Typical Menus of Georgetown Cocktail Parties (Part 2)

a ladyNow it’s time to get down to the victuals served. Canapes were quite important but frequently ghastly. Usually they were centered around being little lumps of fat on greasy Ritz crackers. Garnish with anything from a bit of cod to a sprig of dill and that was that. Much more effort was put into presentation than into the taste of the thing.

On the other hand, there were the hot hors d’oeuvers. Ewwww. Cocktail sausages soaking in a thin mustard sauce. I hope that the Department of Health oversaw the contents of the teeny weenies. You fished them out with toothpicks and devoured them if they didn’t splat merrily on your clothes first, just being secured by a toothpick. Vienna Sausages were the real low class variety.

Then there was the vile Hot Crab Dip, this is where you might find a dead goldfish on the end of your Fritos. Bacon wrapped “stuff” was always passed around. Bacon wrapped liver looks a lot like bacon wrapped turds, the presentation suffers from the materials used. Then bacon wrapped scallops were good (if not cooked to the consistency of a white rubber eraser). And there were bacon wrapped water chestnuts for adventuresome souls.

Now, on to the main meal. Usually, it was little bits of meat cut up into chunks and combined with some uber rich sauce laced with cream or wine and loaded with canned mushrooms. Coq au Vin, Beef Stroganoff, and other stews were popular because you didn’t need to cut it up and it went on top of rice saving plate space. This was usually the highlight of the food service and was garfed down with gusto. The rice over which it was served was invariably white long grain, in my story Mother walks on the wild side serving her pheasant in wine sauce over wild and long grain rice. Talk of the town, that. Brown rice did not exist, or was only eaten by commies and savages.

Vegetables were an after-thought. Overcooked and yellow, they were not very popular. Cooking only to doneness was a French idea which caught on slowly among the good citizens of the US. Back in the day, people thought that asparagus did have to be boiled for at least half an hour. What was done to spinach was criminal, it was usually boiled into a slimy mass and stirred into a thick and ugly pasty white sauce and seasoned with old nutmeg which rendered it a truly revolting mess. Eating raw spinach wasn’t done until way later when people were sure it wasn’t poisonous. In fairness, a lot of the vegetables were highly influenced by people eating canned veggies and so they thought that was the way they should look and taste.

And dessert? Chocolate mousse was ubiquitous in high society. If you were dining out, you might get The Pastry Tray which was a huge silver platter covered in many different pastries  including: Napoleons, small tarts, slices of torte, surprisingly flavorless tuffits of dense cake armored with flavorless frosting. Merange pies were so popular, as were chess pies and Frenchified fruit tarts.

The queen of them all was the Triffle, imported from England and gave you the opportunity to show off your huge cut glass bowl. You soaked lady finger cakelettes in sherry and lined the bowl. Then you filled it with layers of whipped cream and fruit. It was a “rich melange” of high calorie fluff made wholesome by the addition of berries.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring the Spring Collection for 2015 whose theme is The Last Great Georgetown Cocktail Party. The collection will center around a short story I wrote about the adventures of my mother, her social life, and how she was a wonderful symbol of the heyday of Georgetown. The party will begin now and celebrate the last collection on my old website. For this bon voyage I have concocted twenty-one new fragrances and on whopping great short story to go with them. I think you will be amused! In this blog, I will be filling you in on life and manners in the days when ladies wore gloves, furs, and jewels in midday; smoked cigarettes with impunity, had pink gins at lunch, and generally put on the most amusing airs. So come along and be one, too. It’s a blast.

Cityblis

Posted in Changes, General Comments, humor, Perfume Oils, Possets, spring, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Typical Menus of Georgetown Cocktail Parties (Part 1)

a ladyThere were two things one needed for a good party: food and drink, and what appealed back in the halcyon days of G’Town would not be considered today’s fare. Read on and find out how tastes have changed.

First, the sorts of drinks served. Everyone drank back then, not to do so stigmatized you as either a “party pooper” or a person who was so bad off that they had become a drunk. Also, alcohol wasn’t as regulated as it is now and driving while drunk or buzzed was simply a naughty (not a deadly) thing to do. Times have changed in all these regards.

