendships and how our self-judgement affects our relationships. 

Booksmart highlights the negative impact of holding other people to our standards without their consent. Beanie’s character, Molly, is self-assured, brilliant and wickedly funny but she lacks the ability to comprehend life from any point of view outside of her own. Kaitlyn Dever’s character, Amy, is her trusted bff, through thick and thin, who has dreams and goals of her own that she is afraid to share with Molly. On the very last day of school Molly learns that all the students she wrote off as dumb or partiers were just as successful as she was at getting in to good schools. Molly decides to correct this narrative by going out to the last day of school parties, and like it or not, Amy is joining her. 

The girls stumble through multiple parties, strange cab rides, adventures with their favorite teacher and high school level awkward situations. The highlight of their adventures is the omni-present Gigi. Wealthy, wishy washy, very abrupt and unpredictable – Gigi is the human embodiment of a triple Aquarius; weird in all of the best ways. Billie Lourd delivers Gigi as the alien of the high school, who can only cause a little harm, and serves as our protagonists’ sherpa on their adventures. 

I don’t want to ruin the rest of the movie for you if you have not seen it (idk what you are waiting for, STREAMING NOW!) but it is undeniably the best movie of Summer 2019.  It is not your average teenage makeover movie. There is not a dressing room montage scene (though there is a getting ready scene that involves blue jumpsuits). There isn’t even a magical hair style redo. Booksmart is a high school film that focuses on the power of female friendship, the importance of knowing who you are and allowing others to do what’s right for them. I IMPLORE you to go see it. If you already have, let me know what you think in the comments! 

Fitness Program Review: I Tried Natacha Oceane’s CUT

I’ve flirted with many fitness programs. I’ve tried PIIT28, BBG, instagram booty builder workout splits (no judgement on these, they gave me some of my best results prior to this program), yoga and everything in between. Over the last couple years I have fallen in love with the weight room because of the results it gave me.

My newfound love of weight lifting led to started following fitness influencers. One of my absolute favorites is Natacha Oceane. As a former gymnast, I am a huge fan of plyometric movements to get my heart rate up and Natacha emphasizes plyo. After following Natacha on instagram I began throwing in a few of her functional or plyo moves in to my workouts with B. He tolerated them, so after a few months of adding box jumps and HIIT to our split we decided to take the jump and purchase Natacha’s 10 week CUT fitness program.

CUT is marketed as a program that will help you burn fat, gain muscle and not jeopardize your metabolism. I personally was interested in this program because I want visible abs and this seemed like my best option (Natacha is absolutely ripped!). After completing this program for the first time I do not have visible abs but I have gained strength and did not have to change my eating habits at all.

CUT is a unique fitness program. The workout split is broken down in five workouts, with an optional and a mandatory rest day. The workouts are broken into plyometrics, upper body & HIIT, lower body, total body and HIIT. Each week the moves in the workouts change but the pattern stays the same. These workouts are KILLER and the upper body & HIIT day is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. My favorite thing about these workouts is the variety. A total body day can go from pull ups, to jumping lunges, to push ups without skipping a beat. I get bored by doing the same moves every week so I loved that the variety kept me going through the 10 week program.

To complete CUT I had to purchase the following items because my gym did not have them.

**The following links are Amazon affiliate links.

Long Loop Resistance Bands

Needed for pull up assistance, glute kick backs, etc.

Barebell Pad

My gym does not have these available and without them I refuse to do hip thrusts

Cons

There are only two cons to CUT as a fitness program.

The first is that you have to have an hour or more to dedicate to the gym for each workout. This is great for endurance but can be difficult when you work a regular job.

The other complaint I have is that I was constantly running across the gym for the next move. I was running from squat rack, to a plyo corner, to leg press, then back to the squat rack for most of the workouts. This is fine if you go to the gym at 6am (like we usually do) or in the middle of the day BUT if you have to work out during peak hours this does not work. The few times B and I had to go to the gym after work we had to switch up the order we did the moves in so we could utilize equipment while it was open.

Contrary to my complaints I absolutely LOVED CUT and am already jumping back into it for a second round! Have you tried CUT or another workout program that you love?

