Pick Up A Bat, Dust Off That Glove

The Red Sox start a week from today. I repeat. The Red Sox start a week from today. It doesn’t matter that there is still a bunch of snow on the ground. The weather is still gloomy and frigid. Blankets will be needed at games and it will feel more like October baseball than the games are worth. But the boys are coming back and are bringing a banging offense with them and at the moment, it’s the only true sign of spring.

Like, hello? Easter is on Sunday. I’m used to wearing dresses with flowly skirts and bare legs, sitting outside and enjoying the sun. This is not spring, but spring things are happening, so maybe the weather will catch up. I’ve been wearing many dresses and skirts lately, hoping to inspire some changes, but this morning, I walked into work just as it was starting to snow.

Do you know how glorious it will be to step outside in the morning and not be freezing despite being bundled up in layers? I need to defrost at the gym before I can even get moving. But April is coming, Easter eggs will have to be dyed, and the Red Sox will still play and eventually, the weather will warm along with it.

Speaking of Easter, my mom and I are currently belting out lyrics to Jesus Christ Superstar. I love that musical- though there are few that I don’t. The music is very catchy and singable. Tis the season!

When my alarm went off Monday morning, I was shell-shocked for a few minutes, but then I rolled out of bed and felt fine. I enjoyed a quick tortilla wrap filled with peanut butter, guzzled some water, and nestled in my car with a warm cup of coffee. I actually don’t mind the darkness in the mornings- though it will be nice when it gets lighter and warmer to run outside!- because it’s my time to really wake up and I feel like I’m the only one awake. Once I step out of my car and into the gym, my day moves quick and loud, so that silence is much appreciated. 

At the gym, I kicked things off with some kettlebell action. In my circuit, I performed each move in four sets of twelve reps- swings, alternating shoulder presses with step ups, high pulls, tricep kickbacks, and shoulder raises. I moved onto heavier weights with the barbell after, four sets of eight reps, doing dead lifts, bicep curls, rows, squat presses, and bench presses. For my cardio, I started off thinking I’d do my run/walk incline/speed workout, but after my first walk cycle, I was feeling strong and I just ran, upping my pace every couple of minutes. I never know when I’m going to have an amazing run, so I jump at it when things run smoothly.

For breakfast, I had an overnight oatmeal brewing in an almost empty jar of dark chocolate peanut butter. With the bits of peanut butter left, I enjoyed oats mixed with milk, raisins, dates, walnuts, and mashed banana. I was still feeling a but hungry after, so I had some strawberries and a cheesestick.

  

For lunch, I had this salad. I chopped up some rotisserie chicken as a hit of protein on top of my usual salad fillings. I’m seriously obsessed with this blush dressing. It’s sweet, but not overly so, and compliments the veggies well, upping the flavor. I had a Baggie of popcorn to go with it- lately, I’ve been digging Angie’s kettle corn brand. Again, it’s sweet and salty, but in a nice subtle way. It’s good that I don’t have the entire bag with me at work because I could eat it all!

 

Part of my spring cleaning meal plan is to incorporate more fish. For dinner, I had swordfish grilled in a blackening spice with cauliflower au gratin, spinach, and brown spinach rice. A great, healthy, and tasty dish!

As I type, I’m happily sipping peppermint tea from my new mug. It’s way bigger than anything I’m used to though so I keep spilling all over myself. The rest of the night, I’m planning on hunkering down to work on my script and perhaps doing a little reading before bed.

A little tease for tomorrow’s blog: I READ A BOOK THIS WEEKEND AND WATCHED A NEW SHOW. Review time! And no, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke.

An Ode To Sneakers

I have a tough time letting go of sneakers. Think of all the miles and steps they’ve gone on with you. Some painful, some exuberant, long runs, short jaunts from the initial pain to the inexplicable comfort. I love my sneakers, but after a long winter slushing through the snow to get to the treadmill or the monotony on the treadmill, it’s time to say goodbye. I hate fitting new sneakers on my feet and those first few runs. I try to rack up a few miles by walking because inevitably there will be some pain and blisters. Eventually they start to feel normal and you don’t even appreciate how fitted they are to your feet, kind of like how you don’t yearn to feel “normal” until you’re sick. 

  

 Sneakers are definitely replaceable, but as I “run” through them, I like to take a moment to remember and to appreciate every step, every stride, every puddle, every crunch, every minute, every mile. It makes me feel proud every time I get through another pair of sneakers because I know they were truly used. All the sneakers that have now dusted over or gone to the trash, they’re proof of the work and accomplishment of what I have been able to do these past THREE years. The more worn and rundown they are, the harder I’ve worked, the more I’ve achieved. With fitness, just stepping out the door and making it to the gym is an accomplishment. Revel in it. 

