Happy Birthday Sister!

Today is a special post that was inspired by the fact that it is my sister’s birthday. I was also motivated to write this in such a way because in a few months, she is going to marry her fiancé Nick and I am the Maid of Honor (like you haven’t heard). At the reception, I will be giving a speech and for some reason, she thinks that a line of people will have to read and edit it before I say it because she thinks it will be inappropriate.

I am here now to prove, on her 28th birthday, that I can be funny and sweet, nostalgic and inspired, and I will make her cry so hard that no other speech made by mankind will ever make an impact as close to the one I will. I’m going to leave that whole damn house in tears.

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Here’s my evidence.

Dear Sister,

It is your 28th birthday and telling you that Halloween is the perfect day of birth for you because you are a witch is still funny.

Sometimes we dress as devils.
Sometimes we dress as devils.

You have reached the point in your life where your age is closer to 30 than 20 and I can say this safely because I am only nearing 25, which is a perfect mid-point. However, if prompted, I suspect that you wouldn’t really be upset about this. I believe you might say that your life is in the exact right place where you would want it to be, getting ready to marry the love of your life and on the path to pursuing your true professional passion. It will never not be funny that you want to be a librarian, even though I have nothing but respect for librarians and for you. But yes, you are a big nerd.

Note the glasses. Okay I have glasses too.
Note the glasses. Okay I have glasses too.

Congratulations, you have survived 28 years so far and 25 of them have been with me as your sister. We are very lucky to have each other and Jimmy, our brother, who is pretty cool too. We are lucky because not everyone can say that they mark their siblings as their closest friends.

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While I wear a tiara, you wear a half-hearted bun on top of your head (because you’re a librarian- you get that, right?).

Aw, it's kind of cute.
Aw, it’s kind of cute.

I am obsessed with all things popular culture and you prefer Shakespeare, though we both have a healthy appreciation for the other side. My personality explodes onto people and you are more reserved. For me, it is difficult to jump higher than a foot and you leap like a gentle feline. The stage door is almost a religious experience for me, while you stand on the side waving your first and glaring. My head is huge, but both of our hair is thin and we will forever be giving Jimmy, with his full head of hair, the side-eye because sometimes life isn’t fair.

IMG_0650We both love Disney and musicals and will sing very loudly, almost harmonizing, as we drive home from seeing the Backstreet Boys even after all this time. Talents for reading and writing sear through our blood, as well as being prone to having a sweet tooth.

This was taken at the Backstreet Boys concert this summer.
This was taken at the Backstreet Boys concert this summer.

We’ve seen the best and the worst of each other and we are still talking at the end of it. I will be very proud to be walking down the aisle at your wedding as your Maid of Honor and as much as I might joke, I take this role very seriously. I am proud in general to know you and be inspired by you. I would not be who I am without you as my older sister and I hope you understand that. Don’t throw up from all of this mushiness, that’s my role remember?

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For these 28 years (I was always watching for those three years I wasn’t born, waiting to make my entrance), I have learned a lot about sisters and I would like to share through these pictures I found.

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Sisters will hold you up when you can’t hold yourself.

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Even when you are crying and afraid or just being a pain in the ass.

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Sisters dress a lot alike when they are younger.

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And they also like to dress up.

photoSometimes (always) even as princesses.

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Sisters enjoy tea.

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Sisters live in tents pretending their pajamas are gowns.

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And wear the classiest tiaras they ever could make.

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Sisters are thoughtful, bright, and strong.

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They support each other when they do something smart.

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And feel old when it happens to their little brother.

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Sisters laugh so hard they get stuck in the sand.

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And that doesn’t change as they grow older.

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Sisters pose for the selfie before it was the selfie.

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Then they do the actual selfie.

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Sisters will always hold your hand.

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And one thing I know for certain: they are very good at walking down the aisle in support of the other.

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Let this be proof that I can use my power with words for good.

Happy birthday!

