Tuesday, May 25, 2010

That Sports Girl Gettin' Fit: Reebok EasyTone Review

I am asked about my Reebok EasyTone shoes at least once a day.  From "what's up with those shoes?" to "do they really work and do anything for your tush?"

They don't give you a perfectly sculpted booty overnight but they aren't completely ineffective and I do feel they provide a benefit Reebok fails to recognize.

The shoes are rounded on the bottom, using what Reebok calls "balance pods" to create instability and "encourage toning through increased muscle activation in three key areas of the leg: the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and calves."

I've worked out in my EasyTones for two months and have not noticed a substantial toning or enchanced difference in those areas.  The instability created by the shoe isn't enough to cause a "toning effect" in my tush, hamstrings or calves.  I've run, walked, done the elliptical trainer, jumped rope and taken a slew of classes in the shoes.  For me, they do not offer any any additional benefit in that regard, in my opinion.

There are a number of qualities I like about the EasyTones.  I will frequently balance on one foot to do bicep curls or shoulder raises.  Because of the shoe's rounded sole, I have to engage my core in order to stay stable.  This surprised me.  With a flat-bottom shoe, there's just a little bit of core work going on.  With the EasyTones, I am squeezing my stomach muscles to the point of exhaustion. This is much more challenging, in a good way, than in a flat-bottomed shoe.  It's a big difference, enough to keep my in the EasyTones while lifting weights.

I also like the cushioning of the EasyTones.  From kickboxing classes to simply running around town and doing errands, they provide a wonderfully comfortable cushion that I've never before experienced in a shoe.  I've run sprints in them before and while they're not ideal for running, they're really comfortable.

Overall, I'm a fan of the Reebok EasyTones.  They don't give you a super-sculpted booty.  At least they don't give that to me.  I've got to squat, lunge and lift my weight to one of those.  They are remarkably comfortable, though, and can give your core an unexpectedly good workout.

BONUS Shoe Porn:
EasyTones have made even more news recently with their ads, including this one featuring supermodel 41-year old Helena Christensen baring all but her EasyTones.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cowboys Turning 50 & Feeling Fine w/ New "Celebration" Logo.

The traditional "gift" for a 50th anniversary is gold.  Something golden.  Austin Powers infamous Goldmember comes to mind.  Fancy a smoke and pancake?

I digress.

The Cowboys unveiled their 50th anniversary "celebration" logo today.  Your thoughts?


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dirk Opting Out: Take a Chill Pill, Miss Saigon

Dirk Nowitzki can put Dallas in a panic like few men can.

In honor of Sex and the City's 2's Thursday release, I'm taking inspiration from the HBO show's second season for this one.  In the episode, "Old Dogs, New Dicks", one drag queen tells another to "Take a chill pill, Miss Saigon!" and I think that's the message Mavericks fans need to heed. 

Marc Stein had this news mid-afternoon on Saturday.  I was literally walking out the door to go the HP Byron Nelson Championship when the Steiny posted the article on ESPNDallas.com.  My brother, Lance, called and texted in a panic.  My phone started exploding. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cabo San Lucas Resort Reviews

From the blue topaz-like water to the sweet, blue agave scent that seems to waft through the air, Los Cabos is one of my go-to quick getaways.

Long a favorite of Los Angeles celebrities and professional athletes, it's an easy trip for those of us coming anywhere ranging from Dallas (two hours 17 minutes) to northern California natives (just under three hours).  I arrived this past Saturday for a three-day jaunt and barely missed every Mavs fan Denver Nugget nemesis.  Our driver had just taken Chris Anderson to the airport.  (FULL DISCLOSURE: I was joking when I tweeted I saw him and his tattoos in a Speedo). 

Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Jennifer Aniston, Harrison Ford had all made recent visits to Palmilla, an area that overlooks the Sea of Cortes in a corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.  It's also my home base.  It's kind of funny watching people in hotels and restaurants try to nonchalantly check out who's who.  Everyone seems to be on the celebrity hunt but no one wants to look like they're a paparazzo-in-training.

This was my second trip to the Los Cabos area on the Baja California Sur.  I am lucky enough to stay in a friend's house in Palmilla, just a stone's throw from the famous One & Only Palmilla hotel.  There are few things I love more than a good hotel and my mission was to scope out the area's top three.

Esperanza grounds
Esperanza Resort
Travel + Leisure magazine recently rated ranked the Esperanza Resort as the country's number one resort for service.  Staff members already had "#1" carved on their wooden name badges.  We stopped by there Sunday afternoon to survey out the scene.

Esperanza awards
The resort itself reminded me of a beachy Generiott.  While the property was lovely and featured thatched palapas, authentic wood fencing and beautiful landscaping, it wasn't as unique as the others we sampled.  It could have been any beach resort in just about any ocean front location.

