March 24, 2012

Easter Egg Wreath

The time has come for everyone to marvel at my amazing craftiness. Okay, not really. I am a complete craft/DIY amateur and usually a lot of my projects end up looking like they were made by a six year old. Maybe a slightly talented six year old.  Last summer I found a picture somewhere on the internet of a wreath made of plastic Easter eggs and I decided that I would make one in the spring. Spring has finally arrived, so this week I busted out the glue gun and bought some pastel colored plastic eggs for about $2. It didn't turn out exactly how I wanted it but I think it's still pretty dang cute.



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March 20, 2012

John and Sierra's Spring Break


John and I spent our super eventful, super exciting, super jealous-making Spring Break in Bountiful. We kicked off our week of relaxation with a trip to In-N-Out. I know, I know, my husband and I are real partiers. It's a good thing there's no In-N-Out in Logan because I would be on a fast track to obesity. I love me some animal-style fries and I cannot lie.

We spent a lot of the break watching Chuck, our latest TV show obsession. I also squeezed in a few episodes of The Bachelor. We also did a little shopping (John thinks it was a lot of shopping but I don't agree). We also played an ├╝ber-intense game of Monopoly with John's family, the details of which I mentioned in a previous post

This was after John's mom had given away her properties and gone to bed. A few hours later began to wish that I had done the same thing.

John and I also went to see two movies. Two in one week- that's definitely a record for us. We usually only go to the movies every few months. The first movie we saw was Chronicle. We had seen the previews and thought it looked cool. It was cool but it was also weird. I guess we kind of expected that to be the case as well though. We also saw John Carter with my mum and sister. My sister and I had read the book that this movie is based on a couple of summers ago with my dad. The movie differed from the book in some key plot elements but it was still entertaining. Okay, no more boring movie reviews by me. 



In summary, John and I had a very restful Spring Break. There was a whole lot of playing and very little working. Technically, there was no working on my part. At the beginning of the break, I gave a very beautiful and heart felt speech about the productive week I was going to have as I was going to catch up on all the homework I'd neglected to do. I seem to have made a liar out of myself. 






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March 18, 2012

Strength Training: What You Need to Know

To the females reading this post: don't fall into the trap of thinking that strength training is only for guys. Strength training is a great way to burn calories and to tone your muscles. You can lift weights without turning into the "She-Hulk"

Benefits of Strength Training:
  • Increased performance of everyday physical tasks
  • Higher levels of sport performance
  • Injury prevention
  • Increased muscle mass and decreased fat
  • Improved muscle and bone health with aging
  • Prevention and management of cardiovascular disease and diabetes

Types of Muscle Contractions:
  • Concentric contractions- the muscle shortens as it contracts
    • Ex: Pushing a bench-press bar away from your body shortens your pec muscles
  • Eccentric contractions- the muscle lengthens as it contracts
    • Ex: Lowering bench-press bar toward your body lengthens your pec muscles
  • Isometric contractions- the muscle contracts but there is no movement or change in muscle length
    • Ex: Holding a bench-press bar away from your body without moving for a certain length of time




Which Type of Contraction Should You Focus On?
  • The type of contraction that burns the most calories is concentric muscle contraction
  • The type of contraction that results in the greatest increases in muscle size is eccentric muscle contraction
  • Isometric contractions will only increase your strength within 10 degrees from the angle in which you performed the exercise

Weight Machines or Free Weights?
  • Weight machines are easy to use, convenient, and safe. You don't need a spotter and many will have back support.
  • Free weights strengthen your body in ways that will be more useful in real life, are inexpensive, and are convenient for home use. They require more balance and coordination.

How Often?
  • The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends performing strength training on two nonconsecutive days per week
  • Make sure that you give your muscles at least one day of rest between strength workouts. If you don't, your muscles won't have completely recovered and you won't be able to perform at the level you need to get any strength increases. You will be more likely to have increased soreness and increased risk of injury.

How Much Weight?
  • Choose a weight that is heavy enough to tire your muscles, but light enough that you can complete your repetitions.
  • For faster increases in strength, use weights that are as heavy as 80% of your maximum capacity.
  • For increases in endurance, use weights that are around 40-60% of your maximum capacity.
  • You can also choose a weight depending on the number of repetitions you can perform with a given weight.

