The Perfect Formula for Summer Fitness; Part 4, Friends

FRIENDS: As an intern living at home, I have quickly learned that there is nothing more valuable than friends. While nothing beats a wholesome and lighthearted family dinner, a surplus of family time tends to call for some friendship bonding, especially when Monday night dinners include the crazy cat lady from next door. Unlike the Friends cast, I do not have a regular hotspot hangout, like The Central Perk, so, if I want to hang out with my gal pals, like Rachel Greene and Phoebe Buffay, I must arrange plans.

Typical plans involve preliminary searches of Yelp.com’s latest restaurant ratings or how many thumbs up Ebert and Roeper gave Owen Wilson’s recent comedy. Very rarely do my activity suggestions include sports, unless of course  it involves cheering at a Brave’s Game or jumping in the pool for a quick swim, after a day of tanning.

However, there is a great way to get involved in sports and still fulfill my summer plans of soaking up the sun with friends by my side. By joining a local sports league, I have the ability to get a great exercise outdoors and still find out all the latest makeups and breakups in my gal pal group. As an added bonus, I have the opportunity to make more friends through a sports league, so that the next time my dad does something embarrassing at a family function; I have a larger group to text blast.

No matter one’s age or physical acumen, sports can certainly make your life healthier and happier. Aside from health benefits, sports can also improve talents in the work place. By polishing one’s hand-eye coordination, teamwork and sportsmanship, sports can produce valuable skills that can be enforced and implemented into daily tasks at the office. Not to mention, sports easily reduces stress to clear one’s mind. And of course, as always, sports are an excellent exercise. They are good for your heart, muscles and even your breathing!

These leagues are just as easy to find as movie show times! Using a multitude of sports league websites, interested individuals can seek out these opportunities and get involved! So, next time that crazy cat lady neighbor of yours comes over for a Monday night dinner, you can easily say, “While I’d love to stay and talk about fur balls and pet food, I have to meet up with some friends for a recreational kickball game!”

Summer Kisses,
The Brand Management Intern, Ariel

The Pefect Forumla for Summer Fitness: Part 3, Free

FREE: The work day has ended and is time to get in my car and let loose belting out show tunes and oldies, as “The Perfect Formula for Summer Fitness” recommends. On my drive home, I may want to make a few stops. Everything from the dry cleaners to the grocery store may be on my list, but one thing that definitely has not made the schedule is working out.

Many excuses can defend the working out question complex. One may ask, “Hey, do you want to go to this great kickboxing class later or a run on the treadmill?” My mind is yelling, “What are you crazy?” However, this answer is not an appropriate response. Acceptable responses include, but are not limited to; “I broke my leg recently, you just can’t tell, “Sting is in town for one night only” and “I’ve been waiting all week to watch The Bachelor.”

Saying, “I don’t know if it is worth the money” is an unacceptable excuse. Today, gyms offer everything from five day trial passes to two week trial passes. These no strings attached free-trial memberships allow first time users to experience all the gym has to offer for that allotted time period. By offering this coupon, potential members can see if a gym membership would be worth their time and money in the future.

Hypothetically, one could really utilize these free memberships all summer long. Just in Smyrna alone, there are over ten gyms. Imagine all of the free gym days that one could accrue just by stopping in a variety of gyms on their way home.

Now don’t get me wrong, these trial passes are not guaranteed to give you Suzanne Somer’s Flex Belt Abdominals or Dirk Nowitzki’s championship upper biceps, but they will truly get you on the right path to a healthier and more fit lifestyle. And who knows, perhaps you will find a new passion for working out.

