Cat Naps

Woo-boy! Remember when I kept talking about all the snow we had this winter? Now    I feel like I keep talking about how hot it is! I prefer being cold to hot because you can easily fix that situation. This heat has just been stifling. My guess is that my newly acquired sniffles is a product of going between the heat and the air conditioning.

This morning, I was in desperate need of changing my sheets due to the sickliness, but my cat, Bandit was all curled up. I put in the extra effort to not bother him and got the sheets off without disturbing him and tossed them into my laundry basket…only to turn away for one second and find him lying in it!

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Since I’ll be away from the kitchen for the next few days, I decided to take advantage and make my pancakes for breakfast. I topped them with jelly and toasted coconut and served them up with berries galore!

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I headed to the gym for a brief, light workout to get back into things. I performed two sets of twenty reps of bicep curls, shoulder presses, tricep extensions, rows, front raises to shoulder raises, and bench presses. I moved onto body strength moves with four sets of ten reps of squats, lunges, kickbacks, push-ups, mountain climbers, and sit ups. After, I finished off with 15 minutes on the elliptical. It felt good to get moving, but I still wasn’t feeling up to my usual standards. Part of this could also be due to the heat.

For lunch, I threw together a quick salad and grilled up a hot dog for convenience before I needed to get to work. I had spent the afternoon packing and getting some chores done before I left.

For dinner, I enjoyed grilled chicken, rice, and green beans. Nice and simple on this very hot evening that required minimal cooking! Now I’m off to prepare for my trip. Check back in for the occasional recap!

Those Aren’t The Sniffles, I’m Just Crying

Greetings! I am all discombobulated because I have the sniffles. I am trying very hard to ignore them because the last time I had a summer cold, it was terrible. I couldn’t even stand up straight. The fear now is that I leave on vacation with my friend on Friday and I’d very much like not to feel like crap. I’m drinking a ton of tea and water and taking Vitamin C, so we are being optimistic!

I should have known things were growing icky the day before yesterday, but I thought I was just having allergy symptoms to my cat or the air conditioner was getting to me. Then yesterday, I went to swim laps and was just feeling off. I was a little dizzy during my turns which is not usual and I just couldn’t get into my groove. I did reach a mile, but I was ready to be done. My strength routine of dumbbells and medicine balls went great beforehand, so it didn’t occur to me that a cold was brewing until after my swim. Yelp!

I woke up very early this morning to take some cold medicine and drink some water. It helped me sleep for a little while and I was feeling better until I started typing this. Colds suck in the winter, but they are worse in humid and hot temperatures. 

For breakfast, I made three attempts before something stuck. Since I am feeling sickly, I thought a cold smoothie might do the trick, but after I took out all the ingredients, I found the blender dirty and in need of a deep soak. I thought I’d go for a breakfast sandwich instead and realized we were out of English muffins, no fear there because there’s always a package in the freezer! I took one out and defrosted it only to realize it was a cinnamon raisin English muffin. Fine, I wound up making an omelet that was delicious!

This was a seriously good omelet! I heated the pan and coated it with a thin layer of butter. I cracked two eggs into the pan and mixed them in with the remaining pat of butter and just left it while I chopped some fruit and toasted my English muffin. Once it was sturdy all the way through,  I flipped the omelet, topped it with some ham and cheese, and dropped it onto a plate. These strawberries and blueberries were so sweet and juicy. All’s well that ends well!

  
With just the sniffles, I would usually work myself through a low-impact workout and I might walk in a little bit, but I am being extra cautious due to my vacation plans and I don’t want to do any harm. Running, especially in these heat is a big no-no. A day of rest may just be what the doctor ordered. I’ll make sure to do an extra hour of studying for good measure.

Also, I’m super excited because after I finished blogging yesterday and wondering what I would read next, a book came off hold. It’s called Station Eleven and it takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in the sense that technology has died. When I read that there was no internet, I am embarrassed to say that I gasped out loud. So far, I’m enjoying it, but I am taking this one at a much slower pace. 

What are you reading?

Weekend Catch Up

I read a book yesterday. No, like an entire book. I tried to step away, I really did, but the mystery had me wrapped around its tiny little finger. That’s not the worst of it. This book was by the same author who wrote THE BOOK THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED because of the worst ending ever no ending whatsoever. Thankfully, the author decided to conclude this one, and it wasn’t terrible. This is why I shouldn’t read/watch anything. I become so absorbed I don’t want to do anything else. Granted, I did do a few other things of the workout variety, but I need to learn how to step away and let anticipation build. I guess I am just one impatient girl. Maybe Meditation will work?

