Have you bought into the boot camp craze? Well, I did quite literally.
A while back, I bought a Amazon deal for 25 Fitness Classes at Chalk Fitness in Placentia, Calif. I should preface this info with the fact that my wife joined a boot camp last fall and has gotten herself it to damn-good shape. So, when I bought another “Groupon” type deal for her gym (MBodyStrength), I was rebuked, “Go find your own gym!” Well, I did, and I am glad I did. Chalk Fitness has turned out to be a great fit for me.
Chalk Fitness is a class-based gym that focuses on personal training in a group environment with scale-able workouts to meet your fitness level and goals. Classes are 55 minutes (12:15 express workouts are 30 minutes), so you will be in and out in less than an hour, and your workout will include warm-ups, a cool down (stretching and foam roll), and a main workout. The workouts vary daily, and usually include combination of Kettlebells, resistance bands, and incorporate “compound movements” designed to get you stronger and more fit.
What’s that mean? Chalk Fitness gives you the close supervision you’d get from a $50/hr personal trainer and the energy, competition, and encouragement that comes from training in a group. They mix the workouts up daily to confuse both your muscles, and I’m convinced, us, the workoutees. For me, it’s tough to keep a regimen at a regular gym like 24 hour fitness consistently. Friends back out, and if you go yourself, it’s tough to train yourself and find the piece of equipment you need. Tougher yet, it is near impossible to “push” yourself on a daily basis.
That’s where Chalk Fitness and other cross-fit gyms come in. Personally, it helps me be accountable for my fitness. I think “I have to make the 12:15 or the 3:30 today,” making me almost calendar my workouts, and they chart your progress (and those of your classmates) on the 50-foot chalk wall that lines the gym. You want some motivation?; try reading in bright-white gypsum that a 60-year-old lady beat your workout time (it’s happened).
Dave Pollitt, the Head Coach, talked about the name Chalk Fitness. He said that they wanted name that was simple, and related the concept of the gym. Dave, a trainer of elite professional athletes, noted that when athletes train with the heavier kettle bells, they chalk-up to keep the massive orbs from flying out of their hands. The concept really snowballed from there. The chalk boards on the walls track the daily and long-term progress of the members of the gym. Yesterday, I pushed myself to the brink to try to complete one more round of the workout because the guy next to me had done seven intervals and I had only done six.
When use the word “members,” I don’t use the term lightly. When you join, you feel like a you are part of a group. I’ve belonged to 24-hour fitness for 10 years. There, like at most gyms, there’s no encouragement, no accountability, no tracking of your progress; You are on your own. I can’t even seem to get someone to spot me even though there’re 70 other “members” around.
I have never felt a since of community or belonging at gym amongst the meat heads and the super-fit, but at Chalk, I do and you will.
Chalk Fitness has a half-price offer for June.
It’s $49.50 for new members to join (and will be pro-rated since the month has already started). Also, you can get a bottle of water for during the workout and a Gatorade for post work out for a buck. New members (and those who referred them) will get the water and Gatorade FREE with every single workout in June.
Chalk offers more classes than any other fitness gym around (Chalk schedule of classes), and their normal membership of $99/month for unlimited classes is the best deal around for a crossfit-style gym or personal trainer. There are no start-up fees or contracts either, except the one you’ll make with yourself when you join.
I do have a few tips. If you are like me and have the cardio conditioning of English Bull Dog, coupled a competitive nature, I would suggest you invest in a heart-rate monitor. I’ll have a propensity to reach my “Red Zone” (90 percent to 100 percent of maximum heart rate) for brief periods. The wrist-watch style heart rate monitor helps me manage the workout without having to have the paramedics on speed dial.
My wife and I are faced with a conundrum. It is one we knew we’d have to face, but now we differ on how to handle it. We live near a wooded park, and there are obviously carnivorous critters out there. We’ve lost two cats to coyotes a couple years ago. We have one cat who was born feral, and he’s over 15-years-old. We adopted another sweetheart of a cat from a shelter after the our baby girls were gone; we had intentions of making her an indoor cat, but those intentions were not in line with Zöe’s motives. She would sneak out and destroy screens, so we let her go. We bring her in at night, but sometimes she’ll dart out when we open a door.
