Here Comes The Weekend

Yesterday was the first day I haven’t blogged in about two weeks. It was for good reason as I met some grad school friends for dinner and conversation. It was a fun night and by the time I got home, I was ready for bed!

The next couple of days are going to be busy busy, so I might not have time to check in for awhile. Here’s a few meals and workouts to hold you over until then.

Toast and peanut butter made my tummy happy Wednesday morning after a heavy strength workout. I was feeling indulgent, so I toasted up some coconut and sprinkled it on top.

photo 1

Pizza and salad are one of those perfect combinations. As a mid-day meal, this hit the spot and cheered up my day.

photo 2

Knowing I wanted to have two Bertucci’s rolls, I chose the soup and salad combination to keep things on the light side. It was delicious and completely filling.

photo 3

Thursday morning, I quickly scrambled an egg, egg white, and two tablespoons of cottage cheese. Honey wheat toast and a bowl of fruit perfectly complemented the eggs.

photo 1

A veggie and brown rice stir fry tossed with some more of those chicken meatballs came together to form an excellent lunch. With a little teriyaki marinade drizzled on top, there was a collection of flavors.

photo 2

Dinner seems a little carb heavy. I had a grilled piece of tilapia with cajun seasoning, broccoli, peppers, and some whole wheat pasta sprinkled with cheese on top.

photo 3

As for workouts, Wednesday ended up being solely strength, leaving me quite sore even two days later. I went through my regular barbell workout, performing each move in sets of 10-10-8-8-6-6-4-4. By the end, my muscles were tired and it was time to go.

I went for a cardio heavy workout on Wednesday by starting on the treadmill for 25 minutes for a run. Seeing that the pool was somewhat empty, I rushed down and hopped in for a swim. My muscles were nice and surprised since I haven’t been able to swim in a long time, but it felt good and refreshing to be back at it. My hope is that I can get into the pool at least once a week, hopefully twice. The elliptical and bike don’t provide me enough of a workout anymore and I can’t run every single day and keep healthy legs. Swimming really helped me cross train, especially when combined with strength training, and I’d love to keep going.

Quick Check-In

I’m checking in before my screenwriting class, so this will be a shorter post. I started my morning with a hard-boiled egg and a cheesestick, which fueled me through my body strength workout and run this morning at the gym.

When I got home, to ease the frigid cold, I cooked up some stove-top peanut oats. I had just enough time to toast up some coconut to drizzle on top. Banana, blueberries, and raspberries were swirled throughout. Delicious!

photo 1

For lunch, I had a bowl of homemade chicken tortilla soup and a toasted corn muffin with peanut butter. To get an extra kick of veggies, I had carrots, peppers, and celery sticks.

photo 2

Dinner was something I haven’t had in awhile. Pizza! My favorite. I enjoyed my favorite toppings, peppers, and had a salad to go alongside it.

photo 3

Great ending to a busy day! Now time to workshop!

Julie Andrews Is A Goddess Angel Baby

Last night, I drifted off to sleep listening to the Oscars. At some point, I woke up and it was still playing. When they announced Lady Gaga was performing next, I declared it time for bed. Little did I know that JULIE FREAKING ANDREWS would be making an appearance at the end of her performance. Julie Andrews is a goddess angel baby and I would have liked to see the beautiful moment when the entire audience gave her the standing ovation she deserves. I mean, I got to see it on Youtube, and for the record, Gaga rocked it, but it would have been a real life moment. This is why the Oscars don’t need to be 5.78 hours long. And on a Sunday night!

When I was younger, I used to watch The Sound of Music over and over again- bless my Nana who watched it with me- but I was an active participant, pretending to be Liesel or Maria, putting on a pretty dress and leaping across my living room while singing as loud as I could. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I feel it is a pertinent moment in my life. Julie Andrews is the essence of talent and class.

My love of celebrities battled my love of sleep and sleep won out. Granted, not until after I saw Chris Evans present. It doesn’t help that many of my favorites didn’t even attend. In that case, my curiosity would have gotten the best of sleep.

Despite keeping me up later than usual, waking up this morning for my workout didn’t prove too difficult. It was more of the prospect of stepping outside into the freezing cold world that made things difficult. After a large glass of water, I brewed myself a small cup of coffee and ate a tortilla stuffed with almond butter, banana, and strawberries. I made a few of these, along with a couple of eggs, to be prepared for the week ahead. I did try to mix things up a bit, so you’ll see more throughout the week.

photo 1

My workout today included a kettlebell circuit that got the blood flowing. I ran through 4 sets of 10 reps of swings, deadlifts, high lifts, arrow lunges, and kickback rows. After, I did a few planks- 1.5 minutes for a front plank, 1 minute on each side for side planks. More strength training was on the menu and I did 4 sets of 10 reps of dumbbells- alternating shoulder to knee presses, hammer curls, then shoulder raises, overhead tricep extensions, and bench presses on the stability ball. Nouha joined me, which helped me forget how early it was!

