Category Archives: Life

P90X graduate

I’m happy to announce I’m a P90X graduate! This was my last day and the results are better than I hoped! I started 3 times so far, but the computer broke down twice so I had to stop. This time my laptop survived and I was able to finish it…and now I’m a size 8!

Let me tell you about the program. It has 11 workouts that combine cardio, martial arts, core, strength and flexibility. The workouts alternate to create the “muscle confusion”, as Tony Horton says, to prevent hitting a plateau in your training. The plan integrates 6 workouts per week and the 7th one, stretch, it’s optional. Even if I skipped yoga and stretch or some workouts because I was too tired or busy, the results are very good.

I was slim when I started (size 10), so there isn’t a huge change in that prospective. Nevertheless I lost 4.5 pounds (2 kg) and my body fat is way lower: from 31.65% to 25.93%! I’m very happy with this result and I’ll continue working so I can lower my body fat even more. I lost 3 inches (7,5 cm) from the waist and 1.5 inches (4 cm) from the hips. I lost 9 pounds (4 kg) of fat and gained 4.5 pounds (2 kg) of muscles.

In January I was able to do 28 regular pushups and now I can do 100 pushups per workout, and I can do many more with my knees down. My strength is much higher, for example I can easily lift a big branch for Festus or his bag of food of 15 kg.

Hubby took some pictures of me doing different exercises. One-arm balance push up from the chest, shoulders & triceps workout. On the last workout I did 13 push ups.p90x_01

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Stack foot push up from the core synergistics workout. On the last workout I did 8.
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Side kick from the kenpo workout, 60 kicks every time.
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During the program I eat 2000-2200 calories/day, with a few exceptions (from 1700 to 2600). I tried to keep my protein intake around 1.2g/kg and after the strength workouts I had a whey protein shake. As usual, 50% of the calories were carbs and the rest proteins and fats.

On Wednesday, hubby and I will start all over again. We will run twice a week, so the program will be a little different.

Bring it!

Update: We started on the 11th April, a week later than planned.

Body fat caliper

We women tend to care how much we weight and we tend to ignore the most important thing of all: what does that number mean. We all know two persons with the same height and weight can look very different and we usually “blame” the bone structure, but a different body fat percentage makes a great difference too.

The body fat percentage is the amount of fat tissue in your body as a percentage of total body weight. It’s important to know your body fat percentage because a high percentage means you have a higher risk to develop weight-related illness (I’ll write more in the future). Another very important reason is that a higher percentage means you need fewer calories to maintain your weight… or even gain weight.

The body fat can be measured easily with different online-calculators, but for the most accurate ones that you can use at home involve a skin-fold caliper. I got mine last week, from eBay at a low price (less than 2 pounds).

This is a picture of the caliper. It’s very easy to use and has a chart with the normal limits. Give it a try… it could change your life.
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Women’s day

In Eastern Europe the 8th of march has a very special meaning: women’s day. It’s a day that celebrates the woman regardless if she is a mother or not. Of course we celebrate this year too. I asked hubby to make it a special day out and he said yes. Fortunately we had a lovely weather and our walk was great.

First of all we went to Williamson tunnels. I saw the website before moving to UK and I really wanted to visit the tunnels. The reviews on tripadvisor were great too.

We had a guide that told us the lovely story of Joseph Williamson (born on 10th march), a very eccentric man, who succeeded to get from an orphan child that arrived at 11 years in Liverpool to a wealthy tobacco merchant. He was, from my point of view, a great philanthropist too. The lady-guide talked with such enthusiasm and we loved the tour. If you came in Liverpool, make a stop to the tunnels, you will have a great time.

Some pictures. This is the entrance. I had to wear a helmet, but there are no risks.
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We paid attention to the tale and forgot to took pictures of the tunnels. After Williamson died in 1840 the tunnels were used as a dumping site, but, as the lady told us, it’s just a matter of perception… now every piece is an artifact 🙂
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This was a pot for steamed vegetables. The holes were made so the steam could go out so the vegetables wouldn’t get mushy.
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Jam jars with the inscription: “Not genuine unless bearing W. P. Hartley’s label”. We saw Hartley jams in store, but I’m not sure we’ve tried it.
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The entry fee is just £4.5 per person, it’s a small price considering they receive no public funding and the guide is included!

After we saw the tunnels, we were headed to World Museum when I saw that St. George’s Hall is open. We stepped in and enjoyed a short visit.
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I was standing near the judge’s chair.
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The hall looks amazing.
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St. George’s Hall is the first building with air-conditioning in the world. The engineer David Boswell Reid designed this system in 1851. He named it “Systematic Ventilation” system, and he designed the one for the Houses of Parliament too.
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The hall from outside. The hall has no entry fee.
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Near the hall is the World Museum.The museum is huge! There are five floors and many exhibits and it’s free! On the first floor we saw the Aquarium. The pictures have a lower quality because hubby didn’t use the flash (it was a requirement and a polite thing to do).