Summer Kisses,
The Brand Management Intern, Ariel

Moving back with parents after college

At the end of my high school days, it was time to get out of the house. I had already started to develop some independent habits for myself. It was time to take these habits and form a lifestyle in college. While in college, I was able to learn how to balance my newfound freedom with discipline. However, when it came to moving back into my parent’s house after college, I didn’t know what to expect as far as freedom goes. I am used to having things done my way, all the time. So I was very nervous and anxious to get back to life at home. Overall, it has been a fantastic experience. Here are the three best things and three worst things about living with my parents again:

Best
1. Chores- So now that I am home I am responsible for one thing only: My room. When I was at school, I was responsible for a room, a hallway, a staircase, a living room, dining room, and kitchen. Now, as long as I keep my room clean, my daily chores are done.
2. Money-I get to make my own money working every day, and not spend them on the day to day normal expenses of life. These expenses are paid by my parents and they include food, laundry detergent, fuel (@ RaceTrac of course), and many more. Not to mention rent and utilities.
3. House life- Being back in a house is an awesome. I loved apartment life, but at the end of the day there wasn’t enough room for all the things I wanted to do. Not to mention it’s my parent’s house with the stuff I grew up with in every room (sentimental value is so underrated).

Worst
1. Chores- The best part is also the worst part. With a house five times bigger than my apartment, cleaning is a weekly activity rather than a daily run-through. If I am home on a Saturday, I am guilted into doing yard work, something I haven’t done since high school. Once or twice a week, I am in a kitchen cleaning dishes four people ate on, rather than one. I don’t have to do these things, but if I didn’t, I would be a bad housemate.
2. Food- Beggars can’t be choosers- I get that. But I like food my way. I eat pretty healthy, so when my dad cooks, he says “you can have it two ways, my way or none at all.” And he cooks whatever taste good so sometimes I go without, sometimes I eat unhealthy food. Either way I’m unhappy.
3. TV- Now that I am back home, after dinner we all sit around the living room and watch TV. There are usually four people in the room. If I am living in college, I am watching the Braves every night. But I don’t always get my way living with four people. I would rather sit in the living room with my family watching Dancing with the Stars than alone watching the Braves. A lose-lose situation.

RaceTrac’s College Colors: Florida Edition

This post comes from Lauren in our Marketing Department

When I was 16, I did the obligatory “tour of colleges” with my  parents.   We checked out some “Ivies of the South”, ACC schools, other SEC schools and Florida.   Florida was the last stop on our tour and by the time I got back in the car, I knew that I wanted to be a Florida Gator.

Gainesville and the University of Florida have a great laid back, yet unique charm.  A freshman can find the comforts of home (it’s a chain restaurant mecca) as well as explore some great local places and traditions.   Here are the top five reasons why it’s great to be a Florida Gator.

#5:  Fashion – for once and for all – GATORS DO NOT WEAR JEAN SHORTS!  Just had to get that off my chest.  But there is a laid back fashion sense in Gainesville that doesn’t necessarily include pearls to football games.

#4: World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party – Not sure if we are allowed to call it that anymore, but the annual faceoff between Florida and Georgia is one of the best traditions at UF.   For the last decade, it has definitely been great to be a Florida Gator that weekend….Florida holds an 8-2 advantage.

#3: Weather – How many schools can tan between classes?  Before I was worried about skin cancer and wrinkles, I used to love to lay out at “Broward Beach” and do homework between classes.   You can do this about 9 months out of the year.

#2:  Education – As an adult in the working world, I am very proud of my degree from the University of Florida.   According to US News and World Reports, UF is the 15th best public university in the country.  The average freshman had over a 4.0 GPA in high school!  I am not sure I would even get in if I had to apply now….

#1: Sports Excellence – Many people are aware of the championships and excellence in recent years from the football team and men’s basketball team, sports excellence runs deep at the University of Florida.  2009 marked the Gators’ twenty-sixth consecutive year among the nation’s top ten best overall collegiate athletic programs.  No other Division I athletic program has matched that feat, and Florida has achieved this record while fielding fewer sports teams than many of the other perennial top collegiate athletic programs.   In 2010, the Gators won National Championships in Men’s Indoor Track and Field and Women’s Swimming and Diving.    Go Gators!

Whether we are winning or losing, it’s great to be a Florida Gator.   The last few Saturdays have been tough for Gator fans, but  “In all kinds of weather, we all stick together for F-L-O-R-I-D-A!”