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Working Out Can Be Fun To Do

This week, I jazzed up my workout routine a bit, had it all written out and organized, then left it at home to go to the gym. Oops! No fear! For that day, I could remember a lot of what I had planned to do, but I am also an excellent improvisor and played around with different moves. Let me tell you, my abs were both thankful and angry that this happened because they are still sore two days later!

Abs are my focus on the coming month. I have upped my plank game, doing some form of a plank every day, from the straight up forearm for a minute and a half, to a circuit of planks for smaller amounts of time, to plank jacks which are actually kind of fun- they’re jumping jacks in a plank position.

From where we last left off, last Thursday, I did a medicine ball/ball strength workout before hopping into the pool for a swim. Instead of focusing on the amount of laps, I’ve been swimming based on time to help me grow back my stamina after taking a bit of a lap break from the summer. Friday, I got in a kick-ass kettle bell workout and one of my fellow gym-goers asked me if I took a kettle bell class because she was so impressed with my moves. It’s all online waiting for you people! And it’s fun to compile your own workout and find out what you can do.

Saturday, I started my day with a wonderful Yoga practice I created on my own. I’m sure it wasn’t as mindful or zen as one might find at a Yoga class, but it worked for me! I was apparently very tense and it helped me to stretch before my nice long run later that afternoon. You know, the one where I almost had a heart attack from all of the freakish, realistic Halloween decorations.

Knowing that I had quite a lot to do on Sunday, I got up early and headed in for my workout. I did a dumbbell/body strength combination circuit where I did one move with dumbbells, one move without, and continued that pattern for about fifteen moves, then did it three more times. I was nice and sweaty after and topped it all off with a painful, but awesome treadmill sprint cardio session.

On Monday, when I left my new workout page at home, I did more work with the ball/medicine balls and focused on a lot of whole body strength moves before doing a grueling ab routine that was kind of fun. After, I hopped in the pool to get in some laps. I followed that up on Tuesday with another Yoga/Run session. I was at the track for a three-mile run and as I was finishing up, I sprinted the rest of the way and felt like I was flying. I’m not sure I’ve ever run that fast in my life.

This brings us to Wednesday, today- kind of because it’s late- when I did another awesome kettle bell workout. Kettle bells are so good because they include strength and cardio so it’s a two-for-one. I started my workout with a few barbell moves and by the end of my time, I was tired but feeling great. Later in the afternoon, I went on a fun seven mile walk with my friend Molly. The rain kept threatening, but it held off until we were both home!

Now go ahead and get moving!

Family Dynamics As Shown In Books

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the book I will be reviewing today because I did, I promise. It’s just that, the excitement coursing through me as I force myself away from Amy Poehler’s new book Yes Please to be a productive, functioning human rather than a cackling fiend on the couch is impalpable. Next week, you’re going to get a really long, loving review of how much I love that book and I can say that with confidence even now because though I’ve had it for just a few hours, I’m tearing my way through it. And it is phenomenal.

But, I can’t get ahead of myself and allow this other excellent book from falling into a black hole of never being appreciated by me. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout has been on my reading list for awhile now, but got tossed aside a few times when all of my on-hold books kept surging in and I had to finish those on a deadline.

Burgess Boys

The story begins with from an outsider’s perspective, showcasing how humans have the tendency to observe and react to another’s life, particularly those who live around us, are close to us, or are celebrities that we feel belong to us (Amy Poehler and I are basically best friends for reals though, I promise). In this case, a mother and daughter focus on a small family who lived in their neighborhood, two boys and a girl, whose family mysteries seem alluring and intriguing and unknown. In this method, Strout also establishes the characters’ personalities through an outsider’s view, so when we finally meet the Burgess’ we feel as though we already know them. This is interesting because oftentimes when I’m reading, I feel as though I am next to the main characters, undergoing every event with them. In this case, I felt as though I was watching them, much like a neighbor might, and I wonder if that was the author’s intent.

