Time to Sweat: obé fitness

When quarantine started and I could no longer go to the gym, I decided to try a new online program for my fitness routines. A friend gave me a code for 1 month free of obé fitness, and I figured ‘it’s free for 30 days, why not give it a try?’ And I am so glad I did!

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obé fitness is an online platform for fitness classes, covering pilates, yoga, H.I.T., dance cardio and more. Most classes are only 28 minutes, with some that are closer to 50. They also have quick 10 minute classes for stretching, abs, yoga, and dance. I love their live classes on the main home page, it’s so fun to participate in a class in real time and even get a shout out from the instructors as they read through the list of class participants. There is also a saved list of ‘on-demand’ classes in case you can’t make it for the live classes. I have several saved that I love to repeat over and over!

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The thing that keeps me coming back are the instructors. I love doing yoga flows with Eve, pilates with Mary and sculpting with Peter. They are very passionate about fitness, and I know you might be rolling your eyes, but it’s true! Since it’s online, they really take the time to explain posture, etc of the moves so you’re doing them correctly to get the best results.

The other thing I appreciate is that not once during the workouts do they say, ‘imagine yourself in a bikini this summer!’ or ‘get those abs to look sexy!’ I personally cannot stand fitness videos and instructors who prescribe to these notions about women’s bodies and believe that the reason people work out is to be ‘hot’ and ‘skinny.’ They also encourage the posting of ‘sweaty selfies’ after class which I think is a fun way to get people sharing not so perfect pictures of themselves online.

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unedited, sweaty selfie

I’m not going to lie, I haven’t been tracking my progress with this program, mostly because initially I wasn’t expecting to love it so much. While I don’t workout to lose weight, but to have a healthy mind and body, I have noticed a difference in my body, seeing a bit more muscle/toning, versus soft areas. I can tell my ‘strive for 5’ workouts are working!

Are you apart of the obé fam? If not, would you ever consider joining an online fitness program? I really would recommend, especially while we’re all still indoors!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

 

Black Lives Matter

During these tremulous times, I truly hope every single one of you is staying safe and doing well. I have been horrified by the events in Minneapolis and the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other acts of violence against the Black community.

I am no expert and have benefitted my entire life from being swaddled in white privilege. As I educate myself and learn how to use my privilege to help those around me, I can only hope you are doing something similar to help better the world for those around you, especially in the Black community.

I’ve linked some things that I’ve been finding helpful/interesting, I hope they’ll be useful to you in your life.

For those protesting, please be safe and know your rights. 

Donation pages:

Documentaries:

  • 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
  • American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
  • Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
  • King In The Wilderness  — HBO
  • When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
  • See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix

Books (please order/shop at one of these Black Owned Bookstores):

  • Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
  • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
  • Dying of Whiteness by Jonathan M. Metzl
  • The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

And for those of you missing a true leader right now, here is a well written piece by Barack Obama that is worth a read.

Stay safe and please, if nothing else, get out and vote.

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

 

Books of the Month: May 2020

Another month stuck in the Q, another 5 books read. I can hardly believe we’ve been social distancing this long and frankly, still alive and possibly thriving on some levels. I mean, I’ve read 14 books since the start, and that’s pretty awesome if you ask me!

Untamed was incredible, I want so many quotes tattooed directly on my face. I also want her to write a whole book on religion, as well as white women + racism (not by herself, of course, but with activists of color who can help shape the conversation); I think it’s important to discuss and be aware of as many white women dance around the conversation as well as the importance of it, especially in today’s climate. I’m also low key obsessed with Glennon and Abby’s relationship, like where is the Lifetime movie of their romance?! I encourage everyone to read it!

One True Loves was another good page turner/romance book. Basically, the main woman’s husband dies, she grieves and then finds love again + gets engaged, only to find out her husband has been lost at sea and is coming home. I was very torn on who I wanted her to end up with, but it had a wonderful ending, tied neatly with a bow; would recommend for a quick read! Valentine was a book set in the 70’s in West Texas, about a young Mexican girl who is raped by a white young man and of course, everyone in the town blames her for being a slut and ruining his life (EYE ROLL). It was slow and hard to get through at times, I don’t regret reading it, but I don’t think I would tell you to add to your list?

The Bride Test was another great story from Helen Hoang, about an autistic main character, who struggles to make a connection. Would recommend as a quick read/feel good! Finally, Big Summer was a murder mystery that was a little cliche at times and I felt bored in some places; I’m sad because I was really looking forward to this one as a Jennifer Weiner fan. I think this was the author’s first time delving into mysteries? It was not terribly thrilling, but highlighted friendship and body image, especially plus size acceptance in our society. I would maybe recommend if you’re a Jennifer Weiner fan, but even then, not exactly worth it.

If I had to recommend one, it would be Untamed. If you’re not into memoirs/self help, would go for One True Loves or Bride Test

Untamed by Glennon Doyle Melton
One True Loves: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Valentine: A Novel by Elizabeth Wetmore
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Big Summer: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
Any reading suggestions for me? Let me know in the comments, I need some new ideas! I’m reading Godshot next…
Sincerely,
Sara Ann

Cons of Being a Wallflower

I am what you call a wallflower. I like to slink around unnoticed, observing other people. I read books, go to bed at 9PM, and have lived a mostly uneventful life, going to Target and drinking Starbucks. I know this may sound self-deprecating, and maybe it is, but I don’t mean it to be. I am fully aware I am more on the vanilla end of the spectrum. For the most part, I am more than happy with this life arrangement, except oddly, when it comes to swimsuits. Because of who I am, I am a solid neutral swimsuit kind of girl, even though I secretly wish I could be a bright pattern or bright color swimsuit wearer. Does this make sense? Let me explain.