She did just that Monday evening. Later that night, I heard milk-curdling cat screaming, and it woke me up. I darted outside almost as quickly as she did hours earlier. I scaled a fence in my skivvies (sorry neighbors), but didn’t see anything but another cat fleeing the scene. That gave me hope that what I heard was just a cat fight… it wasn’t. She hasn’t come home, and I’ve combed the neighbor’s yards for evidence of the inevitable to no avail.
What do we tell our five-year-old? He broke down when our puppy died of kidney failure a year ago. (By the way, are you getting the feeling it’s dangerous to be an animal in the Bush household?)
I want to tell him the truth that “the coyotes got her.” My wife thinks we should just say she ran away. I’m all about full disclosure — even to a five-year-old – but I’m starting to think that maybe it’s best to play dumb (typecasting?). It’s like they say on those crime shows, if there’s no body, there’s no murder.
As I mentioned earlier, our other cat is 15+. We’re going to have to broach that before long, so maybe we should spare the kid the heartache on this one.
My Saturday night was just like any other. I boarded a six-person plane just to take a little sunset tour around Los Angeles. We flew for about an hour, looking down on landmarks (and the little people) from vantages previously unseen, whilst sipping chilled champagne. (See below for a OCFamily discount).
How did I get such good fortune? Well, I could tell you in 17 syllables. A Facebook friend and Jet Blue employee held a haiku contest, and three of her most word-crafty friends earned a spot on the flight. I was elated to find out I was one of the winners, all the while I was saying to myself in my most sarcastic internal monologue “I just knew that college poetry class would pay off.”
The plane takes off out of Sky Harbor in Long Beach, literally steps from the Long Beach Airfield. We arrived and were escorted into the offices where our capable pilot, Gary, went over the route, safety features and paperwork.
From there, we walked out the back door where our chariot awaited.
We boarded the Cessna 206; there was no TSA agent getting handsy with me (damn), and I didn’t even have to take the change out of my pocket. In fact we were allowed to bring liquids more than 3.4 oz (750 ml, to be exact). Within minutes, we were taxi-ing on the runway, rolling past military C-17s and taking priory on the runway over a Jet Blue flight.
My gracious benefactor was at the controls; As a part of any of the flight packages, one of the participants gets to be the captain and fly the plane. She wasn’t left to her own devices. Rather, our pilot showed her what to do; she did, and we were air-bound within seconds.
Our travels took us over Long Beach up to downtown L.A., Dodger Stadium and Hollywood, and if not for the fog, we would have circled to the port side (left) to the Santa Monica pier and taken the coast home.
The “Sunset Tour” is just one of many of the packages at Sunset Flying. Everyone loves the fireworks at Disneyland, but have you ever wanted to see the fireworks at Disney from a Bird’s Eye view? Sunset Flying is the only company with FAA clearance for sightseeing flights over the Disneyland Resort and Anaheim Stadium Fireworks shows.
If you’re afraid of small planes, you shouldn’t be. First, a plane is, mile-per-mile, about 62 times safer than a car. These planes have backup systems for just about everything. They have two batteries, two alternators, two gas tanks and four navigation systems. The pilot has more than 4,000 hours at the helm, which is important when you consider that most small craft mishaps are caused operator error, not instruments or equipment failure. Factoring the data, “fear of flight” is more irrational than the Kardashians’ fame.
Secondly, the uneasiness you may have flying in a jet is not there in a smaller plane. There’s something about being able to see what’s going on in front and around you that helps your body cope with the motion. Your vestibular system (inner ear) calculates angular and linear motion, and it is the incongruity of these senses that cause motion sickness. If you get nausea reading in a car, that’s caused by the spatial disorientation, or more simply, the expectation of your eyes that you are stationary (looking at a static page) versus the sensors in your inner ear telling you otherwise.
25% OC Family Discount
These two-and-a-half hour flight experiences are $599 for 2-4 people, and kids as young as 5-years-old can fly the plane (stay tuned for a follow up post). Sunset Flying has graciously agreed to give a 25% discount for any tour booked by June 30, 2012. Just use the discount code OCFAMILY when booking your flight.
