New year — new blog format it seems! I guess it’s been a while since my last post! As much as I tried my hardest to write regularly, life got in the way. Doesn’t it always?
I will admit, man that last quarter of 2018 drove me to the ground. Everything had to happen at neck-breaking speed (literally). In the end, they were all good things and much got accomplished, but the juggling and time management of it all did send me towards…. wine (what else?).
We’re currently on a trip out of the country at the moment (and a lot of future posts I have mapped out will go into further detail), but let’s just say I’ve found some downtime now at our hotel now that Jamie is down with a cough. We opted to stay in and take it easy, so she is napping now while the husband tours Sam around on our last day.
Being away for three weeks has truly made me miss home; the predictability, the regularity of it all, and of course a little bit of the busyness that comes with it. I am hoping I will be “smarter” this new year about time management and commitments, but I suppose that remains to be seen. The irony of it is I keep harping about the same to Sam, and yet it is possibly a lesson I too have to learn in a different way.
I think I have to admit that there’s always going to be a lot to do. We are involved in so many things, it will always be an adventure, and it will always be tiring.
I suppose it’s just a matter of perspective. As a wise person recently told me — it’s because you’re capable of more. I suppose that is a good perspective to have, to be able to do more because we can.
My little family ended the year with quite the adventure. And we greeted the new year with another adventure. As they say, the first day of the year sets the pace and tone for how the rest of the year will look like.
If it is truly any indication, then I suppose I know what kind of year I’m in for. At the end of the day, it is all good — the girls learn, they have fun. And I have to remember, it is because I can.
It’s been over three weeks since the #Seawheeze2018 half marathon in Vancouver, and I feel like I’m still on recovery / catch-up mode.
I always say it was the hardest half I’ve done, and maybe that’s what makes it so memorable. And there were a lot of “firsts” that I can associate to it as well.
It was the first time I traveled outside of California to run. In fact I said I’d never spend money to do that! My husband already thinks paying to run in local races isn’t a good use of money when I can run for free. But I told myself, it’s a lottery system, what did I have to lose?
As it turned out, I got in on second round, which fell on my birthday! Do you believe in signs? 😉
When I got in, he surprised ME by saying — go ahead and do it. That was a big first in itself! I guess the old adage, never say never, still rings true all around.
My best friend lives in Vancouver and was gracious enough to host me for the weekend. So I prepped, packed and flew over.
I’ve heard all good things about Seawheeze. It’s a beautiful course in a beautiful city, and there is nothing like it.
And of course, Lululemon. They had a jam-packed weekend with yoga, shopping and a party, but I’d been so busy leading up to the weekend I really didn’t have time to think any of it through.
Actually, leading up to the race felt like a race in itself. I didn’t have time to properly prep for it, and so going in I felt ill-prepared. I was going to Orange Theory but outside of that my runs were sporadic and short. I started to feel aches and pains and I was constantly sore. My best friend took me to her boxing circuit the day before, which was a good way to warm up our bodies in the cold.
The weather forecasts showed signs of rain and this wasn’t something I could wrap my brain around. I’d never run in the rain. That’s something my mom told me NOT to do! I hoped the chances of rain would decrease but as my friend says, “honey, they don’t call us #raincouver for nothing.”
But at some point, I had to come to terms with it.
That’s also the reason for the cling wrap around my ankles and socks.
The race began without rain, hurray! But the trash bag flapping was pretty distracting. So I chucked it and just as I rounded the corner for mile 2, well whaddya know: DOWN. CAME. THE RAIN.
In a couple of minutes I was soaked and everything was squishing in my shoes. I tried to avoid puddles, but people were running past me and splashing thru without a care in the world. There wasn’t much else to do but keep going if I wanted to finish. And boy, was it hard to keep going!
This wasn’t my first half, but it was definitely the hardest one. It was truly “mind-over-matter”. My toes were gripping in my shoes so hard that parts of my body I never knew could cramp started cramping! It had to keep reminding myself: Beautiful course, beautiful city, and force myself to look up and enjoy the sights. I didn’t get a picture of it because my phone was encased in ziploc, and even that was wet.