From the preface, I thought the story was going to be focused on a mystery that was highlighted, but ended up being a sort of “MacGuffin” or otherwise an afterthought to the actual plot of the story. In the end, that mysteries so-called resolution doesn’t really matter to the characters and after reflecting on it, I found it doesn’t matter so much to me either. As in life, with books, you travel on a journey with complicated people whose ordinary lives are turned extraordinary through quality writing, interesting plot twists, and obstacles that arise quickly because it usually needs to be resolved by the end of the story. How things turn extraordinary often depend on the genre because an extraordinary fantastical tale about a young wizard facing the world’s evilest noseless man is different than an extraordinary memoir about a young woman embarking on a months’ long hike by herself. Yes, sometimes plot lines in stories are juiced up in order to make them interesting and oftentimes what happens to the characters wouldn’t happen to your real-life next door neighbor, but a piece of the story and those characters feel alive and recognizable.

This is the case in The Burgess Boys. There’s nothing aggressively extraordinary about these characters when you observe them at a glance, but the fact the Strout brings them to life, gives them a voice, and makes them breathe, allows a reader to see that mundane life is fraught with complications and hardships that are born from both how a person feels and acts as well as anything that might happen to them.

Part of what attracted me to the novel is not what happened because I didn’t feel as though a lot did happen. What’s interesting is seeing these different personalities that make up a dynamic of a family. My own family is close and loving and we definitely have our similarities, but there are tons of differences between us. From our family, we find the voice of reason, the comedian, the drama queen (YUP, that’s me), etc, as all families do. Sometimes our family members do things that don’t make sense to us or are wrong or are exceedingly kind, but the best types of families, the closest ones, stick through it to support, even if it looks messy and is full of mistakes.

To me, that is the essence of The Burgess Boys whose main characters are a family who are different from each other, both on an emotional level based off of life experiences and on a personality level that stems from an inherent narrative (and probably other scientific things I won’t pretend to understand), but they share a similarity that, if nothing else, is due to the fact that they are family.

Life and family are complicated and sometimes we get frustrated by that and it takes reading a book to make us understand how fragile everyone else is too. To our families and those closest friends, we are at our most vulnerable because they see us through our best and worst times. Other than just family members, sometimes we put certain people on pedestals or judge others as somehow lesser than us, or we even put people in boxes and expect that we know who they are and what they do. But people have the remarkable ability of surprising us, even those we know and love best, and regardless of if that surprise is good or bad or in-between, we have to accept it or we don’t.

I can’t honestly claim any hard feelings or angst with my family or other people (unless I’m oblivious), but it is interesting to read about. I would definitely recommend this book because it is not only a good read, but it makes you reflect on your own family and the part you play in it. Enjoy!

Another Week, Another Meal(s)

As I mentioned before, I’ve been experimenting more with cooking and sometimes this works out well, while other times it’s a great big mess. That’s all part of the charm of cooking- what others might call disastrous.

I was especially adventurous with my breakfasts this week. My first breakfast was pancakes that contained a secret ingredient, cottage cheese! I followed a recipe that looked good but it didn’t quite come out the way I intended. If I were to try it again, which I will, I think I’ll include both baking soda and baking powder, as I’ve found that creates the best result. These pancakes were very flat and thin and I don’t think it was that my stove wasn’t hot enough. No worries because I improvised and stacked them on top of each other so that instead of six flat pancakes, I had three fluffy ones, stuffed and topped with…peanut butter!

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This baked oatmeal concoction is a beauty. It includes oats, pumpkin, mashed banana, dates, raisins, apple, and walnuts. So full of fall flavors!

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These eggs were the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had and all it included were two eggs, a quarter cup of cottage cheese, and a dash of salt and pepper. Served with toast and a big bowl of fruit and my stomach was full and content!

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Another bit of a breakfast baking fail, but it was still tasty. I haven’t made homemade waffles in awhile, but I was craving one and pulled out the maker. I included whole wheat flour, oats, applesauce, egg whites, baking powder and soda, and cinnamon. My biggest problem was that I poured too much into the waffle maker at once. My other complaint was that the waffle was a bit mushy. I’ve heard that tossing in some cornstarch will help, so I am going to give that a whirl next time! Oh, look what I topped it with…peanut butter and jelly!