But what was offered? Typically strong liquor based drinks and often those which had to be mixed. Old Fashioneds were very popular (lots of bourbon and sweet vermouth, a fruit punch-like mix and a maraschino cherry for garnish), Manhattans (like a martini with bourbon with the maraschino cherry), Martinis (lots of gin with a little vermouth often shaken with ice but strained and poured into a saucery glass and garnished with an olive). Gimlets were gin, lime juice, and a splash of soda garnished with a lime. The Pink Squirrel consists of several liquors (sweetened fortified and flavored thick things): Creme of Noyaux (nut flavored), Creme of Cacao (chocolate) and heavy cream.  Straight liquor on the rocks was popular, so put straight booze of any sort directly on ice cubes in the bottom of a glass and that is that.

Drinking things without ice was pretty rare, and usually marked you as a “European” type. Beer was for the merry-dog/golfer/outdoorsman sort, and not often drunk by ladies. There was a lot of bourbon, gin, and Scotch about and Vodka was not very popular due to its association with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Pinkos drank vodka, pal; whiskey was for True Americans.

Wine was an exotic European drink which was too esoteric for the average American to suck down  with impunity. No one knew anything about it, you didn’t mix it with anything, and you didn’t put it over ice; all those things made it “weird”. There were lots of rules about wine, and no one knew what they were, the year it was made made a huge difference in how good it was, and there were rules about which region it came from! Argghh, who wants to remember all that to drink sour grape juice?!?

Differences also showed up in soft drinks. Ginger Ale was very different back then. Canada Dry was spicy! Really, it was a hot and sweet drink with serious ginger kick. Now it’s bland and sweet only. Moreover, it contained rose water back in the day! You could taste it as a lovely counterpoint to the hot ginger and fizz. I know that is true because I spoke to a man who used to develop formulae for Canada Dry and he told me that secret. I am sure they don’t do that today, too expensive.

There was a Diet Coke-like drink called Patio at first, it was vile. Tasted more like sweet-tangy Moxie than anything I would want. It evolved into Tab and was even more loathsome. There was no similarity to cola and yet people drank it by the gallon because it was diet.

Speaking of diet drinks, there was Fresca, which I think still exists. It was a white cloudy vaguely lemon and grapefruit thing with serious toxic saccharine tingle to it.

No one drank soda water straight. So the most popular drinks now, were the least popular then: wine, beer, soda water, and vodka were the drinks of the out crowd. Gin, bourbon, Scotch, Rye were the in-crowd drinks.

And the most refined of all the drinks was rye. You have probably never had anything made with rye and its fall from grace was astonishing. It was a brown liquor and tasted identical to bourbon to me. It was considered more sophisticated just by urban myth and cherished belief. So it was. Ladies were very put out if they asked for a Manhattan made with rye and they could only get bourbon. Rye just fell out of fashion and now it seems to be enjoying a re-entry into the world of party.

Next time, let’s talk about typical cocktail party foods.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring the Spring Collection for 2015 whose theme is The Last Great Georgetown Cocktail Party. The collection will center around a short story I wrote about the adventures of my mother, her social life, and how she was a wonderful symbol of the heyday of Georgetown. The party will begin now and celebrate the last collection on my old website. For this bon voyage I have concocted twenty-one new fragrances and on whopping great short story to go with them. I think you will be amused! In this blog, I will be filling you in on life and manners in the days when ladies wore gloves, furs, and jewels in midday; smoked cigarettes with impunity, had pink gins at lunch, and generally put on the most amusing airs. So come along and be one, too. It’s a blast.

Cityblis

Posted in Changes, General Comments, humor, Perfume Oils, Possets, spring, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Scene Of The Last Great Georgetown Cocktail Party

The address was 3336 Reservoir Road, N.W., Washington, D.C. It’s a town house, more narrow than it is long. A great piece of property which my mother bought for around $20,000 in the good old days. There were some rip-snorting parties given in that house, some amazing poseurs, some elegant people, some tears, and a great many memories.