But Really Though Reads: What Happened

I love Hillary Rodham Clinton. If you have a different opinion of her, especially a derisively negative one, I respect that but I need you to walk away from this post now.

 

Because I love and respect the woman that we would all be calling Madam President if our country hadn’t fucked that up (looking at you white women) I preordered her book months before it came out. My book arrived on Friday September 22nd, and I finished it by Sunday evening.

 

“What Happened” is more than just Hillary’s side of the story. It’s a beautifully crafted love letter to those who supported Hillary and a declaration of hope for a better tomorrow for all Americans. If Hillary can still get out of bed and do something positive with her life after being defeated by a system that was created to protect us, then the least the rest of us can do is RESIST.

 

Hillary’s book is a call to action for her supporters and all progressives. She reminds us that change takes time, effort and whole lot of hope for a better tomorrow. “What Happened” was a reminder to continue calling my representatives. I try to write a letter to my representatives 5 days a week. This may seem time consuming or excessive but I use ResistBot to fax my reps during my morning commute. Text 504-09 to join the resistance. I’ve even received letters back from my local representative.

 

In her book, Hillary also addresses the importance of not taking shit from men. She reminds us of the horrible comments and accusations she faced from her opposition. She also mentions the Bernie issue. Hillary is an intelligent woman who wanted to offer people the best possible plan that she could execute. Bernie wanted to light a fire. His fire resulted in burning the youth vote for her. Unfortunately, many of my fellow millennials did not share the same reverence for our former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State. My personal opinion is that they lacked the knowledge of politics before the Obama era and didn’t understand the what the catastrophic results of a divided democratic party would be.

 

She has paved the way for another woman to reach the highest glass ceiling in the USA – and hopefully that next woman, assuming she is qualified, will shatter it.

Flirtations in Fitness: Trying New Workouts

I’m bored. Not with my job, friends or life – no, I’m bored with my workouts. My boredom has lead to a lack of fitness motivation that nearly rivals my former lifestyle choices with my main man Dom(inos).  

Luckily, I haven’t let this boredom completely deter me from my running/lifting schedule but it has made waking up in the morning to get my workout in damn near impossible. Because of this consistent boredom I decided to shake things up. Over the last month I have tried out multiple public and home fitness programs. I’ve officially gone from bored to sore. Below are my thoughts on the programs I’ve tried.

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Image belongs to barre3.com

Barre3

Barre3 is a cardio and strength building class that takes place in what looks like a ballet studio. Since I assumed, from the look of the room, that this class would be mostly ballet with some mat work I decided to take this class on a lunch break. Barre3 is nothing like ballet. Barre3 is the hardest cardio class I have taken to date. The entire hour is filled with upbeat pop music. I started sweating about three minutes in and left drenched. The lunchtime class crew was beyond friendly. The instructor took the time to make sure I understood the moves and it was the most enjoyable cardio I have ever done. The downside to Barre3, like most workout studios, is the price. Even though the class was $22 I will definitely be taking advantage of their new student deals and buying myself a class pass.

 

 

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CardioBarre

I walked into my beginner CardioBarre class thinking it would be a lot like Barre3. Once again, my assumption was amiss. CardioBarre is taught by former dancers, making it slightly lower energy and insanely more difficult on my calves. The relives killed me!  The studio is carpeted but beyond that is the same as a true dance studio. The CardioBarre studio I went to had a slightly less fun loving attitude about it than Barre3 but what it lacked in energy it made up for in strength training. I would highly recommend CardioBarre to any former dancers, like myself, who want to get a good workout in while triggering nostalgia of their dancer days. The only negative about CardioBarre is that the beginner class was insanely difficult; I would be terrified to try the advanced class. Or I am horribly out of shape. It’s probably the latter.

 

 

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Don’t these abs inspire you? They inspire me!!!  Image from Pao’s Fit World. 

SSBM by Paola Marquez

SSBM is an acronym for “Strong & Sexy Body Method” a guide by Paola Marquez. I have Paola’s guide as an ebook on my phone and there is only a one time fee of $69.98 to purchase the book.  The pro to the ebook is that you can click on the assigned moves from the workout and watch Paola demonstrate the moves. The workouts vary between HIIT training and light weight training. The plan is for 6 days a week with 5 days of planned workouts and a sixth day of LISS cardio. This workout plan is good for those who want to start light weight training and need help on where to begin. The workouts are succinct and definitely work, but by week 3 I was beyond bored of the workout style. I still use these workouts to supplement my usual routine and for days when I don’t want to lift heavy.

