Finding Time for Fitness

It’s amazing how much more efficient we can get with technology and multi-tasking in our lives; and yet we seem to have less time than ever. What is that about? I find that the better I get at organizing and getting things done; the more I actually do and less time is left after all has been said and done.

And it’s not just ME, I am hearing this common issue from so many women these days. We are so busy taking care of everyone else that we tend to overlook our needs and goals. Then one day, we “wake up” and wonder what the heck happened and why are we feeling so neglected and out of touch with ourselves?

There is nothing wrong with setting some time aside to take care of what we really want to do. And it it should actually be a NON-NEGOTIABLE practice to take care of our health and fitness. If we don’t, who will? It’s easy to overlook the fact of eating the freshest and most natural foods; and getting in some daily activity to help our goals and bodies run their best and stay strong and happy along the journey.

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But who has time for long workouts these days? The days seem to start off with a bang the moment we drag ourselves out of bed and don’t slow down or stop until we fall into bed, completely exhausted.

But what will that do for us in 10, 20, 30 years from now? What are the long term effects of running on empty and not taking the time to keep ourselves humming along through these years? They will pass either way; isn’t it a better idea to take hold of what you can do NOW instead of that elusive time called “ONE DAY”??

I know there are no shortcuts to getting fit and being healthy. It takes proper attention and the best care. To get a lean and toned body, you need to be consistent and willing to do the work that makes the changes. But what do we do about those times when life gets hectic, (like most of the time?), when the “to-do” lists begin to pile up and all of a sudden you realize that you’ve missed out on another entire week of getting started. Trust me, we all have been there at one time or another. I can definitely relate. Which is why I’m going to share some simple tips to start right now and add into your daily routine, that will help start you and keep you on track to reaching your goals.

Short on time during your day, too? Here you go! 😉

1. All you need is “10 minutes”…
If the idea of heading to the gym or completing an hour long workout is not going to work, consider doing 10 minute fitness bursts throughout your day. You know you can find a spare 10 minutes, especially during your lunch time break. I find that it’s really amazing how many calories you can rack up in a short amount of time if done right. In order to really torch some calories, you need to get your heart rate up. Consider doing HIIT type workouts…which stands for “HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING”. So give it just 10 minutes but give it all that you’ve got. If you need an idea, here is a short workout for you to try now..

2. Let’s get “sneaky” about some extra cardio…
You don’t need to go for an hour run to get cardio into your day. Look at ways you can add small amounts of cardio in, that will add up over time. Park your car further away in the parking lot, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and get up and walk around when you are talking on your phone. These are all small changes you can add into your daily routine, so that although they may not feel like much, they are a great way to burn more calories, without committing to hours on that boring treadmill.

3. Do super sets…
One of my favorite and most effective ways to get the most out of your workouts, is to start adding in supersets with your weight training. This is one training technique done in many of our workouts with Beachbody and I’ve noticed that Sagi def adds it throughout his Body Beast plan. Not sure how to do a superset? You simply pick a muscle group that you want to work on, and then do a few different exercises for that muscle group, with little or no rest in between.

For example, if you want to work your legs, you could start with deadlifts, weighted squats and dumbbell walking lunges. Once you have gone through one round of exercises, repeat it a few more times. Not only do supersets cut your workout time down, they also keep the intensity levels high which help you to burn your calories and fat from your body.

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For a full fitness and nutrition program that can help you achieve the body of your dreams, start with some simple goal setting so I can send you some info regarding my next online fitness challenge. Sign up HERE.

All levels are welcome and encouraged. This is not a “quick fix”; it’s about learning lifestyle behaviors and working around common issues that can keep us from achieving our biggest goals and dreams. They truly will change your life.

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Journey To Success: Stage or Not

The big weekend is here!! Summit 2015 in Nashville, TN has arrived and over 20 thousand Beachbody coaches are in attendance! Crazy and a bit scary, if I can be honest! 😉

My plans, as you are most likely aware, were to compete on stage with many other Coaches who have trained and followed the meal plans to reach the goals that warrant award ceremonies. Perseverance and dedication are just a few of the practices and mindset needed for this type of training. Life has so many ups and downs, vacations and weekends, celebrations and time to let go of our “shoulds”….but for competitions of this nature, that is not an option unless you decide you’re not that committed.

