Thursday, February 4, 2021

New home blog coming soon

I have received a lot of questions via email about how the home is holding up for the past 2.5 years. I plan to do a detailed update on our home, as well as the recent projects and upgrades. So, if you've been dying for an update... I am FINALLY going to do one! Here's one preview for a recently started project:

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A Very COVID Summer

 As we all have experienced this year, COVID has changed a lot of our plans and normal behaviors. Graham and I already worked out at home prior to the pandemic, but we pretty much stopped leaving the home except for work and random grocery store trips. We have had Zoom dates with friends, we cancelled our travel plans, our kids stopped pretty much all activities outside of the home, Graham did a couple of home improvement projects, and we formed a quaranteam with another family to limit our outside social interactions (the family of my college friend). To be super cheesy, I even came up with a "quaranteam" name for our two families (HallBents or BroadHalls if you really want to know). One of the biggest changes for us is more time with our immediate family and being forced to stay in Washington. We have spent more time sightseeing around WA than we ever have before.

So, here is a brief summary in pictures of our COVID spring and summer here in Washington..

A perfect sunset behind the Olympic mountains

Our first visit to Staircase in Olympic National Park

Last part of the Staircase hike

We visited our little private beach on Puget Sound several times

We didn't do much on Easter other than take family pictures

Spring break!

Another walk to our beach

When our state finally started to open up, we took a quick weekend trip to the San Juan Islands

This was our first trip to the islands

Our first day was spent on Fidalgo Island and Whidbey Island

We crossed the terrifyingly high Deception Pass bridge. The view was worth it.

Graham & the kids built a driftwood fort at Fort Casey beach on Whidbey

We found a new path to our private beach on the 4th of July

It has a photogenic spot

Graham was the fireworks master on the 4th

We finally took a trip to Mount Rainier national park

We hiked the Silver Falls trail

We had a great beach day at Point no Point beach.

We took a summer trip to California and Nevada. The kids and I took old time photos in Virginia City, NV.

Pope Beach at Lake Tahoe

First family bike ride in Lake Tahoe.

Met up with old college friends from BYU

So fun to have all our kids play together.

Took a long weekend trip with friends to the Olympic Peninsula. This is Sol Duc Falls.

Tongue Point outside of Port Angeles

Lake Ozette

The whole group on the Dungeness Spit near Sequim, WA

Anyways, we had a great summer with our own family, some extended family, and our quaranteam friends. In a way, I am glad to have finally visited most of the places on our summer bucket list.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Exercise Flashback

Ok, so unless I meet my goal weight (another 6-7 miserable pounds), this will be my last weight loss post on my blog. I recently took some progress pictures from taking Bar Method classes for six months, and I got to wondering if I actually look different from when I first lost weight 7-8 years ago. I took some pictures and compared the two, and here they are below..

**Warning**: if sports bra or "mom bod" pictures offend you, look away. Consider yourself warned..

6 months of Bar Method workouts in 2020

Before weight loss in 2011/2012:

These are family photos that I never posted because I looked too fat.

After weight loss in 2012:

Before weight loss in 2017:

After weight loss in March 2020:

Ok, so here is where the comparisons count...

BTW, I know my body will never be perfect. Don't judge me too harshly. My kids have definitely left their mark on me, but I wouldn't trade anything for being a mom.

Me at my lowest weight in December 2012

Progress pictures in 2014 after I started lifting weights

Me at my lowest weight in 2020 (same weight as 2014)

These last two sets of pictures are six years apart, and I weigh approximately the same in each photo set. However, I look slimmer in 2020 than in 2014, and this is likely related to the kind of workout I am doing. Again, I hate to be repetitive, but this is a good demonstration of how good Bar Method is for slimming and toning your body! I believe nutrition has a big factor as well, but these pictures are a pretty good testimonial to how good the exercises are.

If you are struggling with exercise motivation, find a workout that you don't hate, and keep doing it. I promise, you will never regret exercising. Even after exercising consistently for 8.5 years, I still have to talk myself into working out in the morning. You can do it! Be consistent and don't expect results right away. You may never have a perfect body (I know I don't), but the benefits of exercise go way beyond just your appearance.

Anyways, thanks for reading. Maybe I'll do another blog NOT about exercise next time, but it feels like that's all I do (#thankscorona).

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Bar Method Online Review

I feel like I need to comment on the COVID-19 thing, but I am seriously tired of talking about it. It has consumed our lives and attention. Luckily, we both still have jobs, we are getting paid, we have food in our house, etc.. but man.. obviously this sucks. I have been dealing with the stress by exercising more, playing piano, and spending way too much time on social media.