 

 

giphy
Actual footage of me trying to keep up in CardioBarre and Barre3 – at least I’m having fun! 

I’m insanely proud of myself for turning to new workouts instead of the couch. Its super important to love your workout, or at least enjoy it, to stay motivated. This little experiment has reminded me that I do really well in group fitness classes and I am more likely to challenge myself when I feel like people are watching me. My competitive side has come back out along with my new love of Barre classes. Although, this former ballerina is still getting her ass kicked in them.

What are some of the ways you get out of a fitness rut? What are some of the fitness classes you’ve tried?  I’m thinking kickboxing may be next on my list. Self-defense and a workout in one sounds like a bargain!

 

Monogamy to Polyamory: PIIT28 Review

Image via the PIIT28 website.

Having bragged about how buff my arms were in my previous health post I thought it was high time to give the product a full review.

I completed PIIT28 the first month back in April and I loved how it made me feel. I was getting compliments on my toned arms and I had officially gotten in the habit of working out hard five to six times a week. The program consists of two weeks of workouts that you repeat twice to complete the 28 day challenge. Each workout is around 28 minutes, hence the name. I will forever scream Cassey’s praises from the roof tops because she is so motivating, positive and strong but, there were a few cons to her at home fitness program.

One con to this program is the PIIT format. Pilates Intense Interval Training is Cassey’s take on HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). If you are not familiar with HIIT, it is what you are forced to do in hell. Cassey’s version consists of a seven minute workout where you repeat either a cardio (such as mountain climbers or JUMPING LUNGES) or Pilates (such as planks or ab work) for 45 seconds. 

You then take a 15 second break and move on to the next move, and repeat, until you have completed seven evil different moves. The downside to this system is that you repeat the seven minute workout four times to complete your workout.

sponge

Actual footage of me doing PIIT

It was torture. If you are using the videos on her PIIT website that means that you have to watch the same video four times to complete your workout. Her motivational quotes are amazing the first time through but, by the time I got the third week and was repeating the previous workouts, the quotes and commentary transformed from motivational to infuriating. WHY DID YOU NOT JUST MAKE A 28 MINUTE VIDEO FOR US CASSEY? Why are you still so happy? HOW ARE YOU NOT TIRED? I caught myself yelling at her for saying the same thing over and over again as I struggled…but maybe that’s just a me problem.

Another negative is the workout timer. After buying the complete work out program I still had to spend another $2.00 on a fitness timer on her app so I could track the workouts and stop yelling at her videos. This app was customizable with her workout moves and gave me the confidence to know that I was following the program’s instructions perfectly.  I know that was probably a good idea on the part of her company, and it worked on me. I caved, I bought the app, I joined the cult, I am not ashamed. One pro to buying the timer though is that I now have a customizable fitness timer for future interval workouts.

spongebob-superlifting

Fitspo

The last negative is a problem with all at-home workouts. Some of the moves were way beyond my ability levels as someone who had never intentionally set foot in a gym. I had no idea how to safely do some of the movements that were repeated in multiple workouts. I’m still not certain on jumping lunges. Jumping lunges are a move that should look exactly how they sound.

Unless you are me, then jumping lunges look like falling.

Cassey’s program forced me to spend at least 28 minutes a day on making myself stronger and I appreciate it for that. Her positive mentality has stuck with me as I continue on my fitness journey.

Will I be buying PIIT28 2.0???

Hell no, I’ll stick with the devil I know, thank you very much. While I have since moved on to other fitness methods and programs, I still pick a PIIT28 session to do around least once a week. (Truth be told I took a month off and missed yelling at her as I suffered). But, instead of being my main source of exercise, PIIT28 now supplements my running, other free Blogilates videos and yoga with Adrienne (a woman I will never leave).

Don’t worry – all this fitness hasn’t changed me, I ordered a pizza while writing this to counteract all the fitness I’ve been doing. #balance.

Let me know if you would like to hear more about my adventures in fitness or my love obsession of Yoga with Adrienne!