Tag Archives: Greater Boston Food Bank

Today: It’s (finally) beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

If I had it my way (and all the time in the world), I would begin decorating for Christmas in September.  And not finish until June.  Despite getting a later start this year on all things Christmas, I am soaking up all the sparkly and shine while it lasts.

I love little trees. The more sparkles or feathers, the better.

The holiday season makes me inexplicably happy.  Joyful, even.  On my way to a meeting earlier this week, I was stuck behind a man who was walking slowly, but whistling “Frosty the Snowman” loudly.  Were this any month but December, I’d be annoyed, and pass him as soon as the opportunity presented itself.  (Side note: the whole idea of a snowman coming to life, let alone getting married?  So creepy.)

I intended to make that garland super long… but I got super lazy. Story of my life.

Instead, I found myself smiling about that moment for the rest of the day.  I get the same perma-smile from cars whipping around with Christmas trees tied to the roof, tacky holiday decorations in our neighborhood (my feeling: the tackier, the better… as long as it’s on someone else’s house), holiday stamps, fake Santas taking calls from children on the radio… you get the point.

Clark did a little crate decorating.

And I find myself being a kinder, more gentle, more patient version of me this time of year (save for the random outbursts of pregnancy-related ‘tude).  I notice it in other people too.  It’s really quite lovely.

Spotted a pink nutcracker for the baby’s room and couldn’t help myself…

I’m also more aware this time of year than any other how much I have to be grateful for.  While the twinkly lights and warm Santa socks are nice, I know how lucky I am to have a husband who is just plain incredible and a healthy baby on the way, family and friends who love and care for me, a safe and comfortable place to live, plenty to eat, good health, a fulfilling career, and the freedom and flexibility to make all kinds of choices.

I have so much, and so it feels as important as ever do what I can with what I have– whether that’s time, money, or donated goods.  Perhaps you’ll join me in supporting a cause, organization, or program that you find compelling?  A few suggestions, if I may:

In and around Boston

National and International

It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you celebrating the season?

Today: Win by losing with the #FitFluential March DietBet.

I mentioned earlier this week that I’ve been under a bit of stress lately (and I mentioned Cheese Doodles in the same sentence, which may be telling…).  After lots of late nights, fourteen hour days at the office, and the regular go go go of life, I am due for a reset.  And more meals made at home.  And more commitment to workouts.  And more time finding balance and peace.

FitFluential dietbet

I don’t talk much (if at all) about weight around here.  Partly because I don’t think anything I could share would be helpful (I have no significant experience or wisdom on the topic), and partly because it’s not something I spend much time thinking about.  I’m too busy thinking about work, my husband, outfits I can make my dog wear when my husband isn’t home, and Michael Jackson.  I am happy to be in a place where I focus less on numbers, and more on how I feel.

Every now and then, though, I lose my balance.  I forgo moderation.  Intuitive eating goes out the window (or wherever good habits take vacations).  I think about inventing and starring in a TV show called Moderate Loser, wherein I lose five pounds and then spend the rest of the season going to CrossFit with Bob, borrowing Jillian’s clothes, and getting life coached by Dolvett.

At this moment in time, could I stand to lose a few pounds to be healthier and fitter (and also, fit better in to my pants)?  Yes.  (Allow me to refer to Cheese Doodles just once more.)  Would having a supportive community along for the ride help?  Yes.  Would knowing that, were I to lose those few lbs, one of my favorite charities would benefit?  Yes again.

FitFluential March DietBet

If you find yourself in a similar position (that is to say, it would be safe and healthy for you to lose a few pounds), I encourage you to check out the upcoming FitFluential’s March DietBet, which starts on March 11th. Looking for a little motivation to exercise, eat well, and stay healthy this month?  DietBet builds in competition, community, and the opportunity to support charities, helping us all to stay on track.  Who wouldn’t want to win by losing?

Those who lose 4% of their weight (which is verified through a very simple process that involves uploading photos at the start and end of each DietBet), split the pot of money that comes from participants’ entry fees ($25 per person for the FitFluential March DietBet).  One of my favorite features if the option to donate your winnings (or a percentage of your winnings) to charity.  I think this is such a great option, and have committed to giving my share to The Greater Boston Food Bank.  I think that’s what they call a win, win.

If you’d like to learn more about how DietBet works, I encourage you to visit their website.

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.