The SEC Championship Recap: A Gator Fan Speaks or, “You Can’t Win Them All”

I have been a Gator since birth and UF was the only permissible option I had for college, so needless to say, this weekend was a difficult one for me.

After riding on MARTA like sardines in a can, we stepped out to bear the arctic Atlanta Saturday.  Following all of the other unprepared-for-winter, non-jort-wearing Floridians into the appropriately named Orange Lot, I could feel the excitement, optimism, and frost bite in the air. Once we settled at our tailgate and prepared for the long day ahead, we caught up with old friends and haggled with local artists selling shirtless Tim Tebow sketches.

As game time quickly approached, the group of us who wisely chose not to take out a second mortgage to buy tickets made our way through the sea of houndstooth to the CNN center, landing in front of three giant flat screens for what promised to be one of the most exciting games in a long time.  I wish I could say the next four hours were a blur, but unfortunately, I remember every gut wrenching minute. Between screaming for Tebow to get rid of the ball and ever-so-kindly teaching the “Alabama fan” behind me how to pronounce their quarterback’s name, there was no question I would be hoarse at work on Monday morning.  Yet my voice and Tebow’s pride weren’t the only thing that suffered that day.  I tried to call my mom to vent about the game, but rest in peace, Mom’s little flip phone, we hardly knew ye.  A 75-mph meeting with the wall took you from us too soon.

Now I guess I understand the saying “you can’t win them all.” I have to remind my spoiled self that I can’t be too disappointed this year because I was fortunate enough to witness four national championships during my college career. And hey, Bourbon Street on New Year’s Eve doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all. As I avoid all of the scrutiny and bad mouthing at work this week, I’m going to get to the drawing board to create a clothing pattern that we Gators can claim as our own. I might even order one of those vials of Tebow’s tears off eBay (I hear that stuff can cure the incurable).

It still is and always will be great to be a Florida Gator!

SEC Championship Recap: Roll Tide!

My first thought when I woke up: Man I hope Tebow cries tonight!

I didn’t realize that this game was set to be played in the arctic.  Facing 30 degree temperatures (with snow!) and 15 mph winds, all I could think about was keeping warm when our tailgate started.  After pitching our tent about four times (thanks to the aforementioned wind), we were finally able to settle in.  Over the far-off roar of Game Day celebrations starting around 10am, we began drinking our breakfast, mingling with jean-short-wearers and houndstooth-sporters alike next to the CNN center.   This continued for a few hours, until Bama was picked to win.

It was at that time that the sun came out, and I knew that we were headed for victory.  The burgers and beverages continued until about 3, and then fans started flowing into the game like lemmings.  Whether you were rooting for the right team or the other team, there was a distinct buzz in the air.  Whether it was the static electricity from Florida Fans’ Jorts swishing as they walked, or raw talent from Tuscaloosa filling the dome, I couldn’t tell you.  But, everyone was so excited to see what promised to be one of the greatest games in recent history.

Every seat in the house quickly filled up with a block of blue and orange taking over half the stadium, and the other (better) half wrapped in a sea of crimson.   Everyone was jumping, yelling, and there was enough electricity from the football faithful that the power in the dome could have gone out for hours but the lights would’ve stayed on.   After kickoff, the contest was less about who could score the most points, but who could be loudest when the opposing team had the ball.  Judging from my inability to speak today, I’d say we won that contest just as handily as we did the game.

Halfway through the quarter, when things were looking up, I didn’t want to make a move.  Glued to my seat, I refused to be the one who jinxed the win by celebrating prematurely.  But that celebration came after the final seconds ticked off the clock and they popped Tebow’s weepy eyes up on the big screen when the stadium, including me, erupted in a roar.  We didn’t let him write that final chapter of his legacy, and it felt good.

My productivity this week has been completely shot as I look for tickets to Pasadena, but I can’t wait to get out there.  I’ve been quietly chanting RammaJamma at my desk and I’m pretty sure the team who sits around me is about to kick me out of the office.  Victory tastes so sweet – first some gator filet, now on to some Grade-A Longhorn steak.

My last thought before I passed out:  I hope ole Timmy is still crying…. WAHAHAHA