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The next day, I made some delicious pumpkin French toast, mostly because we were out of bananas and couldn’t make much else that was sweet. So delicious!

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Saturday morning, I woke with a hankering for eggs, so I fried two up and served with toast and fruit.

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Finally reunited with some banana, I made some of my peanut butter oats. These are so warm and filling.

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Leftover pizza and a fresh chopped salad was on the menu for lunch on Monday. I think all the healthy, crunchy veggies make up for the toasty, cheesy pizza! Regardless, it’s a delightful combination.

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I had a battle of my mind and taste buds one day when I had some grilled tilapia all ready to go, but I was craving grilled cheese. Once again, I improvised, eating a serving of fish and toasting some cheese on no piece of toast with carrots and celery on the side.

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I went into Boston one day, so I stopped at a Mediterranean place for a quick salad and I was not disappointed! This included lettuce and a cucumber, pepper, and tomato concoction that was very flavorful. Unfortunately, you can only see all the delicious chicken on top, but underneath, there are a ton of veggies. Half of a warm pita came with it.

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I paired a piece of grilled salmon with leftover Parmesan baked veggies, sautéed spinach, and brown rice.

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Using leftover grilled chicken, I grilled up some veggies for a stir fry including some black beans and tossed with barbecue sauce, which has become a bit of an obsession of mine lately. I enjoyed this with a handful of tostitos on the side.

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I had some curry sauce leftover from dinner the night before, so I stewed some chickpeas and a variety of vegetables and served it over coconut basmati rice. So good, but kind of heavy to eat before a run.

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Sunday, I went to a family party and forgot to snap a picture of my lunch. I enjoyed some chicken Caesar salad, a piece of ham, and a slice of cake!

Monday’s dinner was an assortment of things, including tilapia, a baked sweet potato with butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon, baked Parmesan veggies, and the last of the black bean soup.

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Steak with barbecue sauce with spinach brown rice, Brussels sprouts, and turnip came the next night and it was very good.

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This was a whole wheat spaghetti dinner with half of a chicken sausage, peppers, leftover veggies, and a slice of toast. It’s unfortunate that toast pairs so well with pasta because it’s so many carbs and it’s hard to control myself!

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To go with teriyaki chicken, I found a recipe for baked sweet potato fries that were so good! I also had some asparagus and a bite of some Chinese food items my dad picked up on the way home.

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I am loving the chicken curry sauce I found at the grocery store that has only fresh ingredients, no preservatives. It’s so simple, but a tad spicy. I stewed it up with chicken and veggies and enjoyed it over coconut basmati rice.

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Saturday night, I babysat and made myself this very cheesy and toasty grilled cheese that hit the spot! To go with it, I had chopped up some carrots, celery, cucumber, and peppers and for sweetness, I enjoyed an assortment of berries.

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Sunday night, after wedding dress shopping with my sister, we came home with a pizza and I made a quick salad. My favorite pizza topping is roasted red peppers and though this one was green, it was still tasty.

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Here’s to another great week of food!

Trick or Treat But Anything Than…That!

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I am a big fan of Halloween for three major reasons: it’s an excuse to gorge yourself on chocolate (in moderation!), you dress up as whatever you want (Elsa!), and it’s my sister’s birthday so I can always tease her that she’s a full-fledged witch (and also that I love her, okay?)

If you really think about it, Halloween is nice to people trying to make good choices because it keeps portion sizes small and controlled, of course that depends on if you can maintain your control. The fun-sized bars are just more fun anyways because you can then choose 2-3 different types of candy to have and feel more satisfied. That’s the way I like to play it anyways because keeping a positive attitude is a major part of the challenge of staying healthy and happy! There’s absolutely no reason to stop celebrating Halloween once you grow up and that includes both candy consumption and costume dressing.

