Want to Increase Your Willpower?

One of the most simplest yet most effective core exercise requires more willpower than it does strength (although that certainly helps, too). What am I talking about? The Plankof course! When I train clients, I experience more people dropping out due to sheer loss of willpower rather than muscle fatigue. Because it’s hard to fatigue your core. Although some people do go until their muscles fail, which is something I absolutely admire. You can tell when this happens–the entire body will start to shake and they will fall on their face. Admirable. But go ahead, try a plank real quick, go as long as you can. Notice how you kind of get bored and your willpower muscle starts to fail? Let’s change that.

Planking--keep it tight!

So I challenge you to try to do a plank every day for the rest of the year. Train your willpower (and your core), bat down your boredom and focus on strength and discipline. I believe and I know through experience that practicing the plank over and over is the true way to increasing your willpower enough to actually plank until muscle fatigue. Who’s with me?! Plank every day to stay hungry and fit!

  • Question of the day: Which exercise do you find you stop doing out of boredom/lack of willpower rather than muscle fatigue?

BONUS…SNAKE PIC

Dovah being silly

Dovah being silly

Motivation Monday: Just Keep Swimming!

It’s Monday. Yes, I hear the moans and groans. But it is the start to a new week of goals and achievements! Time to get back on track with our fitness and willpower, more importantly. There are often times where the couch beckons you much louder than the squat rack or the treadmill in the gym. This happens to me as well. Resist the evil couch! Pick yourself up, no matter how unmotivated you are and just go. That’s the theme for this week: just keep going, just keep swimming. Because you will always be happy you went. One never regrets a workout unless there is an injury involved.

If you have a headache or feeling tired, go workout! I find that when these symptoms occur, a bout of exercise is the best thing to cure it! Keep the mantra in your head… just keep swimming. Here are some inspirations that I have been using lately:

  • The Lions vs Eagles game: it was literally blizzarding and they fought through, played through. They had to wade through half a foot of snow but they kept playing. Their skin was probably burning from the cold and they could barely see, but they went on.

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  • It’s about to get nerdy up in here, but the quest in the HobbitDwarves and Hobbits have damn short legs and they were able to get through all that terrain, climb all those mountains with bands of orcs behind them. Think about going to the gym as a quest. You must make it no matter what stands in your way–laziness or sleepiness! Fight on!!

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  • Lastly, look to those around you for strength and motivation. I have a client who is in her later 20s, has a 6-year-old daughter, is a full-time nurse, going to school for her Master’s, oh and training for a half-marathon. She is in the gym every chance she can get. She gives me inspiration to get my butt up when I’m simply feeling lazy because that girl has her priorities straight and she is damn fit.

Never give up, never surrender! Fight past any laziness, sleepiness, or grumpiness and make your way into your workout, whatever it is. Fight hard and stay hungry and fit!

Cinema Sunday: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review

And so comes the second out of the three movies for The Hobbit movie trilogy. We were originally going to see the midnight release like we did last time, but we ended up having a work holiday party, so that was that. However, we went at an 8:30am showing yesterday at AMC Flatirons which has the comfy seats that turn into recliners. Awesome. PS-we are huge Tolkien fans so we have been looking forward to this for a while. We just love the world of Middle Earth. I was a bit anxious how this one was going to play out, as the Hobbit as a book isn’t long, so obviously Peter Jackson was going to have some license with the story. Turns out we enjoyed all 2 hours and 41 minutes of this outrageously fun, exciting, and witty movie. And I hope my mum and dad want to see it when we come home for Christmas because I’d love to see it again.

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Let’s start off by saying that Peter Jackson has an awesome cameo within the first 3 seconds of the film. Gotta love those. Let me add that we did not see this movie in 3D. Why? Because last time we did, it was a very uncomfortable experience. The faster frame rate and the Dolby sound gave us a headache. And it’s not necessary for the Hobbit, because it wasn’t filmed in 3D. The theatre we were in definitely had a good number of fans: gasps, laughs, and squeals of delight could be heard a number of times.