The house was brick with a pretty fan window over the front door. Our door was painted black with a large brass door knocker with a lady’s head on it. Some people say it was Athena, others say it was a generic Bacchante with grapes in her hair.

I remember there was a white picket fence in front of the house. It didn’t really add anything except my next door neighbor, Danny Nossiter used to play snow fort or cowboys and Native Americans with me and use the fence as part of the structure of the igloo or fort.

There were a lot of happy Halloweens launched from those steps, one of the best birthday parties I have ever had with scads of neighborhood kids attending. We only had one Christmas in that house, usually we went to the farm for that occasion but one year it snowed so hard we had to make do with a small pink fake tree from Costos on M Street.

On the day we moved in, I remember resolving to be perfectly good all day long, and I succeeded! I am sure that is the last day when I was ever “perfectly good”! I went to second and third grade while we were living there, saw a huge storm which descended on D.C. on Good Friday one year (complete with unearthly green sky) coinciding with the exact time which Jesus was supposed to have died (we children thought it was a miracle). Springs were blissful, summers were hot and humid, falls was filled with hilarity, and winters were cozy and fearless.

The day of The Last Great Cocktail Party was almost unbearable. Mother was certainly “fit to be tied”. Dad kept away from all “the palaver”, my brother practically hid under the bed. I was fascinated, like a moth to a flame. It was going to be The Apotheosis of My Mother and I had a ringside seat! This was going to be her entree into the world above the bourgeois (demimonde wannabe), the ticket into the lower rungs of the upper classes. You don’t need unlimited funds to accomplish this; pluck, imagination, and style would carry the day (according to mom). Would this be a case of her reach exceeding her grasp and would she fall like Icarus from her upward trajectory? Or would she rise to the dizzying heights on gossamer wings? Was it all or nothing?

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring the Spring Collection for 2015 whose theme is The Last Great Georgetown Cocktail Party. The collection will center around a short story I wrote about the adventures of my mother, her social life, and how she was a wonderful symbol of the heyday of Georgetown. The party will begin on April 24th and celebrate the last collection on my old website. We are giving it a fitting send-off! In the meantime, I will be filling you in on life and manners in the days when ladies wore gloves, furs, and jewels in midday; smoked cigarettes with impunity, had pink gins at lunch, and generally put on the most amusing airs. So come along and be one, too. It’s a blast.

Cityblis

Posted in Changes, General Comments, humor, Perfume Oils, Possets, spring, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Making a Medusa Headdress

Medusa headdressI got it in my head that I had to have this headdress. Who wouldn’t want to be the Medusa? Great for Halloween, fun for a winter hat. Great idea. It was by a woman called Ruth From Ohio. She gives the instructions BUT she has a knitting machine. I knit once every 17 years. This is going to be a slight problem. I think that I need to knit a watch cap and then cover it with the snakes. Yea that’t the ticket. So, I buy the yarn and start knitting snakes. I don’t know how to knit. That does not stop me. There were instructions and a clue, the clue was that this could be an “I Chord” for the snakes. I Chord? I Google, I find it. AKA and Idiot Chord…this is going to be easy.

It’s going to snow. In Cincinnati that means we are all going to die. OK, I go out and buy all the groceries at Fresh Thyme. Then I go to Joanne Fabrics on the way home and buy two skeins of camo yarn, the double ended needles and I am set.

The snow comes
We get about 5″
Are We Dead?

Not dead, but it’s slick out there. I stay home and do computer work. I shovel the snow. I make dinner. Then I start playing with the yarn.

I start on one snake. I am I Chording along. Learning. The snake looks very serpentine due to the camo yarn. I am enchanted. I learn how to make the snake wider in the jaw, and narrow at the snout. I finish the first snake. He looks a bit lumpy, some of the knitting is too loopy. His scale pattern is a bit off BUT HE WORKS! Can’t have everything perfect off the bat. We are in business. I start snake #2. going much better. He is looking Pretty Good.

We watch House of Cards
I work though it snows
The snake grows.

