Archive for December, 2013

010608-full-metroThis post is going to be about subways, and I know it’s not about nutrition or even really excericse or health or wellness or anything in a traditional sense, but I think it’s essential to the health and wellness of anyone living in a big city using public transport, so I feel like it’s appropriate xD

Ok, so we don’t have official Subway Pushers in NYC like they do in Japan like the image to the left, but subways can get waaaaay too crowded.  And, if you are forced to stand, (or give up your seat by choice because you are a lovely human being), then you may have been subject to having to ride without holding onto a bar or pole.  Yeah; it happens – especially if you have short arms like me, and you don’t want to smack anyone in the face.  Then you’ll end up standing like an island in a sea of bodies, with nothing but your own buoyancy to keep you floating.  Or rather, standing, as the case may be.

And, whenever you are on a subway this full, you can usually watch people fall over; sometimes it’s actually pretty entertaining (as long as no one is hurt, and usually no one is), but you probably don’t want to be the that is stuck doing the tumbling if you can help it … Enter Subway Surfing.  It’s a term used for getting and keeping your balance no matter what the train you’re riding on does, without holding on to anything.  Sorry I don’t have a more technical definition, but that’s what it means as I understand it … ^^;; That being said, it’s actually … super easy.  As long as you know how to do it.

I had surfing pretty much down in a week, and I’ve never done it before moving – I sort of had to adapt because I don’t really like ramming my face into people and getting lipstick all over other people (which actually happened the first time I had to stand on a subway without holding on – I felt really bad!) So, I started trying not to fall and eventually I got it down.  Had no idea what I was doing except that I was staying super tense and it was making my legs ache, but I wasn’t instigating a mosh pit, so I was happy with it.

For the first week.

Then I was like screw this noise when I got a charlie horse in the middle of the next week xD

17-4So, I devised a plan to figure out how to do it without wrecking my legs … Though I still had no idea what I was doing – in fact, I didn’t until I stopped and thought about what I was doing this morning on my commute to work, and if it was explainable.  And, my friends, I am here to tell you that it is!  And it’s actually pretty simple too.  The first thing to remember is to put your feet hip width apart and stagger them a little if you have room.  Even on a crowded train, you should have enough space to spread your feet apart a little – this will give you way better balance.

You also want to make sure your feet are lined up so that you and your feet are facing one side of the train, (though it doesn’t matter which side) and that they are lined up with one foot towards the front of the train, and one foot towards the back.  Looking at the picture to the right, the front of the train would be in the foreground, and the back in the background, or visa-versa.  Your feet and heels should be facing either side of the train where the doors are.  Hopefully the picture will help, because this explanation is long winded and kind of sounds confusing … But yeah.

After your feet are lined up, you want to make sure that you plant your feet.  This involves tensing your calves up a bit in order to make sure your legs aren’t going to move.  Follow those quick guidelines, and for the most part actually, you’ll be fine.  However, you still may fall down because if you are tense, if the train jolts or stops quickly, all of that tension with no give will lock you up  …

Which is why we will now enter the next thing you have to remember.  Bend one knee, and lean slightly away from it. Not both.  Don’t bend both knees.  I’ve tried bending both and it never works for me – it makes me wobble into people.  It’s all about weight distribution – which I actually learned about when I used to take martial arts.  You want your weight distribution to be about 70/30.  Around 30% of your weight should be on the leg with the bent knee, and about 70% should be on the leg that is straight.

Now, the trick is knowing which knee to bend.  And don’t worry; I’m going to tell you.

Bent KneeWhen the train starts to move, you want to bend whichever knee is toward the front of the train.  In the picture to the left, if this person was standing on the subway (first I’d tell her not to lift her heel off of the ground, but it was the best example picture I could find on Google ^^;;) then the back of the train would be to the right of the image, and the front would be towards where her pointed toe is.