In very exciting news, I am happy to report that not only did my Elsa costume come in plenty of time for Halloween festivities, but it’s actually quite nice. Paired with my ready to go tiara and I will be an exceptional ice queen. The only problem everyone keeps pointing out to me is that I don’t have anywhere near Elsa hair- not blonde, not long or thick enough for a decent braid. I’m still on the search for that one, but I might have to resort to spraying it. Yeep! I also have some very exciting little detailed plans to incorporate to my costume. This is the first year in a while that I’ve actually planned a costume ahead of time so I’m quite pleased with myself.

Obviously the fact that Halloween is my sister’s birthday is very exciting as well. Since I was born nine days (and three years) later, I always say that I was the best gift she ever could have received. It’s also cool to have a big bash for her birthday with everyone dressed up.

This all leads me to the point of my post that I haven’t mentioned. I’m all for Halloween decorations and any kind of holiday decorations because it’s festive and fun. I love all the little ghosts and gravestones, black cats and haunting music, and cute owls and pumpkins smiling or howling. It all sets the scene. One thing I do not love are all the freaking S-P-I-D-E-R-S. Overload people, relax! I was on a great run yesterday plugging along when I noticed one of the houses on my route had a gigantic freaking S-P-I-D-E-R blow up doll on top of their house. It was so realistic, I jumped and nearly fell over onto a nearby lawn. It did give me more incentive to run faster, but I was not pleased.

This Halloween, enjoy the candy, the trick or treating, parties, and random festivities, but please LAY OFF THE YOU KNOW WHATS! It’s bad for my health.photo

Reflections

I’m surprised as you are, but somehow, October is coming to a close. It all happened so fast, from June to now, though if I’m being honest, even last year passed by quickly. Time needs to slow down except for situations where you are dreading something because then it can speed up, thanks very much.

Thinking about this while swimming laps today (I probably could have just swam outside in the pouring rain…), I wondered how I could incorporate this into a post. The idea of gratitude is one that reinforces a mindful life to be lived. We think a lot about what we are thankful for coming Thanksgiving and through the holidays, but I’ve found that it is a matter we all struggle to convey otherwise.

For every new month, I want to talk about a few of the things I am excited about, feel are important, and worthy of admiration. At the end of every month, I want to offer a word of reflection for all of the wonderful, important, and surprising events that have happened in my life for which I am grateful.

Yes, we still have a week left of October- yay Halloween!- but since I thought of the idea today, I want to introduce the post today too!

October Happenings:
– Wedding dress shopping with my sister, mom, and my sister’s future mother in-law
– Family party with good food, good wine, and great celebrations
– My dad’s birthday
– My sister’s birthday (Halloween)
– Playing kickball
– College reunion apple-picking trip
– My cousin’s ring and tassel ceremony
– Experimenting more in the kitchen
– Meals with friends
– Fall weather
– Writing
– Reading more

Okay, this was harder than I thought. When I asked my mom to remind me of any such events she said, “I don’t think you have any. Any of us.” Um, thanks mom.

But I have a feeling this is because I wasn’t keeping this idea in mind while living my life. As I am constantly on a quest of self-improvement, one facet I am actively working on is mindfulness. This relates in terms to eating and living in general, having the ability to relax and understand just what is happening to me in that particular moment. Important life lessons are there for the taking, but you won’t learn or grow in anything if you haven’t noticed it happening!

Wedding dress shopping was such a fun and exciting event because as MOH and as a sister to someone who is very happy, that makes me very happy. I may tend to be more of the princess in the family, but she’ll find the dress she adores.

Yeah, I’m not sharing that picture! NO SPOILERS!

The family party I talked about earlier this week, but if nothing else, it is just remarkable that my huge extended family can get along as well as we do. Our time together is always filled with laughter and good old bonding and I am so grateful for that.

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With my cousins Erin and Mikey.

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With my sister Lauren and cousins Erin and Carolyn.

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With my Godmother and cousin Maura.

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With Uncle Mike possibly vogueing and Mikey photobombing.