Anyways, the book was The Secret Place by Tana French and I very much enjoyed the suspense and mystery. The characters had great development and I actually cared about them, rather than just caring about how the mystery would be solved. Right now, I’ve got a few books on Mindfulness and Meditation in my queue, but I am aiming to read a book a day week.

I think the last time I checked in was on Thursday, so we have a lot to chat about. Let’s catch up, shall we?

Thursday morning, I got things rolling with a bowl of peanut buttery oats. I topped the goodness with a spoonful of jam and toasted coconut.

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For lunch,  I went with a slice of leftover pepper pizza and a big salad I put together. I actually had a dream last night that my salad won this major salad competition and if we’re being honest, that would totally happen. My salads are often the envy of everyone who sees them.

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I got things moving with a strength workout using dumbbells and a quick series of planks. After, I went on a casual 8 mile walk with my friend Molly where we stopped for dinner in-between, so I wasn’t too worried about cardio.

This burger was amazing! It was topped with some cheese, bacon, onion rings, and honey barbecue sauce. I shared some of the rings with my friend Molly because they were huge and I am not that big a fan of onions, but everything was delicious. It came with a few potato chips and a side of beans.

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Somehow, Friday and Saturday got thrown together and I only have a few pictures of the meals I enjoyed. I can tell you that on Friday, I had a nice rest day, save for a brief walk I enjoyed just to stretch my legs. My workout on Saturday included a killer body strength workout and a swim.

On one of the days for breakfast, I made myself another smoothie. I tossed together some oats, peanut butter, banana , cashew milk, and ice to create something akin to a healthy, delicious milk shake. It was seriously so good and I will be making it again for sure!

Another day had to have been these scrambled eggs because I have photographic evidence that they existed. A little bit of toast and some fruit that did not make it into the picture completed the meal.

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Lunches included this huge salad with chicken and my current weird obsession- hot dogs. The hot dog must have been on Saturday because I wanted something quick post-workout and before dinner with friends.

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For dinner on Friday, I had um, more hot dogs, though I guess this would have happened before the other hot dog…I’m trying to confuse you so that you don’t judge me for my hot dog loving habits. It’s not my healthiest choice, but I’m not participating in any kind of eating contest, so I think I’m safe for now.

Saturday’s dinner was super special because the core four from college were finally able to reunite to celebrate Katie’s birthday. It came a month and four days late, but I think she appreciated it all the same.

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We started off with Sangria at Katie’s then made our way further into the city to make our reservation in the North End. Things were crazy busy, which is understandable, but we weren’t seated until an hour later, which screams bad customer service. Once we finally did sit, we had to wait along time for our food to arrive, but once it did, it was delicious! I selected the chicken parm with homemade ziti. SO good. You’ll forgive me for not having the time to snap a picture before diving in because we were all so hungry!

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I was up early on Sunday for work, but I somehow had enough time to make pancakes. When I’m motivated for pancakes, I can wake myself up! Oh, I should probably mention that I am now working again…in a gym! This is the perfect way for me to gain experience within a gym culture, while studying for my personal training certificate. So far, it’s been great!

Lunch was a huge stir fry: chopped veggies, grilled chicken, buckwheat noodles, thai peanut sauce. A colorful and tasty delight!

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I went out for a run that felt great while I was moving, then left my stomach aching after. I’m not sure what my deal is and it doesn’t happen consistently, but it has never really happened before these past few months. I think I have to start paying more attention to what I am eating and how much water I am drinking beforehand.

For dinner, I still wasn’t feeling great, but I knew I needed to eat. Once I did, I started to feel better, which is something. It’s strange though because I’ve tried to eat salads or meals with a ton of veggies post-run, but with my stomach issue, those only make it worse. I went with a safe, but far less healthy alternative in a frozen pizza. It hit the spot to fill my stomach at least.

Now into the week, I started my days with scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and fruit. Simple at its finest.

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I started my week of workouts with some strength training. I’m mixing things up a lot starting this week, so there will be new workouts to post, but I ran through each exercise six times at eight reps, upping my weight as I went. The circuit of sorts included bench presses, leg presses, cable shoulder pull downs, cable shoulder raises, deadlifts, shoulder presses, squat presses, rows, tricep extensions, and bicep curls. After, I ran through a core circuit: leg raises, step ups, kneeling kickbacks, grasshoppers, elevated hip lifts, flutter kicks, alternating ankle grabs, hundreds, Russian twists, and planks. For a hit of cardio, I jump roped using the Tabata method (20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest) for five minutes, then rode the bike for 15 minutes.

