Beast Mode Engaged

Confession: I am officially in love with boxing.


It has seriously become my new favorite way to work out. It’s helping build up my arms and shoulders, keeps my heart rate up by keeping me moving, the warm-up alone is its own workout, and my husband is a hardcore boxer (has been for about 7 years) and knows proper form, stance and intensity. So he’s the perfect coach.


It is not an easy workout but that’s what I love about it! He’s created a workout that lasts about 45 minutes to an hour, and we can up the intensity whenever we feel like it. It isn’t super hardcore like what Pacquio might do, but it keeps me engaged and I love it! He also keeps it fun because if it isn’t fun, I won’t be motivated to do it.


Now let’s talk about Shadow Boxing. Little Miss Jillian doesn’t do it properly. I had never really realized until REB and I were finishing up our warm-up and he said “You’re doing it wrong.” Ha. Shadow boxing is literally that – box your shadow. Find your shadow on the wall, and try to fight it. Duck, move around, practice crosses, uppercuts, hooks. – get ‘em in the kidneys!


He taught me the proper way to wrap my hands (though I’m still not very good and I have smaller hands than normal people apparently), how to stand, and how to keep your hands. He eggs me on during those 5 rounds of 2 minute intervals so I hit it harder, with more intensity and work out harder. It is tiring. You wouldn’t think that, but at the end of round 3, I’m so tired that I have to remind myself “You still have 2 rounds to go!”


I wish we could do this every day, but I know that wouldn’t be good. Like with any workout, you shouldn’t do it back-to-back. The same goes for this since you could really hurt your knuckles or wrist! That would not be good! So I’ve found a great alternative. On the other days when I just do the whatever workout I do, I have been ending it with a speed bag work out.


It’s a good cool down, good way to bring my heart rate down at the end of my cardio work out, but keep my arms and shoulders engaged.

All in all, I’m glad I’ve taken this up. It’s an exercise both REB and I can do together and with his help, I know I’m doing it properly which makes it way more effective! It’s increasing my strength, endurance and most of all: it’s fun! I’m starting to see some definition in my arms and shoulders and REB has noticed it too.

 So don’t mess with me. I’m armed with bag gloves and I know how to use them ;)


Are there any workouts you’re currently doing and absolutely loving?

Superbowl Snacking

The big “Harbowl” is this Sunday!

Who do you have winning? I heard the 49ers are favored by 4 1/2. Hrm. Personally I don’t like either team. But it’s football and the last game of the 2012 season and I won’t see any football until August when it starts up again. If I had to choose, I would probably choose the Ravens, but that’s only because John Harbaugh doesn’t look like he wants to punch everyone like Jim does.

I don’t know if I can root for the Ravens though. I’m mostly upset at the hoopla of Ray Lewis. I can’t stand Ray Lewis. Yes, you’re retiring. We get it. Yes, you’re sad about it. We get it. But dude, you’re almost 40, you had a hell of a career and I wish people would stop making such a big damn deal about it. Athletes retire. Shocking.


He at least seems like a pretty genuine guy unlike some other pro athletes who say they’re retiring (ahemFAV-RAHahem) and then can’t seem to let go. But if I have to see Lewis cry one more time, or see him do that ridiculous, useless “Squirrel dance” one more time, I think my head will explode.

So instead of praying my head won’t explode, I’ll eat yummy things instead.

Whether you’re a screamer at the TV at a bad call made (that’s me and REB) or you watch simply for the halftime show, food is a must while watching any sporting event, especially one of the biggest ones of the year.

So here are 9 super simple, crowd pleasing snacks or meals you can stuff your face with without feeling guilty because they’re all relatively healthy!

Happy watching!

What are your snacking must-haves while watching a sporting event?

Liebster Award Nomination

The lovely Erica from Coffee & Quinoa nominated me for a Liebster Blogger Award. I took a peek at her site and I LOVE it. She has fun recipes that are easy, she takes beautiful photos and she’s living the good life in Salt Lake City! If you get some time, stop over to her site and show her some love.

