Training Tuesdays: strange things women do in the locker room at my gym

There’s something I’ve noticed at my gym, and it’s that the women in the locker room exhibit behaviors I’ve not seen in other gyms I’ve frequented.  Okay, maybe some behaviors I’ve seen before, but certainly not to the extent that I’ve seen in this locker room. Perhaps my gym has made its locker rooms a tad too comfortable. Perhaps it’s just the downtown gym vibe. Regardless, here’s just a smattering of the strangeness I see almost on the daily:

1. Extended phone conversations: The locker room has these squishy square seats near the lockers, which I assume are actually for putting down a purse or bag, or maybe sitting to do your makeup in front of the mirrors. However, some women seem to find them so comfortable that they engage in lengthy phone calls…from the comfort of a locker room, that is teaming with other women trying to change, get ready, blow-dry their hair, and all sorts of other activities that I would find terribly distracting if I were on the phone. And when I say lengthy phone calls, I mean it. I’ve even left for my workout while women are talking on the phone only to return after my workout to find them exactly where I left them. Maybe they’re talking to different people, but that’s still, like, 35-45 minutes of phone conversation in a locker room.

2. Have full blown conversations with each other while naked: Women seem to really enjoy talking to each other in locker rooms, and being naked seems to be no obstacle to conversation. I suppose it’s a good thing to be so confident that you don’t give a f&^k that all your lady bits are hanging out (i.e. maybe I am just too repressed), but many of these women at my current gym are also co-workers. I know this because they are very loudly gossiping with each other about their workplaces. I can say with certainty that I’ve spent most of my career avoiding seeing my coworkers naked, and that includes the coworkers I’ve considered very good friends.

3. Eating…full meals: Eating in a locker room is akin to eating in a bathroom, as far as I’m concerned. Sure, the locker room is clean as far as locker rooms go, but it’s not the most appetizing place to consume a full meal.  Once, I even saw a girl eating her lunch on one of the stools that faces the mirrors with bright lighting meant for applying makeup, just staring into her own empty eyes as she shoveled food from a Tupperware into her mouth. To that I can only say: WTF.

4. Working on their laptops: Okay, I can’t definitively say they were working on their laptops, but they are doing something more than just looking up a quick piece of info. There is a big different between looking something up on your phone and hanging out on your laptop. In fact, that difference is an abyss.  And, much like with the phone conversations, these laptop sessions aren’t always short.  I’ve showered and gotten ready for work and watched women do whatever they’re doing on their laptops the whole time. Surely this can’t be just for the free wifi. Or the comfy stools.

5. Hang out in the lounge area: Yes, I said lounge area. My gym has this back room, one with no lockers, no mirrors, no mechanisms whatsoever for getting ready or showering or do anything remotely related to being at the gym. It is just a room with plush chairs and couches, and a tv. It’s like a posh dorm common room.  Its presence alone is inexplicable. Even more inexplicable is the number of women who appear to legitimately hang out there. Back in the days when I’d spend an hour and a half at the gym, it wasn’t uncommon for me to see the same person in there from the time I arrived until after I was gone. Sometimes, these women gave no visual clues that they’d even worked out. They were often in street clothes, with fully styled hair and makeup and had no gym bag with them.  Are they escaping bad roommates or spouses? Are they really into cable television, because, let’s face it, no one has cable at home anymore? The potential explanations are both limitless and puzzling.

All I know is that I seem to be an anomaly in my locker room. I’m the girl who gets ready as quickly as possible, who faces the locker when she changes, who never says a word to anyone, and who’s not once sat on the plush stools and chairs. Maybe that’s just it. Maybe if I had experienced their delicious comfort firsthand, I would end up spending hours on the phone in the locker room too…

 

 

 

 

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Monday Musings: putting the time in

Today’s post is really just a thought, but one that’s been nagging at me this week as I continue to drag my feet on putting any real time into my career exploration.

I wouldn’t expect to get better at anything without practicing or putting the time into it. I don’t expect my golf game to get better this Winter as I hide from the rain and cold (i.e. binge-watch Netflix) instead of hitting the greens. I don’t expect my running to get better any time soon given that I’m doing no more than running isolated laps in between sets of plyometrics. I don’t expect a book to read itself; I know I have to sit with it and digest page after page of the written word.

