3 ways to exercise without exercising

Disclaimer: actually, you will have to exercise to exercise (<–someone just taught me this the other day…who would’ve thought??), but it won’t feel like you’re getting a workout!

Channel your inner B

If you aren’t on close terms with her like I am in my head, B is short for Beyonce.

Dancing is one of the most fun ways to twerk up a sweat, burn a ton of calories, and just feel good. According to the Mayo Clinic, one hour of dancing can burn up to 533 calories for a 160 pound person (now all you have to do is make sure you drink fewer calories than that in the adult beverages you may be consuming while dancing…)

I love breaking it down during a night out with my girlfriends or at an event, but I really love learning choreographed routines in classes or from videos. Last year, I took a six-week hip hop dance class at the local community center and it was SO fun! Not only did I leave each class feeling like a music video diva, but I was always drenched in sweat! Mmmm.

See the resemblance to B below? No? That’s because you need an eye doctor appointment.

Do the double dutch

You saw this one coming, right? If not, you should definitely schedule that eye appointment.

Joe and I have been members of a competitive jump rope team for almost our entire lives, but even simple single-bouncing (when you turn the rope and bounce repeatedly) is a challenging, entertaining, and humbling experience for most people.

Even more difficult and fun than jumping by yourself is trying to coordinate with (at least) two other people to get some double dutch going. Remember doing this on the playground in elementary school with rhymes?

If you haven’t double dutched since the playground, recruit a couple of your friends who don’t mind embarrassing themselves in front of you and go to town. The best thing about jump roping is that you can do it almost anywhere, and all you need is a rope (or for double dutch, two ropes). You’ll get some great cardio activity (Mayo Clinic estimates that jumping rope torches up to 861 calories per hour for a 160 pound person!), work on your coordination, strengthen your leg muscles, spend time with friends, and feel so completely uncoordinated that you are not unlike a baby deer using its legs for the first time.

Yep, I took the time to make that one-of-a-kind graphic. I call it “Fawn Roping.” You’re welcome. Speaking of animals…

Play like your pet

Ever noticed how many times per day your dog or cat goes from completely motionless to full-on-sprinting-for-his-life? Some days I think Willoughby is secretly training for the 100-yard dash at the Olympics and hasn’t invited me yet to watch him compete (he better not even think about not inviting his mother…).

Instead of having your significant other toss frisbees to you and risking an emergency dental appointment, gather a group of your buddies and head to a nearby park to play kickball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, or flag football. All of these sports will have you going from zero to sixty repeatedly – meaning that while you’re wrapped up in the game, you’ll be inadvertently doing interval training. Intervals are is a super efficient way of burning fat, increasing your anaerobic threshold, and revving your metabolism for a longer period of time after your game than steady-state cardio activity would.

Now go play! I’m off to do #1 in front of the mirror.

What activity gives you a workout and doesn’t feel like one? On a scale of 1-10, how much do I look like Beyonce in the second picture? Just kidding, don’t answer that second one (…unless it’s above a 7).


Run and done

Happy Willoughby Wednesday! 😉

Last night I hopped on over to the gym straight from work to check a 3.5 mile run off of my half marathon training plan (I’m on week three).

And here’s what a picture looks like when someone comes around the corner and surprises you and you’re embarrassed that you’re taking a picture of yourself in the mirror.

Hah. Oh, my ego.

On Sunday, I was forced to run for my life since Joe and I had to get home in time to watch the start of the NC State basketball game, so my pace for the 4 mile run was quite a bit speedier than usual for me (around 8:30/mile).

As soon as I stepped on the treadmill last night, I felt like I had no choice but to at least TRY to keep the 8:30 pace for my run. I mean, after Sunday’s run, I actually felt great. So I decided it was a sign that I had just not been pushing myself enough. Sometimes you need to be accosted with situations that force you to do more or go harder than normal in order to prove to yourself that your body is capable.

So I rOcKeD iT oUt:

Aaaaw yeah, baby! Plus it flew by because I was engrossed in an episode of Chopped (have you seen it? I have only seen a couple episodes but love it! It’s almost exactly like Iron Chef, which is probably why I like it).