Esperanza pool view
We ordered margaritas and ceviche.  That's where the Generiott vibe ended.  The Esperanza margarita was absolutely the best I've ever had.  Trust me - I'm an expert.  It came in a short glass with a huge fresh lime wedge and salted rim.  I hate cough syrupy sweet margaritas.  This was the perfect blend of tangy lime juice with that hint of sweet.  The ingredients were simply fresh-squeezed lime juice, tequila, a splash of Cointreau and simple syrup.  It was a winner on all fronts.

Esperanza margarita
The ceviche service was huge.  It featured six servings of four types of fish: ahi tuna, shrimp, scallops and whitefish.  The shrimp was by far the best.  Again, more fresh lime, avocado and cilantro.  Just delicious.  The scallop ceviche was unique.  It featured some sort of pineapple cream sauce that, while nicely flavored, didn't do anything for me.  I am not a fan of creamy fish anything.

Esperanza ceviche
Esperanza feels very resort-y.  It's the kind of place that attracts guests who were Cancun spring breakers in a former life.  The food and cocktails were wonderful but the setting itself wasn't mind blowing.

Las Ventanas al Paraiso
Next up was Las Ventanas al Paraiso (translated "windows to paradise"), managed by Dallas' Rosewood Hotels and owned by California billionaire Ty Warner.  He also owns the Four Seasons Biltmore and Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club in Montecito (two of my favorite places in the world).
Beach view of Las Ventanas al Paraiso
The property had that elegant Ty Warner/Rosewood feel: unique design elements that are incredibly authentic to the locale.  There wasn't the lush greenery the other properties had.  Sand gardens with agave, Spanish dagger and cactus plants dotted the property. The buildings were white stucco, giving the resort an "Acapulco in the 70's heyday" vibe.

Las Ventanas al Paraiso suite
We ordered margaritas and walked the property.  They were fine.  Garden variety cocktails that I could make at home.  Not as fresh as Esperanza's.

What sets Las Ventanas apart (and many Rosewood properties, for that matter) is the service.  We were genuinely welcomed and greeted at every turn.  I continued to practice my bad Spanish but every hotel employee was gracious, patient and helpful while encouraging me to continue in Spanish.

Las Ventanas al Paraiso bar
Las Ventanas is chic, elegant and understated.  I could see a Greek shipping heiresses spending summers here to get away from the chaos at home.

One & Only Palmilla
Finally we hit the big daddy: the One & One Palmilla.  Whenever you see photos of celebs in "vacationing in Cabo" it's usually at the One & Only.  There is a reason: it's exclusive and stunning.  It's located on the southernmost point of the Baja Peninsula, almost carved out of the rocks.  The views are incredible and the sound of the waves crashing into the rocks is intoxicating.

One & Only Palmilla balcony

The property itself is gorgeous.  Balconies and patios are constructed of native stone.  There is an almost jungle-like lushness that engulfs you as you walk the grounds.  

We had cocktails at the One & Only during our last trip there so we decided go for breakfast.   We ate on the patio overlooking the water.  First up was a mango-lime smoothie that was remarkably fresh.  I ordered the granola, berry and yogurt parfait while the boyfriend had coconut pancakes.  The berries, again, were picked-off-the-vine fresh.  While both dishes were good, they weren't over-the-top amazing.  The coffee, however, was some of the best and most flavorful I'd ever had.

View to the Sea of Cortez
Again, it's the service at the One & Only that sets it apart.  I casually mentioned to my boyfriend the sun was hitting and two seconds later a server moved the umbrella to shield me from the rays.   The servers were also thrilled that I tried to order in Spanish.  They were gracious when I asked them a ton of vocabulary questions and seemed genuinely interested in helping me.

Everything about the One & Only is expensive.  Breakfast totaled around $80.  My December dinner there was roughly the price of a new pair of Manolo Blahniks.

Speaking, of shoe porn, their boutique is one of the higher-priced stores I've ever browsed.  It's stocked with Stella McArtney, Pucci and Lanvin.  A pair of men's loafers I'd seen in the U.S. for around $200 was $740 here.
One & Only grounds
The One & Only Palmilla has a "lunch at the Ivy" feel.  It's a Mexican version of Los Angeles.  When I was there for dinner and drinks in December, I felt there were agents cutting deals at the table next to me.  At breakfast, a teen star was showing me how fabulous his iPad was while getting ready to do yoga.  It's all about looking a part and acting it.  Unfortunately for me, I like to slum it, wear no makeup and get away from the scene when I'm out of town.

All three hotels had special qualities and aspects I enjoyed.  It's hard to pick a favorite considering I didn't see the rooms.  For margaritas - I would order from Esperanza all day.  For basic beauty and beach zen, it's all about Las Ventanas al Paraiso.  For scene, nothing compares to the One & Only Palmilla.

View from our home's patio
I still prefer staying in a house in Los Cabos.   It's truly a way to get away, have some seclusion and feel refreshed even if the trip is only for a short period of time.

Friday, May 14, 2010

That Sports Girl Booty Kick: Full Throttle Fat Loss

From sprints and hills to squats and flutter kicks, high intensity interval training is guaranteed to make you work as hard as you can but shed some serious fat in the process.