The reason for this as far as I can surmise is because of the forward momentum of the train; your stiff back leg will support you, while your bent front knee will give you room to sort of move with the train in order to keep you upright.  However, don’t stop reading here – you aren’t done yet!  That’s only half the battle – you do the opposite when the train comes to a stop or slows down suddenly during transit.

When the train starts to stop or slow down suddenly, bend whatever knee is toward the back of the train.  So, when you are pulling into a station or there’s a quick stop suddenly, you want to shift your weight so that the back knee bent with about 30% of your weight on it, your front leg straight with about 70% of your weight on it, and you are leaning more towards that front leg.  In this case, if we’re referring to the image to the left, the front of the train would be towards the right of the image, and the back would be to the left.

This seems simple, but the subways sometimes start and stop pretty quickly and with little warning.  You might get a partial second warning about slowing down because it feels like the train’s sticking to the tracks, but you might have to ride a few times before you really have a good grasp of being able to tell when a train is going to stop/start.  But at the very least you can be prepared for station stops if you follow this little guide!

Also, the change in your weight distribution doesn’t have to be a grand production!  Just changing which knee is bent and which is straight is enough to almost switch how your weight is distributed.  I’ve definitely been playing temple run on my Kindle while standing and not holding onto anything and been fine to stay upright; once you do it enough it will be almost automatic (and I’ve only lived here for a month!)

… … Bet you thought that was all, huh? ^^;; Not quite.  There is one more thing we need to talk about – and that’s the fact that trains do not always stay completely perpendicular, straight up and down.  Especially when they are going around corners, they tend to lean forward and backward, and depending on the train operator and how fast you’re going around a curved track, it can be a slight lean or you could feel like you have whiplash after you pick yourself up off the ground xD

Unfortunately, I haven’t perfected how to stay upright when this happens, mostly because usually we whip around corners so hard and so fast that I topple before I can compensate for it.  The ideal thing to do would be to apply the same principals I’ve already explained in this post – which means that you’d have to turn 90 degrees and lean slightly away from whatever direction the train is tipping.  But, no one has time for that, especially at train speeds.

Pretty sure even Superman would say “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Press-your-knees-and-thighs-together-against-each-other.-Hold-to-five-then-relaxSo, in lieu of that, this is the best I’ve come up with so far, and it’s in no way fool-proof.  To be fair, I’ve only been in the city for 4 weeks, and normally I can manage to score a seat on most trains I catch in the morning and on the weekends.  ^^;; But, I’ll share my method for now, and if I find a better way to stay upright on the turns, I will update you (and this post).

As of right now, what I do is, again, in the second you have to realize the turn is happening, push your hips in the direction the train is tipping.  However, that’s not all.   You also have to put your shoulders back – it acts as a sort of counter balance.  The example picture to the right is sort of over exaggerated (again, the best I could find on Google), but you want your hips out, your knees bent, and your shoulders back.  And, if you have enough warning, you also might want to stagger your feet more.  It will give you better side to side balance, but you don’t always have room to do that on a crowded train without crushing toes, so do this at your own discretion.

Follow these steps, and they really are pretty easy once you get them in your head, and you too can avoid looking too much like a tourist this holiday season, or whenever you are traveling to the big apple!

With that, here are some entertaining images.

And remember, there’s no use boiling your cabbage twice.

❤ RaeynnBeau

You could just eliminate planting your feet entirely ...

You could just eliminate planting your feet entirely …

These guys are Doing it Wrong...

These guys are Doing it Wrong…

... And these guys are REALLY doing it wrong ...

