Episode 21: Hells (Kettle)bells: How One Piece of Exercise Equipment Packs All the Punches

Woman stands in front of kettlebells
Behold! I stand before you with my magnificent booty and these equally magnificent kettlebells! Bow before me!

Hells (kettle)bells

Hells (kettle)bells, you got me swinging

Hells (kettle)bells, my heart rate’s high

Hells (kettle)bells

Oh, come on! It’s been for-eh-ver since we started a blog post with song lyrics. So, as usual, apologies to AC/DC for bastardizing their hit, and the rest of you are welcome for the earworm.

Anyhoo, much has already been written about why and how kettlebells make for the ideal piece of workout equipment. But if you don’t feel like clicking links, googling, or doing any more than reading than this here blog post, we’ll hit the highlights for you:

  • They’re portable.
  • They’re simple.
  • There’s a wide range of exercises you can do with them.
  • They’re great for cardio and/or resistance training.
  • They’re awesome for building all-around strength.
  • They can improve your balance.
  • They can help you build core strength.
  • They can help you build your grip strength.

Are they sounding like the magical unicorn of workout equipment yet?! Well, they kind of are. However, like anything — insert your own kill-joy music here — there are a couple of drawbacks.

One, they can get spendy, depending on the weight you want to use. This is especially true if you need more than a couple of kettlebells, depending on the exercises you want to do and your fitness level. Also, once the pandemic hit, kettlebells got real, real popular, so they can also be difficult to find.

A couple of options that might help are shopping at your local Play It Again Sports, if you have one, or splitting the cost of the kettlebells with friends. AJ found some kettlebells later on during the pandemic and was kind enough to share one with Hillary. Hillary has done nothing to reciprocate because that’s the kind of stone-cold bitch she is.

Wait, what were we talking about?

Oh, right. Kettlebells.

Anyhoo, another option is to purchase a dumbbell and then get one of these contraptions. Dumbbells tend to be a little cheaper, and that gripper do-hickey is really handy. Hillary swears by hers (which again was a gift from AJ and … you know what, we’re not gonna go there.)

Also, once garage sales start up again, you can sometimes get a sweet deal on some kettlebells. Or check out Craig’s List or Facebook Marketplace.

Oh, also, theoretically, you can make your own kettlebells. However, as AJ and Hillary discovered, that’s kinda a pain in the ass. And we’d recommend it only as a last resort … or if you’re really bored as the pandemic stretches on. 

What about you? Have you used kettlebells? Any favorite exercises or routines? Give us the dirty deets in the comments.

And check out Further Info and Deets below for some solid workouts that’ll have you screaming “I got my bell, I’m gonna take you to hell. I’m gonna get ya, Satan get ya!”

Further Info and Deets

Please note some of these are affiliate links that help support this podcast and site.

13 Reasons to Get Stoked About E-Bikes

Nutcase Helmets: They’re soooooo cute! We both have one.

Kettlebells 101: How to Get Started + Beginner Kettlebell Workout:

ALL STANDING Beginner FULL BODY Kettlebell Workout / Plus Size, Senior, Disability, Injury FRIENDLY:

Beginners Kettlebell Workout | The Body Coach with Technogym Master Trainer:

20-Minute Kettlebell Workout | Class FitSugar:

50 Of The Most Effective Kettlebell Exercises For Your At Home Workouts:

The Ultimate Kettlebell Workout (Kettlebell Khaos) This is pretty advanced, so be warned:

Episode 20: Go Out and Get Yourself One of Them There SMART Goals

brown bear stretches in the water
Maybe you want to get more flexible in 2021. … Give us a break, OK? It was hard to find a decent free stock image of goal setting. Our goal in the new year is to have this podcast thing make us some money so we can pay for shit like fancy stock art.

Here we are, just days into the brand-spanking-new 2021. So, we’re assuming that you, like Hillary, have already shelved your New Year’s resolutions and are eagerly anticipating trying again in 2022. …

No! Wait! That’s not how a rousing, hope-filled, educational blog post about goal setting is supposed to start out!

Fine, fine, fine. We’ll try this again.

It’s a brand-spanking new year, filled with hope and promise. And after a rough 2020, maybe you’re ready to set some resolutions so you can become the best version of yourself.

Sure, there are plenty of nay-sayers who will tell you resolutions don’t work and that most people who set out to lose weight or get healthier or save money will fail before the month is even out.

But you’re not most people. … OK, maybe you are most people. But still. There’s nothing wrong with setting goals. And with some planning and a little foresight, you can set goals that are achievable.

