Fort Funston

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Even though we live close to San Francisco, the traffic usually makes it too much of a hassle to get to. This past Sunday, we woke up early to go meet up with our best human and canine friends.

On the coast of the Pacific Ocean is a beautiful hiking and beach trail that is perfect for taking a restless pooch…or three. Fort Funston lives up to it’s name. Sammich was nose to the ground the entire time except when she spotted her two besties – Daisy and Sadie.

Daisy and Sadie are trustworthy enough to chase balls out to the horizon and come running back. Sammich…not so much. We have to keep her on a leash because there are too many steep cliffs and she can run way faster than us. She still managed to have the time of her life. From the parking lot arrival, to spotting her two friends, to all the new ones she made along the way. The sweeping ocean views weren’t so bad on these human eyes either.

What to know

Fort Funston park is a great spot to take your pup in San Francisco.

Short Box Series for Pilates Reformer

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The short box series on reformer can be used as essential level preps or full-blown intermediate exercises. Feet pulling the foot strap taut as you utilize the strength of your core to articulate your spine. The movement of your arms create longer levers which increases the difficulty of this exercise. The arm movement and spinal twist are assisted by engaged obliques.

Below are three exercises for the short box followed by a full video:

Round Back for Short Box:

Start sitting up straight, feet pulling strap taut, neutral spine, palms on top of one another in your lap. Inhale to prepare, exhale to tuck your pelvis and roll onto your back pockets.

Inhale to lift your arms over head, maintaining that round thoracic spine.

Turn abs on even more, pulling belly toward spine, and roll over your thighs – maintaining that c-curve of your spine.

Exhale to stack back up to a neutral spine from tail to head.

Straight Back for Short Box:

Begin by sitting upright on your box with a neutral spine, feet pulling strap taut. With bar overhead, pull on opposite ends of the bar to engage your arms.

Inhale to prepare, exhale to hinge at your hips and tilt back with a straight back.

Inhale to maintain this position. Exhale to engage your obliques to help you hinge at your hips to pull you back up to straight.

Twist With Round Back for Short Box:

Beginning with the photo above, sitting straight up, arms overhead pulling bar.

Inhale to prepare, exhale to tuck your pelvis and roll back onto your pockets as the bar comes down in front of your shoulders.

Inhale to maintain that c-curve of the spine as you lift the bar overhead.

Exhale to twist to one side. Inhale to return to center. Exhale to twist to the other side. Inhale to return to center.

Continue the inhale to pull belly towards spine as you round forward over your thighs – keeping bar level with shoulders.  

Exhale to keep the bar still in space as you stack back up to a neutral spine from tail to head.

Inhale to lift bar back up over head with neutral spine.

Here’s what that looks like:

Mikkeller Tasting Room and Bottle Shop

My brother and his wife were in town for a quick visit this weekend so we headed down to the Rockridge neighborhood in Oakland, California. Rockridge is a friendly neighborhood with a busy main street, College Avenue, that runs through the middle. There is everything from Irish dive bars, to Pilates studios, to ice cream parlors and ramen shops.

My brother and his wife are big beer drinkers – which is something I know nothing about. Fortunately, a new specialty beer shop and tasting room just opened up next to my favorite coffee spot. Walking in to Mikkeller Tasting Room, you immediately feel like you are walking into the lobby of a brewery gearing up for a tour.

The space is narrow but designed to draw your attention to the fully stocked cooler and shelves. There you’ll find a vast and impressive spread of specialty beer and, in our case, mead. It is like a library of interesting flavors. You could easily spend a half hour just perusing the selection.

The walls have really rad art tying the space together. The register is also a tasting bar where you can find even more delicious draft beer. The bartender was extremely knowledgeable about every unusual product on the shelves and was happy to talk about what made each special.

Jake & QianQian ended up going home with the EvilTwin Brewing Imperial Biscotti Break stout and the D.O.T.D. Chili Chocolate Black Lager. Ben picked up the Simcoe Mead Kitchen.

What to Know

Mikkeller Tasting Room and Bottle Shop is open from 11:30am-11pm daily. Check out their website for selection and upcoming events.

Study Guide

It has been a while since I’ve had to sit down and pound some anatomy. Not since Biology 101 in college have I had to utilize my memorization skills for more than just digesting scripts.

