Fitness: Back to crazy workout mode

Healthy is the New Black, via GIPHY

If we are going to continue this online blogger-reader relationship, you should know that we get these crazy ideas in our heads to do fitness programs/challenges which are meant to help us form healthy habits,  transform our bodies and boost our mental strength (emphasis on transform our bodies). It all started a few years ago when Sarah had just moved to Rome from Paris and did the Insanity program for a few months while Rosemary was following Jillian Michaels’ 30 day Shred and Ripped in 30. Since then we have run a 20km race together, Sarah has run a few other half marathons, we have done a few Yoga with Adriene challenges and the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guides (BBG) 1 and 2 with the Whole 30 diet program. Generally we try to stay active but these challenges seem to give focus to our workouts which is sometimes necessary to keep it up! In the spring of this year we had the bright idea of doing PiYo in conjunction with running a 100mile challenge within two months which tragically resulted in injuries for the both of us. After spending most of the summer recovering (except when Sarah was climbing Kilimanjaro!) we were ready to try something new and ended up starting two new (different) plans. Sarah is doing the Tone It Up 31 day challenge for the month of October and Rosemary is following the Fitness Blender FBFit program — want to know more about these programs or interested in following our progress? See a short comparison below and keeping coming back to check in on how we are doing!

 Tone It Up: 31 Day Challenge and Meal PlanFitness Blender: FBFit and Meal Plan
What is it?31 day fitness and nutrition plan from toneitup.com in which you have "decided
that you want to feel amazing and confident, get healthy and fit, and
you also know your body deserves the very best."

Every day there are daily moves with 31 repetitions each, plus a designated time of cardio, HIIT and a Booty Call for morning workouts. There are a few active rest days but majority of days are focused on getting moving.
8 week paid program from fitnessblender.com to “lose weight, build lean muscle and tone up”. Mix of strength training, cardio, HIIT, and yoga. Workouts are about an hour long, 5 times a week with day 6 yoga/stretching though this is optional.

Also purchased the 4 week meal plan and nutrition guide which gives general nutrition advice and a day-to-day plan for three meals and two snacks depending on individually set calorie limits.
Cost31 day challenge: Free to sign up and receive the starter pack, which includes how the challenge runs and basics of the nutrition plan.

If you want the recipes and full nutrition plan: $150 for TIU membership, which not only gives you the nutrition plan but also a few of their other workout plans and recipes. You can tailor the recipe choice to your diet also -- I chose the pescatarian for myself.
8 week program: $14.99/ 13.77€
Meal plan: $19.99/ 17.75€

Both the workout program and the meal plan can be reused as many times as you want. I chose the omnivore meal plan.
Why try this program?I wanted to focus on getting back to a routine since I had been travelling and living out of a suitcase for the last 3 months. I have been following ToneItUp on Instagram for a while and have been curious but didn't want to make the $150 commitment for the membership. But then I saw the TIU challenge and I love a good challenge - generally keeps me more committed when there is a big goal at the end or challenge throughout. After hesitating for a while to buy this program, I finally decided to do it after completing FB Blend (also a paid program, although only 2 weeks). What I think is a little confusing about the paid programs on fitness blender is that a lot of people may not see the point of paying for the program if all the videos are available online. The big advantage of the paid programs however is that the order of the videos are all set for you— so no guess work on what to train and no cheating to do “easier” workouts!
Expectations?Priority one for me was to get back to my routine of working out and healthy-ish eating since being injured, vacationing and returning to the land of pizza, pasta, cheese and wine. Obviously securing a set of tone abs and arms are added bonuses that I will try to visualize during the workouts;)Top priority has to be getting a toned stomach! Next arm definition. Overall, I am hoping to feel stronger, have an increase in energy and sleep better. I think this program is going to be tough but following the meal plan will likely be tougher.

 

The American Pour


image via giphy

And…we are back! Almost six months since our last (first!) post and we are back again to talk about our next favorite thing. Being as clever as we are, certain life choices have resulted in us living in two fabulous countries for wine: Italy and France. So you can imagine that after many years of wine drinking experience, we have made the observation that the pour just isn’t as generous here than in the States. Yes, one could say that maybe here in Europe they are more conscious of the fact that certain wines need to breathe or remain chilled in the case of a white/rosé, or that no one is stopping you from pouring another glass, but we beg to differ. What if we are at a big family dinner and the wine bottle ends up at the other end of the table? Or at a restaurant when the waiter may even take the bottle far, far away. Or you have a certain family member/friend who has the foresight to keep the bottle near them throughout the whole meal…note to self to sit near them next time.

