Monday, October 20, 2014

The 12 Days of Halloween: Day 1

For me, this is the most wonderful time of the year.  I love fall.  I love everything about it, from the foliage to the fall harvest and Halloween.  And to commemorate the days leading up to Halloween, I thought I would spend the next 12 days blogging about fitness, food and spooky good times.

Day 1 Fitness Routine

Since this is a fitness blog, I am including my daily fitness routine. I have decided to reset my Tracy Anderson routine for November and concentrate on the more tangible circuit routines I like to do on my own. Perhaps I am going through another round of DVD burnout, but I find doing my own workouts liberating, fun and reliable when I can't bring myself to pop a DVD in.

Circuit 1: Scary Good Upper Body

Shoulder Taps
Inchworm Push-ups
Pop Ups*
*Do each exercise for a total of 50 seconds, with a 10-second rest in between.  I did each exercise 3x (total of 15 minutes), but go as many rounds as you would like.

Here is a video rundown of each exercise:

*Pop Ups: I couldn't find a video for this, but it was a move I saw in the TapouT XT program.  You are lying faced own on the ground, with your hands by your chest and on the ground.  It is like an opposing push-up where instead of pushing yourself to the ground, you are going in the opposite direction of pushing your upper body off the ground.  I hope I explained that well. 


Spooky Song/Soundtrack
I love soundtracks and scores from horror films and how mood-setting and evocative they are.  This one comes from the horror classic, "Suspiria."  It is the film's main theme.  I admit that the music goes south somewhere in the middle due to the choice of synthesizers (not uncommon during that era of film), but the opening use of bells is gorgeous and eerie.  The film itself is a nice-looking film by horror maestro, Dario Argento.  Thin on plot, it is still a fun ride and is the quintessential film of the Italian Horror Renaissance of the late 70's/early 80's. 

Treat of the Day

I made no qualms about my love of fall treats and pumpkin-spiced foods.  While I am trying to recover from a weight gain, I am also not depriving myself from indulging this holiday season.  Halloween is my Christmas; I can hold off on the candy canes and turkey dinners, but not the pumpkin-spiced lattes and pumpkin pancakes.  But everything in moderation.

Today, I enjoyed a Pumpkin & Pepita caramel and an Apple Cider & Ginger caramel from my favorite local candy maker: Katherine Anne Confections.  If you live in the Chicago area, I highly recommend you check out her storefront in the Logan Square Neighborhood.  She also sells online.

Pumpkin & Pepita caramel.  Courtesy of Katherine Anne Confections.

Bedtime Story/Movie

I enjoy a good scare and reading campfire tales or cuddling up to a scary movie before bed will do the trick.  But as fun as ghost stories and monster movies are, nothing beats a real-life horror tale.  I am not talking about supposedly "true" haunted house tales; I mean dangers we encounter in our everyday lives.

Usually I find Thought Catalog to be an annoying site, full of click bait articles that clog up my Facebook feed.  But I will give them credit on one thing: their user-submitted real-life scary story section is amazingly terrifying.  This particular tale is no exception -- titled, "She Just Wanted a Hug."  Real or made up, it plays off our prejudices against the elderly and our fear of when children talk to strangers.  I hope you don't mind paying extra for the electricity bill to the keep the lights on all night.  Enjoy:

Back in 1998 i was at second grade and was coming home from school alone for the first time. (i had a bit overprotective parents since i lived only about a block away from my school) I was stopped by an elderly woman who said she had something to tell me. She said she had no husband, had lost her son years ago and just wanted to give me a hug. Something about this woman got me the creeps and now later on thinking she did act, talk and look really weird. Almost like she was a man dressed in old womens clothes. But This could be just my then juvenile imagination playing around. After asking me for a hug she reached her hands towards me in the motion of one waiting for a hug, i took off and ran as fast as i could, all the way home. As i ran i think i heard her laughing really loud with a really low, manly tone. When i got home i told my mom about this, but she wasn’t worried at all and told me that she probably was only an old and lonely woman who just needed a hug. Here in Finland we have this magazine called ‘Alibi’ which has the most recent news about burglaries, thefts, murders, rapes etc. And for a reason an 8-year old like me was not allowed anywhere near that kind of a magazine. But a few weeks after that incident with the old “woman” i did get my hands on one of those magazines, which was a brand new one. I read about an incident that happened in the area where i lived. It was about a boy, my age, last seen by his friends, hugging an old woman and walking somewhere with her just to be never seen again. The case is still unsolved today. I think i have escaped being kidnapped and/or murdered or something. I still remember this today, 15 years later and it still gives me the shivers.

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