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Hiking in Placerita Canyon

My boys - Keoki & ChrisSorry world! I have been neglectful! But not to worry; there are plenty of great photos and stories to come! To start, here’s a little hiking catch-up.

Let’s start with Placerita Canyon hiking!

For a number of summer Sundays, C & I went out hiking with a group of our good friends. We hit a ton of great spots – Runyon Canyon, Fryman Canyon, Millard Canyon, Eaton Canyon, the old Zoo, Crescenta Valley Park, and I’m sure there were more, but I can’t remember. These photos here are from our trip to Placerita Canyon, which may have been my favorite (see: toads.)

Overall, I’m happy to say we were consistent and adventurous with our hiking trips this summer. Sadly, with football season here, the team has dwindled for the season. Maybe we’ll revive it next Spring :D

a cute baby toad

Now, this-here is why I LOVED this hike – Chris and I got there early and ended up at the butterfly pond, which was FILLED with tadpoles and baby toads! (And bees, which were, in fact, larger than the toads!)

baby toad-y in my hand!!

Inside the Placerita Canyon Nature Center, they also had a number of critters that the Rangers have caught in the neighborhood. If you’re interested in their presentations/programs, go to their website! Below is a beautiful red-tailed hawk and one of the Red Diamondback Rattlesnakes they had in the station. Luckily we didn’t see any rattlers in the wild, though Keoki totally tried to divebomb a lizard.

a GORGEOUS red-tailed hawk at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center

an icky, yet awesome rattler at the Nature Center

In all, it was a lovely hike, though maybe a little anti-climactic — the waterfall we hiked to was more of a drip this time of year — but I’m definitely looking forward to revisiting the area and the Nature Center to catch a presentation or two :)

BONUS! A Placerita Canyon Weirwood

spooOOOooky tree we found while hiking

Dog Walk in the Shire

pine trees entranceI thought I would share some pics from our most recent dog walk at my favorite neighborhood spot – Crescenta Valley Park. It’s a huge and lovely space, complete with baseball diamond, basketball hoops, a dog park and a kids’ center. The best part of the park is the trail that hides behind the river. It stays quiet and peaceful over there, and it’s a perfect place to take Keoki on a pretty afternoon!

Everything was so lush and green this particular day, I couldn’t stop taking pictures. It’s really at its loveliest in spring, when everything’s grey and damp and moorish. I have a feeling the plant life is already starting to dry out, but I’ll have to go back and see. Hopefully some day soon we can get some friends out there to play frisbee :D

As you walk around the outskirts of the park, you almost reach the residential side, and that’s where you find the entrance to the trail.

trail archtrail

bright green plants

Once you get inside, you see how truly lush everything is. You are simply surrounded by plants (and the occasional bird.)
dark green landscapelush trail

I love seeing all this vibrant plant life!
plants traildog walk trail

lush plants

closeup

Happy pup :D
walking Keoki

The Whole Life Challenge – Reflections

It’s official: Today is the very last day of the Whole Life Challenge diet!

Am I excited? Not really…

I’m not jumping for joy

Seriously?! You’ve been on this diet for 8 weeks straight, and you’re not looking forward to that first beer? Or a chocolate molten lava cake? Or a dripping-with-grease pizza??

Whole Life Challenge scoreboardNope. I’m honestly not tired of eating healthy foods. I don’t miss grains or dairy or sugars! Now – that’s not to say I don’t sometimes WANT to eat it – it would be more convenient if I COULD eat it – but I don’t crave it, and I can find a great healthier substitute when I really want something.

The added flexibility WILL be nice when we want to, say, try a salad that has feta on it, or eat soup that has corn in it, or accidentally sip a tea that has sugar in it… But I’m not finding myself SEEKING OUT foods I’m not currently eating.

There are definitely foods I will be reintegrating: soy sauce, honey, maybe goat cheese, maybe some form of alcohol, fruit juice (fresh squeezed at home!)

…. Hunh. That’s a shorter list than I anticipated, too, haha.

I certainly don’t miss food dyes or guar gum or other processing agents/perservatives. I don’t miss hidden sodium and sugar and fat in my meals.

I don’t want to stop improving my health!

I’m not starving and I’m losing weight!!! What’s not to love about that?! I eat almost everything I want, sometimes until I’m absolutely stuffed! And I’m down, like, 10 pounds!

The only times I abstain from food is when I’m allergic, and that can’t change when the diet ends anyway… I will be glad not to work out every day, as some of my sicker days were really brutal, but for the most part, I think I’ll try to keep that going as well.

I’m afraid of what will happen to my body

I have some pretty serious allergies, and when they all act up at once, it can get pretty icky. I don’t want to nosedive into a bunch of foods my system doesn’t recognize… When I DO try to reintroduce some foods into my system, it will have to be intentional and methodical. It probably won’t be much fun at all.

Moreover, I’m super-conscious of the icky crap hidden in everyday food, and it’s really scary. Who would want to go back to eating nutritionless junk when they’ve got the real thing in front of them?

I’m going to hurt someone’s feelings

Ending this “diet” really just means that I’ll have to consciously make the decisions I’m already making. I can’t hide behind “Sorry – I can’t. I’m on a diet.” I may sometimes be able to say “Sorry – I’m allergic,” but more often than not, it will have to be “I don’t want to eat that, thanks.” That will be a hard transition. Especially if someone is hosting a dinner or a party, I’ll end up being impolite… I guess I’ll always have a new yummy dish on hand, and maybe we’ll just host more often…yipe!

I’m glad it’s over, just not relieved

Would I do the WLC again? Maybe…

I think I’d rather do it on my own for the rest of my life, and feel no pressure to do another “diet” or enter another “competition.” It really comes down to my health. Maybe I’ll feel differently if I win prizes Saturday, but we’ll see ;)

Tabata Workout – 4 Minute Abs

Tabata workouts are especially grueling because they sound almost easy. Do a workout for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, repeat 8 times…

If you are deceived into thinking this will be easy, you will probably change your mind by round 5 or 6 like I did! I found this video when I was looking for more workouts to supplement my Whole Life Challenge regiment, and it kicked my butt! It goes by so quickly, but you’ll probably feel it for a couple of days ;)

Better yet, this video has introduced me to BexLife, which seems like a great new resource for workouts, yoga, meditation tips, motivation, and more. Looking forward to finding out more about Bex and her company – reading her bio, what’s not to love?!

Rebekah “Bex” Borucki, founder of BEXLIFE™ and the BLISSED IN™ wellness movement, is a mother-of-four, TV host, fitness and yoga instructor, popular YouTuber, and backyard farmer raising chickens and growing her own organic garden. She also travels extensively, sharing her love for fitness, yoga, and meditation at exclusive workshops and public events.

Try this tabata workout!

This workout is specifically targeted to the abs/core/trunk/middle, and you’ll feel it working in hips and glutes as well. Just do as many as you can in 20 second bursts and no matter what your workout level, you’ll have a challenge!

So, how’d you do?