I also know full well that career exploration takes time. I was a career counsellor for years and I work in career development. The first thing I tell anyone who asks “what should I be doing?” or “how do I develop in my career?” is that there is no replacement for putting the time into really defining what matters to you, your financial goals, what you’re good at, etc. etc. etc. It is not quick work and it can also be very challenging work, but it’s work that only the person can do for herself.

Still, I seem to be sitting here more days than not expecting an answer to magically fall from the sky of an alternate universe where one doesn’t need to put in the time. It is hurting no one but myself, of course, and yet that is arguably the worst person to hurt. There is no replacement for putting in the time. I’m talking to myself when I say ‘repeat after me: there is no replacement for putting in the time.’

TWIR #81: walks and workouts and Fall leaves

It’s been a good week. I’ve felt like my workouts were on point, and we’ve been walking almost every day after work. I have to tell you, the Fall scenery is spectacular this year. I don’t recall so many changing leaves in Vancouver, but there are golden yellow and flaming red and orange trees everywhere. My Instagram feed is full of this autumnal splendor. Here’s what I got up to this week:

Saturday
Activity: strength + running intervals
Relevant Stats: 60 min. (!!!)
Observations:  It was pouring rain, like the pelting, giant rain drops we get out here on the west coast. I had to begrudgingly let go of my track workout and hit the gym instead. I was reminded of how much running on treadmills suck. I don’t think it’s that the treadmill itself is that bad; it’s that they insist on anchoring mini TVs on every single treadmill. I cannot watch a TV that close to my face, and I hate having my entire field of vision blocked by the TV when it’s turned off. Ugh. But, aside from that, the workout was solid and my longest self-directed workout in some time.

Sunday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: this should tell you everything you need to know: road donuts
Observations: We drove up to our new hometown to check on progress of our house and to meet with the developers on Monday. As such, I spent most of the day in car, with a donut in my hand. We did manage a short stroll through town once we got there, but mostly I just ate bad foods and sat on my ass.

Monday
Activity: semi-planned rest day
Relevant Stats: more car time! and a neighborhood walk
Observations: What goes up, must come down. We drove up on Sunday and down on Monday. We finally made our choices about flooring and cabinets and paint. I gather that women are supposed to be more excited about these things, but can I tell you that I have zero interest in picking colours and tiles and laminates, etc.? I mean, I want the place to look good, but I have no skills in interior design. Ugh. Most notable event of the day: the best poppy seed, cheddar and apple scone (sounds like a weird combo but I assure you it’s not) I’ve ever had.

Tuesday
Activity: personal training session + after work walk
Relevant Stats: 60 min. session + 60 min. walk
Observations: After two weeks off from training sessions (my trainer was off hiking in Peru–lucky!), I was back to 6 am workouts (yuck). I feel like she took it easy on me. I still had to do prowler presses, but I did not have to do any of the following despised exercises: push ups, pulling stuff behind me, negative pull-ups or front squats. She also told me my form and mobility looked good. Excellent.

Wednesday
Activity: spin+ after work walk
Relevant Stats: 40 min. spin + 60 min. walk
Observations: Determined to get back on the spin train, I opted for a different approach to this spin session: return of the epic hill pyramids. I did a 12 minute hill pyramid (6 min. up/6 min. down) and it helped considerably to make the workout feel shorter. I also think I just had good energy. Some workout days are better than others. What’s most important is that I didn’t want to set the spin bike on fire.

Thursday
Activity: strength training + after work walk
Relevant Stats: 45 min. strength + 50 min. walk
Observations:  This was one of my best solo strength sessions in a while. I loaded extra weight onto the prowler and my back squats, and did negative pull ups AND push ups. I normally subject myself only to one or the other since my arms continue to resist multiple forms of torture in one workout.

Friday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 4o min.
Observations: Hallelujah! Two good spin workouts in one week! It’s as though some new music in my playlists has made a world of difference. Or maybe it’s knowing I’ll be able to get outside this weekend and won’t have to suffer the gym. Either way, it was a solid workout.

After a fine week, we’re gearing up for a (rare) Fall weekend of sunshine. That should mean a return to my track workout (yay!), lots of walking (double yay!) and maybe even some late season golf. This, coupled with the release of Stranger Things’ second season, has me practically giddy! Happy weekend.