A Sunset Flying adventure will be ultimately be much more memorable than a Pump-it-Up party, and much more thoughtful than a flowers and chocolate (though, those wouldn’t hurt either). This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many people. If you’re lucky, you might get to fly in a personal aircraft, but how and when are you going to have the opportunity to be the captain and actually fly it? The answer to how is below, and you can choose the “when.”
Please visit www.SunsetFlying.com for more information, and don’t forget to mention OCFAMILY to get your discount. To book a flight or to discuss options with Gary or any of his crew, please call 866-759-3672. Bon Voyage!
There’s a new basketball team in So. Cal., and I’m not talking about the Clippers. This team is even more exclusive.
The Harlem Globetrotters bring their entirely unique brand of basketball to Honda Center for two shows this Saturday, February 18. Come see the matinée at 1:00 p.m. or the evening show at 7 p.m., and find out how to get a Free Family 4-Pack below!
Also, don’t miss your chance to see reality royalty as “Big Easy” Lofton from The CBS series The Amazing Race will be joined by the TNT Maddox, the first female Globetrotter in nearly 20 years at the “Meet and Greet” this Friday at the Irvine Spectrum. Come get an autograph or get your picture taken with the stars on Friday, February 17, from 11:15 to 12:15 at the Edwards Courtyard located in front of the Edwards 21 Cineplex at the famed Irvine Spectrum.
As this is a must-see show the whole family can enjoy, friends of Irvine Spectrum Center will receive $5 off each ticket! Just use special code SPECTRUM when purchasing tickets online to either the 1 p.m. matinée or 7 p.m. performance.
Also, consider adding a Magic Pass to your order. For $15 more, you’ll have the opportunity for an exclusive behind the scenes tour 90-minutes before the show, including a free autograph when you meet the Harlem Globetrotter players and their “world”-famous mascot, Globie.
How do you win your 4-Pack to the matinée performance on Saturday? Easy, just leave a comment below letting us know your favorite baskeball memory. The winner will be drawn at random on Thursday, February 16 at 10:00 p.m. PT.
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS MONSTER JAM roars into Angel Stadium on Saturday, February 11 @ 7:30pm and into Dodger Stadium on Saturday, February 18 @ 7:30pm. Don’t have your tickets yet to see the 12 feet tall by 12 feet wide 10,000-pound monsters? Here are two great deals to get discounts on tickets, but you have to act quickly as these shows do sell out!
Save $5 per ticket (up to 10) with code MOMMY! Expires day prior to event 2/10 & 2/17. Valid in $32 & $22 price levels in Anaheim and $40 & $30 price levels for LA. Buy tickets at the box office, go to www.ticketmaster.com or call 800-745-300 to get the discount.
Go to your local Wal-Mart and visit the Ticketmaster kiosk in the Electronics Department. You’ll get a “buy three, get one free” deal, or $5.50 off each $22 ticket.
So come out and see these high-powered beasts lay down the dirt and launch as high as 35 feet into the air, but bring your earplugs because these monsters are loud!
Last week I got to tell you about a great event, playing poker with UFC fighters, to raise funds for ”A Hip for Jordan,” a non-profit charity set up for Jordan Pollard, a 5-year old girl who has a rare bone disease. Unfortunately, I only got to tell you after the event took place.
This week, I bring you news of another fundraiser that is a great deal, and again, a great cause.
On Sunday, December 4th, 2011, you can get a hair cut for only $15, and all the proceeds go to the “A Hip for Jordan” fund. The event is this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tre Jolie Hair Solon at 23052 Alicia Pkwy #C in Mission Viejo, CA 92692 (949) 587-0171.
Haircuts are regularly $35 and up, so you getting a deal and doing a good deed. Christmas is right aound the corner, and let’s face it, we could all use more checkmarks on the “nice” side of Santa’s List.
UFC Champion Wanderlei Silva flanked by Rod Thyberg & Steve Bush
A friend of mine invited me down to Reign Training Center in Lake Forrest for a poker tournament/fundraiser. I was told some of the Ultimate Fighiting legends would the “dealers” in the tournament, so I was game to go from the get go.