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Well, I do have to say that I am 2 weeks shy of the last phase of Body Beast. The meal plan proved challenging at times but the higher calorie range helped my intense hunger while I was building muscle and dropping much needed fat stores. There were days that my body felt as though it wouldn’t be able to complete another rep or set of an exercise (especially BUILD LEG day!) but the decision to stick to the end was the ultimate goal and I wouldn’t waver or let myself off the hook with any type of mental “loophole”.

*sidenote: I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s new book, “Better Than Before” and she dives into mastering everyday habits for success and I will be sharing many points of interesting info that I’ve been learning and actually implementing into my life since I’ve become obsessed with the tips and strategies she teaches.

Anyway, the point of this blog post is to celebrate those who are competing this week in Nashville. Best wishes to all who worked their butts off (quite literally, I might add!) and dealt with cranky mood swings, deprivation of carbs, sore muscles, waning motivation and more. I know we are all winners in our hearts, minds and families. This is not something to casually give a round of applause to..this is about changing EVERYTHING we know about being comfortable, happy, lazy and sometimes just care-free. This style of training takes a mental shift like no other “fitness or weight loss” program. So stand up and give a huge round of applause to those who are walking across the stage; tanned; donned in swimsuits; barefoot or high-heeled. I know I will be leading the applause because I understand the commitment.

The difference in my results are not in the commitment level (because I will complete these final 2 weeks of the BEAST) or the fact of my accomplishment; but only in the fact that I cannot be in attendance in Nashville this weekend to join those who are celebrating their success and hard work. Like I mentioned earlier, life has it’s ups and downs and unfortunately, I was unable to travel to Tennessee this weekend for personal reasons but I am there in heart and spirit and I am completing my journey at home.

I will share my before and after. I will celebrate my success. I will be proud of what I have done and what I will continue to accomplish in new goals along the way. Would this be devastating to most? You bet! And I was no different when I had to make the difficult decision to change my travel plans at the last minute. But what I value most is the learned behavior to NOT complain; not make excuses and not stop pushing for more. I am proud of the accomplishments I have made so far; and will continue to make in the next two weeks – and more.

It’s not about a “FINISH LINE” when we create goals and challenges for ourselves. It’s about reaching a level of success and then renewing and finding another level to achieve. This is just a small (yet disappointing) road bump; but I know there is a light at the end of this goal and there will be another road ahead.

I thank you all for your support along the past few months and the encouragement to keep going because without that I may have decided this was all for naught. I know better and I want to challenge you to look at the next disappointment you encounter in your life; the visions that change shape or roads that take a slight left turn instead of a right turn and make it into your new success reality.

Don’t ever give up and don’t ever let yourself get caught up in negativity and disappointment. Turn that frown upside down (as cliche as it sounds) and make a new goal for yourself. I am going to surprise everyone again and will be open to the next opportunity that comes my way.

Until then, get up and get your workout in!

Beast Phase

Ending off this 90 day Body Beast journey has been crazy!! I started out thinking it would be a fun challenge to stick with in my online support groups but it really helped me reach a new level of fitness on my own time and without having to second guess my day to day plans.

My goal to hit the stage for the second time was going to be completely different from my first round. I had always wanted to compete in a fitness competition, mainly to see if I could sustain the grueling training schedule and stick to the food plans no matter what was happening in my day to day life.

I won’t lie, it was HARD!!!! But my goal was set and I wanted to push for first place so I hired an online coach/trainer to help me through the progress. She was a WBFF Pro (which means she had one first place in a world-wide competition and earned her PRO card) and I knew she had what it took to help me get my goals met.

I Think I Can!!

The workouts were intense and most days I spent over two hours a day in the gym; and that meant intense cardio sessions and crazy circuit and strength training that left me standing in my own sweat puddle, time and again. I would see other gym-goers “eying” the crazy blonde doing burpees and step ups and jump lunges and more. I wouldn’t smile at anyone because that’s the intensity I brought to my training. The meals were set up to follow as a system of the same daily food plans; which were changed up in little ways throughout each phase of my training. The no carb days were the least of my favorite days but no matter how much I hated it all, I knew I would persevere and I knew I was committed to reaching the goals I had set out for myself when I began.