Much has been written about setting SMART goals, so we won’t flog that dead horse — SEO be damned — other than to define the term.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable 
  • Relevant 
  • Time-bound

SMART goals are helpful because they require you to think through your goals. For example, saying you want to lose weight in the new year is pretty vague. But saying you want to lose 25 pounds gives you a target to shoot for. 

From AJ and Hillary’s own personal experience, it’s helpful to consider what pitfalls you might encounter as you try to reach your goals. 

If you want to lose weight or exercise more, what happens when you’re tired or you’ve had a bad day or something unexpected pops up at the last minute? How will you handle those challenges and setbacks? 

And if something delays or derails your progress, how will you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and tell life that she hits like a bitch? YMMV (That’s how the cool kids abbreviate “your mileage may vary.”)

Also, not to rip off anyone’s ideas, but Forbes did a nice article about alternatives to resolutions. The tips are worth considering. (That’s what she said. No, Hillary did not resolve to be more mature in 2021. No need to thank her.) 

What about you? What have you found to be helpful or hurtful when it comes to New Year’s resolutions or goal setting in general? Give us the dirt in the comments!

Further Info and Deets

Please note some of these are affiliate links that help support this podcast and site.

13 Reasons to Get Stoked About E-Bikes

Nutcase Helmets: They’re soooooo cute! We both have one.

Episode 19: It’s a Hot Mess Filled with Vision Boards, Embracing the Suck, and Somehow Also Gratitude

Pile of old tires
Now, imagine that these tires are also on fire. That’s what Episode 19 is like.

You could argue that every episode that AJ and Hillary release is a hot mess. And you’d have a valid point. And yes, they frequently warn that an episode has “gone off the rails.” … We don’t really know where we’re going with this, other than to note that Episode 19 is no different, except for being a tire fire on steroids.

Yet despite their often-incoherent ramblings, AJ and Hillary did manage to hit on a few points of interest, and — dare we say it? — occasionally even managed to be pithy and a smidge philosophical. Trust us: No one was more surprised by this than AJ and Hillary themselves.

Here’re the highlights of what these two weirdos discussed:

Vision boards: These popped up about a decade and a half ago thanks to the book “The Secret” and it’s “law of attraction,” wherein like attracts like … or some bullshit like that. Hillary had a traumatic vision board work experience that crushed the tiny remainder of her soul and so mostly pooh-poohs them. But AJ remains a proponent. 

Allow us to “womansplain.” a vision board — sometimes called a dream board — is a visual representation of what you want to manifest in your life. Usually, it’s poster-sized and has cutouts of magazine pictures and words and phrases. Depending on how hippy-dippy you wanna get, it’s supposed to be your way of “putting out into the universe your deepest desires.” Most science debunks it or warns that it can be harmful.

But with a lot of things of this nature, it probably depends on your expectations and how you use it. If you just want something that’ll help you organize your thoughts about where you’d like to go in life, it’s probably not the worst thing. But if you don’t make an action plan for what you want to achieve or get overly enmeshed in the outcome, well, that could be problematic. 

Embracing the suck: Although the phrase has its origins in the military, it’s also useful for us civvies. 

This article was a little vague on specifics, but it offered an interesting take on the suck: “It’s a very Buddhist concept. When we deny what reality is giving us, what is really happening, then we create suffering. So life is a dance between minimizing expectations and surrendering to what our lives actually reveal to us.”

Which is to say that most of life — goals, relationships, careers, your health — will have an element of suck. And that’s OK. You don’t have to wallow in the suck. But you can be honest about it with yourself, how it makes you feel. Sometimes, you can ride out the suck, and sometimes, you just have to sit with it. Either way, the suck’s gotta be addressed.

There’s a tendency to give in to toxic positivity when things get hard. And while having a positive outlook is generally helpful, minimizing or dismissing negative feelings is not.  

Gratitude and Goals: Despite it being an absolute shitstain of a year, both AJ and Hillary managed to find that there was, surprisingly, a lot to be grateful for. 

For AJ, it was surviving with her husband and her animals and that her family, despite multiple COVID scares, stayed mostly healthy. She was also grateful for completing NaNoWriMo again and — are you sitting down? — starting this absurd little podcast with her frenemy. (Yes, Hillary is still in shock. Please think of her during this … really weird time.)

Hillary was grateful for her dog and her husband, who managed to fight off the plague, despite being as sick as she’d ever seen him. She was also thankful for the opportunity to work from home and for all the little moments of truth and wisdom that popped up over the course of the year. Yeah, the year sucked donkey balls. But if it had been a regular year, she wouldn’t have had to be attuned to all the quiet little moments of bliss that still managed to happen.