The turnout did not disappoint. I had my picture taken with Wanderlei Silva, a legend in the Octagon who just won a heated battle with Cung Lee in this past weekend’s UFC 139.
I also posed with Jayson “Mayhem” Miller, one of the current coaches on the current season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Steve Bush, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Rod Thyberg
What I didn’t know was what a great cause this fundraiser was. The tournament was for “A Hip for Jordan,” a non-profit charity set up for Jordan Pollard, a 5-year old girl who has a rare bone disease. Jordan was finally diagnosed with Legg–Calvé–Perthes Disease on September 20. The disease essentially cuts all blood flow off to her hip, which would lead to an a eventual collapse of the bone.
The good news is the family found a specialist on the East Coast that has helped Jordan with her surgery. The bad news is their health-care provider deemed the proceedure experimental, so the Pollard family is stuck with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
If you want to help Jordan, please visit her site for details on how donate or get involved.
Jordan Pollard and Jason “Mayhem” Miller
KTLA’s Orange County Bureau Chief, Chip Yost, was on site to report. His report is here.
In a time when the “Made in America” aisle at your local Wal-Mart is smaller than the Festivus greeting card section, there are a few businesses who endeavor to do things the old fashion way and actually make something.
VP/GM, Craig Richard and Founder, Tom Richard of Old California Lantern Co.
Old California Lantern Company is a company that specializes in hand-crafted, historically accurate lighting fixtures made of solid brass and high-quality glass.
They’re located in Orange, and they source 99% of their materials locally. Their craftsmanship is top quality, with exquisitely detailed metal cutouts and custom glass. The die cut of the trees on the lamp on the right is one continuous piece of metal which is especially impressive in person.
Their fixtures are authentic and perfect for period restorations that predate the fluorescent light (1941). To use a lamp from Home Depot, manufactured abroad and crafted in aluminum wouldn’t do proper period restorations justice. Old California Lantern Company, “where history and architecture come to light,” makes authentic light pieces for clients nation-wide who desire genuine replications of historical pieces.
They have lines of products to fit Craftsman, Bungalow and Old West applications, and can create custom pieces and finishes for your particular theme; Each piece is individually hand crafted on site from fabrication to finish.
You’ve seen Old California Lantern’s work in places like the Orange County Mining Company, Claim Jumper restaurants, and you may have even seen an iteration of this Monarch Butterfly Lamp as well as others at the Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel. The butterflies on this piece are not painted glass, they are individual glass pieces cutout into the separate metal frames. It’s really intricate work, that again, begs to be seen up close, which is convenient because they have a showroom on site and are happy to schedule tours like the one I had.
Some of best representations of Old California Lantern Company’s custom work is at the Lodge at Torrey Pines, a one-of a kind lodge and home to the legendary golf course that’s hosted several U.S. Open Golf Tournaments. OCL’s custom, large-scale installs can be found throughout exterior, as well as the lobby, halls and meeting areas.
They stand behind their products too. While I was on a tour, I saw a column mounted fixture that had obviously oxidized. It was a brass fixture ordered for an ocean-front property. Craig, the company’s vice president and general manager, told me they were redoing the fixture in copper for the customer at no cost even though the it was the customer’s error on choosing the finish.
They have some other great products as well, including their mailbox and street number lines that really add some pop to your property. They happened to have my street number sign with my digits on their showroom floor, just the sort of cosmic kismet that told I had to have it.
One of their newest product lines is the tissue boxes. I saw this one go from computer model to finished product.
The U.S. economy is increasingly more service-based, which is to say that we consume more than we make and outsource (i.e., import) most of what we buy. It’s refreshing to see a business employing Americans and making a difference… and a great product.
To schedule a tour, just call them at (800) 577-6679 or visit their showroom/shop at 975 N. Enterprise Street in Orange, CA 92867. They also have a pretty robust website, www.oldcalifornia.com, where you can find a full product catalog, pricing and examples of some of their custom work.