Most of you know the story and if not, you can easily go back and check out my blog post from the 2012 NPC competition but I felt proud that I came home with 2nd place trophy and 3rd place in the overall division.

The “after” story was not so pretty. I went into not caring about my foods as much anymore and doing workouts as I wanted to; but with no particular schedule or plans. I am not the type of person to go completely off my training and clean eating but I knew I had reached a level that was unhealthy for my body and mind at the end final stages of my training. I suffered from adrenal fatigue and was gaining weight quite rapidly due to the low body fat I had attained and the drastic workouts and meal plans that left my body and mind completely drained.

I am not here to bash fitness training at all. I actually have a new respect for those who compete professionally, although for me I knew it wasn’t to be. It took me almost a full year to finally feel like I could get serious about training and eating right again but when people would ask if I would compete again, I would always give a less than excited response of, “oh, I don’t know….”

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So, when I began training for this competition, it was more about me and doing it right for my body this time around. NO punishing torture sessions in the gym; I didn’t even have time to do that any longer. The decision to train exclusively on my own with our Body Beast program, supplements and food plans was a new and exciting plan to me. I finally felt the enthusiasm for doing my best again. I surrounded myself with others who were on a similar mission to reach their own goals and who would do whatever it took to get there. No excuses are allowed in this game.

I started this with the mindset of being “all in”. I set up my training schedule and put it into my calendar each day, following Sagi’s plans from the program. The hardest part, yet again, was in the food plans. This wasn’t as clear cut as my trainer had laid out for me in the prior plans so it took some extra mental attention to figure out how many of each food group I was to eat daily. I knew that my calorie intake was going to be higher than I usually ate; and started out at 2200 calories per day. This seemed like a LOT of food but once the training took off, my body craved the foods in a crazy way.

I tracked my foods in My Fitness Pal because it was easy to find foods in the data base (but I do need to caution you that if you follow MFP, it is typically on the low end for calorie recommendations so if you need help calculation your needs for success, feel free to send me an email) and it allowed me to keep a tally without counting calories and macros on my own.

I know that we can’t get all of our nutrition met when cutting calories and training so aggressively so the supplements I used were; Shakeology (every day), Body Beast supplements (including Base Shake, Fuel Shot, creatine and Super Suma) as well as some additional Quest protein powder to make some of my meals easier to get in on busier days. (I only used the all-natural formulas so no sucralose for this chica!)

Each phase of the program held a new challenge and new successes. Phase 1 was all about “building” up the foundation and starting with weight training that was able to be challenged in the next stage. Phase 2 was about “bulking” up and getting into heavier weights and multiple training styles. Drop sets, progressive sets, force sets, were just a few of the styles Sagi would throw our way.

I went into phase 2 by gaining weight. That would freak out most women but I knew that this was only because of my changes in weights and lean muscle growth. I knew by phase 3, I would be leaning out and cutting back to lose the extra body fat that remained. That was a given. By phase 3, the foods were cut back a bit (but only to 2000 calories per day) and the workouts were a blend of both phase 1 and 2. I have to say that this phase was probably the least stressful on my body and made it fun by mixing it all up for my mind.

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The final results won’t be clear until I finish the last 2 weeks of “Beast” phase but I am so excited about how far I’ve come that I had to share with you today. If this is something that you would love to take part in, please fill out this application to join my next support group and I’ll coach you through to your own results.

Until next time, BEAST UP!!!

End of BULK Week Results

This is my LAST week of the BULK phase from Body Beast.

I am excited about my changes this phase the most. The workouts were somewhat shorter than BUILD or phase 1 and it incorporated heavier weights which always makes me a happy girl.

Go heavy or go home 🙂

To give an idea of the changes and progress that were made within the past 5 weeks, I’ll share with you my weight increases and also my pictures to show what has happened. It’s exciting and refreshing to not have to rethink that I’m doing the right thing by following a plan such as this, which is scientifically proven and the proof is in the thousands of success stories everywhere!