When I was a little girl, I didn’t give a second thought to what my swimsuit looked like. As long as it was in my favorite color (pink), had flowers or my favorite character on it, I was sold. Fast forward 20 some years and I dread buying a new suit. I always end up with a solid neutral, even though I want the bright pattern or color. I want the red or the colorful floral, but I get the dark purple or black.

These are the suits that draw my eye upon first shopping, if I’m being totally honest. Deep down, when think about who I want to be, I want to be a loud pattern, look-at-me swim suit kind of gal, without the people looking at me part. I know that I can buy hundreds of these loud suits, but I more than likely won’t have the confidence to wear them. I’ll put it on, get anxiety about anyone noticing me, and put on my old faithful black bikini (also to note, a bikini that covers most of my ass).

I sometimes try to think about when this all started. Did something happen? Or did I just learn from society slowly over time that I am not the kind of girl who wears these suits? I am not the ‘look at me’ girl. I am a wallflower with an average body, a flat chest and 2 pack of abs (I am very proud of those, thank you very much).

I also don’t consider myself a ‘sexy’ person, I have been and will always be, cute. Again, I am mostly fine with this. I literally get waves of anxiety when I see women wearing thong bikinis (their butt is literally out, why even have bottoms on at all?), let alone a bright look at me color, or pattern.  I’m not judging these girls (fine maybe a bit). I don’t want to be judging those girls. I guess I’m envious of their self confidence more than anything, that they get to be ‘sexy’ while I’m ‘cute.’ Who dealt these cards anyway?

How does one become confident whilst not having been dealt the sexy card? But looking in further, why is sexy always hand in hand with confident? Isn’t there a sexiness to being quietly aloof and mysterious? I suppose in some scenarios, but no, I am a nice girl, who doesn’t want to speak too loudly or make herself overly noticed as to not take away from others. Cute.  To clarify, though, I do not necessarily want to be sexy, like the women who wear the thong bikini; though, you go girl, you do you. I just want to be the girl who puts on a loud pattern or cherry red swimsuit, and doesn’t give it another thought.

Is that so much to ask?

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

 

Books of the Month: April 2020

I cannot be tamed! I have been flying through books, you guys, bringing my year total to 18? 19? Who knows.  I would like to thank COVID for allowing me this time at home with nothing else to do that would prevent me from reading. But in all seriousness, I have become obsessed with reading. In the last month, I’ve bought 6 books, which is the most I’ve bought in years! I also read 6 books, which is kind of insane! See my April reads recap below.

Mrs. Everything was about the lives of two sisters, from childhood to seniorhood; it touched on the expectations placed on women, LBGTQ+ rights and family relationships. It was fascinating to read about the lives of these two women and how their attitudes and ideals morphed over decades of time, neither ending up where I thought they would. The Queen’s Fortune was a book club choice and I’m mad I waited so long to read it. It’s a historical fiction novel about Napoleon’s first fianceé, Desiree Clary, and her life, woven into Napoleon’s triumphs and surviving France during the revolution.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill was such a wonderful way to escape during these crazy times. Set in Larchmont, a neighborhood in LA, you’ll read about a millenial named Nina and her love of books. It deals with handling anxiety and putting yourself out there to try all kinds of new relationships. Before We Were Strangers was a classic love story, boy meets girl, they fall in love in college but fall apart afterward, re-connecting 15 years later through a Craigslist ‘Missed Connection’ ad. I finished in about 2 days, it was a very easy read, plus it was only $2.99 on Kindle. I read apart of Readheads Book Club (would recommend this podcast!)

Kiss Quotient was a (very) steamy read, but the main couple had great chemistry. I loved that the main character had autism and a lot of the story showcased her struggle of wanting to connect with someone romantically but not being able to connect in the usual socially acceptable ways. Dear Edward was a coming of age story about a young boy in a plane crash with his family, where he is the sole survivor. The chapters go back and forth between the events that happen on the plane and Edward’s life post crash, and his learning to live with the tragedy. Talk about needing tissues!

I was very into feel-good love stories this month; I think because during these crazy times, we all need a feel-good, pick-me-up, and these books provided that for the most part. If I could only read one, I would read (and this is very hard because these books were so good) The Queen’s Fortune, mostly because I learned things while reading it so I felt like I was multi-tasking. If you need a feel good page turner to lighten your mood, please read Before We Were Strangers or The Kiss Quotient; neither will disappoint.

Mrs. Everything: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
Before We Were Strangers: A Love Story by Renée Carlino
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
The Queen’s Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire by Allison Pataki

I can’t decide whether to start Untamed by Glennon Doyle Melton or Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore next. Here’s to May reading and hopefully being allowed to leave my apartment a bit more!

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

A Day For Change

Happy Earth Day, everyone! Such a different Earth day this year; it’s hard not be able to celebrate by planting trees or protesting climate change, so we should at least be taking the time to educate ourselves for when we’re allowed back into society and can help make some change in this world.

Since we’re all watching TV anyway, why not watch a documentary? I put together a list of  (mostly free) documentaries that discuss sustainability, climate change and the planet’s health. I watched An Inconvenient Sequel (2017) last night, and it was very enlightening to say the least. I plan on watching The True Cost tonight.

  1. The Biggest Little Farm (2018)– on hulu, with subscription
  2. An Inconvenient Sequel (2017)– free on Crackle
  3. The True Cost (2015)–  free on tubi
  4. Chasing Coral (2017)– on Netflix, with subscription
  5. A Plastic Ocean (2016)– on Netflix, with subscription
  6. Blackfish (2013)– on hulu, with subscription
  7. Forks Over Knives— on Netflix, with subscription
  8. Cowspiracy (2014)– on Netflix, with subscription

What are your plans for Earth Day? Have you seen any of the films on my list and would recommend?

Sincerely,

Sara Ann