Mid-Week Tangent: the elusive perfect cake

I’ve been eating a lot of cake lately. I mean, I’ve really eaten a lot of cake. In a four-day period in NYC, I ate three giant slices of cake (and that was on top of cupcakes and cookies) and, since I returned home, I’ve had another two giant slices of cake. Even before I went to New York, I’d been dabbling in cake-ploration, testing out offerings from a bakery near our campsite. It didn’t occur to me until yesterday: I’ve been trying this whole time to find the elusive perfect cake.

I believe I inadvertently started this cake quest way back at my birthday, when we tried one chocolate cake that wasn’t up to my birthday cake standards, which led to locating a second chocolate cake that might better satiate my craving (it didn’t). I think I’ve been looking for the perfect cake ever since and I’ve yet to find it. I’ve come close, but sadly the closest I’ve come are the farthest from me.

What is a perfect cake, you might ask? Well, the problem is that it’s not the same for everyone. Some like light, fluffy cakes. Others like moist, dense cakes. Some like swiss meringue buttercream (blech!). Others like traditional american buttercream. Some, beyond anything I can comprehend, don’t like any frosting at all. I don’t know who these people are, but they are not my friends.  It’s really a matter of personal preference, I know. For the record, though, my perfect cake requires the following quinfecta:

1. Moist but not overly fudgy crumb: It’s a fine line to walk, but I don’t want my cake as dense as a brownie nor light and airy. Spare me your fluffy cakes.

2. Cake that tastes like the flavour it claims it is: I can’t tell you how many chocolate cakes I’ve eaten that bear so little a resemblance to chocolate that if I closed my eyes I couldn’t tell you what type of cake it is. I’ve also eaten my fair share of carrot cakes that are so light on spice that may as well be vanilla cakes with shredded carrots in them. Give me flavour!

3.  American buttercream: I cannot convey to you my hatred for swiss meringue buttercream and italian buttercream, and don’t even get me started on trying to pass off whipped cream as frosting.  Say it with me: whipped cream is not frosting!!!!! I want good, old-fashioned buttercream, made with nothing other than powdered sugar, loads of butter, some vanilla extract and maybe some chocolate or salted caramel or cream cheese for good measure.

4. Firm frosting: I know there are many fluffy frosting enthusiasts out there, those who want their frosting light as a cloud, so airy that you can easily swipe your finger through it to sneak a taste. Not me. I want dense, firm frosting, frosting that, if chilled in the refrigerator, sets to an almost fudge-like consistency. I’m not going to lie, and I’m slightly ashamed to admit, that it’s because I almost always save all of my frosting for the end, and a firm frosting is easier to separate from cake with surgical precision. Don’t judge.

5. Liberal frosting: Likely obvious considering  three of my quinfecta are frosting-related, my perfect cake is liberally coated in frosting. We’re talking a minimum half inch, including in between layers. Just watch my face if I’m served cake whose frosting between layers is so minimal that you can barely discern the cake from frosting. You would only be able to describe me as utterly crestfallen.

Rarely are all five criteria met, but when they are, oh it is a magical day for me. Though I have yet to find this perfect cake in close proximity to me, you can be damn sure that I will keep looking. And when I find it, well, you may not hear from me for a while because I may just spend all my waking, non-working moments shovelling forkfuls into my mouth.*

*If you happen to live in the greater Vancouver area and know of a spectacular bakery whose cakes may offer my cake quinfecta, enlighten me!

Training Tuesdays: walk this way

Anyone else have Aerosmith/Run DMC in their head now? No? Okay, moving on then…

It’s no secret to regular readers that I’ve been off the running train for some time now. I’ve been focused on building strength and trying to find non-running forms of cardio that don’t make me want to slam my head into a wall (if one more person mentions swimming or biking…). The reality is that my true workouts have been a far cry from what they used to be. But I can tell you that I’ve been doing something for the past month or so that’s made a huge difference to my overall health and well-being. It’s simple. It’s easy. Anyone can do it. It’s walking.

Calm down, now, I can hear your snorting and chortling from here. I get it, to real runners walking is not a form of exercise. It’s a way to get from A to B, or maybe something you do when social norms indicate that running isn’t an appropriate mode of transport.  Hear me out, though. I’m not suggesting walking to be a replacement for running, nor even a real replacement for workouts.  What I am saying is that walking can have some seriously solid benefits.