Mine is next!

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Mondays: Chest day (duh)

Week 1 to Week 5:

*Incline Fly superset with Incline Press:

week 1: 20 lbs (all 5 weeks)  week 5: 20 lbs to 30 lbs (increased 10 lbs per side)

*Chest press with rotation:

week 1: 20 lbs  week 5: 25 lbs (increased 5 lb dumbbells per side)

*Incline Press progressive set:

week 1: 20 lb – 25 lbs – 30 lbs week 5: 25 – 30- 30 (increased 5 lbs for first 2 sets) 

*Close grip press to fly:

week 1: 30 lbs – 25 lbs -20 lbs week 5: 20 lbs – 25 lbs for 8 reps and 20 lbs for 4 reps – 30 lbs (increased 5lbs and 10 lbs)

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Tuesdays: Legs (pretty predictable, right?)

Week 1 to Week 5: 

*Front to back lunge:

week 1: 10 lbs – 15 lbs – 20 lbs week 5:  15 lbs – 20 lbs – 25 lbs (increased 5 lbs each side per set) 

*Squats:

week 1: 20 lbs – 25 lbs – 30 lbs

*Full to 1/2 sumo squat:

week 1: 20 lbs   week 5: 30 lbs (increased 10 lbs)

*Split Squat:

week 1: 20 lbs -25lbs – 30 lbs week 5: 30lbs – 35 lbs- 40 lbs (increased 10 lbs per side per set)

*Deadlift superset with Alternate side squats:

week 1:  15 lbs/20lbs – 20lbs/20lbs – 30 lbs/20 lbs week 5: 20 lbs/15lbs – 25 lbs/15lbs – 40lbs/15lbs (increased 10 lbs)

Calf raises and Abs

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Wednesday (Arms) this one is my favorite 🙂

*Standing bicep curls:

week 1: 10lbs – 15lbs -20lbs   week 5: 10lbs – 18lbs – 20 lbs

*Tricep Extension:

week 1: 15lbs – 20 lbs – 25 lbs   week 5: 20lbs – 30lbs – 40lbs (increased 5lbs and 10lbs)

*Wide curls:  week 1: 20lbs for 5 sets

* Skull crushers:

week 1: 10lbs – 15lbs – 20lbs week 5: 15lbs – 20lbs -25lbs

*Hammer curl:  week 1: 10lbs – 15lbs -20 lbs

*Tricep Kickbacks:   week 1: 10lbs -15lbs- 20lbs

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Thursday:

Beast Cardio and Abs…..OUCH is all I have to say! 🙂

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Friday:  BACK

*Pull over and pullups (resistance band pulls)

week 1: 25lbs – 10 reps week 5: 30lbs – 10 reps (increased 5 lbs total)

*Reverse grip row

week 1: 20 lbs -25 lbs – 30 lbs week 5: 20lbs -30lbs- 40lbs (increased 5 and 10 lbs) 

*One arm rows:

20 lbs for 5 sets (no rest)

*Deadlift:

week 1: 20lbs -25lbs – 30 lbs week 5: 25lbs -30lbs – 50 lbs (increased 5lbs and 20lbs) 

*Reverse Fly and Plank rotations: week 1: 8lbs week 5: 10lbs

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Saturday: Shoulders

*Lateral raises superset with Arnold presses

week 1: 8lbs/15lbs – 10lbs/18lbs – 13lbs/20lbs week 5: 10lbs/20lbs – 13lbs/20lbs – 15lbs/25lbs

*Upright Rows:

week 1: 10lbs -13lbs – 15lbs week 5: 10lbs – 15lbs – 20 lbs (increased 2lbs to 5lbs)

*Alternate Front Rows superset with Dumbbell Twist:

week 1: 8lbs/10lbs – 10lbs/20lbs – 13lbs/20lbs week 5: 8lbs/20lbs – 10lbs/20lbs – 15lbs/20lbs

*Reverse Flyes superset with Superman  week 1: 5lbs – 8lbs – 10lbs

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5 Weeks to the Stage!