Now that my Reformer class is over – I’m finding my superior administrative skills are kicking in to high gear. I have a lot of hours to log before the certification is complete and that means staying on top of my schedule.

On top of the logistics, I have a lot of anatomy to learn before the written exam. As a creative – anatomy is not something I’ve put a lot of focus on in the past. Having invested hours in studying, I can tell you that it’s mostly tedious but then there are ‘a-ha’ moments when all of a sudden you ‘get it’. In those moments I feel smart. I love acting because it makes me feel talented – but I have been enjoying the studying time for Pilates because I’m really digging the sensation of being in love with my mind’s capacity to learn new things.

When I can work from home, I get my work station set up with the following:

  • Wench mug with the lattes I told myself I would try to stop drinking.
  • Monthly calendar
  • Work books and manuals
  • Observation notebook
  • Past class lessons
  • As many different colored pens as possible because – color is fun.
  • Muscle flashcards
  • And the $1 Venmo note from Johnny I won in a game of Uno – reminds me I’m a winner.

Hound Howls

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Having a hound usually means you can expect those full-throated howls. Whether she’s saying hello or yelling at a neighbor, it all sounds the same. I like to think of it as her talking to us.

We’ve recently discovered that if we howl with her when she’s all worked up she can’t help but howl with us. I picked up my phone the other night just to capture one of these moments.

We have some chewy dental dog treats that she loves way too much to be able to enjoy. When we give them to her, she usually spends a minute or two excitedly pawing at it. Once she builds up the nerve to grab it in her mouth she proceeds to run around all over the living room and kitchen looking for a sufficient hiding spot. Thing is, there is never a sufficient enough spot for her treasure and the agony of having something that’s too good that you can’t hide it away throws her into a fit of misery howling. It’s the cutest damn thing. Enjoy.

Liquor

Artist Jeff Hallman

Megan laid in Kevin’s bed wondering if this would be another night spent alone. She was starting to realize how big a mistake it was to move even closer to Leary’s Pub. The cool kid’s bar was now only two blocks away, how was he expected to resist? It wasn’t about the drinking. It was about the company. It was about maintaining social relevance. This was a crew everyone wished they were a part of, and Megan was just beginning to see that Kevin needed that validation more than any one.

Megan shifted positions for the bazillionth time, restlessly attempting sleep. She pulled her phone from it’s charging cord and checked the time: 3:34am. Still no sign of him, the night well on it’s way to morning. She wondered whether he’d taste of tequila or whiskey this time when he inevitably stumbled as quietly as he could into bed. If he tried to fuck her, she’d know it was tequila. He was always so sloppy, so selfish, when he came home. She wondered if he’d still be here if this were her bed, in her apartment, all the way uptown.

Here she was again. In his bed, waiting. For what…she couldn’t conceive anymore. Caught in this never-ending cycle, hoping that somewhere along the line, he will deviate away from the path he’s on, and join hers. But he won’t. That’s not what he wants. Megan laid flat on her back, exposed and vulnerable, as she realized this isn’t what she wanted either.

Tree for Pilates Reformer

A lot of the exercises I’ve been focusing on this week are especially great in promoting spinal articulation. This exercise is called Tree and it’s an intermediate level exercise. It’s important to maintain an engaged core to support your spine. I love the leg stretches at the beginning of this exercise – it feels especially yummy as a hamstring stretch.

Here’s how to do Tree:

Keeping one foot pulling taut on the strap, extend and flex your gesture leg three times.

After the third time, keep your gesture leg extended and bring both hands to meet at your ankle.

Begin to slowly walk your hands down your leg and you roll your spine down vertebrae by vertebrae.

Once you feel your sacrum level on the short box, release your head to look back – keeping your hands on your leg for support.

If you feel like you want more – extend your arms over head and grab on to the rails of your reformer to enter a full spinal extension.

Take an inhale to tuck your chin and your draw your arms back up to the gesture leg. Begin to walk your hands back up that leg as your spine peels off the box.

Once your spine is back in neutral, bend your knee and set your gesture leg down.

Here’s what that looks like all together:

This exercise is best done towards the end of a workout. Making sure your hamstrings and abs are warm and firing before putting them to the test.