I wanted to take a break from running due to my left foot falling asleep the day before, so I rode the elliptical for a mediocre cardio workout for 20 minutes, followed by 4 minutes on the bike doing a Tabata Interval workout. It was a great workout and an amazing way to start the day!

After coming home and getting ready for the rest of my day, I made an egg and cheese sandwich. One egg, a few pieces of pepper jack cheese, on top of an English muffin, and a side of blueberries and sweet pineapple, made an excellent morning pick-me-up.

photo 2

It’s hard to believe that four of these meatballs are one serving because they are so filling and tasty! On Sunday, I stir fried a bunch of vegetables and brown rice, enough to make two lunches, and took half of it for yesterday’s lunch. To go along with these ginger teriyaki chicken meatballs, I sautéed everything in a teriyaki marinade, which was an excellent combination. To complete my meal, I polished off a pear- a recent obsession- and two hershey nuggets. Perfecto!

photo 3

Dinner provided a medley of flavors and colors. Steak fajitas are one of our favorite meals, which we complemented with peppers, mushrooms, and a salad made of lettuce, carrots, and tomato. For mine, I folded my tortilla in half like a quesadilla and filled it with cheese. I had a couple of spoonfuls of rice to go along with it.

The Oscars!

I’m embarrassed. My parents have seen more than twice as many Oscar nominated films than I have this year. I guess they are just film conrnessouirs now. I was sadly lacking in that department due to a lack of effort, but there’s always time to catch up.

Maybe I’m getting older with more responsibilities, or maybe no one is nominated who I really care about, but while I enjoyed watching the part of the Oscars that I bothered to stay up for, I couldn’t make it the whole thing. I didn’t even try. Neil Patrick Harris was of course, fabulous, and I loved his opening number. I prefer a longer monologue, but there’s only so much time. Why did they start at 8:30?

On Sundays, I like to be productive, getting as many lunches and breakfasts prepared for the week, getting in my workout, doing laundry, and painting my nails. The snow and the work we have to do to clean up after it, delays this. We must be as flexible as possible. I’m learning not to let these small things stress me out as much as they normally do. What a process.

Speaking of meals, for breakfast, we wanted to mix things up a little with our poached eggs. We sautéed some spinach and boiled some hollandaise sauce. You can’t see the spinach in the picture, but I assure you, it was there. Poached eggs are so tasty on their own, but sometimes a little change up can be just as good, if not better. A large bowl of fruit topped off the meal.

photo 1Anticipating a bigger dinner, after my workout, I came home to enjoy a quick snack. I went for a cheesestick, a couple of crackers, carrots, and an apple. It hit the spot and helped me refuel until dinner.

photo 2

Dinner was a bit of a family affair with my sister, Lauren, and her fiancée Nick over. We had roasted chicken, brussels sprouts, squash, peppers, stuffing, and potatoes. The meal itself was divine, but for dessert, we had apple crumble and a generous scoop of ice cream.

photo 3

For my workout, I kicked things off with a body strength workout that left me more than warmed up. Starting with step ups, I ran through a circuit of dips, squats, lunges, kickbacks, calf raises, push ups, spiderman climbers, mermaid raises, hip lifts, bicycle crunches, ankle grabs, crunches, hundreds, and Russian twists. After, I hit the treadmill for a long run. I got through 3.1 and would have liked to go on longer, except my foot was falling asleep. I tried to trek through it for as long as possible, but after that initial run, I gave it a breather and walked for five minutes. I was able to run for another seven minutes after, then finished up with another five minutes walk. It was a great workout that left me sweaty in the grossest, best way possible.

Birdman: It’s Weird, Man.

Considering the Oscars are airing and I’ve barely seen any of the movies, I figured it was time to at least catch one of them. I did see The Theory of Everything around Thanksgiving and I thought that was a good movie with great acting. It will most likely win Eddie Redmayne a Best Acting Oscar, but it won’t win for best film.

The two biggest contenders are Boyhood and Birdman. Eventually, I will see Boyhood, if only for the fact that it was filmed over twelve years, though that may be the only interesting part about it. I watched Birdman last night thinking I was really going to like it. I wanted to like it. The cast is excellent with Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, and Edward Norton among them and I think everyone did a fabulous job of portraying their characters.

