Nov 102015


That’s what Portland looks like these days–except more rain and it’s often sideways. So much for a mild autumn! But I can’t complain too much because we got super lucky with a mild winter/spring this past year and honestly, Mt. Hood needs some snow this winter!

Since the weather has been crappy and I’m feeling less and less motivated to do things (I’m blaming the pregnancy nesting), I’ve been catching up on TV shows. First, Bones. I had watched some of the TV show when it was first on TV years ago but never kept up with it and this summer when I was suffering from morning sickness all day long and just not feeling good at all…I spent a LOT of time laying in bed watching Bones. I started from the beginning and grew to love the show.


It took me about 5 months to watch 10 seasons. I’m now caught up but haven’t started season 11 yet. I like the show and the characters, even though Brennan annoys me at times, and I was super bummed out when they killed off a character I liked. :( I’m taking a little break from the show and then will try and find the current season online.

Second, Longmire is back! Once I finished Bones I was able to catch up on Season 4 of my favorite show (also another good book series). Longmire is so great. It’s similar but different from the books so the stories feel fresh when reading or watching. I LOVE the main characters. Growing up I had a huge crush on Lou Diamond Phillips and I’m happy he’s a more prominent character in Season 4.


Season 4 is also dealing with some serious issues regarding rape on reservations and jurisdiction issues and how prosecutor’s hands are often tied in these issues when white men attack American Indian women on reservations. So infuriating and sad, but I’m glad they brought the issue up in the show. I’m sure it happens a lot more than anyone ever hears about. :(

I’m super excited the show will be back for Season 5!

I mentioned a bit ago about starting to read the Wallander series and enjoying it. I had watched an episode of the TV show on Netflix but for some reason didn’t get into the show and gave up. I decided to give it another try since I’ve read and liked a few of the books in the series. I’m glad I did because I like the TV show much better now! It’s really well done. It’s gritty and dark and kind of reminds me of Luther (another fantastic show you must watch!).


Fat Kitty loves it when I have veg-out-watching-Netflix days:


I need some suggestions for TV shows to watch on Netflix. What are your favorites? Anything new and fantastic I must see?

Speaking of chilling, I had a really nice dinner date with my friend Robyn this week. I’d been craving Pad Thai lately. Robyn was sweet to indulge my craving and suggested we go to Sivalai, a Thai restaurant in SE Portland. I’d never heard of it and was happy to check it out. The restaurant was kind of hidden in a residential area but it was pretty easy to find.


The prices were super cheap! Robyn got one of those Thai bubble teas for only $1. I got some hot tea and ordered Tofu Pad Thai. They brought out a little roll for us to share while dinner was cooking.


The food came out really quickly. The portions were not obscene, like most Thai restaurants. It was more of a serving and a half instead of huge family-style 3 or 4 servings to a plate.

pad thai

The Pad Thai was decent but not my favorite. It wasn’t greasy and I liked the tofu. It just wasn’t spicy, like I wanted it, and that made it average. But I ate all of it (hungry!) and it definitely satisfied my craving.

It was nice hanging out and catching up. It had been way too long since we’d gotten together and had lots to chat about. Robyn said she’s going to the newly opened Warrior Room in SE Portland. I’m excited to check it out–someday. It’s a second location and in the old Yoga Union studio space.

Last year I was going to the Warrior Room on a pretty regular basis–2 or 3 times a week, but around January needed a little break. I was starting to have some aches and pains and wanted to avoid potential injury or tendinitis so decided to take a month off. Then a month came and went and I realized I wanted a little more time off. Then I got sick. Then I hurt my back. Then I got sick again and once all that was FINALLY over with and I was ready to get back to the Warrior Room, I got pregnant. I didn’t think that was a good idea since I’d taken 5 months off from it. Had I been going the whole time, it wouldn’t have been an issue. But…yeah…so I am waiting until next year and then I’ll try and get back to going!

Anyways, I got an order of the fresh veggie spring rolls appetizer to-go and I’m having that for lunch today! Looking forward to it. Robyn and I spent a few hours catching up and then I went home and pretty much went to bed right away. I was so tired!