Now I do the cap upon which to attach the snakes. Friends, I get the idea I will need about 50 snakes. I am finished with 1.5.

Snakes might have to have pipecleaners in them to make them writhey.

I have an idea of how I want it to look.

Moar later.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Deep Winter Collection now. Musks, resins, florals (tis the season), foodies and the new category Dry. Peep in on the ever changing offerings at Possets.  So, click here and go exploring!

Cityblis

Posted in Art History, Changes, General Comments, Perfume Oils, Possets, Winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Do I Do With The Retired Possets?

Musks not tusks.One of my clients asked me what I do with the Possets that have to retire and are not chosen to be part of the Permanent Collection. Good question, here is the answer:

Dear XXXX-You asked me what I do with the retired Possets after their Collection comes down. …Here is the answer. About two years ago, I realized I had run out of space in my office for all of the retired Possets. I looked around my neighborhood (which is a place where they do a lot of light manufacturing) and there was a climate controlled storage company fairly close. I boxed up the retired Possets and rented a space and they are kept there in the dark at the same temp until they are brought back at Retour. At Retour, I have to rent a bit more space to set up alphabetically, I bring back all of the retired Possets from storage and start filling orders. Everything gets smelled before it goes to you, and if anything has gone “off” or is past its prime or has weakened, I stop and remake the blend. Most of the time, the oils just get better with age.

At the end of Retour, everything is packed up and re-stored to wait for the next Retour. As you know, Retours happen on a whim and have no schedule. They last for 2 weeks and are a real madhouse during that time. We have not had a Retour for about two years now. The name Retour comes from the French, “to return”. I hope that answers your question. It was a good one. Fondly, Fabienne

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Deep Winter Collection now. Musks, resins, florals (tis the season), foodies and the new category Dry. Peep in on the ever changing offerings at Possets.  So, click here and go exploring!

Cityblis

Posted in Art History, Changes, General Comments, Perfume Oils, Possets, Winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spikenard-The Anointment Of The Magdalene

Orientals ImageToday marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. It is Ash Wednesday and with it comes quite a few arcane rituals involving unusual items, many of them scented. One of the most famous of all the Lenten perfumes is spikenard.

Spikenard became famous because Mary Magdalene brings an entire jar of it to Jesus and in front of all, she anoints his FEET with a small fortune of it! Spikenard was hideously expensive because it comes only from the Himalayas (Nepal in particular) so you can imagine how drawn-out and dangerous a trek it was to get it from the foot of Mount Everest to the Levant. It is distilled from the root of a valerian-like plant, much like vetiver.

That is all fine and well, but the question you might be more interested in is: how does it smell? I decided to find out what Spikenard was like, being a perfumer, and bought a small sample from one of my natural suppliers. Sure enough, it was from Nepal; and, as usual, I was in a tearing hurry and dabbed some on the back of my hand to make my snap judgment of it. “UR-BALL” was my disappointed conclusion. After running it under my nose I was utterly unimpressed. “Maybe it was wonderful back in the old days when no one could wash much, your clothes stuck to you, and everyone was pretty poor and could not afford anything but the cheapest perfumes. We are so much more sophisticated now, thank goodness,” I thought disparagingly. I put the little vial of herb smelling goo away.

Today, because it is Ash Wednesday, I thought I would give spikenard another try. I had opened my naturals cabinet and the vial was lying on its side waiting for me. I took off the top, put a small amount on the back of my hand, recorked it and thought,”There HAS to be something alluring about this stuff. It was just too expensive to be ho-hum herbal,” I sat at the keyboard waiting for some magic to happen.