Oh, and if you’re intent on celebrating the holidays in a truly Seinfeldian manner, they could probably fashion you a proper Festivus pole.
As parents, our number one job is to protect our children. We have to control what comes in our homes. It’s even more difficult today because now we have to guard cyber gateways, warding against invisible ones and zeros attempting to harm our kids; We have to be as vigilant in that regard as we do with physical threats, but it’s tough to keep up with the technology.
Cisco and Linksys are going to help you stay ahead of the curve with a $275 home-networking package… details on the giveawy are at the bottom of this post.
Personally, my quandary arose when we got a new desktop computer, and I wanted to pass on our old Dell to our 5-year old, setting it up in his room. I had two concerns. Firstly, how do I manage what sites he accesses (when he’s out of sight), and secondly, how do I run an Ethernet connection to his room without poking holes in my walls?
For the content concern, there are a few ways to apply layers of security. At the browser level, you can set restrictions on the content your search engine returns, but those filters will never be perfect. There are also some kid-friendly browsers that filter content further; these are good, but can be too restrictive, and again, they will miss some content.
The answer for me was that I had to update my wireless router from my vintage Vonage-Motorola wireless G (which is actually older than my Kindergartner). I did research and went for the best. I got the Cisco Linksys Maximum Performance E4200Wireless-N Router. In addition to looking like it could be on display at MoMA, it offers customize-able security and maximum performance.
The parental controls are key. I can control when and what individual devices access to the network. I can lock my son’s computer and iTouch off at his bedtime, and lock my wife out of Facebook when she persists in posting embarrassing photos of me. And when the time comes, I can also block out certain sites like YouTube during ”homework time.” Are you reveling in the “restriction leverage” this new toy might yield?
In addition to the security controls, the router is lightning fast. The 5-gigahertz frequency is relatively untapped, and is better for signal strength, stability and range. It also has the 2.4 GHz client, which most older WiFi devices use. Each of its 4 inputs are gigabit ports, which means it can take advantage of gigabit-enabled devices like computers, hard drives, and servers, which offer speeds 10x as fast as standard Ethernet ports. The range on this is markedly better as well. Despite the fact that there aren’t the usual ugly antennas on this sculpted beauty, it carries the WiFi nearly twice as far as the old router. Our home phone is WiFi-based, and it works two houses down from mine… I’d be lucky to travel two rooms away with the former.
Setup is easy, especially with newer devices. Just click the WPS button on the router and the desired device, and it practically sets itself up. You also can have “guest access” where users can get out to the internet, but not your personal computers, hard drives or other devices. You also can create a connection key with a jump drive, and then just stick the jump drive on the new device. If all this sounds like a foreign language, just know it’s easy and Linksys support is great.
The router has a USB port that you can connect a standard printer to to turn it into a wireless printer or you can connect an external hard drive, making it accessible from other devices on your home netowrk. For me, I connect my laser printer to it, and I can print from my iPhone and iPad.
Now, for the kid’s room, I got the Linksys WET610N Wireless-N Dual Band Bridge and saved my walls from holes, and my lungs from fiberglass from the attic (or worse, crawling under the house with an Ethernet cable and a drill). I plugged this in and ran the Ethernet cable to the computer, and his computer is as fast as if it were wired directly to the router. Again, I can control what and when he accesses through the main computer where the router is installed.
I didn’t stop there. I also got he WES610N dual-band bridge. The only difference in this one is it has 4 ports. I have this set up at my TV. Why would I need 4 ports to my TV? Let me count the ways. My TV is internet enabled, which means I can get on FaceBook or download movies through a Vudu account. Jack and I watched the original Batman with Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger on demand the other night. We just rented it right through the TV in High Definition and never had problems with the stream.
Secondly, I have my Slingbox out in the livingroom connected to both of my DVRs. Slingbox takes feeds from my DVRs (or other devices) and streams them on the internet where I can get them on my phone, iPad or other computers within or outside of my home network. Generally, you would need a wired connection to do this, but these Linksys bridges are built to handle high-bit streams.