One of the things I’m finding that I like best about training for a half marathon is that the plan I’m using feels well-balanced: you strength train 2 days each week, run 3 days each week, cross-train 2 days each week, and rest completely for 1 day. I think when I’m not training for anything, I usually feel compelled to do some sort of cardio most days of the week PLUS strength training 3-4 times. Following the plan, I love the fact that I can JUST strength train on Mondays, and I can JUST run on Tuesdays and Sundays. It almost makes it feel like I’m only required to do half of the workout I was doing before, even though I’m getting fitter and stronger this way. YAY for listening to my own advice (#1, bullet 1).

Anyways, that’s about the most exciting part of my day, other than watching the State of the Union on my lunch break (I missed it last night). Did you watch it? I’m not normally big into discussing politics, but I would love to hear your thoughts – I’m making a concerted effort to brush up on candidate views with the election around the corner. I want to make an informed decision when I vote!

I do have to say that it doesn’t matter what your political views are – there’s no arguing that Obama is a phenomenal public speaker. He could make me want to nod my head in agreement and give a standing ovation even if he recited his favorite recipe for macaroni and hot dogs.

Thoughts on the State of the Union? What was your workout today? Does the idea of macaroni and hot dogs make you want to ralph? I loooooove comments that aren’t only from my sister (but Claire, please keep commenting too! Again, we have to take care of my ego. It’s fragile.)

Quotable inspiration

Who doesn’t love a good quote? My coach is BIG on quotes – seriously, he probably has like 100 memorized – and loves to share them every chance he gets. After hearing them for 15 years straight, it’s no wonder I love them too! There really is something inspiring about hearing someone else’s (generally) succinct wisdom or take on a situation to really put it in perspective.

I thought I’d share some of my favorites along with some new ones that have struck a chord with me lately.


(Most of the quotes ingrained in my memory from my coach are without authors – if you know who the quote is by, please let me know and I will be sure to give credit.)


Pain of discipline; pain of regret – take your pick.

Sweat plus sacrifice equals success. -Charlie Finley

Success always looks easy to those who weren’t around when it was being earned.

Winners train; losers complain.

The most rewarding things in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done. -Arnold Palmer

The rising tide floats all ships.

99% of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. -George Washinton Carver

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. –Dale Carnegie 


What are you favorite quotes? I’m always looking for new inspiration!

Top ten habits of elite athletes (for the non-elite athlete) – part II

If you missed part I of this post, I am using the article Top 10: Habits Of Elite Athletes and putting my own spin on how to adapt these habits for any average Joe (or Jane). This is the second half of the list.

4. Get quality sleep

“Athletes go to bed and wake up at the same times (within an hour) each day.”

Non-elite habit: getting enough sleep is important. We know that. What is perhaps more important is having a consistent sleep schedule in order to take full advantage of the benefits. Instead of rolling out of bed at 2pm 11am on Saturday and Sunday, shoot for going to bed and waking up within an hour of the same time you do so on the weekdays.

Of course, some people have social lives on the weekend and stay out late with their friends, which will mess up your schedule. My advice (from personal experience…yes, I DO have one friends, my husband) would be to get up whenever your body naturally awakes the first time, and then to take a short nap later in the day if you feel drained. Adhering to your circadian rhythm will help you stay on a semi-regular sleep schedule so you can go to bed easily that night. You can help shut your body down for an earlier bed time by devoting 30 minutes to relaxing rituals before you hit the hay: make a cup of tea, read a book, stretch in low lighting, whisper sweet nothings to your cat, visualize floating on top of clouds made of cotton candy, etc.

3. Follow an individualized training program

“It’s human nature to focus on what you’re good at, which isn’t always what you need. By following a professionally designed training program with components of individualization, athletes are more likely to improve their weaknesses and overall performance…”

Non-elite habit: If you are one of the party animals mentioned in the previous habit, then we already know you have friends. If you don’t have unlimited resources like many elite athletes, you can still enlist a friend to help you come up with your training plan. If your friend has your best interests in mind (or is slightly sadistic), they will point out gaps in your routine or suggest ways you can improve your weaknesses.  Having an outside perspective (from anyone) can help keep you honest and ultimately raise your chances of reaching your goals.

2. Set goals

“Setting goals provides athletes with structure and constant motivation, which ensures continual progress.”

Non-elite habit: I touched on S.M.A.R.T. goals in habit #10, but let’s go into more detail by breaking down a specific example. Ensuring that your goals are specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and timely increases the odds of success (or at least improvement) exponentially by forcing you to come up with an plan of attack. Here’s how you do it:

GOAL: I am going to be awesomer.