So back to this award. She’s nominated me and I will participate and pass the love to others! Here are the guidelines:

List 11 facts about yourself.
Answer the 11 questions given to you.
Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate.
Go to each blogger’s page and let them know about the award.
Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog

So here we go! Here are 11 random facts about me:

  1. I love pickles. I think they should be in their food group.
  2. I have been a vegetarian for almost 7 years and will never look back.
  3. I married a boy from my high school who I wasn’t friends with in high school.
  4. I have a beauty mark on the bottom of my left eyelid.
  5. I have one tattoo not visible to the naked eye. (and no, it’s nothing dirty or in a controversial spot)
  6. I have visited every state in the US except for Utah and Hawaii. I have more of a desire to visit Utah than visit Hawaii – hey Erica, I should come visit you!!
  7. My major in college was Journalism but now I work for a not-for-profit in IT as a QA Testing Engineer and absolutely love it.
  8. I don’t know how to change a tire.
  9. My maiden name is now my middle name because I never had a middle name.
  10. I am still afraid of the dark. As a result, ghost stories/horror movies scare the living crap out of me, but I love reading/watching them and being scared.
  11. I have very deep conversations with my corgi and I swear he understands me.

And now to answer Erica’s questions!

1. What was your first job out of college/school?
I freelanced for a paper in town, then worked as an editor for a trade publication in Metro Detroit. Journalism died right about then so I moved into technology.

2. Who would play you in a movie on your life?
Hmm, this one is tough. Only because she’s also Indian, Parminder Nagra. I dig her style and it’d be a dream to look like her ;)

3. What is your biggest pet peeve?
I have many but the ones in particular are a). people who never use their signal while driving, b). people who interrupt me while talking and c). people who straight up lie to my face. I don’t have tolerance or patience for that.

4. If you could live in another country for a year, where would it be?
This is a hard one because I love to travel and have been lucky to see some amazing places! But honestly? I’d live on the Rue Cler in the 7th Arr. in Paris.


5. What is your first childhood memory?
Landing in the airport in Columbus, OH when I moved to the US at age 3. My dad was already working in the States at Ohio State and he picked my mom, sister and I from the airport. I didn’t recognize him.

6. What is one possession you couldn’t live without?
Three things: My wedding rings, Mr. Bear and my phone (sad, but true)

7. Beer, wine or neither?
Wine. Always wine. Or a dirty vodka martini, extra dirty ;)

8. Do you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert?
Definitely an extrovert.

9. What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Every now and again, I randomly book trips to places without really thinking about it. I just want to go, so I do!

10. What is your favorite post from your own blog?
Another great question! I love the wedding and honeymoon recap posts and the one I wrote regarding the women in my family :)

11. Which was the first blog you started following?
The Pioneer Woman – not a big follower of it anymore.

Here are the questions I ask to the new nominees:

  1. What is one thing you are most looking forward to in 2013?
  2. If you could switch lives with one celebrity, which celebrity would you choose?
  3. What birthday is most memorable to you?
  4. What recipe from your childhood do you remember and love the most?
  5. What is your preferred mode of transportation?
  6. Best concert you ever went to?
  7. Have you ever met a celebrity? If so, who, when and where?
  8. Best vacation you remember when you were a kid? (under 18 years old)
  9. Favorite new hobby, activity or possession?
  10. Is there something you want to learn, but haven’t yet?
  11. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

And finally, time to share the love. I don’t know 11 bloggers unfortunately  but here are some of my faves!

  1. Amber of Amberherself
  2. Sarah of Sarah Learns
  3. Andrea of Onion in my Hair
  4. Diana of Veggie Next Door
  5. Becca of Amuse Your Bouche
  6. Parita of My Inner Shakti
  7. Emily of More than Just Dessert
  8. Soni of Soni’s Food
  9. Alexis of Pumped Pumpkin

Take a look at their blogs and leave them some love! :)

Have fun!

Listen on the Run

So my delightful, fun blogger friend Emily posted on her blog what she listens to while she works outs.