In our opinion, this movie is much more complex than the first. There are parts that are certainly heavier and parts that are lighter than the first. There is more tension due to the fact that our courageous Dwarven-led party has a deadline to reach their destination. Thus, everything is weighted because their whole quest relies on getting to the Lonely Mountain at this one point. That is always in the back of your mind as you watch them struggle their way there. It also seems that the Dwarves and company run into many more problems than before (though in the Hobbit they had their fair share of obstacles). A very large part of this movie was introducing the darkness (aka Sauron) coming back into power. This is obviously because the Lord of the Rings was already created and they want to do a big tie-in to that. For example, Gandalf is rarely with the party in this movie because he is so preoccupied with this up and coming darkness and war. Another dark element of this movie is the Ring’s influence on Bilbo. It is easy to see that he is becoming more and more affected by the Ring and its power, and it is obvious that Sauron has awoken.

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Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh definitely decided to create some fan fiction in the Hobbit, which we don’t mind. They simply delved into the characters and stories between them in the Hobbit that were more briefly introduced by Tolkien. There was the introduction of the elves which included an old favorite, Legolas, as well as Tauriel, and Thranduil. Tauriel, the “she-Elf,” is played by Evangeline Lily, known to “Lost” fans as “Kate.” They were a great addition, serving us with some kick-butt action, typical of Legolas as we know from the Lord of the Rings. Tauriel also performed amazing stunts and moves to get rid of some Orc filth. There is a light romance triangle between Legolas, Tauriel, and one of the dwarves which brings some weight to the Elves’ purpose in this whole thing. Thranduil was absolutely epic, acting was absolutely spot on.

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The introduction of the Men on Lake-town also added an interesting element. No longer are the Dwarves the only ones to suffer from Smaug, the Men on the Lake-town just near the Lonely Mountain have much to lose as well. This adds conflict for the Dwarves to actually make it to their destination as the lead Man, Bard (played by Luke Evans), wants to prevent their town from erupting into flames from the sleeping Smaug. Stephen Fry also makes a delightful appearance as the town’s corrupt mayor.

The action in this movie tops that of the last movie, at least for me. It is rip-roaring fun as in the scene of the barrels in the river or nail-biting in the fighting with “Oh Smaug the Stupendous” (as Bilbo says). Brilliant choreography, great witty lines in between, and Jackson kept up with the rivalry between Elves and Dwarves, which makes all fight scenes that much greater. Gandalf, too, gets his own action scenes which he shows the extent of his powers…pretty wicked.

smaug3

The acting is flawless in this second installment, for as far as I can see. Emotions are heavier as the quest nears its destination and the characters demand more from their actors in-depth of emotion, feeling, and consequence. The stars for me this time were the Dwarves, especially Balin (played by Ken Stott). They’ve come so far, have lost so much, and have so much more to lose. Balin really shined through for me. Ian McKellen rocks it as always, but no surprise there. Thranduil also killed it as the Elven King, concerned only for his own land. And how can we forget Benedict Cumberbatch, the seductive, destructive voice of Smaug. He gets underneath your skin with his creepy, all-powerful voice. It really is something else.

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Yes, it is a long review, but this movie is worthy of spending some time over. But if you want a summary: the second installment of the Hobbit plays with more complex themes, hilariously fun action scenes, develops relationships between all races, and sets the audience up for the third and final film where this quest will come to an end. The ending credits song is by Ed Sheeran and it is absolutely wonderful. A perfect guitar tribute to the Dwarves, watch it now (we have it on repeat) Hungry and Fit gives this film two thumbs up and is eagerly wanting to see it again ASAP. As always…stay hungry and fit!

How to Survive a Holiday Party

Tis the season of holiday parties full of cookies, brownies, fried foods, and tons of booze. Yikes. Double yikes if you’re trying to get through the holidays without packing on a tire belly. So I’ve created a rough holiday party survival guide. I need it too as I’m working hard to get ready for New Zealand!

1. Eat before you go. This is one of the best ways to avoid pitfalling from a grumbling tummy into a plate of sugar cookies. Eat something with plenty of protein. This will keep a fuller belly for a longer time. Then you can think clearly about the choices you are about to make at the festive party. Even if you have little time between blow-drying your hair and deciding which shoes to wear, slam back a healthy bowl of cereal at least!