….how are you going to be awesome? How do you even measure when you’ve achieved your maximum awesomeness? Why are you using a word that isn’t even real? There are a lot of problems with this goal.

S.M.A.R.T. GOAL: I am going to earn 10 new friends (specific) by introducing myself to one new person in the cereal aisle of the grocery store (non-realistic) each week for the next 10 weeks (timely), and then invite them all to a cereal party at the end of the 10 weeks to see how many of them come and agree that I am awesome (measureable + attainable).

Now go be awesomer and set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

1. Work with coaches

“Coaches help athletes stay focused and keep progressing. They remove many of the “planning” stresses from athletes and allow them to focus more on the implementation side of things.”

Non-elite habit: Again, most of us can’t afford to hire personal coaches for all the aspects of our lives. Coaches are beneficial because they stay in your face and hold you accountable for your training and goals. Here are some alternative ways to give your motivation a swift kick in the tush:

      • Instead of having a coach make up a training plan for you, look up tried and true plans created by experts who are willing to share their knowledge publicly. For example, if you want to run a marathon, tons of runners have followed one of Hal Higdon’s training plans (I am following his Novice I half marathon training plan right now, in fact).
      • Stay accountable by joining a training group that meets once-weekly (or however often you can commit to meeting), downloading an app like GymPact, making a wager with a friend that you will do “x” to reach your goal this week, or by even mentioning to the front-desk personnel at your gym that you want to try to get to the gym three times that week. You will be surprised at how invested others become in your goal and your success!
      • Post your goals and motivational pictures or quotes on your fridge, mirror, husband, have it tattooed on your hand, etc. to be constantly reminded of what you’re working towards.
      • Take advantage of others’ experience by reading inspirational memoirs, picking your healthiest friend’s brain, or following healthy living blogs. Many of these people have experienced set backs and failures, so seeing their ultimate success may motivate you to keep on keepin’ on through your tough times.

And that’s that.

What are your tips for staying motivated? For improving your personal health habits? Goals you’re working towards? I want to be invested in YOU!

Top ten habits of elite athletes (for the non-elite athlete) – part I

Joe and I went to the gym this morning and had a good quick workout. My training plan called for 4 miles today, and I was going to run outside until I saw this:

It’s also doing a weird heavy-misting-not-quite-raining deal, and since this is how I felt about being outside…

….to the gym it was.

Since I am an elite athlete, we made it home with plenty of time to spare.

SPEAKING of deranged people elite athletes, I came across this interesting article:

Top 10: Habits Of Elite Athletes

(As a side note, there was a link to a video called, “Produce the Best Breastmilk” at the bottom of the page. On a men’s website. Right.)

Reading through the article made me think about my fitness and health habits compared to those of elite athletes. While most elite athletes have access to resources that us non-athletes can only dream about (like personal coaches and trainers and heaps of gold), a lot of the habits here are completely adaptable for the lehman. Below I’ve listed the ways that I think any average person can improve their personal habits using the habits of the elite as inspiration.

10. Envision success

By playing a “mental movie” of their conquests in upcoming competitions, [elite athletes] not only improve their performance, but also pre-emptively calm their nerves. The clearer the visualization, the more powerful the impact.”

Non-elite habit: fortunately, this is an easy one to adapt. Anyone can envision success. The hurdle that many non-elite athletes (and especially those just starting fitness plans) come across is finding the confidence to truly believe that the success they are envisioning is attainable. I have found that the best way to build confidence is by setting SMART goals. Breaking down your objective by making it specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and timely is proven to increase success (and therefore, your confidence that you can achieve more!).

Here’s an example of a non-SMART goal:

I am going to get famous really quickly from writing an awesome blog.

Here’s an example of a SMART goal:

I am going to earn one million followers for my blog by next January 22 by posting pictures of cats, promising to make my readers into elite athletes, and putting up as many pictures of my attractive husband as possible .

See how breaking it down inherently gives me a plan to follow?…

9. Cooldown

“Cooldowns help facilitate recovery by processing metabolic waste products, restoring shortened muscles to their resting length, and allowing the athlete to unwind mentally.”