Then I forgot about the spikenard and got busy answering my e-mails and trying to fix the usual little bugs which infest my software. And all of a sudden I got a whiff of something WONDERFUL. It was, well, divine. It was green, surely, but there was a particle of cumarin to it (a greenish vanilla), then there was a definite tinge of men’s very expensive hair pomade. There was something about it very masculine, and a stinky little backlash which some people find fetching, so it could go from: feet–>mint–>green vanilla—>green–>expensive pomade–>dense green boxwood bushes where a handsome man has just walked. To find all this beauty, one had to be quiet, one had to be aware, and the oil had to be rubbed on your skin and heat up to combine with your chemistry and then this fabulous fragrance would erupt, spread, and stay on you. It seems to be a base note, it lingers for hours. It is very mutable, it changes from the moment you breathe in, as the vapors fill your sinuses, as the apex of your breath occurs, on the start of the exhale, and the end of the exhale. This is pretty constant, each breath brought the change-wheel of spikenard.

I must say that now I am in love. I think it would make a wonderful companion with galbanum. I just have to tear myself away from this shimmering green jewel long enough to compose something.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Deep Winter Collection now. Musks, resins, florals (tis the season), foodies and the new category Dry. Peep in on the ever changing offerings at Possets.  So, click here and go exploring!

Cityblis

Posted in Art History, Changes, General Comments, Perfume Oils, Possets, Winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bad Guys Can’t Smell

fallingAs it turns out, bad guys don’t have an easy time with their sense of smell. This must explain why my customers are such nice people. Take a look.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Yule/Winter Collection now. Based on Music, the set was inspired by the grand and tingly compositions by such musicians as: Bach, Chopin, and Mozart not to mentions a few anonymous tunes and a couple of just plain fanciful creations. Oh, and there are three fitness perfumes which are engineered to be light and refreshing and let you smell more like a goddess and less like a wet dog after your workout: Vim, Vigor, and Victory. So, click here and go exploring!

Cityblis

Posted in Changes, fitness, General Comments, Perfume Oils, weight loss, Winter | Tagged , , , , , ,

Stretching-Thoroughly Necessary

victoryWith It Or On It-

Whenever I am lifting weights, I look forward to the part of the routine where I can “pull my muscles out” after a good hard set. It always feels so good to get your muscles going in the opposite direction, and that is the way that nature intended it all to be. Macho lifting is showy, but without stretching your muscles out, you may be headed for a nasty surprise.

Several years ago, I was working out daily and doing a LOT of cardio (Zumba, Latin Heat, Kickboxing, etc.). I started to feel an intense pain in the top of my feet, and I actually contemplated stopping exercising because it was so fierce. I finally found my way to a foot and ankle surgeon who told me that the problem was my Achilles tendon was shortening and acting like the master puppet string for my entire foot! As the tendon shortened, all of the other muscles were being pulled and it was being centered around the top of my foot. If I wanted the pain to stop, all I had to do was stand on the edge of a step on the stairs and hang my feet off the step and stretch my heels and Achilles tendon. Simple.

I did that, it works! I am including that story as proof of the power of stretching.

What You Do-

At the end of most exercise classes, there is a short cool down. So many people leave then, figuring that is just window dressing and isn’t important. It is important so pay attention and put a good effort into stretching at the end of cardio class. It will save you a lot of pain.

I see some people standing on one leg like storks, pulling out their quads. More rarely I see people pulling out their shoulder muscles or trying to get the kinks out of their necks.That is good, but I do believe that you need a routine of stretching which is just as important as your workout.

What You Need To Start Doing-

Put in an exercise group separately to your routine, and make it a stretching group. I did what a lot of people started to do, I chose a yoga style to perform and that has done me a world of good. I like yoga because you can find classes just about anywhere at a time which suits you, and there are many styles, so finding one which is right for you is totally possible. The bottom line is that if you have a  routine for stretching then you will do it and be better off for it. Just saying you are going to do it, won’t make it happen.

I found the best way to approach choosing a yoga style was to be honest with yourself about the kind of person you are. I am a pretty fast paced, get it done, active person and so I took a long look at yin yoga. In yin you slow way down. You get into one pose and hold it for 3-5 minutes. You really stretch the muscles and connective tissue in yin; it takes a long time and you are practicing patience at the same time as you are stretching your muscles. This works well for me, and so I say that giving myself a dose of the opposite of what I am worked wonders for me.