All things considered, I finished with an acceptable time (to me). For all the glamour that a brand like Lululemon holds, I felt the farthest from it, a tired, cold wet rat to be honest!
The view WAS beautiful though, and on a good non-rainy day, it would’ve been an ideal race.
Props to the swag too: it’s the best I’ve seen in the little experience I’ve had with races.
And thankfully, I had friends to share this experience with!
Even off the course, and my entire weekend stay was absolutely delightful.
My own little after party was full of eating, laughing and shopping! And just such good conversation all around. Gotta love decades of friendship. It was a first to have my own cheering squad at the end of the race, bananas, and dry clothes to say the least!
The big question is, would I do it again?
And the honest answer is: I don’t know just yet. If it weren’t for the rain, I’d most definitely say yes. But I think I need a little bit more time to think about it. 😉
My husband’s frugal mentality has always stopped me from joining a fitness gym. “Why spend when you can just follow You Tube” he says. He reiterates this constantly to this day. But as you know, even with my running, I’m partly motivated by the social aspect of exercise. So when a friend asked me to try an Orange Theory class with her, I said hey why not. It may be a good supplement to my sporadic running, I thought.
I’ve seen their signage around town for over a year, I just never understood what it was. Everything just looked… orange.
Fast forward to 60 minutes post trial class, I wanted to die. DIE. And I finally understood their branding.
The theory behind their workouts is spending 12 or more minutes at 84% of your maximum heart rate. That’s what they call the orange zone.
Being here for that amount of time ensures you get the after burn effect where your body continues to burn calories 36 hours after your workout.
For the first session, they lend you a heart rate monitor so that you see your results on the TV screens plastered throughout the studio.
At first, I thought I’d be embarrassed and self-conscious since my stats weren’t so great. I realized (as I was dying — or trying very hard not to), that you really only look at your results on the monitor, and that your stats are really the only ones that matter to you. Plus, with a visual goal, it is truly something you want to get to!
So once my body recovered from the shock and ache, I decided to give Orange Theory a fair shot and sign up.
The sessions don’t carry over to the next month, so I really plan out most of my days to make sure I use it within that time frame. The classes also book up fast (it’s weird how people are gluttons for punishment, ey?) so sometimes it’s a matter of scheduling 2 weeks in advance. But, you have to give it to them; they are strict about it because it’s a formula that does generate results.
Orange Theory offers a different circuit each time you go, depending on the day and the coach and the focus, whether it be Endurance, Strength and or Power, or all three. Gaaah.
I actually like it that they have time on the treadmill, and then at some point during the hour, you move to the rower and the floor. It’s a total body workout each time.
The other thing I realized was that prior to Orange Theory, I was always afraid of weight training. Apparently this whole theory of bulking up, injuring myself, it being bad etc, wasn’t exactly true.
It took me a while to move up from using 5-lb weights, and it was only because one of the coaches said to try. Let me tell you, these coaches are not afraid to push you past your comfort levels because they do get paid to get you into that orange zone!
I have to say, the formula works. I think I’m stronger and faster (even just at shorter distances), and my stamina is better too. I can carry more weights than I did before, and on the days I’m not in OTF, I find that my body looks for it. I wake up in the mornings to go, because if I don’t, I don’t know where I’m going to get that extra day to make up for the class.
And I’ve come to appreciate it as a time where I just zone out on everything else, and zone in on me (so I don’t fall off the tread). It’s something we all need every now and then.
Sam spent some time with friends who are Greatest Showman fans. Soon after she was googling lyrics, learning the songs, and playing them on our Spotify playlist. We (her parents) tired of listening to the same old songs on repeat for the nth time. And to cope with the constant This is Me car rides, I had a moment of introspection and realized that when I was her age, this is what I would do too — with Broadway Musicals.
I had a phase in my life when it was all Broadway. My Grandfather was the one who introduced me to it, when, at the age of 10, he took me to see Les Miserables,Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Secret Garden, all in one summer. I took a liking to the Broadway musicals after that, and learned the songs from Cats, Evita, and Fiddler on the Roof on my own. Like me now, back then my house had Broadway on repeat. Can anyone say #karma?