For goals, Hillary is making 2021 The Year of Health and will drag AJ — and you as well, dear reader/listener — along for the ride. She’s also got plans to hack her emotional shit, so watch for more about that because there’s sure to be some podcast fodder there.

AJ’s looking for the podcast to make Oprah-type money (fingers crossed!), all while getting her novel or novels published and losing 60-ish pounds. 

So, yeah, as promised: Tada! A hot mess. But thanks for sticking with us this year and sharing our crazy fuckery with friends and family. We hope to continue to drop wisdom nuggets on your face, all while making you laugh at our antics.

Now, tell us what you’ve got in store for yourself in 2021. We wanna read some inspiring comments!

Further Info and Deets

Please note some of these are affiliate links that help support this podcast and site.

13 Reasons to Get Stoked About E-Bikes

Nutcase Helmets: They’re soooooo cute! We both have one.

This man is Hillary’s spirit guide.
Entertaining and inspiring. Stop that. Stop that right now.

Episode 18: The Holiday Special

Stuffed gnomes in some kind of winter scene
Is this a lame holiday photo? Yes. But if you can find a free holiday stock image that’s also funny, please, be our guest.

“It’s the mooooossssssst wonderful time of the …” 

You know what, Andy Williams? Shut it.

Fiiiiine. That’s a little harsh. Bah humbug. 

But you gotta admit, even if you love the holidays, they can get a little … tense. And in a year when there’s been a global pandemic and whole lotta political shenanigans, time spent with your family — even if it’s just a Zoom group chat — could get awkward.

But even in the best of years, the holidays are a recipe for stress and frustration, and your physical, mental, and emotional health can take a hit.

The thing is, in all likelihood, we know what we should do when it comes to the holidays. We should practice mindfulness, we should focus less on the perfect gift and more enjoying time with our loved ones, we should get rest, we should stay hydrated, we should limit our holiday indulgences, we should go easy on the booze.

The reason we probably know all this is because it’s basically the same advice that health experts give for just, you know, living our lives the other 10-ish months of the year. 

So, our gift to you this season is to not pile on with another holiday to-do list. Maybe just give yourself a little more grace than you usually word — and do the same for others.

The reason we probably know all this is because it’s basically the same advice that health experts give for just, you know, living our lives the other 10-ish months of the year. 

Oh, and here are two other gifts for you: Holiday cocktails. 

Yes, we know we said go easy on the booze. We’re not encouraging you to chug 37 of these after Uncle Ted goes on another racist tirade. But sometimes, a little cup of holiday cheer can make the holidays at least seem merry and bright.

Dashing Through the … Whoa

  • 4-6 ounces honey crisp apple cider
  • 1½ ounces good quality bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 3 dashes black walnut bitters

If drinking warm, combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe mug and nuke until hot but not boiling. If serving cold, combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, and shake until combined. Pour cocktail over fresh ice, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Keto Cocktail: The Dirty Snow Martini

Add all of the ingredients except olives in a mixing glass. Stir until very chilled, usually 60-90 seconds. Strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass. Add olives on a skewer or drop them into the bottom if a skewer is just too much effort.

What’s your go-to survival tip for the holidays? Gift us with your knowledge in the comments!

Working Out in a Winter Wonderland

two women at a snowshoeing event
Obviously, fashion is a HUGE part of winter outdoor activities.

NOTE: The accompanying podcast will drop a day earlier than usual, so watch for it on Wednesday, Nov. 25. That way, you can be on the lookout for all the Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals on the gear we mentioned because you know you’re gonna wanna do alllllll the winter activities. 

It seems that some of you are under the extremely misguided — maybe even dangerous — misconception that summer is somehow the best time to get outside for a workout. 

Now, we’re not going to speculate as to why you’re so profoundly broken or why your parents raised you wrong. But we are here to tell you why winter is by far the superior season for outdoor activities.