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With my Aunt Stacy.

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With my Uncle Peter.

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With two of the greatest women I know: my Auntie Bea and Grandma.

Birthdays are the obvious ones because it means another great year of happiness and health, which we are all fortunate to have. No one else in my immediate family cares about their birthdays as much as me, which I don’t understand, but just the idea of a birthday is a really cool concept. If you hate your birthday, I just want to throw this out there: It could be worse, think of where else you’d be….?!

Kickball has just been a really fun thing to do to meet some cool new people and I’ve enjoyed playing. The ball is not as small as I remember and much harder to kick, but I’ve had some memorable- good and bad- moments on the field.

Anytime I get to see my college friends, I get super happy. It’s funny how we can spend so much time apart, but when we finally get together again, it seems like no time has passed at all. And this time was particularly special because my friend Erin is getting married and asked me to be one of her bridesmaids in the form of Hogwarts acceptance letter. Yay!

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Not only was it surreal to be back at my alma mater for the first time since graduation, but it was for a super cool deal. I was extremely honored when my cousin Erin asked me to be her sponsor for her ring and tassel ceremony because, as I’ve said 1000 times before, family is important to me. I’m really glad and fortunate to not only be close with my siblings, but to have formed some great, lasting relationships with my cousins. This has shown itself in some more serious ways- being the sponsor- and silly ways- finding this shirt in a store and immediately having to share it with them.

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I’ve taken more liberty and risks when it comes to cooking and baking lately and I’m having a lot of fun! Let me tell you, it’s not always been perfect. I still have a waffle recipe I need to work on, but just the process of learning and exploring the science of cooking has been fascinating. While I’ve tried developing some recipes of my own, I also think it’s important to try different recipes because you get to learn how to use different techniques and strategies you may never have thought of before. That’s the essence of learning!

This month, I’ve shared some great meals with friends. From the mini college reunion I mentioned before, to brunch with my friends Lauren and Andrea and dinner with my friends Bobby, Laura, Lauren, Emily, and Mary, I’ve been fortunate to spend some quality time over quality food to catch up. Maintaining friendships are such an important part of life, but I find that I often take them for granted and expect them to just be there. Looking back on my life, I realize that I’ve had a lot of friends come and go for all sorts of reasons, so it is remarkable how some friendships last.

I mentioned my affinity for apples before, and also how I can’t eat them year round due to some pretty sucky spring allergies (that last too long!), but fall is the time I can enjoy them without my throat growing itchy and threatening to close- it hasn’t yet, no worries. Thank you, fall, for this gift to eat apples during its best season, but also thank you for your beauty. Most afternoons, I’ll walk the dog with my mom, or when I’m off running on my own, I get to look out into the beautiful landscape that surrounds me. From the colorful foliage to the crisp chill in the air, fall makes me so blissful and content, albeit a tad nostalgic- though that isn’t necessarily bad!

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For whatever reason- probably because I’ve put in more thought and effort- my writing has been taking off. Though I haven’t dedicated as much time to the editing process as I should, right now, I’m focused on just getting my words down. Whether for my blog, which I feel I have been so much more consistent, or for short stories and a novel I am working on- not about the mermaids, yet!- I’ve been so happy to connect my thoughts and words to something more concrete. Writing is not only an outlet, but a passion. Passions, I have learned, do not always come easy, but have to be fostered, and I have begun to put that into practice more.

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The reflection I will end on is actually something that has occurred more frequently these past couple of months, though I suppose that could be said about a lot of my points. Last year, I didn’t have as much time to read for fun, or at least what I wanted to read, between work, classes, and homework. When I got into bed, I fell asleep immediately. Having the time and liberty to read to my heart’s content has made me smarter, happier, and more thoughtful. Reading is such an unbelievable privilege of humanity.

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These reflections were not in any particular order, but were typed as I thought of them. October, as the months and years before it, have passed by so quickly, but they were not without their lasting memories and important moments.

Look for a post, come early November (the best month!) where I discuss some of the things in which I’m looking forward!

