What It Takes To Be: Korra

June 8th, 2014

Earth. Fire. Air. Water. Only the Avatar can master all four elements and bring balance to the world.

And while realistically you can’t master those four elements, you can master these: strength, cardio, flexibility and balance.

first-lok-image

Korra, even before before Legend of Korra began, had my interest. When they first released this image, my first thought was, “Dang, that girl is strong.” Look at that muscle definition.

Then the show was released a year later. It was very much a love-hate relationship for me. At first she seemed cool and relatable, and then she became big-headed and started draining on my nerves (especially after the way she treated one of her guy friends after she found out he liked her. Friends just don’t do that to each other—especially with their sibling.)

korra-season2

In season two she redeemed herself a bit; especially at the end. She’s matured quite a bit, and while she’s a B.A. she also has more humility then her season one head-to-big-for-her-shoulders counterpart.

Throughout both seasons, we see Korra fight and make her way through with plenty of strength and balance. While we may not have her 18 years of training, we can still strengthen ourself in the same aspects.

korra

Korra Workout

Strength
Warm-Up: 60 seconds of: Jumping Jacks, High Knees, Arm Swings
1. Full Body: 60 seconds Mountain Climber
2. Shoulder & Arms: 60 seconds Punching Circuits
3. Core: 12-15 Bicycle Crunches (each side)
4. Legs: 15 Bodyweight Squat
5. Back: 30-60 seconds Superman
6. Chest: 12 Push-Ups
Repeat 2-3x

Cardio
15 minutes of running (we all know how much of that the Krew have to do), cycling or if you do have access to a gym, elliptical (but if you’re not sweating by the end of it, you’re not working anything!)
Yoga
Not only do you need strength to be strong as a whole, you need flexibility, balance and piece of mind. Yoga is a great way to do both while cooling down from a hard workout. Here’s a 10 minute video to get you started.

How To
Mountain Climber
Punching Exercises
Bicycle Crunches
Squat
Superman
Push Up

As you can see in this workout, I’ve given a variation in numbers of repetitions (aka reps) per exercise. It all depends on your current shape. If you feel like you can make it to the maximum reps, then go for it. Just remember you have to do these exercises 2-3 more times.

Again, I do advise anyone whose just beginning this to make sure through their doctor that they’re able to workout. While exercise is very beneficial and important for your health, if you’re not in the right condition you could end up worse for wear.

Same goes for form. If you have a mirror, make sure you have the same body position as the person on video while doing each exercise. Bad form = bad injury.

 

Geekout with Arrow

June 1st, 2014

You have failed this city… if you haven’t seen CW’s Arrow.

Arrow

Arrow, from my own knowledge of comics, has a bit of a different spin on it from DC’s original Green Arrow. As long as you can except that (which, you should, 52-ers), it’s a great action packed show.

The show starts with Oliver Queen, played by Stephen Amell, starting a bonfire with some show-off bow and arrow tricks that gets him off of the deserted The Island, that you learn more and more about through the show.

He picks up the ‘Arrow’ masquerade once he returns to his home, Starling City, and finds out how crime ridden is becomes. He runs into his partners in crime, Diggle, the bodyguard who was hired by Mrs. Queen to watch over Ollie but instead helps him fight crime, Felicity, the sassy and geek-personable tech woman, Laurel Lance, whom you’ll find to be at first understandable, to annoying, to oh my gosh get her out of here, and to nevermind, you’re awesome, and later on The Canary (but I’m not giving that story away).

You see a vigilante who does whatever it takes to get things done evolve into a respected hero.

Arrow Cast

What made me love this series is the dynamic between all of the characters. The way the characters develop together realistically (especially Felicity and Canary-but again, not giving that one away).

All of the side banter is also entertaining as well and gives this pretty dark show some light.

And don’t forget the cameos (who you’ll get throughout the show if you know your comics.)

My addiction to Arrow began several months ago while surfing Netflix. I was already into DC, but didn’t feel like watching Justice League or any of the other cartoon spin-offs. That is when I ran into Arrow, and decided, what the heck.

What happened was one episode turned into a whole season within the span of a week. Then I had to get caught up on season 2, and then wait ‘patiently’ for each new episode weekly (or bi-weekly, depending on what CW planned.)

Now, here I am after the season finale, waiting for fall. Those jerks.

Arrow Wishlist

    arrow-bracelet

  • Bracelet
    Every charm on this bracelet has some significance to the show. This is something you can wear out and about and can easily single out those who have actually watched the show to those who… Haven’t.
  • arrow-wallet

  • Wallet
    While this wasn’t made for Arrow, I feel like the Bow and Arrow pieces on this wallet are actually pretty cool. Again, this is subtle but nice.
  • Arrow Action Figures

  • Action Figures
    Come on. Who doesn’t want to create their own Arrow and Deathstroke fight scenes?
 

Home Made Hamburger Helper

May 25th, 2014

Some things just taste like home.

About five years ago, I was introduced to Emilio’s by my oldest brother. I wasn’t exactly sure what to think, the dive was in a parking garage and had about four tables. After having an order of pancakes that one time, we made it a tradition to go every Saturday morning.