How Many Repetitions?
  • You need to perform enough repetitions to fatigue your muscles
  • A heavy weight and a low number of repetitions, such as 1-5, will build high strength and high muscle mass.
  • A light weight and a high number of repetitions, such as 15-20, will build endurance. This is the method I use, because I am more interested in toning than in getting large muscles.

How Many Sets?
  • Performing 3 sets will give you the best increases in performance
  • Make sure you give your muscles adequate rest between sets

Other Tips
  • Whenever you do an exercise that moves a joint in one direction, make sure to also perform an exercise that moves the joint in the other direction.
  • Perform exercise for large muscle groups before you do exercises for small muscle groups. This will allow you to maximally work out your large muscle groups.
  • Warm-up before weight training by walking or jogging for several minutes


References
Fahey, T. D., Insel, P. M., & Roth, W. T. (2010). Fit & well alternate edition: Core concepts and labs in physical fitness and wellness. (9 ed., pp. 91-106). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Kenney, W. L., Wilmore, J., & Costill, D. (2011). 
Physiology of sport and exercise. (5 ed.). Champaign: Human Kinetics.

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March 16, 2012

Things I Learned This Week


  1. Playing a game of monopoly with 5 people takes about 3 times as long as playing with 2 people. Don't begin such an endeavor/torture session unless you have at least 5 hours to spare.
  2. The only person who will say "that was fun" after a 5 hour long game of monopoly is the winner.
  3. Target is a great place to find the clothes that my husband likes. Our search for attractive and affordable athletic fit shirts is finally over.
  4. My husband looks super cute in V-necks (thanks, Target).
  5. If your father-in-law tells you a caucus meeting will only be about 1.5 hours, be prepared to actually be there for 3.5 hours. Also, you probably shouldn't make plans to eat out afterward because this will be difficult to do at 10:30 pm. 
  6. Doing homework during spring break is an improbable/impossible feat.
  7. I have issues with waking up before 1pm during spring break. I slept for like 48 hours last night. My name is Sierra and I'm a sleepaholic. 
  8. Chronicle is an interesting but slightly unsettling movie. I now understand why humans don't have telekinetic powers.
  9. How creatine works (thanks to my V-neck rocking hubby- see his post here).

Stayed tuned for a post on Sunday about strength training.


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March 14, 2012

Spring Wishlist

These are the items that I would buy for spring if I wasn't a poor college student. Why, oh why, do things
have to cost money?






Spring Trend: 
Orange & Tangerine
Colored Skinnies




Forever 21- $24.90









Spring Trend:
Color Blocking




Forever 21- $15.80









Spring Trend:
Floral




Forever 21- $27.80








Spring Trend:
Colored Pants





Victoria's Secret- $49.50








Spring Trend:
Polka Dots




Forever 21- $24.80







Spring Trend:
Color Blocking




DSW- $69.95







Sprint Trend:
Snakeskin




ShoeDazzle-$39.95





Spring Trend:
Pastels




Forever 21- $8.80





Spring Trend: 
Orange & Tangerine


Amazon- $5.75



Green and Orange Print Floral Dress




Spring Trend:
Floral
Orange & Tangerine





Shabby Apple- $86.00




White and Blue Polka Dot Dress





Spring Trend:
Polka Dots





Shabby Apple- $82.00
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March 12, 2012

Fight Aging with Coenzyme Q10




The other day in my biochemistry class, my professor was lecturing about the role of a molecule called coenzyme Q10 (also known as coenzyme Q, ubiquinone, and CoQ10). He briefly mentioned that it may play a role in preventing aging. This intrigued me, so I did a little research of my own outside of class. Here's a breakdown of what I found out:

What causes aging?
  • There is evidence that aging results from damage to DNA. All of the cells in your body contain DNA, and it is DNA that tells your cells to make all of the things they need to survive. When DNA becomes damaged, it can't do its job properly, which can cause the cell to die. Free radicals are one of the DNA damaging culprits. They are produced by some reactions that take place in your body.
  • Levels of coenzyme Q10 in your body decrease as you get older. This suggests that Coenzyme Q10 may be linked to aging and, if this is the case, taking supplements to boost your levels of Coenzyme Q10 may prevent aging.

What is coenzyme Q10?
  • Coenzyme Q10 is found in almost all of your cells. It is involved in producing energy for your body and also acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants are able to remove free radicals and can prevent the reactions that produce free radicals from taking place.