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2. Stick to one glass. An easy easy way to overeat or just overindulge in general is to throw down too much alcohol. When you drink too much, your awareness of hunger and fullness fades and whatever looks good, you are going to eat. I’ve seen this countless times. Also, sticking to one glass helps you make smart decisions even beyond food. You get a taste, but you stay classy!

Found this atop a gym locker...not classy

Found this atop a gym locker…not classy

3. Go for greens. Have you ever snacked on a ton of raw green beans? It actually gives you a sense of fullness. Anyways, at parties, there is usually some type of greenery, even if it does look lonely in the corner. This is the thing you wanna overdo, the thing you wanna go crazy on. Stuff your face with those sliced cucumbers and dunk it in hummus too!

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4. Moderation. There are going to be treats that, even if you ate before you left and only had one glass of wine, you are going to want to try. That friend who has a wicked baking thumb? Yeah you want to try her decadent cookies. One of the most important things with eating–and life–is moderation. Have a bite of that cookie, taste a little bit of that cheesy dish. Just play it smart, don’t overdo.

So when you want to eat the whole cookie pan...just have a little

So when you want to eat the whole cookie pan…just have a little

5. Use smaller plates. This happened to me recently at a holiday party. There were only small plates. At first it was frustrating, but then I realized it kept my ravenous stomach at bay. Like I suggest at any big family gathering, stick to the small plates. Fill it up with greens and some of the other stuff and sit down and eat it. If you really want to wait in line and get more food, sure. But this way, there’s not a huge plate of food eyeing you, waiting for you to finish it even though you’re full.

6. Be a butterfly! Social butterfly, I mean. Who has time to gobble up fudge when you’re engrossed in wonderful conversation? Go around, talk to different people, catch up! Honestly, when you’re busy talking, you’re not going to think of food. Try it.

^.^

^.^

Those are just a few ways to survive those deadly holiday parties. Meditate on moderation before you go! Serve yourself a delicious dinner so those jugs of eggnog don’t tempt you. Stay strong, remember your goals, and remember that this is just one night. And even if you botch it, it’s not the end of the world. Use this steps to stay hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

Nymeria's favorite hangout spot

Nymeria’s favorite hangout spot

Give To Charity Just By Staying In Shape

Staying in shape is something that you do for yourself, but wouldn’t it be great if it could help others as well? Well, the good news is that it can. There are lots of different ways that you can give to charity just by exercising – and it won’t cost you a cent. It’s amazing how much more motivated you feel when you know that all that sweat is going to a good cause.

Image source: http://ak6.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/2289761/preview/stock-footage-young-woman-jogging-in-the-forest-slow-motion.jpg

One incredible place to check out is the Plus 3 Network. This organization has donated over $1 million to charity so far, thanks to fitness buffs who log their exercise on their site. Simply sign up online – which is free – and then record the exercise you do. This can be anything from running and cycling through to weight training and even yoga. Everything you log gets rewarded with kudos and a donation on your behalf to a charity of your choice. Don’t expect to see hundreds of dollars donated every time you take a walk around the block, but over time it all adds up. The site has corporate sponsors that support it – which is why they are able to make the donations, but all you have to worry about is that you are making a difference. In fact, if you can track your exercise using a device such as a Garmin or iPhone, the site will double the donation.

Did you ever think how much you spend on fitness every year? There is the gym membership and all the healthy food you eat, as well as clothing and supplements. Why not pay for all of these on a credit card that makes donations to charity on your behalf? There are lots of charity credit cards out there, and you can also donate your cashback to charity automatically if you have a Discover Card. In fact, Discover makes an additional donation each year to the charity that receives the most donations from its card members– so your favorite charity could benefit twice. While you’re at it, remember to spend your health and fitness dollars at merchants who give to charity – for instance, Stanton Optical helps the Sparrows Nest.