The premise of the film also intrigues me. It analyzes how people deal with fame within that culture, both from a perspective of a blockbuster icon who is beloved and a theatre extraordinaire who is esteemed. The film also toys with the role the audience plays in creating film. We rely on big gestures, those moments that we can put all over Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the ones that make us feel connected to that world in a range of emotions. Such a fascinating concept!

I like how it took such a romanticized world and made it imperfect. I’m not sure I’ve seen a more realistic perspective of what it is like to work in that industry-granted, I myself have seen it in person on a limited basis-even though there were implausible facets included as well. In popular culture, especially with the rise of reality television, the line between what is real and what is imaginary has been completely shattered beyond recognition. It’s why we obsess over celebrity lives, or at the very least, why we are invested in them to some extent. Part of it too is admiring their talent and what they are able to do, but since many of us do not have the money, fame, or appearances to do what they do, we like to watch. We like what we like to watch to be very big. They make this point in the film. It’s subtle, but it’s there, and it’s true.

If I’m confusing you, watch the film, think it over, then we can chat.

For my tastes, the film took a weirder turn than I would have enjoyed. I can’t exactly dig into it without spoiling it completely, but I will say that as a film that gets you thinking, it works. I wanted it to run out a certain way because it would have made more sense to me, but it’s not my film. Now that I’m thinking more about it and have reviewed the film, I don’t hate the ending as much as I first did. Sure, it was a little bizarre, but now that I’ve connected it in my mind to the points I’ve made above, it at least makes more sense to me.

See Birdman. Not just because it will win the Oscar, but because the film is bitter, edgy, and rough.

Moving onto meal recapping, I started my Saturday morning with my favorite peanut butter pancakes. I wonder if this is actually a surprise to anyone? I don’t know how this happens, but I always seem to have a difference in the amount of batter my recipe makes week-to-week. Last week, I had four huge pancakes and one little dollop. Sometimes, I barely make three. This week, I had four medium-sized cakes. I don’t change up my ingredients or how much I put in there, so it’s just strange to see such a disparity. Maybe I’m just bad at judging how heavy handed I am at spooning them onto the griddle. Regardless, with more peanut butter on top, some jelly, toasted coconut, a side of berries, and an episode of Parks and Rec, life was good.

photo 1

My mom and I did our grocery shopping run on Saturday afternoon because Sunday is Oscar day messy from rain and, yup, snow. By the time we got home, I was hungry from lunch and needed to refuel before my workout. I heated up this bowl of wonton soup from Trader Joes and toasted a piece of whole wheat sour dough with cheese and pepperoni. Veggie sticks and a handful of popcorn were on the side. I’m excited because I got the ingredients to make my own wonton soup- though I am lazy and bought Trader Joes frozen mini wontons to put into it. Basically, I just want to be able to add more veggies to my soup.

photo 2

After a brief digestion period, I took myself to the gym just as the snow was beginning to fall. Before my sister Lauren joined me, I started with a few stretches and a couple of planks. I held a forearm plank for 1.5 minutes, then did 1 minute for each side of side planks. For our strength routine, I led us through a dumbbell circuit. My sister stuck with me through two sets of ten reps and two sets of eight reps. As she headed for a cardio workout, I continued on to do two sets of six reps and two sets of four reps, raising the weight as I went along. On my last set of bench presses, I was actually able to lift 110 pounds, which is my all time high. My muscles are definitely in recovery mode, but they aren’t feeling too sore!

I started on the treadmill with a couple of sprints to get my heart pumping for my cardio workout. After ten minutes worth, I did a Plyometrics circuit of box jumps, side step ups, jumping jacks, skater jumps (side to side), and high knees, before finishing with five minutes of jump roping. Side step ups are something I discovered in one of those fitness magazines that I hadn’t thought of before. Just changing up that range of motion has made a difference in my muscles.