In turn, I thought I would share what my Running playlist looks like. I’m very big into House music (thanks to my sister and brother-in-law) so I run to something with a good beat, not too many lyrics and each song changes based on the which part of the workout I’m in. I guess I shouldn’t call it my Running playlist, because I really listen to it when I’m doing any kind of cardio workout. But I digress…:


Here’s the current list, but this changes almost every two weeks:

  • Kaskade – Here I Am (Radio Edit) – available from Devil Wears Prada soundtrack or on Spotify
  • Keoki – This Ain’t No Disco (oldie but goodie!)
  • Niko – Don’t Thank Me Now (“…because..Godzilla’s here!” LOL)
  • Keoki – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  • Underworld – Born Slippy (my #1 favorite electronic song of all time. No joke.) – from the Trainspotting soundtrack
  • The Chemical Brothers – Hey Boy Hey Girl
  • Daft Punk - One More Time (another oldie but goodie lol)
  • Keoki – Jealousy
  • Richard “Humpty” Vission – Alright (feat. Devone) – from the Shut the F*** Up and Dance album

Other picks:

  • Britney Spears – Scream & Shout
  • Britney Spears – Till The World Ends
  • The Cataracs feat Dev – Bass Down Low
  • The Chemical Brothers – Under the Influence
  • DJ Rap – Bulletproof
  • DJ Rap – Drummin’ and Bassin’
  • Calvin Harris – Let’s Go
  • Nicki Minaj – Automatic
  • Nine Inch Nails – March of the Pigs
  • The Postal Service – The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

When all else fails, I rely on Michael Woods Essential Mix to take me to that extra mile. I can’t get enough of it.

What’s on your current workout playlist?


Here’s What’s Happening

Hello lovelies!

Well this has been quite the busy week for both REB and me. So much so, I haven’t done any of the blog posts I’ve been wanting to do, and might need to save them for this weekend.

Here’s what’s been happening!

1). Some good news! REB started his PhD classes this week! I don’t know if I ever mentioned he got accepted into the Information Systems Engineering PhD program at U of M, but he did and I’m so ridiculously proud of him. He’s been wanting to pursue this for a while now and although it will result in a lot of work and probably stress, and a few nights without him while he’s at class, it will be worth it! He’s so intelligent, smart, and he’s driven! He has a passion for learning and teaching, so I know he will rock it.

2). Me Time! As a result of his classes starting this week, for three nights he didn’t come home until 9:30 or 10 since the classes occur after he’s done with his work day. So I had three nights of ample “me-time”. It was good though! I got into a great routine: Come home from work, take care of the animals, work out in beast mode, make dinner, prepare meals for the next day, sleep early!

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Sure, I would only get to see REB for maybe a half hour before I hit the hay, but at least I get to say hi to him!

3). Caffeine-Free Par! I’m on Day 6 of no caffeine and I seriously feel amazing! I can’t believe how easy it was for me. I made the smart decision by starting on a Saturday because I don’t drink coffee or caffeine on weekends typically (unless we go out to eat or something) so I was able to knock out two days without a problem.


It’s that first work day on Monday without caffeine that kind of killed me. I realized how much I relied on that one cup of coffee I have in the morning each work day, and it was a little hard to just drink caffeine-free tea. But, now the week is almost done and I actually feel great! I wonder if I should go another week and see if it will work. I did cut out soda while I’m on this diet, so maybe it will be easy to just replace my morning cup o joe with a cup of tea instead..?

4). Dawson’s Creek. Just like I went through that whole thing with Felicity, I’m re-living the 90s with those “damn Dawson’s Rivers kids…climbing in and out of each others windows..” (name that movie). OK but seriously, I had really power through season 1. It was so bad. I’m well into Season 2 and now I can kind of see the appeal in why it’s addictive. Everyone dating everyone in the same friend circle…it’s a little weird, but damn it, I need to know more! And Dawson’s hair makes me irrationally angry.

vanderbeekwebSource of image

What also makes me angry? They don’t use Paula Cole’s song in the opening theme on Netflix. Apparently they didn’t get the rights, so it’s some horrible song sung by a woman who doesn’t know how to sing in key.