At the risk of you thinking we are crazy, lets look at some photos shall we? On the left below, the serving size according to the wine label, and on the right, this serving size in real life. Can you believe how ridiculous the size of that pour is? Granted the glass is big but still…

Need more real life photos of our theory? Again below, “our” pours vs the european pours…we trust you will recognize the difference between the two!

On a more serious note, Rosemary’s mother-in-law is convinced that in France waiters pour less for women than for men. Which got us thinking about the gender component with wine pours. Is there evidence of this? If so, is it due to cultural differences or part of the institutional idea that women should drink less than men? Culturally, one could argue that it goes both ways — in Europe, pours can generally be less for a woman, but in the States, sometimes the pours are more for a woman if the server is male.

To add to this, during her dating escapades in France and Italy, Sarah learned that it is customary to let the man pour the wine, cue a few awkward moments where Sarah’s glass is empty and either she patiently awaits for the man to notice and pour more wine, or she takes the initiative of pouring thus disrespecting the cultural norm. In the world of dating, extra points go to the man who fills up Sarah’s glass before it is actually empty or before his is empty. However, we must ask why should we have to wait for the man to pour?  If we want more, we want more — it’s our choice.

How do you like your pours?  Do you feel there is a gender component to them?   Let us know what you think!

Happy Birthday Cranky and Fabulous!

IMG_5855

Yes, believe it— Cranky and Fabulous is actually one year old!!

After a year of gathering ideas and talking about getting this blog up and running, we are finally ready to go live. To celebrate this momentous occasion we thought we would dedicate our very first blog post to something that is near and dear to our hearts — birthday cake. Knowing that this can be sometimes a very sensitive and personal subject, Sarah and I wrote our top 5 criteria for the perfect birthday cake…

 SarahRosemary
1Simple vanilla cake. Of course I love all kinds of cake but for me my perfect birthday cake is vanilla. Growing up I didn't enjoy the chocolate variety of cakes (no worries blog readers my tastes have evolved since) and I need my birthday cake to give me the feeling of comfort that I would have if I were sitting at my parent's dining room table for my birthday. Of course at times I want frills, but for my birthday cake, please don't add any fruit or fillings. Layering is acceptable if the layers are accompanied by proper frosting...which leads to the #2 priority for a perfect birthday cake. Be some kind of sponge cake – light, fluffy, not too crumbly and definitely vanilla flavoured. I would eat a chocolate cake, but what I really want is a large, two layered vanilla cake. While I have made and eaten some really delicious homemade vanilla cakes, I think that nothing really hits the spot more than a Betty Crocker vanilla cake mix.
2Frosting. A cake is not a cake if there is no frosting. I can also get past an imperfect cake if the frosting is perfect. The frosting should be a delicious melt in your mouth, not-too-sweet vanilla buttercream (Deerfield's Bakery in Deerfield, IL has the perfect frosting if you need an example), however I am also happy to accept and relish in the comfort of a proper can of Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting. Do not attempt to give me chocolate frosting - sure I like chocolate frosting but I do not want it for my birthday cake. Have copious amounts of luscious vanilla frosting!! Homemade buttercream frosting is amazing, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that the canned frosting would not be more than welcome.
3Density (or better yet lack of) to the cake. I want to enjoy as much cake as possible on my birthday so please please give me a cake that is light and fluffy. If it is too heavy I am sure I will enjoy it but I will also be sad that I can only have a small piece. It is homemade (see point #1). Granted I use the term homemade a little loosely here because my birthday cake can come of out of box with minimal effort, I just feel like a cake should be made and not purchased at a store. There is something nice about knowing someone thought of you and put some kind of effort into making something for you even if it is just mixing some water, oil, and eggs.
4Butter. Real proper butter should be used to make the cake. The cake can be a box cake - I grew up with box cakes and still make them to this day, but butter - real (and salted if you need specifics) butter should be used. I am all for trying the latest healthy cake recipes but on my birthday I want the butter to be used. You feel kind of guilty when you have it, but know that a birthday isn’t complete without it. I want my birthday cake to be decadent – it is one of the things that make it special.
5Candles and imperfections. Generally people consider the cake to be finished when it is frosted to perfection and any accompanying messages are written perfectly on the cake, and then you have to figure out where to add the candle and the perfection goes away. Please give me at least one candle and let it be imperfect - in fact I'm more likely to want to eat it if its imperfect, I hate to have to cut into a perfect looking cake and then feel like I ruined the perfection. Simple, simple, simple! I don’t need tons of decorations, or complicated flavours— and most importantly, KEEP FRUIT OUT OF MY CAKE! I want the cake and the icing and that is it. Obviously there needs to be candles but I think we are beyond the point where the number is necessary…

So what are your requirements for the ultimate birthday cake? Let us know!