Image source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_AvCOzxKSFT0/TM2dDA3-iWI/AAAAAAAAHz4/lyuFsXNf2Lo/s1600/Chicago+Marathon+Chinatown.JPG

Finally, there is the big one – getting sponsored for staying fit. Obviously, the best known way of doing this is running in an event such as the New York Marathon – 47,000 people did that last year. However, there is no reason that you shouldn’t participate in local charity sporting events – and if there are no events, why not think about getting together with some people in your community to start one? Obviously, you’ll want to let your friends and family know that you’re participating so that they will sponsor you – and don’t forget your colleagues at work. To make it easy for people to donate, register with a site such as Crowdrise, which specializes in running online charity fundraising campaigns – once you have successfully completed the event, your sponsors can make their donations directly on the site. These are seriously great ways to stay hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

Nymeria was NOT pleased to be put in a leopard-print santa hat

Nymeria was NOT pleased to be put in a leopard-print santa hat

Techie Tuesday: the Waze App Review

Although we love our gadgets and gizmos, we don’t often write a post about them or review them. However, there are some that are exceptions to this and one of them is WazeI had downloaded this app about a year ago, but only recently started using it after my brother’s trip here. Waze is a travel/map app and it is incredibly useful and fun. 

We all have been through the frustration of Google Maps. Perhaps it led us in the wrong direction or forgot to tell us a turn. Hey, I’m a big supporter of Google Maps–more than most folk anyhow–but I’ve got to be honest, Waze has it beat. Let’s start with a little description so I can show you why it’s better than Google Maps. So you start Waze as a noob, an amateur with an avatar that has a pacifier. This is motivation to use the app more and more to gain points and discard that rookie-telling pacifier. For the avatar portion, once you get enough points, you can choose what “mood” you’re in which is basically your avatar. I’m pretty sure mine was “sleepy” yesterday (no surprise for a Monday, huh?). And there are leaders in each area in terms of points, so there’s always motivation to use it!

Thaaat's meeee

Thaaat’s meeee

So how do you get points? It’s pretty easy. You gain points simply by having the app on and driving. You can also gain additional points by reporting different things, which is getting to why Waze is so great. You have the ability to report hazards like stopped cars, accidents, weather, traffic, and even hidden police officers. Everybody works together in a community-like setting. As you are driving along and Waze is open on your phone or tablet, you can see all the hazards or traffic coming up on your route. This is really nice not only to be able to avoid it, but for safety reasons to. You can even see the other “Wazers” on the road which makes it feel even more like a community. I love that part. All working together to help one another.

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This app is also excellent at setting routes. First of all, you can input your “Home” and “Work” addresses so it’s easy to plug in. When you type in whatever address you are trying to get to, it will give you several routes, their mileage, length of route concerning time, and ETA. And for each route, it shows you all the “reports” aka the hazards, traffic, accidents, and so forth. In addition, along the route, if traffic is slowing down, it will show you the average speed at which traffic is flowing. Pretty neat.

Vroom vroom, night mode

Vroom vroom, night mode

To sum, this app has Google Maps beat with its sense of community and foresight with traffic and planning routes. Hungry and Fit gives Waze a big thumbs up. Use this smart traffic app to stay hungry and fit! 

  • Question of the Day: What travel app do you use?

BONUS KITTY PIC

 

Precious is all I can say

Precious is all I can say

Sugar Cookie Chex Party Mix Recipe

This weekend, Chris and I attended our first blogging event. Chex had researched the blogs in the Colorado area and we popped up on their list! We drove down to the Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree (which is BEAUTIFUL) and attended the event for about an hour. The bloggers were all female and a slightly older demographic. Everybody was super friendly and it was great to meet other bloggers, especially some of who I follow daily like Dinners, Dishes and Desserts. We spent half the time trying out the easy peasy Chex holiday recipes and then the other half bundling up the goodies in little gift boxes and bags. All the recipes we learned were easy and delicious–perfect for procrastinators like me for gift-giving. And then Chex sent all of us home with goodie bags that we very much appreciated. Thank you, Chex! It was hard picking one recipe out of the many we tried, but I’m going with the Sugar Cookie Chex mix. Now onto the yummy stuff…

Their setup

Their setup

Ingredients

  • 6 cups Rice Chex cereal
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • SPRINKLES!!
Ingredients all ready for us! Very nice