I’m now just 5 weeks out from my next competition and it’s funny how I started out with the hopes of finding the “zone” of this new training phase. I also remember that feeling the first time I competed 2 years ago, and it happened the same way again this time. Both times, I started out with the plans of achieving my goals but not quite 100% confident that I was going to succeed.

Sound familiar to you? Isn’t that how we view all of our big challenges in life?

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I realized the similarities this time around as it’s almost like a deja vu; and in talking to many of my newer clients in their apprehension of being able to succeed long term in their new health and fitness goals, it is one and the same.

We begin with the need to reach new goals. This happens because we are either sick and tired of feeling a certain way and need to make it better; or just want to better ourselves regardless of where we are. Either way, we have to set out to find the solution and then commit to the program.

The success doesn’t just magically appear as we make those decisions, obviously. We need to put in the time, the effort and make the sacrifices that are needed to reach those new heights. Change is never easy but it is up to us to decide whether the sacrifices and struggles are worth the results we want.

If they aren’t important enough to us; we won’t follow through.

It’s really that simple. Think about the last accomplishment you made. Was it 100% easy? I’m betting not. But if you reached the milestones you set out to accomplish in the beginning, it was obviously worth the effort to you at that time. Had it not been more important than giving up or doing what you weren’t quite ready for, it would not have happened. Do you agree?

I’ve been in training now for 8 weeks and this was the first week that I finally seriously reached the zone. For example, I don’t really have to think about what I will do in terms of working hard and eating on plan. It just IS. 

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Have you ever run a race and in the beginning it’s tough and uncomfortable; but if you kept pushing through it just got easier until all of a sudden you hit this ZONE of actually feeling like you were fed some super powers?

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That’s where I am now and it is truly a HIGH! (and all natural, thank you very much!) 😉 My workouts are now more intense and yet I feel like I’m able to power through in bigger and better ways every week. #beastmode 

My meals are on fleek (not sure if I referenced that in the right way but it sounded like the right time to use my kids’ lingo…lol)

If you are confused at what I just meant about my meals, it goes like this:

I wake up in the morning STARVING!!!!  So I eat my breakfast of eggs and oatmeal or just protein in my oatmeal. Then 2-3 hours pass and guess what? I’m STARVING all over again, on cue. And that meal goes down…and on and on we go. But it’s pretty awesome when you think about it because it’s like a machine…haha! Maybe I sound ridiculous but it’s true and amazing how our bodies are able to adapt and change to get better as we progress.

 

 

Now, begins the final week of BULK phase and then we enter BEAST phase…which is where we LEAN out!!!

 

Body Beast; Week 8

New day; new month and new week!

My journey to the Classics in July continues and today marks week 8. The workouts are seriously challenging and although I had not used the Body Beast supplements in their entirety when I completed the program a few years ago, they are calling my name this time around. It’s funny how I always “think” I know better but when the program is a proven plan; actually scientifically so, maybe I should drop me ego at the door and just trust. 

Today is Monday and all weight lifters and gym-goers know that means it must be CHEST day! Yes, on any given Monday, if you were to visit the gym, the bench press benches are always in use. You actually have to wait in line to get your turn under the bar. So why would Sagi change this plan? Yes, even on Body Beast; Monday means CHEST DAY.

Breakfast means that I am sticking to my “usual” of cooked oatmeal with some peanut butter and almond milk; plus egg whites and veggies with salsa. Coffee on the side. This seems to be my staple for month 2’s breakfasts. I’m a creature of habit so I know that I will keep this going until I’m completely SICK of it and then look into a new option. I’ve done breakfast pancakes before; among different omelet choices, but for now, this is making me happy and that is what it takes when kicking my body to the curb in these workouts.

My “after workout” fuel is my Shakeology and in this phase, that means upping the protein by adding in a scoop of the Body Beast Beast Shake. Lunch is usually 2 or 3 hours later and consists of whatever lean protein I have on hand; chicken, tuna, egg whites, etc and veggies. I have an apple to curb my sweet tooth and sprinkle cinnamon on top. I used to scoop out some peanut butter but for all of you recovering addicts, you know that I need to minimize how many times I actually open that peanut butter jar. Who knew it was so habit forming?