Also On Tap for Today:

  •  Looking forward to a night at the Ballet
  • Adding “has a breakfast nook” to our condo-hunting list
  • Loving the snow!

If you could invent a TV show, what would it be called?

Today: Thinking pink.

Though the skies have been quite grey today, I’ve been holed up in our condo since this morning’s crossfit class, thinking pink.  Our Christmas cards arrived yesterday (don’t tell a soul, but I somehow spelled Christmas with an extra i on our return address wrappers and was forced to break out the scissors), addressed to friends and family members at no extra cost (I’ll say it again, Minted.com is the best) and just waiting for stamps.

It would seem I’ve forgone tradition in my old age – hot pink Christmas cards and nary a wise man in sight?  Welp, they matched my compression gear (this morning’s WOD was a leg killer) and basil and pomegranate spritzer.  It all just felt so right.  Or whatever.

In my lifelong quest to sprinkle basil atop everything, I added a bit of my favorite fresh herb to a glass of seltzer with pomegranate juice.  If I weren’t lazy, I may have thought ahead and added the basil to an ice cube tray.  It adds a subtle flavor, but packs an aromatic punch.  I find the smallest amount of pomegranate juice results in the perfect pink color.  Which, apparently, is very important today. (Subtle flavors? Aromatic punches? I need a nap.  And a new personality.)

The lovely folks at PRO Compression sent me two complimentary pairs of their marathon socks (one white, one hot pink), which I’ve been living in since they’ve arrived.  They remain undetected under pantsuits: business on the outside, recovery on the inside… and now you know.  I’ve been a devoted compression-er since my first marathon, when Nick and I would spent Saturdays after our long runs in head-to-toe compression, devouring pizza.  I distinctly remember writhing in pain in our hotel room (no pizza this time) after my second marathon, demanding that Nick cram my broken foot into the tightest compression sock known to woman.  I was convinced it had healing powers.  (It sort of did, but I still mostly couldn’t walk afterward.)

Unlike those compression socks that look like they just may fit a Barbie doll, PRO Compression socks don’t require a helper to pull them on.  They are comfortable enough to wear on long runs and during workouts, without lacking any support.  Compression gear is said to help with circulation (which is why compression socks and stockings are often prescribed for diabetes patients and those with poor circulation), and can help ward off fatigue.  I’ve found that they speed up the recovery process, and that my calves and shins are less sore when I wear them immediately after working out (well, um, after I shower… obvi).

PRO Compression Marathon Socks come in a number of fun colors (I’ve got my eye on the USA edition for hero WODs and 4th of July races).  They also sell calf sleeves, low trainer socks and golf socks.  In partnership with FitFluential, PRO Compression is offering a discount code good for 40% off and free shipping.  Use FIT40 at check-out; the code is good through December 15th.

I’m off to sprinkle pink glitter all over the condo.  Just kidding… or am I?

Also On Tap for Today:

If your day was a color, what would it be?

 

Today: The Clark Chronicles [a giveaway and a giveback]

UPDATE:  Congratulations to Shannon, who will soon be the (proud?) owner of a Clark calendar.  I will reach out to you by email to get your mailing address.   Thank you so very much to each of you who commented.  With 35 comments in total as of last night, I decided…. what the heck.  I’m donating $100 regardless.  My lovely parents offered to match my pledge on comments, so that gives us $135 in support of The Greater Boston Food Bank.  Not a bad way to start the day.

As 2012 winds down and 2013 approaches, what better time than now to break out a new wall calendar?  Perhaps one featuring the handsome mug of South Boston’s most beloved (real talk) French bulldog?  After playing around on Minted.com for a few minutes, I found the perfect design and got down to business.  The result:  THE CLARK CHRONICLES.

 

Because I am…

  1. truly grateful to you for stopping by On Tap for Today, and for all the comments, shares, likes, tweets, pins and pokes (Do people still do that?  On Facebook, I mean?) this year and
  2. because I am a firm believer that you can never have too much Clark…

I am giving away one copy of The Clark Chronicles, a truly special 2013 wall calendar, to one lucky and truly special reader.