Consider the following: 

  • Cross Country Skiing: Who doesn’t want to glide peacefully across a pristine meadow filled with freshly fallen snow while your skis make a gentle, relaxing “swish swish … swish swish” sound? What’s that? Doesn’t sound “hardcore” enough for you? Then what about the 460-600 calories an hour you’ll likely burn? Take that, jogging!
  • Snowshoeing: If you’re not sure you can stay upright on skis, there’s always snowshoeing. Although it’s done at a decidedly slower pace, you’re still burning a metric fuckton of calories, all while getting outside and soaking in some fresh air. Now, we’re not saying you should do any of these activities solely for the calorie burn. There’re a ton of great mental and physical benefits of getting outside, no matter the season. But if you’re deeply disturbed on a spiritual level like AJ and Hillary, well, there’s a good chance you *sometimes* workout just so you can eat more. No judgment, you Judgey McJudgersons. 
  • Back Country Trekkers: These are a little newer on the winter activity scene and are billed as a cross between cross country skis and snowshoes. They’re mostly meant as a way to get out into areas where skis could be a little unwieldy, while also being faster than snowshoes. AJ and Hillary haven’t tried them yet, but they’re looking to rent some this winter, since they are pretty spendy. Watch for more details and a review. 
Yep, that’s AJ and Hillary. Together. Not trying to kill each other despite the elevation.
  • Sledding: Sure, you need the perfect conditions: a goodly amount of snow, a steep hill, someone to pull you up said hill … But this is a fun activity for the whole fam damily, and it won’t cost you a fortune. You don’t burn as many calories as with other activities, but don’t underestimate how strenuous it is to haul your carcass up a big-ass hill. 
  • Fat Biking: We hit on fat biking a little bit in our “BIKES!” episode. As a refresher, with a fat bike, you can typically ride your bicycle (“bicycle! “BICYCLE!”) on groomed snow trails. The pace can be slower than a typical bike ride you might do on more traditional services, like payment or gravel. But the benefit is that if you fall off your bike, you’re a lot less likely to break something … like your head. 

No matter what winter sport you decide to try, you’ll want to keep a few key tips in mind:

  • Pace yourself: The reason so many winter activities burn so many calories is because they ain’t easy. You might be able to hike 10 miles, no problem-o. But that doesn’t translate into being able to snowshoe that same distance. Take it easy, especially when you’re starting out. And fortheloveofalllthatisholy, do some dynamic stretches first. You do not want to be a mile out in the snow and discover you’ve pulled your groin muscle. If you do want to do static stretching, save those for the end after your muscles, tendons, and joints are all warmed up. 
  • Get the Right Gear: Try before you buy. Lots of places either rent or loan gear. Check with your park service for outing dates. And when you’re ready to buy, try Facebook Marketplace, Salvation Army, Craigslist, Play It Again Sports, etc, so you aren’t blowing up your budget before you’ve even seen a flake of snow. With cross country skiing and snowshoeing, your gear will depend on your weight. So, you’re gonna need to have a come-to-Jesus moment about that so you don’t “underestimate” how much you weigh, only to end up chest-high in a snowdrift.
  • Dress for Excess: We go into a lot more detail in the podcast, but the right winter gear will be a huge factor in whether or not you enjoy your outdoor excursions. Try to get the highest quality clothing you can afford. Remember: Layers are your friend. You’re gonna sweat — a lot — so make sure you have a base layer that will wick that moisture away from your body … unless you enjoy feeling like human soup. After that, a mid-weight layer, such as fleece, will keep you insulated as the sweat dries. And for your outer layer, something windproof can keep the cold from cutting through you and giving you the chills. For your bottoms, try for long johns as a base layer underneath some kind of windproof pant. Or opt for snow pants that are lined but not too stiff so they don’t hinder your mobility. Choose socks that are warm but won’t make your feet sweat. Also, avoid cotton materials in any of your clothes; cotton is rotten when it comes to winter conditions. We’ve linked to some of our favorite gear in the “More Info and Deets” section. 
  • Reward Yourself with a Drink: Fiiiiiiine. This isn’t a requirement. It’s just an excuse for Hillary to promote her go-to winter drink: The Hot Toddy.
hot toddy with lemon wheel
You’ve earned the right to be lightly drunk.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces of decent bourbon (Buffalo Trace works well.)
  • 2 teaspoons honey (or to taste)
  • 6 ounces water
  • 1 serving of your favorite tea
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon

Directions

Mix water, bourbon, and fresh lemon juice in a microwave-safe mug. Heat until hot but not boiling. Add honey, and stir until combined. Steep tea until the desired strength. Add a lemon wheel or wedge to garnish.

Now let’s hear from you! What winter activity did we leave off the list but shouldn’t have? Shame us in the comments. But not you summer weirdos. You keep that nonsense to yourself.

Further Info and Deets

Check out our “Gear We Love” page for some our favorite pieces of winter apparel.

National Ski Patrol: How To Dress for Winter Outdoor Recreation

REI’s Layering Basics

Bearfoot Theory’s Winter Layering Basics

National Park Service Winter Snowshoeing

National Park Service Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Some great tips here for what to wear and what to expect.