… And these guys are REALLY doing it wrong …


groceriesAlright; so I’m getting accustomed to things in my new apartment (I just moved into my own place in the Big Apple, yay!) and I realize … I’m running out of food and paper supplies.  Something that I’ve never had to worry about before.  Which means of course, that I will have to purchase these goods myself.  Now, I’ve been grocery shopping before – ever since becoming a (casual) Vegan, I’ve had to buy my own stuff, mostly because a lot of the time, if someone were going to buy food for me, they’d have no idea where to get what I was talking about if I wrote “Carob Chips” or “SO Delicious Dairy Free Vanilla Yogurt” on the list.  Which is fine by me; this weird food is expensive besides – I’ve totally been living on toast for breakfast for the past like, 3 weeks or so ^^;;  I digress; I am going to have to go to the store and buy things that I have never had to buy before.  Toilet paper, napkins, paper toweling … These are all mysterious items of mystery to me – and not only that, but I am definitely afraid that I am going to forget everything when I go.  And it is a bit of a trek to go shopping where I live, so I don’t really want to have to make multiple trips on the weekend when I am supposed to be recuperating from the work week.

grocerylistEx2So, rather than be worried about all of that happening, I decided to find one of those magnetic pads that you stick to your fridge to make lists; sounds like a good plan, right?  Just jot down what you need when you run out of it or getting low, and at the end of the week just go buy what you need.  Notice I said NEED, not WANT – big difference there, I’m finding out.  ^^;; Anyway, on my quest to find a pad, I discovered a tutorial on how to make your own pad – which I thought was great, because that meant I could save money and just print out lists, glue the pages together, and slap a magnet on the back.  Problem solved.  Which would have been perfect if I hadn’t found this template … It is lik, the cutest thing I have ever seen!

You should totally check out the blog and download it here because it is super awesome and totally free :3  But anyway, this page is a full sheet – which means no sticking it to the front of my fridge because I have plenty of other stuff stuck to it.  I can’t add a whole 8.5″x11″ sheet to it too and reasonably expect my fridge to remain upright … ^^;; But this is the shopping list I’m using from now on – is that not the cutest little grocery store you’ve ever seen up there?  And the rainbow coloring of the categories; I love rainbows!  However, not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it breaks down things to be sure that you take them with you too, which I desperately need …

In the upper right hand corner, under the date line, it gives you check boxes to grocery-shopping1make sure you remember to bring your coupons, reusable bags, and your shopper’s cards to make sure you save all the money you can.  And, speaking of money, there’s a slot to put your budget at the bottom, as well as what you actually spend, so you can make sure you stay on track.  Add that to large lines with plenty of space to write in, and organized categories, and I’m pretty sure this was made specifically with me in mind.

But, what else can you do to make sure you stay on task and buy what you need, not what you want?  I was really nervous about this, so I’ve been doing some research, because I have a tendency to go overboard when I buy things.  I found this site with the Top Ten Shopping Tips listed on it, and it was super helpful.  A quick summary of what it says:

1. Shop with a list.  Ok; check that one off, since I now have the cutest list in creation at my disposal.
2. Set a budget.  Yeah, I always do that, but sticking to it is the problem …
3. Pay with Cash.  Right now since I’m waiting for my first paycheck that’s not happening…
4. Set a Timeframe. … o.o I have never thought about this before … But it totally makes sense.
5. Pick the best time for You. Well yeah; that means the only time I can go, right? xD
6. Shop alone. Ah, one of the times I don’t envy mothers that have to drag their children everywhere.
7.  Don’t shop when you are tired, hungry, lonely, bored or upset. … All of these things!? o.o;
8. Ask “do I really need this?”… I hate this question.  Which probably means I should ask more.
9. Remember that the sales person is there to sell to you! And they do such a good job too …
10. Don’t buy just because it’s on sale. But, if you’re already buying it, make sure you get the sale!

So, in short, I’ve got … one of these things down.  ^^;; Maybe I’ll write these on the back of my shopping list so that I can remember them when I’m at the store …?  Yeah.  That might work. Hopefully.  Maybe.

We’ll see what my bank account says afterwards.

In the meantime … I hope these tips help you, and I hope you too can have a super cute shopping list to help organize your life!

Remember, there’s no use boiling your cabbage twice!kalyn-grocery-cart