Ingredients all ready for us! Very nice

Directions

  • Put the cereal in a large bowl that can be microwaved
  • Line a baking sheet with some wax paper or foil for when you are finished
  • Get your butter melted, whether through the oven, microwave or other means
  • Mix the regular sugar and corn syrup into the butter, then microwave to loosen everything up
  • Stir in the vanilla. 
  • Pour the mixture over the warmed up cereal and stir it so it is mixed properly. Also add in the white chocolate chips at this time
  • Microwave for 2 minutes
  • Sprinkle with the powdered sugar and really spread the sugar around
  • Now let’s lay the delicious cereal mixture onto that lined baking sheet. Sprinkle those sprinkles on top and have fun with it!
Amazingly delicious and simple

Amazingly delicious and simple

And that’s it. You can absolutely make this in under 15 minutes, no problem. If you prefer the oven, go for that! Next time when I do it on my own, I will probably substitute the corn syrup for some sugar and water. This dish is really delicious and it’s perfect for the holidays and school parties. Take advantage of it! And as always…stay hungry and fit!

  • Question of the Day: What is your favorite holiday treat?

BONUS KITTY PIC

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Nymeria and I watching kitty videos

Staying Fit Over the Holidays

As some of you know, we are traveling to New Zealand at the end of December. Which also means it is going to be summer. Which means we can’t cover up our bodies with massive amounts of clothing like we are currently doing in Colorado (was -5 degrees F when I woke up this morning). Which then means that we want to look even better by the end of the month! Health and fitness are always top priorities for us, but throughout the rest of this month, I may not have pizza or creme brulee more than twice a week ;). Here’s my plan.

Actual picture I took of New Zealand last time round

Actual picture I took of New Zealand last time round

No thanks!

No thanks!

Usually, I go with whatever “workout split” I want. A workout split is basically how you are splitting your training of each muscle group. Usually I don’t structure mine and kind of do what I feel like or match it up with Chris. However, I decided for the month of December to create my own and follow it to the best of my ability. Here’s what it looks like:

photo 1As you can see, Core and Legs come up twice throughout my split. It’s a tough call but probably my favorite muscle group to develop (maybe tied with shoulders…and even back) is the legs group. Seeing my squatting weight go up and up is an inspiration for myself. Feeling the strength in my legs and the shape of my body change is exciting. Which is why legs are repeated. And core…sometimes I ignore it, so it’s best to focus doubly on it if I’m going to spend a good amount of time in a bikini. I plan to do strength workouts at least five times per week.

Armz

Armz

Human flaggin'

Human flaggin’

Now let’s move to the topic of cardio. My general goal is to do two forms of cardio per day of my workouts. This is most likely going to be running (always trying to improve something I’m weak at) and elliptical (a form of cardio I can always do due to non-impact and ease). For running, I want at least 20 minutes and elliptical for 30 minutes. I know sometimes I’m not going to get both, but I’m going to do my best. Along with strength training, I aim to do these at least five times a week. 

The awesome Stocking Run with Chris, Kai, and Sophie (will blog about later)

The awesome Stocking Run with Chris, Kai, and Sophie (will blog about later)

Some pump up tunes

Some pump up tunes

And now let’s talk about rest days. I’m allowing myself two rest days per week. That doesn’t mean I will always take them, but if they come up, I’ll use them if I need it. Rest days could include yoga, walking, hiking, or….nothing! Many people push a little too far and forget their rest days which leads to overtraining and in the long run hurts your goals! Rest when your body tells you to! Listen to it!

More workout pics

More workout pics

Armz

Armz

Now we turn to (dun dun dunnn) EATING. I love to eat! Love it love it love it. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that. However, if I want my muscles to really shine through, it’s time to throw a little discipline into the eating routine. I’m going to do a good amount of clean eating (but nowhere near the extreme version during my contest prep), with two full cheat meals a week. This means splurging on a 3-course meal including desserts or pizza, etc. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to have a square of dark chocolate when I feel like it, but I’m going to focus my efforts away from sugars and towards proteins (to make this body happy!).

