Thursday, September 16, 2010

and the winner is....

Bekah - you won the yoga mat! Congratulations. I will be sending you an email with details!

Thanks to everyone for entering. Hopefully there will be another giveaway soon!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

christina loucks has launched

well, after spending months getting a passion of mine turned into a business, christina loucks has launched. a floral design company inspired by a passion for design, and a love for flowers.

i would love for you to have a look!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

a bit of balance - and GIVEAWAY!

as you all know - i have been dealing with finding a bit of balance in my life. between work, launching, training (well, overtraining) for triathlons, qualifying for nationals, and did i mention work - i have been searching for just the thing to help to balance and revitalize myself after suffering from lots of exhaustion. the solutions - always taking sunday off, ensuring proper eating patterns, and yoga + stretching ...

the main  focus. yoga and stretching. seriously, finding time to stretch is a huge challenge, but is important for not only athletes but everyone, providing some down time to regroup (but do stay away from your console tables while balancing - those corners hurt)... sooooo, that is why i chose just tri's first giveaway!!!! an eco friendly yoga mat!

how do enter:  leave comments to recommend your favorite way to take some down time, reconnect and revitalize yourself, and a winner will be chosen at random  9/15.

i cannot wait to hear your suggestions!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

happy 94th birthday grammy loucks

today is a day to celebrate one of the strongest women i know, my grandmother.  today, she is 94 years old.   she is the epitome of strength, the definition of jovial, unbelievably sharp,  proper,  proud, silly, and has a laugh that fills a room.  she loves fashion, and the color purple.  she manages to pair her beautiful diamonds with costume jewelry, and makes is look sensational and effortless. she sewed her entire wardrobe as a young lady, and gentleman said to my grandfather, 'how can you afford to keep her". they would simply giggle.  she was married to my grandfather 48 years before he passed in 1987, and lived independently until a few months ago when she fell, broke her hip and compound fractured her wrist. this was not the easiest transition for her to move out of a home she built her life in, raised my father and uncle in and built every lifes chapter thus far in;  but for a woman who wrote the definition of strength and optimism - this too is something that has become yet another chapter in her life.

this home was the place of tradition where family gathered every christmas and easter. it is the reason tradition is so important to me today, and why i still find it challenging living in atlanta -- far, far away from my family, my first home, where i was born and raised in new york.  she is a woman who took her maiden name as her middle name when married in the 30's. upon asking her about it, she said of course, why wouldn't i have? just one more thing i love about her - a woman ahead of her times.

interesting little fact - upon my husband and i  announcing the date set for our wedding to our family - gram said "i am so excited. not only is that the same day your grandfather and i got married, but it is the same time, as well".   simply amazing!

she was married to the love of her life.  she said she knew she was going to marry him from the first time they met. she speaks of him with a glimmer in her eye and a smile on her face.  there is one particular story she loves to tell about how they used to love to dance.  my grandfather would dance over to her to get her to come dance with her.  dancing side to side from across the room with a smile on his face.  they simply adored each other, and had a love that you read about is novels.

i am so grateful to have been surrounded by so many amazing,  inspirational, and strong ladies. my grandmothers, and mother.

here is to my amazing grandmother on her 94th birthday.

Gram celebrating at her 90th birthday party.
Gram and Grandpa before by dad was born. LOVE this picture
gram around 12 years old. so beautiful
a huge garden club fan - of course she modeled in their fashion show!

my husband and i on our wedding day, the anniversary of my grams wedding, wearing a piece of her veil in my hair.
My dad and his mom (my gram) celebrating her 94th with her favorite- ice cream!

gram on her wedding day
gram up at cape pond - their camp. 
silly gram celebrating at her 90th birthday.
gram my husband, and my other fabulous gram
the sensational laugh at her 90th.
love this. wedding, celebration, and my dad and uncle as children (looking like trouble).

the ultimate endurance

i am thinking today of my husband, who 5 years ago decided to take a strong hold of his life, to go against the norm of a cushy, corporate job with no real passion; to a life back in school - 5 years of endurance training so he can spend the rest of his life being enthusiastic and passionate about what he is doing.  the ultimate endurance.  a quote came across my email today stating - "We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about." Charles Kingsley.  interesting thought, Mr. Kingsley.  and oh so true.

if you read this blog, you most likely have trained for at least one endurance sport, or you are just amazed by the sport, and enjoy the sheer motivation factor.  you train anywhere from a few months or longer depending on the sport, and then the ultimate reward - the race.  you endure the training, to then endure the physical, emotional, and mental challenges of the race.  you  celebrate your accomplishment, pushing your limits to the max, relive the event for a few days, reassess your goals, rework your training to better your splits, T times, etc.  but could you imagine spending 5 years enduring your training, with the ultimate reward being one race  - graduation 5 years away? beginning your practice is so far away, there is not even much of a dot of light at the end of the tunnel? sure, there are pieces of the puzzle that begin to line up along the way, and provide a few 'ah ha' moments - but the true reward is so far in the distance.

today, and for the next two months - a lot of his race training is finally coming together.  final national board exams, working with numerous patients who are lining up to work with him and cannot wait for their next appointment. his phone is ringing off the hook. his talent is being realized.  this chapter of his 5 year long ultimate endurance challenge is just about complete, and then onto the next.  living and speaking your dream, passion and enthusiasm into reality.  phase 2. introducing my husband as Dr. Jorge Ahumada. Chiropractor. specialist in physical therapy, biology, and nutrition.  perfect for this triathlete.

here is to your ultimate endurance race and you have already finished ahead. i tearfully say,  i am oh so proud and amazed by your strength.