5). MFP and staying on track! I am seriously so proud of myself for getting back on track and staying on track! I’ve been doing the 30 Day Shred again and also tracking everything I eat on MyFitnessPal. I’ve cut out soda and just drinking water with the occasional protein shake here and there. I will allow myself to indulge every once in a while, but I can’t let myself do that too often. That’s how I got here in the first place. My friend Michelle once told me it takes 21 days to form a habit, so here’s hoping I can stick with it for another week so this habit sinks in.

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 So it has been a crazy, busy week, but I am very much looking forward to the weekend! REB and I plan to spend some quality time together and maybe see The Hobbit (finally!), go to either the DIA (Detroit Institute of Art) or see the Lego exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum tomorrow, enjoy the unusually warm weather we will have in the mitten this weekend (55-60 degrees…?!?!), and my dear friend Amber and I will be treating our friend Sarah to a birthday brunch on Sunday! It should be a great weekend.

I hope the rest of you have an awesome weekend too!

What do you do when you get “me-time”…?

Masterpiece Classic

It’s Monday! Normally, I’d be a grumbler like everyone else in that I hate Mondays. Except, I had a great weekend and I’m ready to tackle the week!

The greatest thing about this past weekend? I’ll be able to cross off a few more things on the 31 Before 30 list!

Friday was like any other normal day, except my hubby is the best hubby ever. Case and point:


I’ve needed a new computer for a while now. When I quit my last job, I purchased my MacbookPro from them for like $150 (not a bad deal!) and they sold it to me “as is”. It’s lasted pretty well for the most part, but it finally started to take a poop last week and the hubs and I realized maybe it was time to find a replacement. Since my hubby works for the university, he gets a sweet discount on Apple products, so…that’s that. I love it! It’s so pretty, shiny and incredibly fast! So “replacing my Mac” can now be crossed off the list!

The rest of the weekend was pretty chill. We went to visit my FIL and return my parents car (they’re overseas) to their house. It was great to see my FIL. We talked about the plans for when he, hubs, my bro-in-law and his wife all go to VT in April to the family time share! I can’t wait!! I hope to cross of learning to ski/snowboard while I’m there!

On Sunday my friend Amber came over with her two dogs and we had a puppy play date in our backyard with all the snow. It was so much fun!

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The three ‘migos had a blast! And I was grateful for the full 1+ hour of play time, because it made Gryff so tired the rest of the day. Sometimes it’s nice having a pup that’s quiet ;)

The weekend ended with the return of Downton Abbey Season 3!!! I was ecstatic and just the sound of the theme song and Laura Linney introducing herself and Masterpiece Classic put me at ease.

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Don’t worry. I won’t give away any spoilers or anything, but I am very excited for this season! I enjoyed the show with a nice hot cup of tea. Another thing I can cross of the list at the end of this week will be going a week without caffeine! I figured, no time like the present, so this entire week will be caffeine-free. It might be kind of hard because I usually have one cup of coffee in the mornings at work, but I hope I can drink enough tea to kind of trick myself ;)

Come back at the end of the week to make sure I haven’t hanged myself from lack of caffeine ;) I’m kidding. Sorta. Hope you all have a great week!

Anyone else a Downton Abbey fan?

So this is the new year…


Happy 2013, lovelies!

It’s been a lovely two-week blog hiatus, and also much needed.

I fully intend to go into complete detail of how our holidays were spent. I just need to go through the bazillion photos I took with both the big cam and the phone.

Let me just say this: I had a great time in Chicago (like I always do), an incredibly fun new year, I feel so incredibly blessed and lucky, a lot of adult beverages were consumed…and I am officially on detox.

Come back later this week where I’ll have the complete breakdown of how it all went. For now, I need to get back in touch with the compuworld aka work. Here’s to the new year!