In the past month, I’ve gone from maybe 2 km of walking a day to an average of 6 km/day with many days above 10 km. Weekend days sometimes even creep past 15 km. That’s a lot of walking.  As a result of this increase in foot transport, I’ve noticed the following:

1. Better sleep: I’m having better quality sleep these days. I’m not waking up nearly as much and feel better rested as a result. I notice that I’m more tired on days when I walk more, and I’m asleep much sooner after my head hits the pillow than I used to be, which is a great segue to…

2. Better mental state: I’m a wonderful combination of naturally anxious and naturally negative. In other words, I’m a treat. Workouts are great for helping me to moderate my emotional reaction to life’s events, but I find that the combination of walking and being outdoors is particularly effective. There is something about the fresh air, paying attention to the environment around me, and good conversations that really calms my mental chatter. It’s a similar benefit to what I used to get from running, just minus the burning legs and general muscular discomfort and injury-crippling high impact. As an added bonus, the reduced mental chatter helps me sleep better (told you there was a segue back there).

3. Better injury recovery:  For the injured, walking is a wonderful remedy. I firmly believe it’s not just giving up running that’s helped my injury stabilize. Walking has allowed me to increase my general activity level without putting stress on an unstable bundle of ligaments and joints. My trainer has noticed my increased mobility and improved form and I’ve noticed a decrease in general stiffness and pain. For anyone who’s suffered a significant injury, you know that’s a winning combo.

So yeah, walking isn’t a replacement for running (or swimming or biking or hiking or [insert intense physical activity here]) and it’s not going to give you amazing cardiovascular fitness, but it can make a meaningful difference to your overall health and well-being.  There’s a reason something simple and easy is called a walk in the park. Why don’t you take a walk on the wild side and give walking a chance? Okay, are those enough tired walking cliches for you? I think so. Happy walking.

TWIR #80 (!!!): Getting Back to It

I just had a moment when I realized that somehow I’ve been doing training weeks in review for 80 weeks. That’s more than a year and a half. It’s cliche to ask where does the time go, but seriously, where does the time go? Okay, that’s enough existential questioning for a Friday afternoon. Let’s get on to workouts. This week was a marked improvement over last week’s shameful cake consumption and relative lack of legitimate workouts. Here’s what I accomplished:

Saturday
Activity: outdoor workout (!) + walking
Relevant Stats: 45 min. mixed running and strength + 15 km walking
Observations: I love, love, love having a legit track by our house. Saturday morning, with only half a cup of coffee in my belly, we hit the local park for a mix of running laps and various strength exercises. Nothing is cooler than doing walking lunges, walking side lunges, hip bridges, push ups and step ups, among other things, while all the other people running or walking the track stare at you. We then walked a collective 12 km running errands and generally taking advantage of a rain-free day. I felt really good about the day’s activities, until we went for a six-course meal with wine pairings at Hawksworth, the richness of which most definitely counteracted whatever benefit we gained through exercise.  The meal was absolutely worth it.

Sunday
Activity: walking
Relevant Stats: 12.6 km
Observations: I keep telling you walking isn’t a real workout and then I keep listing it as my workout. It was too nice a day to waste at the gym, and since I’d already run on Saturday there was no way to do an outdoor workout near the house. Walking was the answer, and trust me when I say it felt like we walked way farther than 12.6 km. At times, it seemed like our walk was never ending, and my legs were tired as hell.

Monday 
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: After being in a hotel gym and out of town for a week and a half, it felt fantastic to be back at my gym.  There were prowler runs and negative pull ups and the triumphant return of kettle bells (seriously, why do hotel gyms never have kettle bells?). It was a good workout day.

Tuesday 
Activity: attempted spin & strength training
Relevant Stats: 20 min. spin + 25 min. strength
Observations: I tried to do just cardio, I really did. The thing that used to happen with me when I ran all the time is happening to me with spin now: I hate it. I get on that bike and I want off immediately. I used to get that way when I ran all the time, and my runs would just get worse and worse until I forced myself to take a break. I need to take a spin break, but with not being able to run it’s tough to find an alternative. At any rate, I opted for more strength training after hopping off the bike despite my sore arms and legs from the day prior. I felt certain I would be in a world of pain on Wednesday.

