Hello, hello, and happy holidays!
I have a recipe to share at the end of this post, but first I wanted to talk a little about about what I’ve been up to over the holidays!
As I mentioned last post, due to the devastating wildfires in Butte County, we ended up having the whole week of Thanksgiving off of school. As a result, things were really hectic when we got back. I was able to help out with some of the wildfire victims though. We had 35 burned kitties come to UC Davis, and I was able to help with some of their treatments. In addition, the weekend before finals, I went up to Butte County with a few other UC Davis vet students and we helped vaccinate and give care to a ton of the kitties in a shelter up there. These experiences have been some of my favorite in vet school; this is why I’m here—to be able to help when something terrible happens. It also amazes me how sweet all these homeless kitties are. It really puts things perspective.
On a brighter note, I’m currently home for the holidays! My first weekend home was the Santa Run in San Jose. Can you believe this is my7th year doing it, and it was my first 5k race ever?
Winter break has actually been pretty active for me. I tried out Classpass, and there is a free week trial which gives you access to a TON of classes in that week. It’s been really fun popping into new studios and trying new things. That’s part of why I wanted to post today. I know how scary it can be to walk into a new studio, and try something new. I do want to try and assuage some of those fears.
Classes I’ve tried out:
Barre at Barre3
Cycling at LIFT
Barre at LIFT
Reformer at Bodyrok (this was probably the scariest one for me)
Core Cycle at Core Studio (with real ryder bikes—they move!)
Barre was the first class I tried. I’ve done a fair amount of yoga, but never really any type of pilates, and CERTAINLY never anything ballet related. I’m not necessarily the most coordinated, especially when it comes to anything dance. One tip I have if you’re intimidated to try a class is to bring a friend! I brought my friend to try this.
What to expect: lots of burning and leg shaking, lots of squats. I was pleasantly surprised that it was pretty easy to follow and required less coordination than anticipated. I liked that it had the same intentionality of movement as yoga, but was a little faster paced. You can be barefoot or wear sticky socks. I did my first couple classes without socks, and my feet were slipping all over the place. Other people didn’t have that problem as much as I did though. I invested in some sticky socks, and they were a game changer for me!
Cycling classes are something I’m pretty comfortable walking into a new studio and doing. That being said, I know they can seem intimidating! Check ahead of time to see if the class requires cycling shoes/if the studio rents out cycling shoes. If you need help setting up your bike, don’t be afraid to ask! Team members are always happy to help! Especially since there area a lot of different bikes out there that have slightly different setup.
What to expect: lots of cardio! Definitely bring water. Some studios use small hand weights for 1 song near the end of class. Some classes ride to the beat of the music and do things like push-ups on the bike, whereas some classes are numbers based and show your bike speed. If you’re going to a class with real ryder bikes (these are pretty rare): these bikes move side to side when you lean one way or the other. My biggest tip with these is be patient with yourself! They take a while to get the hang of; I had been on them a couple of times before at IDEA World Conference, and even though it has been years, it does get better each time. Standing on the bike was the hardest for me; really focus on stabilizing with your quads!
Reformer classes were easily the most intimidating for me. I actually signed up for one on accident; I probably wouldn’t have signed up for one, but I’m glad I did! Bodyrok recently opened nearby, and they offered “cycle and sculpt” class. I didn’t realize the :sculpt” portion was on a reformer until I showed up, but at that point I said to myself, “well, I guess I’m doing it.” I actually really enjoyed it! If you’re not familiar with the reformer, it’s basically a machine that looks like a torture device, with sliding platforms and handles on cables. It’s a big core workout! The sliding platform is moved by pulling on the cables, so you can use for anything from core work to bicep curls.
What to expect: slow, intentional movements, and burn! Get there a little early to have the instructor help show you what everything is used for and how everything moves. The class I went to required sticky socks, so check the studio standards on that! It was also really helpful for me to be directly next to someone to see what they were doing if I was ever confused. The instructor was very clear though!
Barry’s Bootcamp is a trendy fitness studio that recently reached Northern California from the East Coast. I dropped into a class while my family was in San Francisco to see the Union Square Christmas tree and other holiday festivities. My parents had a coffee date while I took the class.
What to expect: a dark room, with loud music, and high intensity cardio. The workout is split into a treadmill portion, and a floor portion consisting of weights, bands, and bodyweight movements. On the treadmill, we did intervals at sprints and on hills. My only complaint is really a personal one: I didn’t run as fast as I would have wanted to get an even harder workout because I wasn’t comfortable running over a 8.5/9 on the treadmill for fear of falling off. The instructor gave plenty of modifications, but I’m not sure this would necessarily be the best workout for beginners. In addition, there was a lot going on in the room because there were people doing the floor portion while others were on the treadmill so the instructor was yelling out instructions for both at the same time.
I’ve had a lot fo fun trying things! Here are some tips to fight that first-timer intimidation:
- Bring a friend (see above)
- Check the website to know what to expect/what to bring/what to wear. You can even look at reviews or blogs (like this one!) describing the class.
- Arrive early.
- Watch other students to see where to go/what to do/what equipment to grab.
- Don’t be afraid to ask the instructor questions and let him/her know it is your first time.
- People are so nice! Seriously. The staff at all the places I went was super friendly and welcoming.
- Let go of comparisons. The person next to you may have been taking this class for years. Take modifications if you need them!
- Have fun!
On that note, let’s get into some of the other holiday festivities!
I made a list of holiday things to do while on break, and one of them was to go out to dinner at a particular restaurant and see a movie. This burrata and poached pear with balsamic is actually one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, and was a seasonal special I remembered from a visit a few years prior. Afterwards, we saw the Grinch. It was cute!
Just like every other year for the past 10 years, my high school friends came over for our annual sugar cookie decorating! This year was the first time with fur babies! My friend brought her cat over to play.
As mentioned above, we visited Union Square and the giant mall up there!
On Sunday, my sister and her husband came over with their kitties for a wine and cheese night. Cheese selections included, aged gouda, havarti with dill, goat brie, stilton with cranberries, and a hard cheese with syrah.
As per annual tradition, on Christmas Eve we had dinner at Benihana, a Japanese steakhouse.
And finally, it was Christmas! My family hosted everyone this year. Marie enjoyed her first Christmas.
Also per somewhat newer tradition, we took Chloe for a walk along the water on Christmas morning.
For food, we got a precooked turkey along with mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, and gravy. My sister made an eggplant parmesan and I roasted brussels sprouts with aged truffle balsamic (amazing).
For dessert, I made an amazing GF pear gingerbread upside down cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction. My Grandma brought white chocolate raspberry cheesecake.
It was a great day of food and family!
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.