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I have to say that I am loving the way this program is going so far. I see noticeable changes in my abs, arms and focusing on working my booty as much as possible with some extra cardio workouts 3 days per week. Today I’ll use the stair climber machine at the gym for 40 minutes at a steady pace. My joints need some tender loving care so I will not do any of the jumping style workouts that I’m used to in my circuit style cardio sweat sessions for a bit. This momma needs to be in the best shape (or at least walk upright across that stage) at the competition.

 

BULK PHASE Has Begun…and other things

So where do I begin? Do you ever just have one of those days???

That was yesterday. That was like one million crappy things in one ginormous day. I guess I should also admit that it was a Monday, after all but not a complainer just like to be real sometimes.

So in case you aren’t aware that I’m in month 2 of my competition training phase yet, this probably didn’t help matters. When you are overly stressed and hungry at the same time…not to mention sore and tired from intense training…it can magnify matters.

I’m on month 2 of Body Beast and it’s all about BULK!! Dude! This phase is just NO JOKE! My foods have become almost second nature at this point and will remain consistent with phase 1…in month 3, we go to LEAN PHASE (aka: bitchy mood swings from less foods and less carbs but who’s counting?)

My days usually begin with my oatmeal (I like to add a little peanut butter and let it get all gooey!) and veggies scrambled with egg whites. Morning is the time I hit my workouts and if it’s a cardio day, that follows the training of the day.

I have now entered the second phase of Body Beast and this week was all about Bulk chest and legs so far…and ouch! I feel it!

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After workout, I always have my Shakeology (chocolate of course!) with either almond milk or water, ice and of course, peanut butter!!! Can you tell I’m a bit obsessed?

Lunch is usually veggies and either some lean protein from the night before or egg whites, topped with some salsa and avocado if in season. I round this meal out with an apple topped with cinnamon.

My pm snack consists of another lean protein source and veggies for sure and this varies depending on what I have at home…and what my mood is.

Dinner is either lean beef or salmon and veggies! My daughter even joins me on this too and it helps to have a support system alongside! I enjoy an evening snack and as long as it includes my greek yogurt, I’m a happy gal!

So anyway, back to yesterday…aka: Monday….

My day started off with a washing machine problem.

The problem with it, is that it decided to stop agitating and spinning. It would fill up with water, allow the clothes to sit in that water; and then drain the water out again. Not so effective at cleaning dirty laundry. I called the repair man and he broke the news that it would cost me about $300 to fix!

Ummmm….NO! I think I can almost buy a NEW one for that price! So…I piled up the dirty laundry, my detergent and a LOT of spare quarters and headed down to the local laundromat.

Oh, the fun you can have at laundromats. No, really, there is absolutely NOTHING fun about them! I loaded the clothes and laundry into the machines, added my detergent, piled in the quarters…(do you realize how much 17 quarters adds up to??) and pressed START.

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This was GO TIME for me! I saw that the machines ran for 23 minutes and then I plugged that time into my phone and off I went to run some errands. (not so shabby at this point) Except that I’m tired…and I just want to stop running around on a Monday. lol

Got my gas tank filled, went grocery shopping, stopped back at the laundromat to throw the clothes into the dryers and pile in the quarters again (although my dryer still works, why the heck would I haul a bunch of wet laundry home to dry in batches? no thanks!), drove home and unloaded the groceries (with kids’ help) and traveled back to laundromat to start folding the dried laundry.

One load was still wet.

Of course.

So, more quarters in and on with folding! Then loading into the car, and more folding, and more loading…

then the phone rings! What? I couldn’t believe the time already…it was a client whom I scheduled to talk with at this time. So I answered…in the laundromat…and acted as though life was completely normal.

Yes, I work in the laundromat! 😉

I have to brag that the phone call went well…although I felt a bit out of sorts but who could really blame me?

Finished the laundry, (because by this time, if anything was still damp, I wouldn’t be giving a rats’ ass) and headed home.

To make dinner…and put away laundry.

Yes, it was Monday and now it’s done. What did you conquer that day?