The lovely Clownfish, that unfortunately it’s considered an endangered species.
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Another endangered species, but I forgot the name. They look so funny.
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Near the entrance of the bug house is the giant bug. A little scary 🙂
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Two scorpions.
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Ants. Their display is very interesting, they get the food in one place and the ants move it to their habitat. I think very organized and lovely.
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The bug house has a huge number of butterflies! A lot of the insects are put in special drawers-insectariums. I’ll go again to read about them and take pictures. They are so many, so I think only this exhibits will take 2-3 hours to see properly.
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After the bug house we went in the Clore Natural History Centre. There were many children so we moved faster. I’ll go back another time, fortunately it would be a smaller crowd. I loved this exhibit. On the wicker chest is wrote: “Dare you open the box to see the most DANGEROUS ANIMAL in the world? Watch out it is alive!” and inside there is a mirror…
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On the ancient world sector I saw for the first time a mummified crocodile. There are a few mummies as well because Liverpool is a center for research of the Egyptian archaeology and here was founded the first institute of archaeology.
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I also found my ancient Egyptian name: weser nefer sat.
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Very beautiful arrows. The middle one is just lovely.
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Interesting pairs of sunglasses made by Eskimos.
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Here I was searching for the right runes to write my name. It was pretty hard because the difference between the runes wasn’t so big.
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my name
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In the Natural World section there were many warnings about our endangered planet. For example: “Every year an area of forest the size of Yorkshire is deliberately destroyed forever. It is estimated that in 30 years these enormous forests may have completely disappeared. Can the world afford to pay this price for “progress”?”
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A fossil in stone. At the museum there are a few fossils and they all look lovely, at least from my point of view.
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Martisor

Hubby gave me a lovely martisor this year. It arrived today and I’m so happy.m_01

He got a fish from Butler & Wilson. I love their jewellery… bold, colorful and beautiful. I’ll wear it tomorrow evening when we go out.
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For the readers that don’t know the meaning of martisor:

“Mărțișor (Romanian pronunciation: [mərtsiʃor]) is an old Romanian celebration at the beginning of spring, on March the 1st. Symbolically, it is correlated to women and to fertility as a means of life and continuity. The name Mărțișor is the diminutive of marț, the old folk name for March (Martie, in modern Romanian), and thus literally means “little March”. It is also the folk name for this month.

In modern times, and especially in urban areas, the Mărțișor lost most of its talisman properties and became more of a symbol of friendship or love, appreciation and respect. The black threads were replaced with red, but the delicate wool ropes are still a ‘cottage industry’ among people in the countryside, who comb out the wool, dye the floss, and twist it into thousands of tassels. In some areas the amulets are still made with black and white ropes, for warding off evil.”

source: wikipedia

7 years

7 years ago, hubby (back then he was BF) asked me if I wanted to move with him. I love that period of our life, he was staying near Bucharest in the Physics University’s dorm-rooms and I was clandestine, the doorman knew, but she didn’t care. We were both in the last year of the University, he studied mathematics and computers in Bucharest and I was studding psychology in Constanta (at ~260 km). I used to make 5-6 hours by train to get there…everybody who tried the Romanian Railways and the “personal” knows how nice it is (personal it’s the cheapest option).

We started our life together having part-time jobs while doing research for the graduation thesis and studding for the final exams. We didn’t care it was cold, we didn’t mind we had to wait even 1 hour for a crowded bus, eating unhealthy food… but we had the youth on our side to helps us get over any difficulty.

Hubby had a strange roommate, who was always asking for a knife to cut a can of food… even in the middle of night while we were sleeping or he was asking for the time at very strange hours, like 3 am. That guy was talking about his wife & 3 children, subspace, Jews and his plans regarding selling some subspace… but it was fun. The neighbors from the next room were fun too. We went from time to time to a game room and played Counter Strike with them. One of the neighbors was very upset every time we went because I was the one who “killed” him most of the time.

That was in the past, but I remember with such a joy and warm feeling inside. Now we are living in another country, many things happened in this 7 years, but I’m glad he asked and I’m glad I said “yes”. So…yesterday we celebrated 7 years eating a heart-shaped cake and, by night, going to Limassol for belly dancing.

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I had a perfect garlic mushrooms dish. I love them and hubby loved them too, he said he will get this dish next time. After that dish, I enjoyed stuffed mushrooms and grilled haloumi. Hubby got his usual lamb kebab with tahini sauce. He managed to convince me to split a desert (even if I’m on a diet and I already ate cake), but I loved the chocolate cake… so all it’s forgiven.
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I enjoyed very much the dance while hubby took pictures, as usual. I’m considering taking some belly dancing classes, even if I’m not so found of that music.
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Me and my coffee…
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P.S. I am a celebrating-freak, have lots of things we celebrate and we always do. If I remember the day of … (when one of many things that happened in our lives)… why not celebrate it? Celebrations mean… cake, a special day and a special dinner, presents (depending of the reason we are celebrating) and having fun. My dear readers… be prepared for many celebrations 🙂

Christmas and boxing day

My first Christmas in UK was very nice and very different. The only Romanian food I was able to make was “cozonac” (it’s similar to the Italian panettone, but with raisins, walnuts and cocoa). Besides this I’ve made houmus, mushrooms with mayonnaise, stuffed eggs and other appetizers. For the main course I had halumi (hubby had something meaty) with baked potatoes and green salad with mozzarella (baby spinach, rocket and watercress). For desert I’ve made a carrot cake. Usually I cook more food and more traditional, but I think this year’s menu was much better.

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We had mince pies, I didn’t like the first one but right now I am a big fan. We will get another batch these days.

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The boxing day was great. I got some clothes… and a fantastic pair of reindeer socks.

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I wish you all Happy Holidays!