Nov 092015

The secret to fixing bad knees is to strengthen your lower body (for me, specifically, it was the glutes). Read this post:  A Runner and Her Injuries. It has a lot of good physical therapy-type exercises to fix some of those types of injuries. Or this one: R is for Runner’s Knee.

I avoid lunges at all costs. I used to do them a lot and I’d be crippled for days (hamstrings) but I kept telling myself it was a good thing. Then I started having knee issues…too many rounds of physical therapy to count, I stopped doing lunges at the advice of several physical therapists. They all said lunges were not the best exercise for someone with knee issues. So…I stopped. I do sometimes do side lunges, which don’t bother my knees.

Here are some of the standard exercises that I rotate through my weekly weight routines:


I go back and forth between doing weighted squats with a bar or just doing body squats. Both are very effective and help me a lot. It’s good for your glutes, hamstrings, core strength, helps with flexibility and strengthens your entire lower body. It really is one of the perfect exercises you can do. Just make sure you do it right. I was slightly off when I first started doing squats but a quick chat and demonstration with a trainer fixed that for me.

20120530183534-squat properly

1 Leg Romanian Deadlift

I’ve raved about this exercise many times on the blog. It has helped me a lot with my knee issues and it’s a really good move to incorporate into your gym session. It’s effective and it doesn’t put as much stress/pressure on your back like a regular deadlift can. It works the glutes, hamstrings and hips. Done correctly it’s also a good core workout. What I find beneficial is that it also helps with balance. I notice when I take a break from doing this exercise and then start back up again–balance is gone! But if I do this move consistently in my workouts, my balance improves!

10 Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Slam Ball

This a fun exercise! I love it and need to do it more often. Like jump squats (see below), this one ALWAYS makes me a little extra sore when I do it. It works your core: abs, back, quads and glutes. You’re basically doing a squat with a heavy ball. It’s such a good workout!


Leg Press Machine

I started incorporating this machine in my routine after a physical therapist recommended it. He had me do it in a few different ways. First, the normal way–both feet on the platform. Second, he had me practice doing it one-legged. That is a LOT harder than it looks! And it WORKS. It helped my knee stuff so much. It focused the work on my glutes one at a time. I prefer this machine:


Over the one that you lay down on. Although, now that I’m pregnant I’m finding it harder and harder to do this machine so I will soon be switching to the leg press machine you use laying down.


Here is another physical therapy exercise that has worked it’s way into my fitness routine. My physical therapist had me do this to strengthen my glutes to fix my knee issues. I found it so beneficial that I kept doing it even after I got better. It’s really easy and all you need is a stretchy band. SideHopsWithRB1

Standing Hip Adduction

Another one that started because of physical therapy…noticing a theme? My knees needed work!! This one strengthened my glutes and hips and helped with overall balance. If the machine at your gym doesn’t have the attachment seen below in this picture, you can still do it. My gym doesn’t have this ankle strap so I just put my foot through the round hand piece. It works because my feet are kind of small.

Standing Cable Hip Adduction

Step Up with Weights

I like this one because it gets my heart beating pretty quick and it’s kind of a full-body exercise. I wanted to include it, though, because I’ve noticed it’s helped me with balance and strength. I do it slightly differently–I step up, then I do a bicep curl, then step back down. You can vary this exercise a lot but it’s a good base if you want something basic. You can use a taller step, you can add more weight, you can lift your leg like the below picture:


Lots of variations!

Squat Jump

This one will get you EVERY TIME. So be prepared. No matter how many squats you normally do in the gym, do a bunch of jump squats and you WILL BE SORE. I started doing this workout at The Warrior Room and then incorporated it into my own gym routine. Seriously, I don’t know why this one makes me so sore, but it doesn’t matter if I do 10 or if do 50. Same level of soreness afterwards! But you sure feel like a badass when you do it! If you have knee issues, you might want to talk to your doctor first. Listen to your body and stop if it hurts. It rarely hurt my knees, but I was always conscious of it and made sure I didn’t land too hard when I jumped.


What about you? What are some of your favorite lower body workouts?