  

Weekends always pass by so quickly in a wonderful way. I’ve had a great weekend of friends, family, food, exercise, and fun, starting on Friday morning with a workout and a bowl of oats. For my workout, I ran through a dumbbell strength routine before finishing up with a sweaty Plyometrics workout. Oatmeal included dark chocolate peanut butter, blueberries, raspberries, and coconut. So delicious!

 

I followed my oatmeal up with leftover pizza and a fresh salad for lunch.

 

 

For dinner, I met up with my friend Molly for our favorite meal at Border Cafe, the blackened salmon salad with warm tostito chips and margaritas of course.

 

 

Saturday was move in day for Lauren and Nick, so I know I needed a substantial breakfast to get going. Peanut butter pancakes are a jewel of life. Fresh, tasty, and nutritious!

 

 

A quick hot dog on a toasted roll and salad helped me refuel.

 

  

After the move, I took myself over to the gym-damn the snow for foiling my plan to run outside!- and started with a stretch session and some Yoga. On the treadmill, I ran 4.1 miles and felt sweaty and tired by the end, looking forward to a full day of rest on Sunday!

My dinner was this delicious stir fry made with veggies, whole wheat bow tie pasta, and chicken meatballs in a Thai peanut sauce. Yum!

 

Before grocery shopping on Sunday, I woke up to some poached eggs over toast. Buttery, warm, and oh so good.

 

 

For lunch, I met my friend Katie in the city. The sun was shining and the air was chilly, with a touch of warmth. I got a barbecue pork sandwich and we split some fries. After, we meandered our way over to some stores and I bought two new shirts, new socks, and a giant coffee mug. 

  

We also stopped into Ben and Jerry’s for some disappointing ice cream. The flavor was halted by the ice chips swirled inside and the taste was not fresh. Disappointing! I have high standards for my ice cream people. 

When I got home, I went on a walk with my mom and the dog before setting up in the kitchen for a veggie chopping session. It is so much easier to chop veggies for lunch in advance so I can just toss everything together in a jiff! So much more to do at night than be making lunches. I was able to get all of my laundry done on Saturday so Sunday was just a relaxing night before the week ahead.

What’s the best thing you did this weekend?

Rainy But Warm

Rainy days are better than snowy days, at least that’s what I’m telling myself. It seems almost unfair that on one of the first warm days of the year, it pours. I won’t complain so long as it stays this warm. Although I was the dummy who wore really cute shoes that won’t hold up in water. Let’s see if they recover. 

Breakfast this morning was more scrambled eggs. I like keeping them simple by mixing them with a little butter in the pan. I sprinkled some cheese on top and enjoyed my eggs with peanut buttered toast and some berries.

  

I found a new dressing and now I’m obsessed. It’s some kind of red blush thing and it has such a tasty tang to it. My salad this day had the usual veggie medley with some leftover tilapia on top. On the side, I had a piece of falafel and a Baggie of popcorn. The up close and personal pictures of salads make it look that much better.

  

As much as I love home-cooking, sometimes all you need in life is pizza. Especially on rainy days! I had roasted red pepper with sautéed spinach and mushrooms. Delicious!

  

When I woke up for the gym this morning, it wasn’t raining yet and was actually quite pleasant, however dark. I worked through a pretty intense strength workout using the stability ball and medicine ball. My abs were burning by the time I jumped in the pool to get in my laps. I did the same routine I’ve done the past couple of times and I think I’m ready to mix things up again. I can’t get over what a big difference swimming had added to my workouts and how my body feels- so much healthier and not as sore after! 

Hey, guess what!? It’s Friday! Happy weekend!

I am determine to wear heels. I have sensitive feet and don’t like to force myself to wear or do things that are unnecessarily uncomfortable, but heels are cute and I’m sick of flats. Work is a great place to practice because there is walking and standing, but not like when I was teaching where there was a threat of having to chase students on the playground. I’ve gotten better walking and not having my feet hurt by practicing in boots. By spring and summer, I’ll be wearing wedges and regular heels like a pro. Or so is the hope!

Meals for the day began with a hard-boiled egg and babybel cheese that fueled me through my workout.

 I started with five minutes on the bike to warm and wake up as I was feeling a bit sleepy and overwhelmed by the buzzing of all the treadmills. Once I got going, I felt a lot better and started with  two sets of dumbbell exercises at ten reps a piece. I hopped on the treadmill for a mile run and felt great! My next two set of dumbbell exercises were at eight reps with slightly higher weight. My next mile run was still feeling good- note, good music can get you through anything. I finished my strength training workout with two sets of six reps at my highest weight. My shoulders were feeling the burn as I hopped on the treadmill for a final mile. I was definitely tired, but energized by the end.