I am now three months into my Bar Method exercise routine, and I am seriously loving my results. My weight loss has somewhat stalled in the past few weeks as I've been not as strict on limiting my calories. However, here are my pictures and stats below:

Day 1 vs Day 91

3 Month Stats:

Weight: 5.6 pounds lost
Inches: 10.4 inches lost
Body fat: 1.6% lost

Here is also a comparison between 1 month of Bar Method and 3 months of Bar Method:

The other day, someone actually complimented me on how narrow my legs looked, and I was so happy that some of the changes I've had are actually noticeable. My biggest advice for someone who wants to see actual changes in their body with this workout style, you need to do a few things:

  • Do a barre class at least 3-5 times per week
  • Be consistent--don't keep changing the types of workout you do. Commit to at least 1 month (but really, after looking at these results--at least 3 months).
  • Try the advanced classes for an even greater challenge.
  • If you're looking to lose weight, you definitely need to be careful with how you eat. Most of my weight loss is related to limiting calories.

If you are looking into a new, low-impact workout with significant results in your upper and lower body, definitely check out Bar Method. They have studios all over the country (but none less than an hour away from me), and they have a great online video library (only $20/month).

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Bar Method One Month Challenge

All right everybody, here's how it went over one month.. I started the morning of January 6th and finished on February 8th. I did a 45-60 minute workout every morning at 5:15 AM six days a week. I tracked every single workout with my FitBit Blaze HR that monitors my heart rate. I also tracked my nutrition with the MyFitnessPal app. Here are my stats (mind you--this is only one month):

Avg calorie burn for barre workout

3.85 cal/min

Overall weight lost

4.2 lbs

Change in body fat


Total inches lost

6.37 in

Sadie joined me for my progress photos

Here are the before and after pictures for my 1-month challenge. (Disclaimer: this is after 4 weeks. My 5 week photos didn't turn out very well. Note to self: wearing the same clothes helps show the progress better).

Not a HUGE difference, but there is definitely progress

Here are the overall before and after pictures from April 2019 to February 2020. There is about a 20 pound difference, believe it or not. It definitely shows in the face. I really can't believe how Shrek-like my face looked like, but hey, it was 5 AM.

My weight loss progress over 9-10 months

Big difference right?

What I have learned from this self-imposed challenge:

  • I can still get a good workout from a non-cardio activity. (However, this did mean focusing on getting more activity throughout the whole day to keep burning calories.)
  • With lighter weights, my arms have shrunk significantly. In fact, my right arm alone decreased in size by OVER one inch in one month! I had to measure my arms more than once to verify. I would way rather have smaller arms than bigger biceps. Light weights are emphasized in the Bar Method with a focus on shoulders, back, and triceps. I was previously using heavier weights in different workouts that made my arms bigger. I have always struggled being top heavy (an inverted triangle body type), and have been super self-conscious about the size of my arms. I was under the impression that heavier weights would help improve muscle tone, but I just feel like they bulked up my already bulky upper body. 
  • Even though I only used light weights for upper body exercises, my shoulders and triceps feel more toned than when I was using heavier weights before. For the first time in my life, I actually have definition in my upper right arm. I think it must be related to getting deep in the muscles with small, concentrated movements.

  • Do you like cheesy workout progress photos? Do you like the old school "duck face"? How about combining the two? Killin' it.

So, my right arm was feeling a little camera shy, and didn't really want to show any muscle definition. Also, it's not very photogenic to begin with. In fact, I don't know why I'm including this photo, but oh well. 

  • Barre workouts require a lot of mental fortitude. When you are deep in a muscle and you are shaking like crazy, it's hard to convince yourself mentally to keep going.
  • Doing lower intensity exercise helps me get out of bed easier. When I did cardio early in the morning, I lay in bed for 20-30 minutes every morning before exercising because I wasn't mentally prepared.
  • The Bar Method online videos are great! I have really loved them so far. There have been ones so difficult that I am sore right away (usually I don't feel sore until the next day). They vary in difficulty, intensity, and styles of instructors. 
  • Barre exercises give your glutes and hamstrings super powers. They make me feel like I'm power walking with springs in my legs and booty, and I look like I'm walking with purpose to get to my destination.
  • I was afraid that my legs would get bigger because of the lower body focus, but both of my thighs shrunk by one inch.
  • Having a wall barre is way better than using a chair as a barre. The stability allows me to work even harder when doing leg and glute exercises.
  • One bad thing: I got tennis elbow doing the Bar Method. I've gotten it before from a different exercise, and I'm not quite sure what exactly triggers it. Apparently push-ups can aggravate it, so I'm wondering if the 40-70 push-ups in a 60-minute workout are what triggered it for me.
  • I love barre exercises. They are intense without feeling like you're punishing your body. I really really hate running, and I also don't like weight lifting. This type of exercise just fits me much better.

Anyways, I am so impressed with my progress that I just may commit to the Bar Method long-term. I will probably add in cardio two times per week once my challenge is over. Mind you, the results did happen with calorie restriction most days of the week (between 1500-2000 calories per day). If you're trying to lose weight, you may not have the same results if you're eating too many calories.

Here's to more time at the barre in 2020 (yes, I know that's a cheesy joke that's probably been done a million times before).

Also, thanks to everyone for the support to my last post about my personal life. 💕

New home blog coming soon

I have received a lot of questions via email about how the home is holding up for the past 2.5 years. I plan to do a detailed update on our ...