Episode 16: Close Encounters of the COVID Kind

Person wearing gas mask sits on couch surrounded by toilet paper.
Just chillin’ in quarantine. I knew this gas mask I got for that steam punk costume would come in handy. TP is the new currency, right?

We know, we know. We’re all tired of hearing about COVID 19. Tired of the politics and arguing and masks and quarantine and distance learning and Zoom meetings and … yeah, we’ll stop now. Anyway, it’s all been exhausting, and there’s no end in sight.

But sometimes, it helps to hear the stories of those who’ve been exposed or who have loved ones who’ve tested positive. Especially if those people are some salty bitches who will keep it real.

Hillary’s COVID Exposure: My COVID Close Encounter was pretty tame, all things considered. And I know how lucky that makes me. 

Four friends and I had been getting together monthly to watch movies together. These were friends who I knew had been being careful and acting responsibly, so I had zero worries hanging out with them for a few hours.

One of my friends thought she was suffering from allergies, which was pretty common at the time, especially given how much smoke was in the air from fires raging to the west of us. But she ended up testing positive for the ‘rona a few days after we’d had our monthly get together. 

The worst part was worrying about how the virus would affect her and if she’d have any lingering health concerns once she recovered. Fortunately, she had a mild case, and though she sometimes still has trouble breathing, she’s mostly doing well.

Two days after I’d been exposed but before I knew about it, my husband and I had dinner on the porch of the elderly mother of one of his friends. That was really scary because I was sure I’d given it to her, even though I didn’t have any symptoms. Again, luckily for us, she didn’t end up getting the virus.

One of the things that stood out to me during the whole process was how unprepared I was. I didn’t know what to do, how long I was supposed to quarantine, if I should get tested, where I could even get tested. And I thought I was pretty in-the-know about the virus.

One of the things that stood out to me during the whole process was how unprepared I was. I didn’t know what to do, how long I was supposed to quarantine, if I should get tested, where I could even get tested. And I thought I was pretty in-the-know about the virus. But I ended up having to check and recheck the CDC’s website to figure out the latest recommendations.

Five days after my exposure, I thought I was having symptoms. After a frustrating process to figure out where I could get tested, I ended up getting the quick test from one of the urgent care centers in town. Did I say “quick test”? I mean “nasal cavity violation.” Seriously, that was a super unpleasant experience. Pretty sure the nurse swabbed the front of my brain with that Q-Tip. 

I tested negative but still was advised to quarantine for two weeks from the date of my exposure. That meant I wasn’t able to officiate my boss’s wedding, and that was really disappointing. She was able to find someone to take over at the last minute, but I felt like a total dick for leaving her in the lurch only a few days before her big day.

Again, I know how fortunate I was that my friend wasn’t sicker, that I didn’t contract it, and that I didn’t spread it to anyone else. But still, it was a scary and stressful experience.

From the Desk of Pastor Tom, AJ’s FIL

It’s very difficult to give advice that is comprehensive because COVID comes in so many forms and results in so many different symptoms from person to person.

My personal experience began with an initial feeling of “Well, yet another adventure!” That was followed by much coughing, some intense body aches, temperatures that wouldn’t drop below 100 for about 10 days and extreme fatigue.

The goal was to return home after the diagnosis and try not to die.

For the ten days of the quarantine, I drank lots of fluids, took some Tylenol and ibuprofen, and rested as much as possible. Blessedly I did not experience any respiratory difficulties.

I am glad when I see folks wearing masks in public, and I would urge those in my age bracket (upper 70s) to stay away from large gatherings where it is impossible to maintain a safe distance from those around you.

toilet paper and a mask
paper

Teenaged angst + COVID 19: One Mother’s Tale by Kristin, a FMATMIP friend

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional; this is merely advice from my experience. Also, I can be light-hearted about this because my family didn’t have any pre-existing health conditions and no one got terribly sick. 