Looking Back on 2012

1. What is one thing (or several things) you did this year that you had not done before?

  • Made a list of things to do before I turn 30
  • Bought a house
  • Horseback riding!

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make new ones?

Not really. I read 25/30 books, I didn’t keep with Project 52 with Danbo, I didn’t even do the MCP Project 12 and I didn’t reach my goal weight. However, we did buy a new house and I did maintain stronger friendships with those in my life who matter to me. I also disconnected myself from certain people and haven’t looked back. Overall, this year has been pretty positive. As for new resolutions, I probably won’t make any. My 31 Before 30 list is as good as any resolution list can be.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die? 

Yes. My aunt passed not too long ago and it was devastating news. And recently, many of my friends and family members have lost loved ones. It’s been a rough fall/winter for all of us.

5. What countries did you visit? 

None this year ;) We are planning the next European excursion though!

6. What would you like to have this coming year that you lacked last year? 

Book more portrait sessions, take more bike rides, work out more, DRINK LESS (the wine. it calls to me. need to stop that) and work on the house!

7. What date from this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Two things:

May 24, 2012: the day we closed on our house. It was the single most amazing moment of the year for us and I still can’t believe we’re like, adults or something.


June 11, 2012: Radiohead in Detroit. I’ve been fortunate to attend some amazing concerts in the past (Dave Brubeck in Chicago, Simon and Garfunkel in Chicago, Lilly Allen, Fiona Apple, and Coldplay), but this was a real treat. I always appreciated the music of Radiohead, but wasn’t as big a fan as REB. He’s listened to them since forever and has continued to do so to this day. So when we heard they were coming to Detroit after a 15 year hiatus of coming here, we jumped on the chance to see them. Best $60/ticket paid. Their opening band, Caribou, played for like 45 minutes and were awesome, then Radiohead came on and played for 3 hours. It was an amazing show, amazing lights, set, sound. Just. Wow. Plus, our seats were pretty boss.


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

Riding a bike again. Before I bought my bike, I hadn’t ridden one since I was 7 years old. The saying is true: it all came back to me like I had been riding for years. So much so that I averaged 20 miles/ride with REB when we’d take rides during the summer and we did the Tour de Troit in Detroit this past September! I can’t wait to try to reach my 500 miles before I turn 30!


9. What was your biggest failure? 

Not tracking calories nearly enough.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? 


11. What was the best thing you bought? 

My new car :)


12. Whose behavior merited celebration? 

My sister’s! She graduated with her masters from Northwestern in June!


13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

The idiot who shot 20 little kids in Newton, CT. Sick bastard.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Photo equipment, Kate Spade handbags and accessories, shoes. (wow, materialistic much, Aparna?)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? 
Vacationing up north with our friends and all our dogs!


16. What songs will always remind you of this past year?

  • M83 – Midnight City
  • Fun. – We Are Young
  • The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition
  • Michael Woods – The Essential Mix from BBC Radio 1 (ah-MAY-zing)
  • Drive Soundtrack

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? 
Happier and smarter. Despite the bad that happened this year, so many good things happened and I feel lucky. And although I didn’t get to that magic number on the scale, and I didn’t track my caloric intake nearly as much as I should have, I didn’t completely revert back to old eating habits. I still maintained a pretty good diet, did work out (just not as much as I would have liked) and REB and I aren’t any where near what we weighed 1 1/2 years ago.

18. Thinner or fatter? 

19. Richer or poorer? 
I can’t lie – richer. I was smart with my money this year even though I did have some impulse, fun purchases ;)

20. What do you wish you’d done more of?

  • Tracking Calories/working out more
  • Traveled more; visited seester more

21. What do you wish you’d done less of? 
Ha. Tracking calories, feeling guilty :\

22. How will you be spending your birthday? 
I’m turning 30 in 2013. Party at home, trip to NYC with my bestie!

23. How will you be spending the holidays? 
Christmas with REB and pup in our house, New Years in Chicago with seester and bro-in-law (Boozemas XIII!!)