Do Coenzyme Q10 supplements work?
  • In a study of the effects of coenzyme Q on lifespan, rats that were given diets supplemented with coenzyme Q10  had average life spans that were 11.7% higher than the rats that weren't given coenzyme Q10. Although this study wasn't performed on humans, it is possible that similar positive effects would occur for us.

Other benefits
  • Studies have shown that coenzyme Q10 can have positive effects on heart health, migraines, cancer, blood pressure,  Parkinson's disease, and several other conditions.
  • Coenzyme Q10 is present in many prenatal vitamins because it has been shown to prevent pre-eclampsia, a complication in 6-8% of all pregnancies. Research has not been performed, however, to determine how safe coenzyme Q10 supplements are to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Side Effects
  • As with any supplement, there are some possible minor side effects, such as rashes, nausea, stomach pain, dizziness, headaches, etc.

So far, coenzyme Q10 supplements seem to be fairly safe to take, although I would think twice before using them during pregnancy unless you have had previous issues with pre-eclampsia. I'm sure that there will be many more studies on coenzyme Q10 and it's effects, so stay tuned for more information about this potential anti-aging miracle supplement. 

References:
Quiles, J.L., Ochoa, J. J., Huertas, J.R., & Mataix, J. (2004). Coenzyme Q supplementation protects from age-related DNA double-strand breaks and increases lifespan in rats fed on a PUFA-rich diet. Experimental Gerontology, 39(2), 189.


Huertas, J. R., & Martinez-Velasco, E. E. (1999). Virgin olive oil and coenzyme Q10 protect heart mitochondria from peroxidative damage during aging. Biofactors, 9(2-4), 337.


http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-failure/tc/coenzyme-q10-topic-overview

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March 10, 2012

Things I Learned This Week

  1. Walking home from the gym alone in the dark when it's snowing little sharp ice particles is not fun and should probably be avoided. Not only can you not see anything, but it also feels like your face and legs are being attacked by tiny angry swords.
  2. Don't pour soda and salsa onto your keyboard. Although they might taste awesome, your computer won't be able to appreciate this. In fact, it will retaliate by making its keys crunchy sounding and sticky.
  3. Leaving the lid to the toilet up while getting ready for the day is a bad idea. Especially when you have about an inch of counter space and this counter space is right next to the toilet. Your phone and hairbrush might both decide to take a swim...
  4. My husband is an undercover/closet electrician. My computer's power cord started sparking at me and he fixed it. Thanks for saving me from electrocution, John!
  5. Working on your blog is much more fun that listening in your biochemistry/chemistry/exercise physiology/microbiology class. Actually, a lot of things are more fun than doing that.
  6. Taking CoQ supplements can prevent aging (stayed tuned for post about this in the next few days).
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March 8, 2012

Intro to Interpretive Partner Dancing




Skirt: Victoria's Secret
Hat: DSW

Last weekend we went home to see our families in Bountiful. We spent most of Saturday shopping (I had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket... well, bank account technically). John was a really good sport and came to eight different stores with me, even though he usually treats clothes shopping like his mortal enemy. He's such a sweetie.

Sunday night was filled with karaoke and dancing. It was the type of dancing that would mean eternal humiliation if it found its way onto the intenet. There was hair swinging. There was hip swaying/thrusting. Most importantly, there was something that my sister and I like to call "interpretive partner dancing." This technique involves moving your arms around each other while you try not to touch each other. As you might imagine, it looks pretty dang cool. John, John's brother, John's sister, my sister, and our niece and nephews all took part in karaoke and/or dancing. Voices became hoarse and some serious calories were burned. 


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March 6, 2012

Long Overdue Update

So my first attempt at blogging was a bit of a failure. School and all of it's craziness got in the way, but I'm ready to try again! Although months and months have passed since my last post, thanks to our fairly uneventful life, there's not to much to catch up on. We've spent a lot of time going to school, studying, studying, and just a bit more studying. There's also been some TV watching, video gaming, and monopoly playing interspersed there. Naturally there have also been some monopoly related fake/real fighting. 

Here are some of the more interesting things that have happened to us since my last post:


We were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple (woo!)






We went to Vegas for a second honeymoon. I finally got to see a Cirque du Soleil show. My life is complete... well it's closer to being complete. 






I turned the big 21. I'm practically an old woman. I can feel the wrinkles developing as I type.





So there we are. All caught up or at least caught up on the events that I have pictures for.
Stay tuned for many more blog posts to come!
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