Wednesday 
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 35 min.
Observations: I know just one day prior I said I needed a break from spin, but I really don’t know what to do with myself for cardio when I can’t run. I hate the elliptical and it never feels like a real workout. I hate the rowing machine and my arms were way too dead to attempt that. That staircase machine terrifies me (I always feel like I’m going to trip and seriously embarrass/injure myself). All that to say I attempted spinning again, and had the same awful result. I could not make myself pedal a second longer than 35 min.

Thursday 
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: Two words: prowler presses. Ugh. These kill my arms but I forced myself to do four sets. By the end of this workout, my muscles were very clearly saying to me “NO MORE STRENGTH TRAINING THIS WEEK!”  My arms, in particular, are not pleased with multiple days of strength training. My legs are a little bit more tolerant of it, but even they were kind of like “can we get a break?”.

Friday 
Activity: spin + elliptical
Relevant Stats: 30 min. spin + 10 min. elliptical
Observations: Oh that spin bike. It is really, really killing me these days. I knew within 5 minutes that it was not going to be a good spin session. After half an hour, I threw in the towel and tried to crank the hell out of the resistance and incline on the elliptical to make it a decent workout. Even on the elliptical, my legs were telling me that they were done like dinner. Sometimes I just have to accept that bad workouts will happen.

Now, as I write this, the sun has actually emerged after three days of heavy, disgusting, West Coast rain that has rendered walking outside beyond unattractive.  As much as I love writing, I love being outside in the sunshine more, and I know this sunshine is not going to last for more than a couple of hours. So happy weekend y’all! I’m going for a walk!

Mid Week Tangent: NYC Walking Sugarfest

Last week, I was in New York for a conference and, as sugar addicts do, I devoted all my spare time to seeking out sugary treats I’ve read about on other’s blogs. My sweet spot (pun intended) was any place in Manhattan that featured cookies, cakes or cupcakes, and that did take out. I do not have the self-confidence to dessert in a cafe or bakery alone. No one needs to see me eat that much sugar at one time, and I don’t need the self-induced shame associated with it.

Moving on.

Given that I only had time on lunch breaks and after 4:30 pm, I believe I crammed a lot of treats into a 3.5 day stay. I still had a million places I would have visited if I’d had more time or the will to travel outside the boundaries of Manhattan proper, but really I think you’ll see that I consumed quite enough as it is.

I could simply present you with a list of the bakeries I visited and the treats I consumed, but since I completed this entire mission on foot alone (i.e. no cabs, Ubers, Subways or any other form of motorized transport), I felt compelled to work walking distance into an overly complex rating system that no one but me will understand. I’ve taken into account not just taste and appearance and quality and value for price, but also the distance I had to walk to acquire the treat. Sure, that should have no bearing whatsoever on how good the treat was, but let me tell you that walking 8 km for a cookie will make a big difference to how good it tastes. I’ve also included photos wherever possible, but I warn you that they are poor because a) I am not  a food photographer…nor any kind of photographer and b) I took them while squirrelled away in my hotel room hiding from the shame of my sugar consumption.  Here goes nothing.

1. Magnolia Bakery Chocolate Cake (4.8/5): First place goes to the closest bakery to my hotel, which conveniently also had the best chocolate cake base of any I tried. Moist, not too crumbly, and richly chocolately, this cake was a winner. The frosting, however, was way too soft. I’m team firm frosting all the way. It was also underwhelming. I took off a bunch of points for the frosting factor (frosting is life), but it got bonus points for total ease of access (800 m from my hotel). Scores could also be higher than usual because I ate this cake after watching a live taping of Late Night with Seth Meyers. I suspect anything tastes better after that.

[I am ashamed that I somehow didn’t take a picture of this cake. Who knew it would end up top of the list?]

2.  Magnolia Bakery Carrot Cake (4.6/5): I gotta tell you, Magnolia Bakery knows what they’re doing with cakes. I’m normally not one to even care about the cake itself. I view it as merely a vehicle for frosting. But this carrot cake base was delicious without being overly moist like some carrot cakes can be. The cream cheese frosting was the biggest let down. I’m sure 99% of the world would love it because it’s not very sweet, but I want my frosting sweet as can be. In fact, I was initially drawn to this cake because of its intensely thick layers of frosting that promised a supremely deep sugar coma.  It was good, but could’ve been so much better. Full disclosure: this may be ranked higher than it should be because I spent SEVEN HOURS at the Toronto airport waiting for my flight and any piece of cake would’ve tasted like heaven after that level of hell.