I whipped up some French toast for my breakfast by throwing in pumpkin, egg, almond milk, and cinnamon. It was excellent topped with peanut butter, jelly, and toasted coconut. A bowl of fruit finished the meal.

 

Lunch was a delicious salad filled with different colors and tastes. My usual salad contains baby spinach, peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber, tomatoes, and feta. This one also had half a grilled chicken breast and beans for a punch of protein. I had a baggie  of that delicious popcorn to go along with it.

  

Dinner was a delectable meal made by my sister Lauren and her fiancé Nick. Called “chicken and pasta” it’s a recipe made famous by his mother. After all these years of hearing about his favorite meal, I finally got to try it and it did not disappoint. Roasted Brussels sprouts with a little olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper sprinkled on top was an added veggie. I also made a Caesar salad to accompany things.

  

One of my habits for my spring cleaning eating plan is not having seconds. This does not mean that I have more on my initial plate, but that I am certain to really enjoy and savor what I am eating and better listen to my body’s signals. Obviously if I was still hungry, I would have more, but so far, I’ve found myself more satisfied by less servings. Feeling good with all these wedding events nearing! Not to mention the nicer weather and bathing suit season.

Cans of Beans Do Not Need Corn Syrup

I’ve been rocked to my core. As I was cracking open a can of beans to put some into my salad, I happened to glance down at the ingredients list and saw high fructose corn syrup. WHAT?! These were just supposed to be simple red beans by a trusted place and yet there’s a disgusting ingredient that has no function to beans. I quickly glanced at my other cans of black beans and chickpeas and was relieved to see that there was no corn syrup in them. I threw the beans into a pasta strainer, washed, and drained them copiously. Guess what, tasted just fine without the corn syrup. YUCK!

I made some scrambled eggs for breakfast this morning, also sans corn syrup, and enjoyed it with some shredded cheese sprinkled on top, some pecan raisin toast, and a bowl of fresh, sweet berries.

  

My day was so busy that while I was still able to enjoy my delicious salad, I forgot to snap a picture of it! It had baby spinach, chopped avocado, feta, carrots, cucumber, celery, pepper, beans, and half of a grilled chicken breast. It was tasty and fueling through my mid-afternoon.

For dinner, I enjoyed a chicken and steak combination over a spinach salad stocked with walnuts, craisins, poppyseed dressing, and a medley of different veggies. I accompanied my salad with a piece of buttered toast and a few Parmesan zucchini crisps I broiled in the oven.

My workout this morning began with a solid body strength workout including burpees, step ups, tricep dips, squats, lunges, kickbacks, push ups, mountain climbers, mermaid raises, hip lifts, ankle grabs, hundreds, and Russian twists. When I finished, I ran down to the pool and was excited to get in a few laps. Since getting back to the pool, I’ve had less joint and muscle pain and I’ve felt stronger throughout all of my workouts. I’m a little obsessed, particularly with a few sprints involved and still being able to swim without stopping.

In good news, the past few nights I’ve been writing like a fiend. I feel like I was thrown off by all the traveling I did, despite only having been gone on the weekends. Now that I’ve returned to a semblance of routine, I’ve been able to focus on my writing. I also finally took out another book from the library so hopefully by next week I’ll have a new review for you! I’ve only been able to read for a few pages at breakfast, but I’m already hooked. Can’t say that I know what it’s about yet though. Exciting!

Relaxing Weekends

Monday mornings always come far too soon, but there’s a lot to be said about a relaxing weekend after a month of travel. No complaints by any means, but a weekend of sleeping in and home-cooked meals does a girl right. I woke up Saturday morning at 10:00 AM with my stomach rumbling for my favorite pancakes. I cooked up a batch for myself, topping them with more peanut butter, jelly, and toasted coconut.

  

It was just the meal I needed to keep me fueled through a long shopping trip with my mom and sister. This time, we were on the hunt for a mother of the bride dress. It was fun to see my mom on this side of things and we had some good bonding time. You’ll have to wait until the wedding if you know me or the wedding recap. Very exciting times!

After shopping, we needed to replenish, so we stopped for a bite. I chose the ham and cheese panini with a couple of these homemade potato chips! So good! It didn’t sit well in my stomach later on when I was running though, so I’ll just focus on the good taste of it going down.