This is not just a giveaway, though.  It’s also a giveback (I don’t think that’s a real word, but I am hoping that doesn’t matter.).  For each comment left below, I will donate $1.00 to The Greater Boston Food Bank (up to $100.00 of my very own straight cash, homey).  It is my honor to support the important work they do in Massachusetts to end hunger.  In eastern Massachusetts alone, nearly a third of families in need report that their children are not eating enough because they cannot afford sufficient food.  While I worry about which black shoes to wear with my black dress, one in nine of my neighbors is food insecure.  They may be unsure where they will get their next meal.  They may be choosing between food or rent, food or heat, food or medical care.  These are choices no one should face.  During a season so focused on giving and receiving, I encourage you to consider giving back, when and if you can, in support of the causes closest to your heart.

Please leave a comment below (and for Pete’s sake, make it a thoughtful one) for a chance to receive a Clark calendar (perhaps I could convince him to pawtograph it?  bahahahaaa) and I will donate $1.00 for each comment (up to 100) to the Greater Boston Food Bank.  I will select one random winner at the end of the day on Monday, 12/10/12.

P.S. If you are a very lovely and kind millionaire hundredaire and would like to match a portion of my contribution, please let me know.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your top goal for 2013?  What cause is closest to your heart this time of year?

Today: Ultimate Bootcamp, Days 1 and 2.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Welp, two days of Ultimate Bootcamp down.  Fourteen to go.  Surprisingly, waking up at 5:15 AM has not been too much of a struggle.  I do question the safety of my being on the road that early, though.  Zombies are not good drivers.  They are also not good at reading sock labels.  Good Lord.

It’s incredibly quiet in the city at 5:40.  A tad creepy, even.  When I pulled into the parking lot this morning, this was the view:

But by the time our session wrapped up, the sun was putting on quite a show.  What a difference an hour makes:

While I am sure all of those push-ups have been good for my body, seeing the sunrise has most definitely been good for my soul.  Our sessions run Monday through Thursday for four weeks, and are taught by 2 instructors who alternate days.  Kim and Jeanine have very different training styles, which I am sure will keep things fun and interesting.  The workouts are challenging, but not crippling, and there is definitely room to modify moves and pacing.

Monday morning’s session included:

  • Warm-up run
  • Jumping jacks
  • Squat test (I completed 28 in 1 minute)
  • Partnered rows with a resistance band
  • A 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 push-up ladder in the sand, with running between each set
  • Push-ups
  • Wide armed push-ups
  • Planks (high and low)
  • Rows and dead lifts with resistance bands
  • Walking planks
  • Sand running
  • Up/downs (moving between low and high plank)

While we were cranking out push-ups, the sun was rising over the water.  The view was breathtaking.  Then again, the view from my bed (with my eyes closed) is also quite lovely.  Today’s session with Jeanine took place at the field at Saunders Stadium.  After a quick warm-up run along the water (complete with a skunk sighting), we side-lunged our way to the field for lots of running and partner drills.

Today’s workout included:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Burpees
  • Mountain climbers
  • Seated rows with a resistance band
  • More planks than I care to mention
  • Sit ups
  • Up/downs
  • V-ups
  • Squat jumps

There was running between every set, and our trainer and fellow bootcampers provided lots of encouragement.  It’s only been two days, but I can already see why people come back session after session.  Accountability is a huge motivator for me, so knowing that our group is meeting every morning in the pitch black provides just the kick I need to not hit snooze.  Ultimate Bootcamp partnered with Pop Chips this session for the Pop It Forward attendance challenge.  The group with the highest attendance rate at the end of four weeks will receive $250 from Pop Chips, which will be donated to the charity of that group’s choosing.  Our group chose the Animal Rescue League of Boston.  Cute and furry motivation.  I dig it.

I’ll share more about time management and my morning routine later on, but on both mornings I’ve been back to my condo by 7:10, and at the office by 8:30.  I’ve had plenty of time to shower, dry my unruly hair, pack my lunch, and put my face on.  I even remembered to walk Clark.  And managed to wear matching shoes.  I’ve had trouble committing to a morning workout program in the past, for fear of being late to work.  Turns out, it’s not impossible.  And it’s quite awesome to head home at the end of the day, knowing my workout is behind me.  I am a bit anxious about incorporating enough mileage as the Reach the Beach Relay approaches, but I know I’ll sort it out.

In the meantime, drop and give me 20 push-ups.  Please.

Full disclosure: I am attending this session of Ultimate Bootcamp at no cost.  I am not being compensated for writing about participating, and per usual, you can trust me to be open and honest about the experience.  In other news, I really don’t want to get sprayed by a skunk.