  • Supplies: I don’t think COVID looks for a convenient time to descend upon your life, so you’ll likely be surprised and inconvenienced by this news. It’s helpful to be a little prepared because the only supplies you’ll be getting while quarantined are from well-meaning friends and grocery store deliveries/pickups. I was very thankful AJ had provided intel on Clorox wipes this spring, and I had some stashed away. I also had Extra-Strength Tylenol in the cupboard (once touted as the remedy for COVID symptoms) that I picked up when I saw it in the store. Lastly, I recommend having disinfecting spray around because you’ll want to disinfect everything. 
  • Mental Preparation: In my situation, everyone in the house didn’t get sick at once, so mentally preparing yourself for a two week quarantine isn’t realistic. If it takes up to two weeks for you and others in the home to develop symptoms after someone gets sick, THIS COULD GO ON FOR A WHILE. Don’t put undue pressure upon yourself and your family, just cancel all social engagements and obligations for the time being. This may actually be a benefit for some people.
  • Financial Implications: If you live with two teenage boys, prepare to spend a small fortune on food while everyone is at home (which, remember, can be longer than two weeks). Remember the money you saved from not going on vacation this year? COVID is the experience you are now paying for.
  • Am I sick?: When you live with someone who has COVID, you’ll spend most of your waking hours wondering if you have it too. Every cough, sneeze, nose twitch and headache might be a symptom. You’ll take your temperature 10 times a day. You’ll “worst case scenario” yourself getting sick, or maybe I’m the only one who does that. Your brain will experience this as if it’s being chased by a tiger for most of your quarantine, so plan to be exhausted.

Have you or someone you care about had a ‘rona experience? What helped them or you get through it? How are you dealing with the effects? Tell us about it in the comments or drop some knowledge on our Facebook page!

Info and Further Deets

National Institute of Mental Health: Shareable Resources on Coping with COVID-19

Episode 15: You Are Getting Vurrrrrrry Sleeeeepy

Sleeping Koala
Suck it, koala. You might sleep like a champ, but we know you have chlamydia.

If you’re one of those people who usually gets a good night’s sleep and wakes up refreshed and ready to tackle the day, congratulations. We hate you and wish a pox upon your house.

But if you’re like AJ and Hillary and about a third of Americans, sleep can be an illusive beast at the best of times and damn near mythical during the worst of times. 

So, if sleep issues plague you, you’re in questionable good company. 

But Feed Me Goddesses, you might say, if so many people struggle to get to and stay asleep, maybe it’s just too common a problem to really give much attention to.

Oh, sleepy friend, your exhaustion is clearly clouding your thinking.

Turns out, a lack of good, quality sleep does more than just make you feel like a pile of lukewarm dog turds in the morning. It also has serious health implications, like weight gain, depression, anxiety, memory and cognitive issues, decreased sex drive, suicidal thoughts, high blood pressure, heart disease … yeah, it’s a long and alarming list that’s enough to make you lose sleep over (oh yeah, we went there).

Both AJ and Hillary struggle fairly regularly with sleep issues, often in the form of insomnia. So, they put together a list of 10 tips that help them catch a few more of those sweet, sweet zzzzzzzs.

None of these is a cure all, and they don’t work all the time. But if you’re having trouble getting to sleep or staying that way, give ‘em a shot. 

  1. Drop It Like It’s … Cold: Keep your room on the cooler side. A lot of experts say about 65 degrees at night is ideal for getting good sleep. But since everyone’s body chemistry varies, shoot for a range between 60-67 degrees.
  2. Bullet Points Before Beddybye: Make a list of all the things that are stressing you out or that you have to do the next day or that you don’t want to forget. Get all the shit out on paper so your brain doesn’t get stuck on a loop trying to remind you how stressful your life is.
  3. Natural Sleep Supplements: Some people swear by sleep supplements, while others don’t have luck with them or don’t appreciate the morning-after side effects. But if you’re thinking of giving a supplement a whirl (after talking to your doctor, of course), OLLY gummies, one of AJ’s current faves, may be worth trying. They contain a nice combo of natural ingredients like passionflower, L-Theanine, and melatonin, and lemon balm. Also, they’re nummy in the tummy. (Shut up! You grow up!) 
  4. CBD? Yes, please: The research about cannabidiol is still lacking right now. But there are some indications that CBD can be helpful in treating different health alignments, including treating insomnia. 
  5. Magnesium for Your Sleepisium: It seems a lot of adults are magnesium deficient, especially women. Increasing your magnesium could keep you healthy in other ways, not just by helping get some more shuteye. 
  6. Weighted Blankets: Yeah, it sounds weird. Sure, just go ahead and throw an extra 15 to 20 pounds of weight on top of yourself at night. But of all the things Hillary’s tried, it’s the one that’s made the biggest difference in her quality of sleep. 
  7. Slow Your Roll: Regular exercise is a great way to improve your sleep. Just make sure not to get that heart rate up too high too close to bed. Hillary usually finds that it’s best to avoid working out at least two hours before it’s night-night time.
  8. Put Down the Booze: You might think a nightcap will help you have a better night’s sleep. But the opposite is actually true. Though a glass of wine might make you feel sleepy, it’ll likely disrupt your sleep in the later part of the night and seems to have a greater impact on REM sleep. This one makes Hillary sad.
  9. Tell Yourself a Bedtime Story: “A 2009 study from researchers at University of Sussex showed that six minutes of reading reduces stress by 68% …” As if books weren’t magical enough. Just make sure if you’re reading on a tablet that you’ve got something to block the blue light, as that can negatively impact your sleepy-sleep. 
  10. Beware of Nap Time: Sleep deprivation can be a vicious cycle. You don’t get a good night’s sleep, so you take a nap the next day. But while short naps have a lot of health benefits, don’t catnap for too long. Long naps can disrupt your nighttime sleep patterns.