Non-elite habit: this is where I messed up when training for my first half marathon. Because I never stretched or cooled down after my training runs, I wasn’t doing my body the favor of allowing it to restore itself. If running were my livelihood, would I have committed to those extra 10 minutes at the end of a workout? Definitely. But just because I’m not getting paid the big bucks or getting publicity for my physical abilities, that doesn’t mean that keeping my body in top condition isn’t important. Remembering that we only get one body, and that we want to be able to comfortably do the activities we want to do for a long time is a great mindset to practice.

8. Consume sports drinks

“Consuming a sports drink during [a] workout also helps maintain blood glucose levels within the normal range so athletes don’t have peaks and crashes in their energy levels.”

Non-elite habit: water is essential for staying hydrated throughout the day and through moderate workouts; however, high-energy activity longer than 60-90 minutes requires that you fuel your body with sodium and electrolytes that you may be losing (source). While most elite athletes probably have little concern about gaining weight, I know many people who want to lose weight and avoid sports drinks because of the high amount of calories or the long ingredients list. There are a plenty of great alternatives to Gatorade for your fueling pleasure, including regular (or chocolate) milk, coconut water, and homemade remedies (see here for a couple of easy, delicious-looking options).

7. Identify with successes

“When athletes make mistakes, they try to learn from and forget them instantly so they don’t linger.”

Non-elite habit: if I had a dollar for every time I have thought in my head, “I KNEW that was going to happen!!” angrily when I got sucked into Bridezilla and let my Eggos burn in the toaster, I would have at least $6. Obviously, harping on the fact that I continue to make the same mistake has not helped me move forward to improve.

The same goes for any situation  – my jump rope coach loves to remind the team that preparing for competition is 90% mental and 10% physical. If you have trained for an event, likely you are physically prepared for what you’ll need to do (unless you get injured or are sick). The mind is a tricky muscle to train, though, and in high-stress situations, it can make even the strongest athletes’ bodies do crazy things. Prepare yourself mentally by practicing in the exact conditions you will be performing in – if you’re running a marathon, eat what you are planning to eat on race day, run the race route before the race, do your specific warm up and cool down, and if you can, do as many races (even if they’re shorter distance) before the marathon day as possible to become comfortable with the race-day atmosphere.

6. Post-game training

“Training after a game “clumps” competition — and training-related stresses — and allows for a prolonged recovery window.”

Non-elite habit: to be honest, I had never heard this tip before. BUT I do have an idea of how to adapt it!

Elite athletes tend to practice or train the same day as a big event in order to have more down time in between games – this allows their bodies more time to fully devote itself to recovering before the next event. The lesson here is that even high-level athletes (well, especially high-level athletes) know the importance of pushing their bodies to become faster/get stronger by pushing their limits and then taking REST days. Though it may seem counterintuitive, training hard four or five days a week with two or three complete rest days will help you grow and recover faster and more efficiently than lack-luster training seven days a week.

5. Pre- and post-game nutrition

“Athletes make sure they get the nutrition they need to maximize their intensity, energy and recovery.”

Non-elite habit: fueling our bodies is just as important (if not more) for optimal physical performance as training is. The article explains is succinctly here:

“[Before working out], [t]he goal is to ingest the right nutrients to provide the athlete the energy he needs.   Afterward, the goal is recovery. Post-workout, the body is “primed” for shuttling carbohydrates into the muscle to replenish depleted energy stores and for stimulating protein synthesis (muscle rebuilding).”

Not only does splitting up your food for the day into little meals help keep your metabolism humming (plus you get to eat more often…aWeSoMe), but it provides your muscles with the fuel they need to perform at their peak and fix themselves after you DESTROY them during your workout (insert caveman scream here). If you feel like you can’t eat anything right before training, even a spoonful of peanut butter and a coconut water will help you power through without weighing you down. Afterwards, fix yourself a balanced meal within a few hours of working out to keep the benefits rolling instead of stalling out when your body runs out of gas.

Aaaand with that, this post became a whole lot longer than I was anticipating! So I’m breaking it up into two parts and then next part will be coming tomorrow.

Happy New Week’s Eve! (aka Sunday).

Duke vs. FSU halftime show

Tonight we did something fun – we were the Duke vs. Florida State men’s basketball game halftime entertainment.

This morning Joe and I hit the gym (I did 40 minutes on the elliptical for cross-training, per the training plan for my upcoming half marathon), came home and had a quick lunch, and then went to pick up our good friend (and teammate) Tim to carpool to Durham for the 4:00 game.