Workout Renovations

Even though today was my rest day from the gym, I have a lot of exciting workout news to share. In order to blast through a plateau, I’ve updated my exercise plan. I have a lot of the same exercises that I’ve either added weight to or made it somehow more difficult.

This week’s schedule looks like this (thanks in large part to the rain).

Sunday:
Dumbbells/Body Strength Mash Up-
– Bench Presses
– Tricep Dips
– Tricep Extensions w/ Calf Raises
– Hip Lifts
– Bicep Curls
– Step Ups
– Front Raises
– Push Ups
– Single-Leg Rows
– Mountain Climbers
– Shoulder Presses w/ Squats
– Lunges
– Shrugs to Monkey Arms
– Deep Plie Squats
– Shoulder Flies

Core-
– Kneeling Kickbacks
– Mermaid Raises
– Crunches
– Bicycle Crunches
– Legs Up Crunches
– Russian Twists
– Sit Ups
– Alternating Ankle Grabs
– Plank (1 minute)
– Side Planks (30 seconds each side)
4 x 12
Cardio-
– Swim

Monday:

Strength/Core-
– Yoga

Cardio-
– Run

Tuesday:

Barbells-
– Snatch and Presses
– Bicep Curls
– Front Deadlifts
– High Pulls
– Front Rows
– Squat Presses
– Bench Presses
– Standing Tricep Extensions
– Front Shoulder Presses
– Front Raises
– Shoulder Raises
– Tricep Kickbacks
– Leg Presses

Core-
– Box Jumps
– Split Squats
– Squat/Elbow to Knee Twists
– Lunge Twists
– Burpees
– T Jacks
– V Push Ups
– Spiderman Climbers
– Hip Lift Calf Raises
– V Ups
– Plank (30 seconds)
– Side Plank (20 seconds each side)
4 x 10

Cardio-
– Jump Rope
– Jumping Jacks
– Bicycle Sprints
– Treadmill Sprints
– Rower Sprints

Wednesday:

REST

Thursday:

Medicine Ball/Ball-
Circuit 1
– Burpees to Throw
– Squat Swings
– Lunge Twists
– Single-Leg Deadlift Reaches
– Ball Twist Tosses

Circuit 2
– Mermaid Raises
– Hundreds
– Elevated Hip Lifts
– Russian Twists
– Ball Flies

Body Strength-
Circuit 3
– Lunge Knee Ups
– Jumping Jacks
– Squat Jumps
– Plank Jacks
– Box Jumps

Circuit 4
– Push Ups
– Mountain Climbers
– Dips
– Bicycle Crunches
– V Ups
3 x 15
Circuit 5
– Plank (1 minute, 30 seconds)
– Side Planks (1 minute each side)

Cardio-
– Swim

Friday:

Barbells-
Circuit 1
– Elevated Bench Presses
– Plie Squat Presses
– Side Deadlifts
– Leg Presses
– Cable Shoulder Presses
– Cable Shoulder Raises

Kettlebells-
Circuit 2
– Swings
– Deadlifts
– Tricep Pushbacks
– Snatch and Presses
– High Pulls
– Bent-Over Rows

Circuit 3
– Elbow to Knee Presses
– Split Squat Twists
– Side Leans w/ Squats
– Mermaid Raises
– Leg Lifts to Hundreds
– Legs Up Crunches

Body Strength-
Circuit 4
– Single-Leg Kickbacks
– Step Up Twists
– Walking Lunges
– V Push Ups
– Ankle Grabs
– Russian Twists
4 x 12

Cardio-
– Jump Rope
– Jumping Jacks
– Bicycle Sprints
– Treadmill Sprints
– Rower Sprints

Saturday:

Strength-
– Yoga

Cardio-
– Run

These workouts seem extensive, but remember, if you want to incorporate any of these into your routine, you can easily break up the segments. I prefer to do circuits because it makes everything flow faster and it doesn’t seem as tedious. Less rest in-between sets is also good to get the heart racing.