If you are a naturally indolent soul who has a hard time getting started, try revving up with power yoga. Tense? You might like a hot yoga like Bikram or Modo. One of the best ways to make up your mind is to go on a yoga tour in your city. Take a class in a variety of places and see which one suits you. Do this as a conscious sampler, so you are not feeling like you can’t be honestly disappointed in one or the other place you go. The right form will become obvious to you. I took a class in a sweet little studio in my neighborhood. The teacher was really really nice and concerned but it was so gentle that it didn’t do anything for me, even with one impossible pose thrown in in the middle of the practice. Another one was just too trendy (and everyone was trying to be too bendy). In some the teacher was all about herself, in others it was a Lululemon fashion parade, some of the hot yoga places were excruciating, some spots weren’t all that clean, some were so dull you will fall asleep (which you can do at home for free). I knew I had found a good class when I was being challenged but felt that I could get through it and they were concentrating on areas where I needed help.*

I went ahead and signed up for extra yin yoga classes and I think it’s one of the best investments I have ever made. It has done wonders for pain and forestalled future pain as well.

The Payoff-

I wish I could say that lots of yoga and stretching has allowed me to bench press 260lbs. It hasn’t, but it’s not meant to. I can say that my muscles are much looser and I have a far better feel for what they can do, when they are in good shape, and when they are approaching their limits because I do yoga. I think my recovery time is far better and the smoothness of my lifting is much improved. My mental state is much better for having done yoga as well. I have a long weightlifting session with myself on Mondays (about 1.5 hrs) and I follow this with a 1.5 hr yin yoga class. I have not been sore ever since I started to do that tandem workout, I believe it’s because I am stretching my muscles right after I do a lot of clenching, and that makes all the difference in the world.

Of course, there are other benefits, too: greater flexibility, great attitude, more relaxed, more aware of what my body can and can’t do. I highly recommend yoga to any athlete, and if they don’t think it’s hard enough, ask them if they think they can do the peacock!

*In my case, hips. I have a nasty angry piriformis and  this practice is great therapy for that.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Yule/Winter Collection now. Based on Music, the set was inspired by the grand and tingly compositions by such musicians as: Bach, Chopin, and Mozart not to mentions a few anonymous tunes and a couple of just plain fanciful creations. Oh, and there are three fitness perfumes which are engineered to be light and refreshing and let you smell more like a goddess and less like a wet dog after your workout: Vim, Vigor, and Victory. So, click here and go exploring!

Cityblis

Posted in Changes, fitness, General Comments, Perfume Oils, weight loss, Winter | Tagged , , , , , ,

Strength-The Olympian Ideal

NikeA Classic-

Everyone has an opinion on strength training. Do you perform a lot of repetitions with relatively low weights or Super Boost a LOT of weight very few times? Do you drink protein shakes or kelp smoothies when you lift? Machines or free weights? Personal trainers, apps, or just make it up as you go along? Arggggh! Where to start and what’s right?

Laws! I could write a book on all those questions above, and I bet any other enthusiast can as well. I will tell you what works for me, then you figure out your routine and maybe I can offer you some inspiration/ideas/encouragement.

I am a woman and I like lifting relatively small amounts of weight very frequently. Know this: things get heavier the more you lift them, so that 20 lb weight which was so easy to pick up at first becomes immobile after you lift it 15 times. Or almost. I strive to pick up enough weight so that when I have done it 25 times, I feel like I can’t lift it again.

I lift in sets of 50: 25 lifts with weight until I exhaust my muscles, then 15 reps more slowly after I recover, then 10 last reps more slowly still. I really feel the burn, and the goal is to feel it at each of the sets. If you are not feeling the burn, slow down…I guarantee that you will fell it!

Where Do You Want To Improve?

I had to decide where to concentrate my lifting efforts. That was easy: I have a lightly built top half, and a heavier bottom half. I concentrate on exercises above my waist. Lat pull downs and shoulder development moves are my friends. I do the chest presses and shoulder press machines as well. I have developed my upper half so that it matches my lower half and that is a point of great pride. My muscles are somewhat larger but they are very much better defined now, and that means I look pretty buff in a strapless evening gown (Lisa Lyons, anyone?).