I continued to see some local and foreign plays as I grew up, and even though my husband repeats the story of how he traded Phantom of the Opera for a WWF show when he was younger (go figure right?), I’m glad he appreciates the value of this kind of “art”. Here’s a little secret: One of our first dates was to a ballet! *gasp!*
We agreed on the benefits these types of musicals, concerts and more (operas, musical conciertos included), would have on the girls’ upbringing and said that we would consciously include it in our “family to do list” as it came up.
There were little introductions here and there. I once took Sam to her first show in Manila, Wicked.
Like The Greatest Showman, Defying Gravity and For Good were on our playlist for quite some time back then. And I love to see her perk up when she hears it again and says, “why do I know this song mom?”
Thanks to all their Girl Scout selling efforts, Sam was able to watch Cinderella on stage too.
Both Sam and Jamie were able to watch Matilda just recently as a prize for selling Nuts and Chocolates. That was pretty cool, and one of my favorites still to date.
Segerstrom is within reasonable driving distance from us, and when I checked their calendar, School of Rock the Musical was scheduled. A friend of mine took her son to see it and in true word-of-mouth fashion, I went ahead and bought tickets because of their review.
I remember the movie and Jack Black being pretty funny, but I could not imagine how they would translate it into a live show on stage. Then I came across this clip of Andrew Lloyd Webber , and was pretty sold on the idea after that. I’m not a rock fan, but I know enough of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s past musicals to know, at the very least, the music would be good.
And it was! The lyrics to the songs were brilliant (no surprise). And the feel of the entire musical was completely different and interesting. I am not a rock n’ roll person, and thanks to this musical I was able to appreciate the genre a little bit better. I think my kids did too.
The kids on the different instruments in the band were awesome. AWESOME. However old these children are, they are talented, and I am completely in awe. I feel like my girls appreciate this better because they both now play instruments. Sam even laughed at the line “cello feet” because she could relate to it given her more recent encounter with the Cello.
The girls had questions about some references and things they picked up in the show, which made our car ride conversation home all the more interesting. But they appreciated the show over all and I love that they are expanding their palette outside of the usual choices of movies and activities to do.
All in all, the message of the musical was good (just ignore the swear words, but hey, it’s all part of the vibe). It was great in fact for today’s times, and very relatable from a parent’s perspective. They kept the jokes relevant and current too, which elicited some cheers from the audience.
Two Tots has done a lot in the last two years. It’s wonderful to see that our products have indeed, stood the test of time and “grown” with our clients — in a manner of speaking.
As ours are customized pieces of furniture, we have seen some of our traditional furniture increase in size as well — to accommodate these growth spurts.
As space becomes more of a luxury these days, and the cost of real estate rises, more parents have asked us to incorporate additional storage in their limited areas. We think it’s smart!
Designs as well are trending toward more minimalist with small, elegant touches here and there.
We still get the occasional, very specific requests. And as much as we love to help shape the outcome of a room (or a piece of furniture), we also love bringing our clients’ visions to life.
That ballet barre and mirror is genius, if I do say so myself — for aspiring and dedicated ballerinas-to-be.
And then, there’s the trend on two toned pieces.
The fish-tail side table is another customer-inspired piece and we love that she allowed us to share this idea with the world. We’ve gotten so many inquiries about it too. This piece however requires a lot of labor-intensive work, but it is made with a lot of love!
Of course, we still have the accessories that can complement these pieces available at our showroom.
Our pals at the showroom would love for you to come and visit!
We still post regularly on Instagram and Facebook, at @twototsph. But for quotations, it is better to reach us at email@example.com. Because each piece is custom-made, to be able to give you an accurate estimate of cost, we need to match this with its corresponding specifications. That’s hard to do in a text response.
And yes, it is July — coming soon will be our #2THoliday2018 Collection! (How is it Christmas already?!)
If you’d like to visit the Two Tots showroom, please let us know and we’d be happy to put you down for an appointment!