Lastly, I have two Hi-Definition, Dual Tuner DIRECTV DVRs wired into the bridge. The advantages to this are numerous. I can get movies and content on demand from DIRECTV, but the coolest part is this: I can control my DIRECTV receivers with an $.99 iPhone app. This is super-cool, and since it works with WiFi, it is seamless; you don’t have to be pointing your phone at your device and you don’t need any other hardware. The app is called DirectVR Touch Remote. It says you need to have the Whole Home DVR for it to work, but you don’t. You just need your receivers connected to the internet.
Cisco and Linksys care about your protection, and they are giving away a Wireless Network Package to some lucky OCFamily reader. The package contains the Linksys E4200 Dual-Band N Wireless Router and the WES 610 N Dual-Band N Entertainment Bridge, both pictured in this post. These next-generation wireless gateways retail for more than $275.00.
The contest is simple, just leave a comment below telling us how you plan to use your new “maximum performance wireless N router and bridge.” Also, you might also follow Cisco/Linksys on Facebook and Twitter as they often host giveaways there. The winner will be selected at random on Monday, October 24, 2011 at Midnight PT.
As to how to handle embarrassing photos of you on Facebook… you’re on your own there.
So, one great thing about being a blogger (albeit a “mommy blogger”) is that I get invited to great events like the one OCeanront Group threw for us at the Surf and Sand Resort in Laguna Beach.
The night was destined to be great. Both the 5 South and the evening sky had cleared, and the toll-free 133 South is a straight shot to PCH. It felt like I went from inlander to islander in 30-minutes. Obviously, Laguna is not an island, but it felt every bit the resort experience of Hawaii, Aruba, and the like.
When I posted this picture on Facebook, I was surprised to learn that several of my friends had been to the ocean-front property, including my neighbor who had his wedding reception there. It’s quite the popular destination, and why wouldn’t be with its unique charm, perfect location and 5-star dining.
Concoction-eer, Ryan Velilla
As soon as we arrived at 15FiftyFive Lounge (their address is 1555 PCH), we were greeted by the friendly staff, and pastry chef and libation concoction-eer (yes, I just made that word up) Ryan Velilla had a couple special drinks he designed for us.
The first was a Margarita L’Orange made from Siete Leguas Tequila. This was the original factory for Patrón before they literally “sold out.” Straight, this tequila has a strong agave smell and flavor and a hint of barrel from it’s “anejo” aging. When mixed with a Mandarine Napoleon and fresh lime, it’s a spectacular, refreshing mix.
Siete Legues Anejo Tequila
The next potable creation was a Musa Mule, made with banana infused vodka, house-made ginger beer and fresh lime. This was another welcome refresher that mixed perfectly with the setting of the sun-drenched ocean from the setting sun.
Surf and Sand Towers
Before we retreated to our pool-side dinner below, we took a quick tour of the newly-renovated suites. They were plushly comfortable, but what was remarkable how close the property is to the ocean. I don’t know if I know another resort with such proximity to the Pacific?
Our Poolside/Oceanside Table
Exec. Chef Jeff Armstrong (right) on the Prawns
Dinner was fresh, light and delicious. We got to sample BBQ octopus, grilled red snapper with salsa verde, a halibut ceviche, picture perfect grilled shrimp skewers, roasted corn salad and grilled pineapple salsa.
Executive Cheff Jeff Armstrong prepared the menu from items normally available at Splashes, their water-front American coastal restaurant.
I’d be remiss if I din’t mention the talent they had for us. Denny white, a 23-year old, light- complexioned crooner sang some of the most soulful rifts you could hope to hear. Aside from the incongruity of seeing an young, surfer-looking guy sing Ray Lamontainge’s “Trouble,” it was a truly a treat. My son had a make-shift lullaby when he was a few months old, so when Denny played it, I had to capture the moment.
It was a wonderful evening and a great introduction to a property just minutes away from this land-locked lad. For our next vacation, we may skip the airport lines and TSA patdowns, and instead opt for some local luxury like they have at the Surf and Sand Resort.
The hotel and spa has 162 rooms in total, meeting, event and banquet facilities, a full spa and some of the best ocean views in all of California. For more information, go to http://www.surfandsandresort.com/index.html.