Water-

When you are lifting, you need to drink a lot of water. You will surprise yourself with the amount of liquid you need. If you don’t get enough hydration, you will cramp up and get sick to your stomach. I didn’t believe that and, sure enough, I got both problems. Simple water eliminated discomfort. I like to bring mine to the gym in a 32. oz Nalgene bottle. I often put in flat soda water (it still has a tang to it) and squeeze a couple of lemons in it. Don’t put sugar or sweetener in it, that just makes liquid into a candy sort of addiction and I don’t want that.

The Machinery-

100% of the machines you will see have the directions printed on them. They show which muscles are worked and how to set up your session. Read the information carefully and then start to experiment with weight. Adjust it until you are really feeling the lift after 10 repetitions.

Machines are great because it’s hard to hurt yourself on them, they are engineered to be safe and effective. Just be sure to use the machine once you get on it, and don’t “ride” it for half an  hour before you do something. Wipe it down before and after you use it.

Another good thing about machines is that they are non competitive, and so the  only person who competes with you is you.

The Freeweights-

Freeweights are excellent. You can truly challenge yourself with them, they are simple things (usually), and they give you a feeling of true independence. However, you can hurt yourself with freeweights (backs and knees really take a beating if you are too enthusiastic here) so go slow when you start up, don’t lift far too much.

You will need to know what to do with freeweights, they are deceptively simple. So a reliable app on your iPhone would be a good idea, it will show you pointers on how to approach the weights and how to use them, often they even had videos for instruction. If you feel anything: rip,pop, crunch, tear or just feel a sharp pain—STOP. This is supposed to be good for you, not to make you another client of a sports doctor.

Moar-

This is just the tip of the iceberg with strength training. I am going to stop here because it is a lot to digest in one sitting. I will certainly come back to strength training, what I have learned, what works for me, and the pitfalls of “picking up heavy things”. Until then, here are some things you might want to explore which have to do with strength training:

  • Buy a 32 oz. waterbottle, one that will go through the dishwasher. You will be surprised at how much water you drink when you are lifting weights, especially in cold weather when the indoor atmosphere is dry.
  • Check out some of the excellent apps there are which explain weightlifting to you. I am partial to Fitness Buddy which shows you muscles, exercises for each one (group of them), how you can exercise them on various pieces of equipment (how to do abs exercises with: kettle balls, barbells, hand weights, just with your body weight, on a variety of machines, with resistance bands, on a Swiss ball, and more, more, more).
  • You just need some comfortable clothes to wear for lifting. Nothing fancy or chic is necessary.
  • I like to use my heart rate monitor with chest strap when I am working out with weights. It is good to know when your heart rate has come down to the lower range and you can start up again with another move. I also like the fact that I can save my workout and load it up to weight loss/maintaining apps like LoseIt.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Yule/Winter Collection now. Based on Music, the set was inspired by the grand and tingly compositions by such musicians as: Bach, Chopin, and Mozart not to mentions a few anonymous tunes and a couple of just plain fanciful creations. Oh, and there are three fitness perfumes which are engineered to be light and refreshing and let you smell more like a goddess and less like a wet dog after your workout: Vim, Vigor, and Victory. So, click here and go exploring!

Cityblis

Posted in Changes, fitness, General Comments, Perfume Oils, weight loss, Winter | Tagged , , , , , ,

Cardio-The First Of The Holy Trinity Of Fitness

VigorHere Is Where You Lose Weight-

When you think about fitness, you usually think of cardio first. To lose weight you have to get your heart rate up and nothing does that like cardio, hence they call it “cardio”. Designed to make you take your maximum physical exertion, it should ideally take you from resting to max and within that range over the course of the workout. Just staying at your highest possible rate for an entire hour is not good. Your body thrives on change and difference. I highly recommend that you buy a chest strap and put it on to monitor your heart rate; not only do you not want to go into your danger zone but you want to make sure that you are working hard enough to have your cardio do some good.