“This is, like, the hardest workout of my life,” Victoria Snee of Mix 102.9 FM told me after taking a class at Tread Fitness in Dallas.

High intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, is a method of working out that uses short bursts of aerobic activity paired with a short recovery period. It’s so effective at increasing the body’s endurance as well as burning calories and fat that it produces rapid, dramatic changes to your shape and fitness level.

Tony Hauser has dropped ten pounds in just seven classes.

“That’s one of the most amazing things is that it’s so quick,” Hauser told me.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jordan Spieth: Wise Beyond His Years

I recently did a story on 16-year old Jesuit junior Jordan Spieth.  You may know him.  He's the top-ranked junior golfer in the world, won the U.S. Junior Amateur title at Trump National last year and received an invitation to play the 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship.  He's just the fourth amateur to whom the tournament has granted an exemption joining Trip Kuehne, Justin Leonard and,yes, Tiger Woods.

Ok, so we get it.  He's good.  But he's also smart.

I felt like I was talking to a seasoned pro when I interviewed him.  He has more poise than most professional athletes I encounter twice his age.
"I'm gearing up to take my game to the next level and then hopefully after that, the top pro.  There's a lot of work that needs to be done and I'm on the right path.  That's really what it is - a path."
Really?  When I was 16, I was worried about how I could get a fake ID.  I guess that's why he's on the track he's on and, well, I am where I am.
I asked him about that in a more appropriate way.  Most 16-year olds I know are all about Facebook, the Nintendo WII and the like.
"I do all that stuff, too.  I just happen to have my mind on my dreams and my dreams are to become the best player in the world.  You gotta have that ahead of everything else."
Then he added, realizing he might have sounded a little too Tiger-like:

"You gotta be a normal kid."  he said, again channeling that 32-year old.  "You can't just be a machine but you gotta know where your main goals are and how to get there."

Spieth has his little brother to thank for his introduction to the game.  His parents bought him a plastic, Fisher-Price golf set when he was about two years old to occupy his time while they were consumed with a newborn baby. 

"They (his parents) said go out in the yard and see how it works out for you."

Looks like it worked out pretty well.  Spieth is committed to play golf at the University of Texas.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Neftali Prays to Higher Power

That would be Rangers power hitter Vlad Guerrero.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus gamely served as my interpreter while I chatted with Felix about his seventh save in eight tries.  Feliz struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth inning to secure the Rangers 13-12 win over Kansas City on Thursday. 

I asked the just-turned-22-year old what goes through his head when he's out there.  He said he tries to simplify everything and just get outs.  Generic enough.

Then he made me smile when he mentioned he was praying that either Guerrero or Josh Hamilton would get a hit.  By now you know they did more than that in the top of the ninth.  They hit back to back home runs, Hamilton to tie the game and Guerrero with the go-ahead.

Guerrero is killing it now, especially in Arlington.  He's currently batting .453 at home, the highest home average in the A.L.  His .407 all-time mark in Arlington is the highest among any player, at any park.

Btw, I am so disappointed in my attempts at Spanish.  It's painfully bad.  Open to any and all suggestions.  I do Pimsleur on the Ipod.  Haven't broken down & gotten Rosetta Stone.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

THIS is Your Leader?

This column by Jeff Caplan on ESPNDallas.com got me thinking.  I'm in a bit of sinus medication induced haze right now, so that might not be such a good idea but I couldn't let this go.  I digress.

Many (notice I don't say all - many) Mavericks players say on-camera or to a reporter that Jason Kidd is this team's leader.  As that leader isn't he held accountable to the team in some form or fashion?  Isn't he the one to look to when adversity or first round failures happen?

Kidd did not participate in the Mavericks final exit interviews last Friday after their Game 6, season-ending loss to the Spurs.  Head coach Rick Carlisle had no issue with it.  "He went back to Phoenix to get away from it and do some personal things," he said.  "I've got no problem with that."

Granted, Kidd wasn't 100% during the series and, according to two excellent Mavericks sources, was dealing with an ear infection this postseason.  But that's not an excuse for bolting so quickly.  If he is that leader in the locker room, he owes it to his team on that last day to be there.  Send that message, whatever it may be, but at least make a statement!  In my biased opinion, he also has an obligation to speak to the media on that final day.  Yeah, sure, we're a beating but part of the high-paying pro-athlete gig is dealing with us fools.  Dirk Nowitzki did.  Carlisle did.  Caron Butler did.  Kidd - MIA.

Great leaders do not walk away from circumstances that don't suit them as Kidd did last Friday.  They meet them, face them, learn from them and move on. 

I am not so sure, though, that Kidd truly is the Mavericks unquestionable leader, as we've heard a few times before.  After one particular loss to San Antonio, I got into a conversation about leadership.  The message was communicated to me that the Dallas locker room lacks a real sense of leadership.  Why is that not surprising?

That's something that's plagued this team for years and, once again, when looking for a man to serve as a leader for this team - there's not one to be found.
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