What’s your sleep success story? Have you found anything that works on the regular, or are you still struggling to feel rested in the morning. Tell us about your path to passed-out in the comments!

Further Info and Deets

Episode 14: AJ ‘Falls’ for Keto All Over Again

Ma’am, please put down the avocado. That’s not how you keto, ma’am.

Seriously, keto? Again?

Less “again” and more like #ketober! Yes, that’s a thing. Look it up.

It works out because when the weather turns cold, my appetite yearns for heavier fare, more meats and cheeses. Which is why I think of the keto diet as a seasonal choice. Maybe one day I will graduate to lifetime keto. But for now, a low-carb lifestyle works for me … when I’m willing to “work it.”

Anyway, I posed #ketober to Hillary. After her eyes unstuck from rolling, and after I ducked the Real Housewives-worthy face slap, we decided this wasn’t the right time for her. At least that’s how I’m translating it. There were a lot of eff bombs to wade through.

For me, however, fall means ditching the fruits and the splurges of the summer for a more structured eating in the fall.

Don’t get me wrong; I eat low carb 80% of the time, year round and usually only go whole-hog-high-carb when I’m on vacation or at the occasional holiday party … and every other Friday because PIZZA. 

Don’t judge me! How very dare you! The scale is doing all the judging that I can handle right now. And I have been found wanting. As in, wanting to “GET A GRIP” before I explode out of my skinny jeans and need to buy a whole new wardrobe and maybe rent a crane to get me in and out of my house. Thanks, COVID!

Those of you who’ve been with us for a while might recall our first episode was Keto for Realz, and we were both low-carbing it at the time. We were also both younger, less jaded. It was a different time. It was pre-COVID.

Let’s face it, during “these unprecedented times” [insert eye roll] many of us have let ourselves go and turned to the comfort of fuds and boozes. Turn away! Put down the doughnut, AJ!

Have I convinced you? Care to #ketowithme? Do it! Do it! Fifty days until Thanksgiving! No pressure!

If you decide to join me and others who are keto all the time, review the keto diet rules, consult you physician, re-listen to our first episode for some good tips, and join in. Post your favorite recipes on our FB along with your favorite keto tips.

Keto Prep Checklist

  • Clear pantry and refrigerator of high carb snacks and foods
  • Stock up on keto-friendly foods
  • Review guidelines
  • Discuss dietary changes with your physician
  • Purchase electrolyte supplements
  • Plan meals ahead of time
  • Know thy enemy: Keto Flu
  • Prepare to fight cravings the first two to three days
  • Carry keto friendly-snacks for cravings in the early days

What about you? Are you trying any new or previous eating plans this fall? What’s your plan for success? Tell us about it in the comments!

Further Info and Deets

Episode 12: The Dirty Dozen-ish Things We’ve Learned

dirty hands covered in grease
What it looks like after anyone tries to touch AJ’s soul.

Yes, dear listeners and Feed Me followers, we have somehow managed to string together 12 whole episodes. No one is more shocked by this than AJ and Hillary.

In honor of our twelfth episode, AJ and Hillary decided to put together the dozen things they’ve learned over those past many episodes. … Or at least, that was the working theory. AJ says there are more like eight things. Hillary cannot believe that’s correct. But she was a journalism major, so math was never really her strong suit.

Regardless, here are a handful of things the yahoos running this show have learned and some links in case you’d like more details. 

  1. Hillary: Keto isn’t too bad, but I probably don’t need to do it again.
  2. AJ: HIITHigh Intensity Interval Training — should only be done two to three times a week.
  3. Hillary: Writing every day helps level out my emotional ups and downs.
  4. AJ: I need structure and accountability … or I don’t just go off the rails. I eat the rails.
  5. Hillary: Aadam from Physionomics is a wise fella.
  6. AJ: I gotta get my workout done in the morning.
  7. Hillary: Progress is not a straight line.
  8. AJ: Cat and minimalist videos are OK and help me to get my zen on.
  9. Hillary: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
  10. AJ and Hillary: It’s tough to reach people with our vast knowledge so we can make money so we can help them on their journey OR being Oprah is harder than it looks.