Where-

I workout at the gym BUT you can get a great workout at home, you just need the discipline. Working at  home can involve walking in your neighborhood, just make sure the pace is brisk enough. Hilly areas are great for getting your ticker to ramp up and bringing along some fast tempo music always helps. There are quite a few radio programs and albums on iTunes designed just for workouts and power walking. You can’t always walk as weather has a habit of getting in the way.

When it’s raining, too cold, or icy out there, you can get a few DVDs and use them at home. Check out the selection at Target or anyplace which sells athletic equipment, of course Google will help out here. You can find DVDs to suit you in any intensity from a killer “shred” to a gentler healing guided workout. Try an “interval” or “circuit” workouts where you combine one minute of your best exertion with one minute of rest, this burns tons of calories and strengthens your heart. Most of us need more of a push though, and so the calisthenics sort of a disc will do you more good in the long run but start off slowly if you haven’t been working out. Of course, do ask your doctor before starting on a fitness regimen, she/he will probably be delighted you finally got the message and will be part of your cheering section.

Keeping your enthusiasm with home workouts isn’t easy but one thing I have found which spurs me on in a private non-competitive way is to keep a diary of your efforts, and signing up for the app LoseIt is just about perfect for me. You log your daily activity there and it makes up charts for you, calculates your calorie burn, and there is a nifty forum for suggestions as to what you can try which is new. I thought this would be a hassle, it turns out to be one of the most simple motivating routines ever…just looking at your accomplishments will make you want to continue.

In A Gym-

Gyms are famous for their cardio arrays. Mostly classes at set times, they are a lot of fun and draw on your basic instincts to move with the herd. There are dance based workouts which will have you flying and laughing with the right instructor: Zumba is probably the most popular, and Latin Heat which is similar. More traditional cardio classes include: Step (considered “vintage” but still VERY effective), “Bootcamps” (hybrid strength and mad cardio), Spinning (group lead on a stationary bike, your rump needs time to adjust to the seat but enthusiasts adore it), and for the very enthusiastic there is Kickboxing/Cardio where you will perform burpees until you are exhausted.

In class, there is no slacking off and we have to admit that you can find yourself slacking at home unless you get out of the house and away from the icebox. Group fitness workouts provide another invaluable feature: enthusiasm. You never see anyone just stop and walk out in the middle of a group class. Just the exhilaration of being with others  while working your heart out satisfies a very primitive need. Maybe we are hardwired to hunt in packs and group fitness brings us back to those palmy days of our ancestors (minus the saber toothed pursuers).

Cardio Machines In The Gym-

Machines are not just for strength training, they are great for cardio as well. Try out the humble treadmill and don’t forget you can change it to an incline and burn even more calories. Ellipticals really burn up fat though some people have a hard time getting the knack of using them, you have to learn how to shift your weight and which way you like to have it go (frontwards or backwards). Stationary bikes can burn a lot or a little. If you sit on your rump and pedal in a leisurely style, it won’t do too much for you. Pedal like you are chasing Lance Armstrong and it will rack them up. Finally, I would like to put in a good word for a machine I have eyed but not used until recently, the Stair Climber. I was amazed at how high my heart rate was on it! It didn’t feel strenuous either, amazingly enough. I was bopping along at 155 bpm an not feeling out of breath at all. Go figure. I like that, I think you will do.

With all machinery, make sure you keep your attention on the machine. You can trip, fall, and get hurt unless you are aware of the moving parts and consequences of it all. I like to listen to books being read when I am on a machine, less possibility of injury for me, just a thought.

This blog is brought to you by Possets Perfume which is featuring The Yule/Winter Collection now. Based on Music, the set was inspired by the grand and tingly compositions by such musicians as: Bach, Chopin, and Mozart not to mentions a few anonymous tunes and a couple of just plain fanciful creations. Oh, and there are three fitness perfumes which are engineered to be light and refreshing and let you smell more like a goddess and less like a wet dog after your workout: Vim, Vigor, and Victory. So, click here and go exploring!

Cityblis

Posted in Changes, fitness, General Comments, Perfume Oils, weight loss, Winter | Tagged , , , , , ,