It was a great game (with a really sad and CRAZY ending for Duke), an awesome show at halftime for us, and fun time hanging out.

Afterwards, Joe, Tim, Ted (one of our other best friends and teammates) and I ate at the nearest Red Robin, where we sat next to the entire Plumlee family (the three Plumlee brothers are all currently players at Duke). Those boys are HUGE

The rest of the night is being spent playing poker, enjoying adult drinks and old school rap at our house with my favorite guys – here’s an equally awesome/awkward picture from a couple years ago at a regional jump rope competition because it’s the only one I can find of the three of them.

Enjoy your Saturday night!

Nail-biting update

One of my goals for life (it’s also a New Years’ resolution) is to quit biting my nails. Ya’ll, I have done this my WHOLE life.

I remember visiting my extended family in Michigan when I was in elementary school, and my Nana telling me that she would give me a dollar for each nail I let grow out for the next time we saw each other. I think I got her to pay me $10 three or four separate times before she caught on to the fact that I kept “re-quitting.”

I have tested the “no-bite” nail polish – the stuff that tastes terrible but is safe to ingest. I figured out how to paint my nails with the polish and then perfected the art of biting my cuticles without letting my tongue touch them so I didn’t taste the polish. At that point, I almost felt like I should reward myself with just continuing to bite my nails because of my obvious dedication to it. I mean, that is kind of impressive.

One tactic I’ve found that helps me go a couple of weeks or months without biting my nails is spending money on really good manicures. I mean, I can paint my own nails decently well, but I continue to destroy my cuticles if they are rough or uneven at all. So when a manicurist cleans them up, I don’t want to mess them up again for a little while.

Earlier in the week, I got one of the best manicures I have ever gotten (she was very meticulous about cleaning up my cuticles) and also got the “gel” polish (similar to shellac) that lasts up to two weeks and is very resistant to chipping. Check them out:

Just kidding. Those are totally not my nails. But they are CRAZY! I will never forget the conversation I had with an Asian manicurist who was discussing the various types of nails that people get. He said, “I don’t understand why lots of ladies come in here and get three-inch-long nails. How do they wipe their butts??”

That is a really good question, Mr. Manicurist. I definitely do not have the answer (does anybody know? Please don’t share it with me.).

Also, those nails remind me of the resin insect jewelry that used to be super cool:

Oh wait. It wasn’t cool. It was weird, just like those nails.

Anyways, here are my real nails:

They look freakin’ awesome (or just like regular people’s nails). My cuticles might still be a little angry for abusing them for years, but they’ll come around with a little lovin’.

I have been putting lotion on my hands a lot and trying to keep my cuticles moisturized so I’m not tempted to peel them.

Maybe if I make it to March without ruining my hands I will treat myself with something…any ideas?

Planning workouts ahead of time

Today, the half-marathon training plan I’m following prescribed 3 miles + strength training. Since I played hooky with my strength training that was intended for Monday and combined it with a 3.5 mile run on Tuesday, I wasn’t sure how today’s workout would go (with just one day in between lifting). I didn’t cry getting out of bed and I wasn’t debilitated this morning, so I went ahead with the plan (<– note: you can this measurement in a whole range of situations. Not crying or doubled over in pain after eating dinner? Go ahead, have another slice of pork loin. Are you sobbing uncontrollably or just wake up in the handicapped stall of the women’s bathroom at the bar? Maybe you should get some water instead of another drink. Also, some new friends.).

On a side note, do you plan your workouts ahead of time? I have found that I really enjoy having a loose plan for the week, i.e. “run 3 miles and do some sort of strength training on Thursday.” I’ve never been able to stick with writing out the exact moves.

On one hand, I know that having an specific plan helps take out the thinking and motivates you to check the planned moves off of your list, but on the other hand…I don’t want to carry a list around at the gym. Ha. So I make it up as I go or keep my previously-dreamed-up list up in my noggin.