3. Levain Bakery Famed Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie (4.4/5): I don’t know about paying $4.25 US for a cookie. It was good, but I’m not sure any cookie is worth that kind of price tag. Still, I walked 42 minutes in each direction to get my hands on this bad boy and I didn’t regret it. Points were deducted because they serve the cookies with oozy, warm chocolate. I suspect I’m in the minority here, but I’m not a fan of warm cookies. I like my chocolate chips once they’ve returned to their solid state. The 2/3 of the cookie that I saved until it cooled off was fantastic.

4. Eataly Amarena Gelato (4.3/5): That cookie barely edged out this gelato, and I had to walk a lot farther for this. In other words, had this gelato been closer than the cookie, it would have beat it out. As you may know, I spent the summer on a quest for gelato perfection, one that was mostly disappointing with only a couple promising finds. I wanted to see if celebrity chef Mario Batali had anything to offer in the way of gelato. Hello, he’s Italian. Plus I am hugely skeptical of all these celebrity chef empires. I am pleased to say that the Amarena Gelato was the second best I’ve had outside of Italy. Texturally, it was spot on and many, many bonus points were awarded for the abundance of sour cherries. The only real downsides were the price ($6 US for a tiny cup) and that the vanilla base was overly sweet. Okay, Mario Batali, you might be the real deal.

5. Buttercup Bakery Chocolate Cake (4/5): Buttercup Bakery was started by the woman who originally opened Magnolia Bakery, so I had high hopes for this slice of cake. Its frosting to cake ratio was high, and the frosting had all the most promising characteristics: it looked firmer and more intensely chocolatey than Magnolia Bakery’s. Once again, life proved that you can’t judge a book by its cover.  The frosting was a disappointment. Sigh. I can’t put my finger on it, but it lacked the buttery factor I associate with buttercream and had a bit of a bitterness to it. The cake itself was quite good, but just ever-so-slightly less intense than Magnolia Bakery’s cake. I mean, I ate this whole piece, of course,  but I didn’t swoon with each bite.

6. Molly’s Cupcakes (3.5/5): Here is where we start to take a downward slide. I walked all the way to Greenwich Village for these cupcakes, and yes I bought two: Cookies n’ Creme and Salted Caramel. Both were filled cupcakes, for which I have a special place reserved in my heart. I will cut to the chase here and say that I was disappointed and that my massive disappointment comes down to one thing: swiss meringue buttercream. This will demonstrate my utter lack of class, but I find swiss meringue buttercream to be an abomination. For me, its mouth feel borders on repulsive and it lacks the sweetness I crave in frosting. So, while Molly’s Cupcakes cake base was actually quite good and its fillings delightful, they lost epic points for the frosting. Also, the picture below was taken after I walked fifty five city blocks back to my hotel. As you’ll see, they didn’t fare particularly well on the journey.

7. Citycakes Stuffed Red Velvet Cookie (2.5/5): Ugh, this one hurts. I was so, so, so looking forward to this one and my massive disappointment is the result of a total and complete reading failure on my part. I walked like fifty blocks expecting this beast of a cookie with ridiculously thick frosting sandwiched in the middle, because that is the picture I had seen on a blog. Well, as it turns out if I’d read the accompanying text I would have seen that picture on that blog was the cookie ice cream sandwich not the stuffed cookie. The frosting layer in the stuffed cookie was negligible to the point that I think a small piece of my heart broke the second I saw it. To add insult to injury, the outer edges of the cookie were crispy (death to crunchy cookies) and had the distinct and overwhelming taste of food colouring, which is often my complaint with red velvet in general. Let’s just say that I’m glad I bought this cookie on the day that I also bought a giant slice of chocolate cake because 50% of the cookie ended up in the garbage and I was able to drown my sorrows in the chocolate cake.

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a medal. Also, I assume that it means your sugar addiction is right up there with mine. I hope this post saves you the heartache of the disappointing stuffed red velvet cookie and gives you enough information to find your own perfect chocolate cake should you find yourself in NYC. And lastly, a warning: if ever you plan to replicate this level of sugar consumption, I strongly recommend walking to any and all destinations. This level of sugar consumption necessitates the epic walking…and then some.

Happy desserting (yup, just made that word up)!