Friday, July 30, 2010

celebrate others

after an emotionally challenged day yesterday, i wanted to go celebrate an amazing accomplishment of a friend, artist, blogger, and photographer, Blayne Beacham of thisphotographerslife and blaynesonething. Blayne is now debuting her sensational, award-winning photography series called "wonderland". breathtaking. and even more amazing, is that it was debuted at Artist Trifecta gallery which also features art by Salvidor Dali. this, my friend, is what you call success! the success was shared by fellow design bloggers Niki McNeil of Single Bubble Pop, Cristi Holcombe of Charm Home, Terry Kearns of Architecture Tourist, Claire Watkins of High Gloss Blue. ( to name a few)

what a wonderful celebration seeing an amazing artist celebrated, and accomplishing a goal.

raise a glass. cheers to you, blayne.  as my grandmother would say, mazal tov!

i (not so) gracefully resign; temporarily

 it was yesterday that a huge realization ensued that i actually needed a break. i have never desired a vacation more than i do now. i have never detested training as much as i do right now. i have never felt as demotivated  as i do right now. i don't remember the last time i had a strong run, bike or swim. i chose to ignore all the signs that were popping up many, many weeks ago announcing over training. i pushed my mind to push my body as hard as it could, and approached every day of training regardless of my clear signs of fatigue.

i raced chattanooga completely overtrained, then the next weekend raced again, took a week off to simply move around, and now this week was slowing moving back into training for the age group nationals 9/25. moving back into training had not gone well to say the least, which opened my eyes to what had actually occurred. my runs have become brutal, feeling like i had not run a day in my life. legs feel heavy, swollen, and lethargic. heart rate soaring. and the most interesting part, my mind is raring to go. ready. willing. able. later that evening after seeing a clear pattern over a few days, i noticed an article in triathlon magazine outlining overtraining, and all the symptoms i am feeling. no- that is not me. i cannot imagine...and then began looking back at my training over the last 2-3 months.

after speaking to a few coaches i was looking to work with for nationals, i had to send a note and say i was not sure what was happening, but i needed to wait on coaching until later in the season to prepare for 2011, instead. what really opened my eyes that soon became tearful was words from a coach, an extremely successful triathlete and ironman who said i was struggling with over training syndrome, and only rest and recovery can help at this point. any exercise i do at this point should be for fun, no watches, no heart rate monitor. easy, short and sweet. now as a triathlete, fun and training don't really go hand in hand, but instead what we love is pushing our limits and enjoying the results. that is why we do what we do.

needless to say, there is a struggle here of sheer disappointment.  frustrated in myself that i caused this. that i cannot just be normal, but have to shoot for 110% instead of 100%. at the end of the day, you have yourself to look at in the mirror, and if my all was not given, i will not like that reflection. it is simply just never enough, there is always another goal.

this was a tearful, emotional day. a race i worked hard to qualify for, now has to be treated as a 'fun' race, instead of a 'race' race. i need to just enjoy the reality that i qualified for a high-caliber event, and take it all in. based on what i am experiencing currently, i have been instructed that i will not have any degree of success in this race if i exert myself between now and then. 110% is not always the best way.

the article i read in triathlon magazine about over training offered an amazing analogy. if your body is a sponge, it can continue to take and take and take, until it is absorbed fully. once the body (sponge) is absorbed fully, it cannot absorb anything else until it dries out. that is an amazing analogy to explain the training cycle that should be.

now this (not so) graceful resignation is only temporary, but is a key learning experience to make me even stronger and ramp up for 2011. i'll need lot's of energy and mental focus when i take on a coach! there is an element of relief, that i am not indeed weakening, but experiencing what alot of triathletes have experienced - and i will recover and become physically strong again. fingers crossed, in two weeks time, i will be up and at 'em again!

this will be an interesting time, where i will be learning the art of balance to perfect my strategy further in the future, not only in triathlon but with life. endurance sports are amazing in that you are learning more about yourself everyday, and with every race. and from that you learn how to improve. it is vulnerable, but strong.

let's offer some support to my husband who is living with me during this somewhat challenging time with a bit of crazy, and lent his big shoulder yesterday to this currently frustrated sense of self.