For dinner, I started off with a plate of homemade nachos. I just took tostito chips and crumbled cheese all over them and heated them up in the microwave. After, I made a massive salad stocked with veggies and these chicken strips that were leftover from I’m not sure where. It was a filling meal and still left room for ice cream during the movie. Can’t go wrong!

photo 3

One of my finer looking pictures! Enjoy Oscar night! I’m really just watching to catch a glimpse of Chris Evans and/or Harrison Ford. Well, also because I want to act like I’m “in the know.” Oh, and the opening number! At least I’ve seen two of the films…

Quick Recap

Anticipating that the next few weekends are going to be very busy- updates to come!- I knew I needed to workout every week day morning this coming week. In that case, I took this Friday off to get some extra sleep and take my rest day. After two extra glorious hours of sleep, I heated up two of these whole wheat Van waffles and smeared them with peanut butter. Since it was Friday, I decided to be fancy and toast up some coconut. Blueberries and a banana completed my meal.

photo 1It was an extra special peanut buttery day that continued onto lunch with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on sour dough. For veggies, I chopped up carrots, peppers, celery, and sugar snap peas and dipped them in some hummus. An apple was a great accompaniment to the meal.

photo 2

I had high hopes for my dinner when I met my friend Lauren at a restaurant after work. Starting with some chips and salsa, I sipped on a margarita and went back and forth trying to decide what to eat. I ended up asking the waitress her opinion and from the description on the menu, I was excited. It was supposed to be a corn tortilla filled with corn, zucchini, summer squash, peppers, and portabella mushrooms covered in a spinach cream sauce. The spinach cream sauce was delicious, but when I cut into it, it was full of onion and corn. I hate onions. Thus, I had a disappointing dinner, which is worse when you have to pay for it.

photo 3

Now that I look back at it, it doesn’t look very appetizing. It was a still a fun night and a great time catching up with a friend.

Spring Will Come…Eventually

I sat down after dinner, flipped on the TV, to write this blog and some talkback session is on with the Red Sox. I didn’t realize how much I missed baseball until this moment. Maybe it was the flashback to last season showing the warmth, sun, and ground. Maybe it’s just because I love this game and I love this team. Last year was a bit of a wash, but as I remember the moves we’ve made, and didn’t, I think we are off to make a great start.

The major thing that will be fun this season is the offense. Last year, they couldn’t drive in runs and there is nothing more frustrating than leaving men on base in this game. Pitching is important, but I’d rather see a huge scoring game than a pitcher’s duel from an entertainment standpoint. Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez should bring a lot of personality to the field and to the team’s image. It doesn’t suck that new Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello happens to be very handsome. It makes Jon Lester’s move to Chicago that much okay.

Speaking of, I was sad to see him go and would have welcomed him back with open arms, but not at that amount of money. Sports stars and entertainment folks already make too much money and I don’t understand why there isn’t a limit like there is in other sports. It forces teams to be creative and gives smaller market teams a chance. It’s odd to me that someone like Tom Brady, who is arguably (I say that so you won’t yell at me if you oppose) the greatest quarterback of all time, and deserves a hefty sum of money, restructures his contract to accept less and help his team make other moves, while a guy like Jon Lester, whose had a measure of success, but was never a stud, makes millions upon millions of dollars.

When the Red Sox come back home to Fenway, there will probably still be snow on the ground, but the feeling of Spring will start to reawaken. I can’t wait to see them play again, especially after this long, cold winter!

Now to recap my meals. My morning started with another peanut butter-banana-blueberry wrap before the gym. I had to take time to sweep my car clear of snow, which was a rude awakening so early. Another startling moment came from the rabbit that ran at me out of the bush in my front yard. It’s actually a huge issue that animals are still out in this weather- I blame the lateness of the snow in the season, now the breadth- and even though he scared the crap out of me, I hope he finds a way to stay warm!

At the gym, I fit in a strength workout that used medicine balls and stability balls. For this workout, I focus on lower weight and higher reps, 4 sets of 12. Though I start out with moves like lunges, squats, and push ups, I do a lot of core work. After, I hopped onto the treadmill for another run, two miles, as I increased my speed.

For breakfast, I scrambled an egg, egg white, and a quarter of a cup of cottage cheese and toasted an English muffin. It wasn’t the best looking egg dish I’ve created, but it still tasted great!

photo 1

Lunch was a salad topped with a piece of tilapia. It was a chilly lunch that was helped by this cup of soup I got from Panera. It came with a whole grain roll, but I had already eaten some cheese and crackers as a snack, so I only ate half of the roll. I was actually craving the Vegetable Pesto soup they have, but they don’t offer it on Thursdays. The broccoli cheddar was a fine substitute, but not exactly brothy like I wanted.

photo 2

I am obsessed with these chicken meatballs. They are so flavorful and are so easy to throw into stir fry. To mix things up a bit, I boiled some whole wheat penne and tossed it around with spinach, peppers, carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms. I used the last of my Thai Peanut Sauce for a little extra flavoring. Delicious!

photo 3

One thing I love about my meals is how full of color they are! Though the fruit I ate for breakfast didn’t make the picture, I make a real effort to incorporate fruit and veggies into every meal. They add depth and nutrients that really make a dish!