24. Did you fall in love this past year? 
Yes – with my photo studio and my bike!

25. How many one-night stands? 

26. What was your favorite TV program?

  • Game of Thrones (Papapaapa!)
  • Downton Abbey
  • Veep
  • Newsroom
  • Key & Peele

27. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hmm, don’t think so.

28. What was the best book you read? 

  • Game of Thrones
  • Clash of Kings
  • Storm of Swords (currently reading and good so far!)
  • The Happiness Project

29. What was your greatest musical discovery?

  • Fun. (love Nathan’s previous band, The Format)
  • Deadmau5
  • Dragonette (Thanks, Amber!)

30. What did you want and get?

  • A house
  • A photo room/studio in my house
  • A new car
  • Kate Spade everything (lol)
  • A new portrait lens
  • A new bed
  • Heavy bag & weight bench for the basement

31. What did you want and not get?

  • A new camera
  • A new MacBook Pro
  • Treadmill
  • Goal weight (it will happen though! Mark my words!)
  • New pair of fall boots

32. What was your favorite film of this year? 
Dark Knight Rises

33. What did you do on your last birthday, and how old were you? 
I turned 29 this past October. REB took me horseback riding (a first for me!) and we had a nice dinner with a friend downtown.

34. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

  • Casual/classic
  • Bohem-chic
  • Preppy
  • Tights (lol)


35. What kept you sane?

  • Reading
  • Taking photos
  • Running

36. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? 
FLOTUS DNC podiumsource of image

Classy, eloquent, charismatic and fashion-forward. I admire everything about her.

37. What political issue stirred you the most? 
Everything one man said made my skin crawl: Mitt Romney

38. Who was the best new person(s) you met? 
My now good friends Sarah and Doug! They started coming to Sunday Funday with REB, Amber, Ricardo and me, and I’m so thankful to have friends like them in our lives!


39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012: 
Be thankful for what you have.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

 ”From the moment of my birth, to the instant of my death, there are patterns I must follow, just as I breathe each breath.” 

 Hope you all have a happy new year and here’s to 2013!

Thanksgiving Recap

And just like that, holiday season is upon us!

But that’s not to say there isn’t a lot to be thankful for from this past Thanksgiving. I can’t even begin to state the fun we had during the long weekend, hanging out with our loved ones. Since it was our first year in the new house, we decided to host Thanksgiving at our place!

So here’s the obligatory recap post! :) There are a lot of pictures, so please bear with me!

My sister and bro-in-law arrived late Tuesday night from the Chi, and then she and I spent pretty much all day Wednesday prepping foods for Thursday’s dinner. Everyone had their assignments. She was in charge of dessert: pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate bourbon pecan pie, dutch apple pie and Indian-style green beans. Yours truly was in charge of stuffed mushrooms, appetizers, mac and cheese, salad and rolls. My hubby and dad were in charge of wine (dinner and dessert respectively). My mom was in charge of Indian food. My other bro-in-law (REB’s brother) was in charge of turkey and stuffing. Uncle-in-law was in charge of potatoes. It was quite the spread!

Thanksgiving Day!

I made these center pieces and they were not only a cinch to make, but they were also the first DIY I made towards my 31 before 30! I’m sure it’s obvious how to make them, but I’ll post a DIY post just for ‘em! I’m already in the works on making the next one! I need to play catch up on the whole “One DIY project per month” …

FYI: Those cookies were made courtesy of my dear friend Maria in Florida. She makes custom cakes, cookies, toys, etc.! She made the most amazing, delicious cookies and I shrieked like a little kid when I saw the corgis!

That wasn’t the end of Thanksgiving, though. We had dinner at my parents the next day, which of course meant delicious Indian food feast!!

The rest of the weekend was spent outdoors because it snowed!, taking out the Christmas decorations and designing our holiday cards!

It was a perfect weekend and I am so not ready for the work week again, but it’s all good. We’re one month away from Christmas and I have so many fun holiday ideas for around the house and presents for people. I can’t wait! :)

How was your Thanksgiving?