Instead of repeating Tuesday’s workout, I challenged myself to go through working most of the same muscle groups, but to using different exercises. Here’s what my workout ended up looking like:

  1. 50 crunches on the exercise ball
  2. lunges – 3 sets of 15 with a 30 lb bar on my shoulders (<–never done this before. I looked like a drunk trying to keep my balance during a sobriety test for the first set)
  3. hip adduction machine– 3 sets of 15 @ 100 lbs (this move was the same as Tuesday…what are some other ways to work this area? I couldn’t think of any!)
  4. hip abduction on adjustable fly machine – 2 sets of 15 @ 30 lbs
  5. hamstring push-backs on adjustable fly machine – 2 sets of 15 @ 35 lbs
  6. assisted pull-up – 1 set of 5 @ 35 lbs resistance, 2 sets of 2 at 25 lbs resistance (also the same as Tuesday…I want to try to fit in this machine a couple times a week so I can actually do a real pull-up someday)
  7. bicep curl with bar – 3 sets of 15 @ 20 lbs
  8. seated chest press on adjustable fly machine – 3 sets of 15 @ 30 lbs
  9. leaning back extension – 1 set of 15 with 10 lbs
  10. leaning weighted side bend – 1 sets of 15 on each side with 10 lbs…and then I got kicked off by a personal trainer. Wah.
  11. run 3.0 miles (26:43, and then walk to cool down for 0.5 miles)
  12. 50 crunches on exercise ball
  13. stretch
After going through today’s list, I see that I really didn’t match Tuesday’s workout at all as far as working most of the same muscle groups. Ha. I guess they just slipped out of my noggin list. Either way, it was a challenging and LONG workout.
Tomorrow is a rest day. Yay!
P.S. – I found this in the ladies’ locker room. Spray deodarent?! Obviously, I used it.

Home remedy cat (non)repellents

There’s a kind of funny story about Willoughby‘s age.

This past December, we rescued him from the local shelter, where we were determined to find a cute cat that was around 1 year old. We didn’t want to deal with a super young kitten since they like to scale living room curtains and their favorite food is electrical wiring.

When Joe laid eyes on Willoughby, there was an instant connection – he was the cutest kit in the room and purred like a lawnmower when we held him. Plus, he was 1 years old! He was kind of small, but the volunteer assured us that he was 1 and that he was just destined to be a small kitty. Puuurrfect. We put a deposit in and picked up our new son the next day.

Willy-boy adjusted wonderfully from the time he set foot in our house. There were no accidents, he seemed really comfortable exploring the house, and loved to snuggle up with us when we were lounging around.

The week after we brought him home, however, he started sneezing like crazy and his purr sounded kind of congested. Being first time parents, we were nervous and decided to bring him to the vet.  She ran the gamut of tests and performed a regular check-up (he ended up having an upper respiratory infection, which are apparently very common in shelter kitties, and cleared up very quickly), including a dental exam, and ended up telling us he was only 4 months old. We had unknowingly adopted a newborn! I guess my dream of having an eternal kitten (a cat that never grows old or big) was just too good to be true.

With our new knowledge of his age, over the past month or so, we have been pleasantly surprised with how well-behaved he is for such a young babe. During the past week though, I think he entered his terrible twos. Here is what I discovered this morning in the kitchen:

And look at the culprit over here. That’s right. Hang your crazy little kitten head in shame.

Man, those are some quality phone pictures.

He has been going nuts about this tree in the past couple of days, so I should have seen this coming. EVERY TIME I turn around when we’re in the kitchen or living room, he is hanging from one of the trunks like Tarzan or scratching on it like it’s filled with cat nip. Plus he jumps in the pot and then kicks out as much dirt as he can while staring at us and laughing from across the room, then dives out right before we can get to him.

I have been thinking about picking up some cat-repellent spray from PetSmart, but in the meantime, I decided to look up natural scents that cats are opposed to. Did you know that cats don’t like the smell of:

  • citrus?
  • coffee grounds?
  • lemon grass oil?
  • cayenne pepper?
  • lavender oil?
  • blood meal? (this scares me. Are there people or animals out there that like the smell of blood meal? And why are “blood” and “meal” in the same sentence?? More importantly, what in the world is blood meal?!)
  • citronella oil?
  • peppermint oil?
  • eucalyptus oil?

According to this list, if I doused our tree in oil, I’m pretty sure it would be safe from Willoughby, but I’m not so sure it would be safe from death. Needless to say, the base of our tree is now filled with orange peels, cayenne pepper, and coffee grinds. I will let you know tomorrow if the tree is still standing tall. And also if any of these plants have started growing on our tree.