OK, so there were like 10. Although, No. 10 was something both AJ and Hillary had in common. Oh, and AJ didn’t get the chance to talk about how MUD/WTR doesn’t taste like mud. So, like 11. Close enough to 12. 

Also, to No. 10’s point, we need your help getting the word out.

No, not so we can become filthy rich and fabulously famous. (Though we’re not opposed to either of those things.) Just so we can help other people on their own journeys.

It can get lonely if you think you gotta do this all on your own or you’re the only person who’s ever encountered a certain health obstacle.

So, if you see something that tickles your fancy that you think other people would enjoy, make sure to share it. Sharing is caring. … Yes, that’s cheesy, but it’s true, too. 

How about you, our lovely followers and listeners? What have you learned during this wild and crazy ride. Tell us all about it in the comments!

Episode 11: Is MUD/WTR Worth the Hype and Expense?

Hand holding a can of MUD/WTR with list of ingredients shown.
You gotta give it to the MUD/WTR peeps. Their marketing and packaging is on point.

You ever drink out of a mud puddle as a kid? You know, you’re playing outside, the older kids in the neighborhood dare you, it’s hot out, you think, “what’s the worst that could happen.”

What? No, this is not an anecdote from Hillary’s childhood. Shut up.

Anyway, as an adult, your mud puddle drinking days are probably behind you (or not. Hey, we don’t judge). 

MUD/WTR packaging that reads "Started from the mud now we here."
Dammit, that’s clever.

But see, there’s this new thing called MUD/WTR.

Normally, we’d have hyperlinked that “MUD/WTR” reference to their website. But damn, the MUD/WTR people like them some tracking cookies. And that shit will follow you around the web until the end of time. 

So, you can find a lot of their details and story here: https://mudwtr.com. But we recommend you copy that link and open it in an incognito window unless you enjoy being stalked by a health drink.

Speaking of, that’s basically what MUD/WTR is. It’s billed as an alternative to coffee for people who react negatively to coffee’s caffeine side effects. 

MUD/WTR unboxing with product shown inside.
It’s a bit like an Apple product unboxing.

The ingredients are pretty simple and include:

So, basically, four types of mushrooms touted for their health benefits and then some other ingredients that are generally also believed to be good for ya. It’s worth noting that the studies done on the mushrooms were mostly animal studies, so it’s unclear if they carry over to humans.

OK, so, yeah, it’s probably good for you or at least not harmful. But does it taste like mud?

On this, both Hillary and AJ agree that the taste is pretty good. It’s a lot like chai tea or a cup of unsweetened hot chocolate. And you can add in your own sweeteners or creamers so that it matches your taste preferences.

MUD/WTR is billing itself as a coffee alternative that somehow magically gives you steady energy despite having only 1/7th the amount of caffeine. 

So, does that claim hold up?

MUD/WTR whisk
The whisk it a neat little tool and all, but it is waaaayyyyy too powerful, unless you enjoy licking MUD/WTR off your countertop.

Hillary is the coffee drinker of the dynamic duo, and because she loves you all, she actually gave up coffee for … OK, she made it like four days. It was hard, OK?

For her, no, MUD/WTR is not a magic elixir that provides boundless energy and focus and causes magic fairies to sprout from the couch cushions and clean your house for you. It’s just a nice drink that tastes good. 

AJ disagrees and says she noticed more mental clarity and focus. Plus, she really started to look forward to her morning cup o’ mud.

There’s also the cost factor. MUD/WTR is not cheap. It can run you anywhere from $40-$125, depending on how many servings you opt for.

So, it’s healthy and tasty and spendy. 

Stickers from MUD/WTR that read "support your local sunrise," "f*ck your coffee," and "MUD WTR VIP."
Ooo, sassy stickers. You can never go wrong with sassy stickers.

But is it worth it?

AJ is all in. She’s planning to start a subscription package and plans to drink it for the long haul.

Hillary is “meh” on it. It’s tasty stuff, and she enjoys mixing it in her coffee, like a dirty chai. But the cost is too great for her, especially since she didn’t see the benefits and loves coffee just too much.

What about you? Have you tired MUD/WTR? Yay or nay? Other coffee alternatives you’ve tried and love. Give us the dirty details in the comments!

Further Info and Deets

Wanna get dirty yourself? The MUD/WTR people approved our request to be an affiliate. So, if you feel like ordering yourself something dirty, use this link.

(Note: As an affiliate, we might make a small profit anytime anyone uses our link to make a purchase. Thanks for your support!)