This happened for a few months until my oldest brother moved away. I still made an effort to go frequently with others, but it was never weekly like before.

And then they closed.

I was saddened after hearing the news and always dreamed of their pancakes afterward. So warm with the taste of cinnamon in every bite. Rosa’s warm welcome every time we came in. Emilio’s teasing ways.

And then, two years later, after I moved for work, I heard they re-opened.

Emilio's

You can bet I made the drive back there and it’s pretty much the same as I remembered it years ago. They’ve got a lot more table space, and a lot more customers as well. I visit every so often, and Rosa always comes out of the kitchen to greet me with my stack of warm, delicious pancakes.

Emilio's Pancakes

I’ve tried to recreate them several times on my own, but they’re never the same. Emilio won’t share his recipe either. What a guy.

emilio-rosa

Rosa, myself and Emilio. You can’t help but be reminded of someone…

Part of the taste must be the memories I have every time I go. Just like when I was a kid, I remember my dad made Hamburger Helper all the time for us to eat. Forget steak, the fun I had making dinner with my dad and arguing with my brothers at the table about important topics such as whether Digimon or Pokemon was better makes me smile every time I see a box at the grocery store.

After aging a few years and knowing the difference between food and chemicals, I’m a bit weary of boxed Hamburger Helper. After searching online for dinner ideas, I found this recipe.

And I love it. Just like home.

Hamburger Helper

Homemade Hamburger Helper
Serves 5
Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

You’ll need…
1 lb lean ground beef
*Somewhere around 90/10. You don’t want it to be dry.
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup hot water
2 cups skim milk
1-1/2 cups bowtie or other pasta
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • Brown ground beef in a skillet or pot over medium-high heat. If these’s a lot of grease (which there shouldn’t be), you can drain it. Return to skillet/pot.
  • Sprinkle evenly cornstarch, seasonings and add hot water, milk and pasta. Stir together until combined and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, place a lid on top and simmer for about 10 minutes (or until the pasta is cooked to your liking) while stirring frequently.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the cheddar cheese until its melted. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Hamburger Helper

You can’t tell me this doesn’t look a winner.
 

What It Takes To Be: Black Widow

May 18th, 2014

Sometimes it’s tough being a woman in the comic book world.

For comic book characters and their fans.

Captain America II was full of all kinds of twists and turns as well as fight scenes. Chris Evans once again perfected his role as Steve Rogers, the strong, loyal and wise all-American hero. Sam Wilson was brought in for a smooth landing via Anthony D. Mackie. Sebastian Stan played the hard, cold Winter Solider to the tee.

And Scarlett Johansson gave the Black Widow more life and personality then any of the previous Marvel movies.

And obviously, this is because Natasha Romanoff is a spy and doesn’t open up to us until she’s around the Avengers for long enough to trust them.

In the movie, Natasha goes through the ringer several times. Yet, every time she comes back as a B.A. Sometimes it felt like these moments could have been overlooked by all of the other action going on, but for a human without any power, she was able to get over just about anything thrown at her.

She has brains, yes. That is one of her obvious traits that helps her through many obstacles.

She also has plenty of muscle to back that up.

Yes, in that small, shapely body is a lot of lean muscle that allows Black Widow to twist in mid air, perform the thigh hold with the greatest of ease, punch, kick and hold herself up with rope to avoid falling to her death.

Sadly, the misconception is that having muscle for women makes you bulky. Natasha Romanoff (and in real life, Scarlett Johansson and her stunt double Heidi Moneymaker) are proof of that is not the case. In fact, muscle for women makes us lean, mean fighting machines.

And it helps when you can show guys that yes, you can move that recliner chair all by yourself. That, and it may show some guys not to question your comic book fandom.

In order to build this muscle, you’ve got to figure out the areas you need to develop and how to work it out.

wit2b-blackwidow

Black Widow Workout

Upper Arm: 12 Bench Dips
Cardio: 60 second Jumping Jacks
Chest: 12 Dumbbell Bench Press
Cardio: 60 second Jump Rope
*If you don’t have a physical jump rope, use your imaginary jump rope
Upper Leg: 12 Dumbbell Squats
*If you’re just beginning or getting back into working out, go ahead and just use your bodyweight on this one.
Cardio: 60 second jog in place
Core: 30-60 second Plank

- Repeat 2-3x

How To
Bench Dips
Bench Press
Squat
Plank

When you do any exercise (especially strength training), it’s highly advised that you keep an eye on your form. If there’s ever a mirror around that you can see your stance, use it. Poor form equals injury and injury gets you no where (but pain.)

You may also notice that I didn’t add how much weight to should use. It’s going to be different for everyone. What you’re looking for is something that you can get through 2-3 repeats, or sets, with but it needs to be challenging enough to the third set is pretty darn hard to finish.

Cardio is an important factor as well. If you’ve seen any of the movies Black Window’s been in, you know how much she runs or how she’s never out of breath after taking down a room full of men. Incorporating cardio into your strength training kills two birds with one stone.

I do advise anyone whose just beginning this to make sure through their doctor that they’re able to workout. While exercise is very beneficial and important for your body, if you’re not in the right condition you could end up worse for wear.