  

I did get my regular run in, but I was bummed because I had set my sights on going longer since I was feeling so good through most of it. My stomach didn’t agree by the end so I only logged 3.1 miles. Nothing else was done for the day workout wise, but I was on my feet for most of the day shopping so I didn’t feel so bad.

Dinner was a delicious stir fry I made once I was feeling better. I included a medley of fresh veggies with chicken meatballs and teriyaki sauce on top of some brown rice.

  

I woke up Sunday morning hankering for some poached eggs goodness. I had two over buttered toast and a tangerine for a dash of sweetness. It was back to the grocery store for weekly shopping before we went out for lunch with my grandma, brother, and his girlfriend. It was nice to see everyone and even though it was windy and cold, the sun just looks so nice. Almost teasing, though enjoyable from the inside. I chose the surf and turf option that kept me full long past dinner time. Steak tips with lobster pie and a baked potato. I also started with a salad and a bite of bread because I was so hungry at that point.

  

After lunch, we did a lot more shopping and I came home to get ready for the week ahead, planning my meals. I woke up Monday morning feeling refreshed after a rest day and started with a kettlebell circuit. I followed it up with a few more strength moves using the barbells. It was a strength heavy day, but I finished with a few planks and a run/walk cardio session that rotated between a medium pace, walking on an incline, and running at a faster pace. By the end, I could have continued on longer, but I was out of time and needed to get the rest of my day started.

It was this bowl of oats I was looking forward to after a shower and dressing for the day. White chocolate peanut butter swirled throughout with blueberries, strawberries, and banana. Perfection!

 

I enjoyed this delicious salad for lunch filled with leftover steak, a little avocado, some shredded cheese on top of a bed of lettuce, carrots, cucumber, celery, and peppers. I didn’t even feel hungry for the yogurt I brought later on in the day, so I kept it for the next.

 

 I was ready for dinner by the time it was made. Fresh grilled tilapia with veggies and sweet potato fries did the trick. I also dove in for a little bit of popcorn beforehand to hold me over. The fries turned out a little soggy, but overall it was a great meal!

  

In other news, I’ve been trying to get my cat to sleep on my bed. He has his little spots of the month but it’s been awhile since he’s curled up at the foot of my bed, so I’ve been encouraging him. I laid out three different blankets, giving him a ton of options, and he still jumps off and runs to my parents bed where at the moment there are no blankets! I’m starting to take it personally!

Home-Cooking and Relaxation

After work on Friday, all I wanted to do was crash on the couch and relax, but being the good older sister I am, I walked my dog for a fee minutes since I was the first one home. He doesn’t like to walk without one of my parents and he will fight every inch of the walk if he feels uncomfortable. The collar pulled over his head, which left him unprotected in the middle of the road with a line of cars coming at us. My instinct was to jump on him to hold him there and keep the cars from hitting us. Fortunately, there was enough time for all of this to happen and we are both okay, but it was a scary moment.

Needless to say, I enjoyed my relaxation even more after that.

My morning began with this warming bowl of oats. Instead of the usual dark chocolate peanut butter I stir in, I went with white chocolate with blueberries and a splash of jelly. The result was fantastic.

  

Keeping with my spring cleaning of my diet- and by diet I mean what I eat not the “diet” that is temporary- and had a giant salad with a bowl of soup. I ran out of grilled chicken and didn’t want to open a can of beans that would rot in the fridge all weekend, so I topped my salad with one of those chicken cutlets that always smell better than they taste. I didn’t love the butternut soup as much as I wanted, but over all, my lunch was quite tasty and filling.

  

I made dinner for Lauren and Nick last night, which was delayed because my chicken didn’t defrost as fast as it should have. I found a sesame chicken recipe on Pinterest, which was sweet and savory and delicious if I say so myself. I paired it with a veggie stir fry and some brown rice. Everyone seemed happy and satisfied once they were able to eat it!

  

My workout on Friday morning was a good one. I started with a dumbbell workout that focused on the slow burn, performing moves at three sets of twenty reps at lower weights. I love using heavier weights, but I think the change-up once in awhile is effective. I finished with the squat press and leg press at heavier weights, doing my 10x10x8x8x6x6x4x4x2x2 method to gain strength and increase my weights. My heaviest squat press ended up being 155 pounds and my leg press was actually 500 pounds. I have strong calves due to all that running and Plyometrics. Speaking of Plyometrics, I did that for my cardio, starting with box jumps, jumping jacks, skater jumps, burpees, high knees, lunges, and elevated calf raises. I ended with some planks and jump roping for five minutes. I woke up a little sore this morning, but it was a great workout and I didn’t have to get up at 5:00 am for another workout.

Now off to go dress shopping for my mom for the wedding! Happy Saturday!