Also On Tap for Today:

If you could give $250 to any charity, which would you choose?  (For me: Greater Boston Food Bank all day, baby.)

Today: From pennies to turkeys.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] When I was younger (like, 6-12 months younger), I had a habit of giving change and small bills to people who asked for it, as I walked or drove by.  For the most part, these were people I saw every day, on my way to and from meetings and appointments.

[Photo source]

Not that long ago, I watched someone– an older man I’d see by the bank most mornings– ask a man dressed in a suit and BC hat if he could spare some change for food.  I already had my hand in my pocket, fishing for change.  My fellow Eagle (or maybe he just bought the hat at Marshalls? Surely this was not a man educated by Jesuits) did not reach into his pocket.  “What don’t you get a job,” he sneered and hurried by.

Is it possible for your heart, jaw and stomach to all drop at once?  I wanted to say something, but nothing came out.  I still regret that.  I gave the older man what was in my pocket, smiled and continued to the bank.  “God bless you,” he called after me.  I am pretty sure that was his reply to the a-hole in the Eagles hat, too.  I know.  I shouldn’t say a-hole.

Here’s the thing.  Or…  Here are the things.  I don’t know what he did with the money.  I don’t know what anyone that I’ve given change or a few bucks to does with the money.  I hope they buy food, but who knows?  At the time, that really didn’t matter.  Did I have spare change?  Yes.  Was the amount insignificant enough that I wouldn’t need it that day or the next?  Yes.  Was the amount significant to be helpful?  I don’t really know, but if I had to guess, probably not.

I’ve talked to Nick and my parents about this and everyone seems to agree; that is to say, they disagree with me.  There are better ways to help than doling out dimes and nickles, ways that don’t involve risks to personal safety or potentially contributing to other people’s problems.  It was my dad who suggested giving the money to the institutions doing incredible work in our city to care for the hungry, homeless, those battling addiction, or needing health care.  Thank goodness I am surrounded by geniuses.  I am taking applications for life coaches, by the way.  Yes, I think I need more than one.

Anyway.  I started keeping a can in my car.

Any time anyone has asked me for change lately, I’ve politely refused and then added what change I did have to the can.  As of this morning, I had enough to buy a turkey for a local family through The Greater Boston Food Bank’s Turkey Drive.  It sort of gives new meaning to spare change for food, wouldn’t you say?

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Resting up for tomorrow’s 14 mile run
  • On Mercy:  I love Sister Karol Jackowski’s posts for Whole Living
  • I think I need to drag the winter coats out of storage

Is there such thing as spare change?  How do you spend yours?

Today: Take action.

When I complain aloud, it’s usually about one of two things: being hungry, or being tired.  Nick appropriately responds one of two ways: eat something, or go to bed.  What he’s probably actually thinking is pipe down, woman!

September is Hunger Action Month. Hunger Action Month has very little to do with turbo idiots like myself, who want for nothing, but will complain about a little stomach rumbling.  It has everything to do with the fact that last year, in eastern Massachusetts alone, 394,300 people sought the assistance of a food bank.  This number reflects a 23% increase from the previous year.

These 394,300 are people who are hungry, people who worry about where their next meal will come from, people who–despite their best efforts– cannot secure food for their families.  These are people who are forced to make choices that no one should have to consider:  food or heat, food or rent, food or medical care?  More than a third of these 394,300 people are part of a household with at least one working adult.  These are not people looking for a handout or an easy way out; there are so many circumstances that lead to food insecurity.  These are people who deserve our support.

How can we do our part?  Check out the Hunger Action Month calendar for 30 ways you can join the fight to end hunger in America. 30 ways in 30 days!  You know I love a catchy… catch phrase.

Hunger Action Month is a national movement, so be sure to check out your local food bank for more information and specific programming.  We are really lucky in Boston to have The Greater Boston Food Bank as neighbors; they do incredible work.  A few thousand years ago, when I was a freshman in college, the GBFB’s founder (and founder of Rosie’s Place), Kip Tiernan, came to speak at Boston College.  I like to think I’ve got my act together, but I’ve got to tell you… I wept like a weeping willow in one of the back rows of Devlin 008 that night.  Hunger does not discriminate.  Please do what you can to help.

Also On Tap for Today:

Is there a cause you feel particularly passionate about?  Feel free to share the details in the comments section.