A recent lunch

A recent lunch

And that’s my December health plan. If I follow this, the clean eating, strength training, and cardio should whip my butt into shape just in time for a New Zealand summer! Create a health plan to stay hungry and fit!

  • Question of the day: How are you going to stay fit and healthy this December?

BONUS KITTY PIC

zZZZ

zZZZ

Make a Move with an IBM Certification

The last thing you should do is stand around and wait for your career to move on its own. Individuals new to the IT career often succumb to waiting because of their lack of experience and specified knowledge. Because the field is intensifying, specializations and expertise are becoming more necessary than before, and even a college degree cannot earn the most basic of IT and/or networking positions. This can lead to disappointment and feelings of hopelessness, but hope should not be lost. Thankfully, IBM is available with affordable, beneficial career options.

Companies view IBM certifications as top-of-the-line skill verification. Because of their challenging nature, practicality, and specified career subject knowledge, participants who take and pass an exam are immediately thrown into a technical field. Employers are keen on individuals who can perform multiple job roles, and several jobs within a company can open up to you with just one certification. Becoming a specialist within a field such as Cloud Computing, Connectivity, Information Management, or Design/Development can give your career the structure it was previously lacking. Earning certifications in numerous technologies (like Tivoli, Rational, or Lotus) can make you versatile in the skills you can perform and knowledge you can expend.

Although these exams are not free to take and require valuable time out of your schedule, they are completely worth it. Investing in training materials such as ExamTrace.com will pay off in multiple ways. Gaining and certifying an abundance of skills does not have to be a challenge with IBM. Turning it into a valuable learning experience is necessary for a successful career. Study for your dream career to stay hungry and fit! 

Healthy Banana Nut Muffins

These muffins are one of the best guilt-free, low-calorie, satisfying snacks for your everyday needs. Also, our bananas were nearly black. And that’s when you know it’s time for one of the many banana recipes. And being right after Thanksgiving, this was an easy choice. I added pecans for a little extra protein and healthy fat. Also, they were leftover from our sweet potato casserole. You gotta use what you got! This recipe is ridiculously easy, in fact I made two batches. And it’s uber healthy with plenty of fiber since it uses whole-wheat flour. Only takes about 15 minutes to cook and less to prepare.

Look how black these are

Look how black these are

photo 2 (16)

 

 

  • Prep Time10-15 minutes
  • Baking Time: 15-18 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-3 bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup hot water

Directions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease your muffin tin
  • Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, & baking soda) in a small bowl

photo 2 (18)

  • In another bowl, pour the honey and oil in and whisk it up until it’s totally mixed together
  • Now crack those eggs and mix it up with the honey and oil

photo 4 (14)

  • Next, we want to mash those black bananas into a nice gooey mess. I like a few chunks of banana because that’s always fun to bite into when it’s cooked. Spoon in the bananas and stir into the wet mixture.
mashmashmash

mashmashmash

  • Okay! Now it’s time to marry the dry and wet ingredients. Slowly stir in the dry mixture into the wet, alternating with the hot water. Do this until both the flour mixture and hot water are gone.
delicious batter

delicious batter

  • Now it’s time to chop up those pecans into quarters and stir them into our beautiful mix.
Chop chop!

Chop chop!

  • Almost there! Now we want to spoon the mixture into each spot in your muffin tin, and try to make them all equal if you can.

 photo 3 (11)

  • Put into the oven for around 15-18 minutes. Stick a fork or toothpick in the middle to see if they’re done. If there’s tons of batter on the toothpick, leave it for a few minutes.
  • Let cool for a few minutes and then slowly scrape them out!
Oh, the glory!

Oh, the glory!

This recipe came out beautifully. The muffins were moist, not too sweet, and full of whole-wheat goodness. They are perfect for Chris when he has to eat breakfast on the run and perfect for me to shove in my face between clients. Don’t miss out on this easy, healthy recipe! Bake these delicious muffins to stay hungry and fit!

photo 1 (20)

  • Question of the Day: What are your favorite quick baking snacks? 

BONUS KITTY PIC

Nymeria and Piper, the dog, got along great!

Nymeria and Piper, the dog, got along great!