After finishing up, I was ready for lunch. I went with more hot dogs, but I think I have met my quota on these for awhile. The biggest draw for me are the toasted buns. To be fair, I also had a huge salad. See, vegetables don’t usually turn me off during a workout, which is why I am so concerned with my running issues of late.

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For dinner, we grilled up burgers and served them with broccoli and homemade macaroni and cheese. It’s very hard to resist my mom’s macaroni and cheese even when it’s hot out!

And moving onto this morning, we are now all caught up! For breakfast, I enjoyed peanut butter on toast and a plain Greek yogurt with grapes.

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Overall, it wasn’t my healthiest week of eating, but I’m back on track!

Pepper The Garden with Love

I want to start by saying I made a tiny mistake yesterday with my list of favorite tv shows. I know it got intense and you were all amazed that I would share such valuable information with you and I’m sure you’re disappointed that I was wrong! As is stands, I think I’m going to have to push The Golden Girls to a tie for the 5 spot with Gilmore Girls because I forgot about Psych! One could argue that Psych could not possibly be one of my favorites if I forgot about it, but I don’t really care what you think value your opinion and have to disagree.

I think it’s also important that you know there are so many other shows that did not make this list, like Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Broad City, Inside Amy Schumer, Modern Family, etc., etc., etc. Since we’re being honest, I will admit to you that my secret obsession is the show Baby Daddy on ABC Family. It’s super silly, but the characters have a lot of heart and the dialogue is great.

You’re welcome for sharing such privileged information.

Oh, also, you’ve probably noticed the changes in the design. I hope you like! It was time for a change. I took the cover picture myself a few years ago at Redondo Beach after finishing up the best run of my life. *Swoons for California*

My garden has been slow to grow this year, but I’m starting to notice some real progress. One tomato is evident from two plants, but I have TWO peppers. Two. That is two more than the previous two years. For whatever reason, I have never had much luck with my favorite vegetable, but finally luck is in my favor. All of my plants look healthy and seem to be flourishing, so I’m hoping to get some produce very soon. I was too lazy to step outside, but here is a view of my garden from upstairs and behind the screen. Kinda cute, right?! Notice the gross bug that is not so cute!

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Yesterday, I planned my gym time at a point where I would be hungry if I didn’t eat lunch beforehand, so I knew I had to get some protein and energy. I didn’t feel like cooking pasta or rice, so I just chopped up some veggies and stir-fried them to enjoy with a few chicken meatballs.

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The meal was filling enough to power me through my workout! My usual swim is 40 laps (a lap meaning back and forth counting as one), which is a little more than a mile. I aimed to do 50 and then realized that I only needed 4 more to make a mile and a half, so of course I went for it. I am not a fast swimmer and I have a lot to learn when it comes to my kicking technique, but my cross-training with running and weights has meant that I have good stamina. I don’t rest between laps because I see it as more like a long-distance run where you wouldn’t stop there either. By the end, my lungs were aching, but I felt strong. I headed upstairs for a quick body strength circuit of leg lifts, squats, lunges, kickbacks, push-ups, mountain climbers, elevated hip lifts, and step ups for five sets of 10 reps. I was hungry when I got home so I melted some cheese on top of a few tostitos for some yum.

Dinner was delicious as well. We had a medley of chicken and steak tips with brown spinach rice and a spinach salad. It was a perfect night to sit in the backyard and enjoy the weather, though it was still hot! I have to admit, it’s been weird eating meals and relaxing without watching anything. I’m having Buffy withdrawals! But I have to be strong.

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It’s another hot day out there, though the cool breeze coming in is confusing. My run will have to be delayed until the sun starts to set, unless I suck it up and run on the treadmill.

For breakfast, I poached some eggs over toast. I haven’t had this in quite some time and it was nice to revert back to an old favorite. A little bacon on the side made things a little saltier and crunchier.

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A few hours later, I had a cup of Chobani Pomegranate yogurt and a sprinkle of coconut granola. I’m not in a big meal kind of mood, so I think at some point, I will make myself a salad or some veggie sticks for a more well-rounded meal, but for right now, it hit the spot!

I’ve been in a cleaning frenzy and tweeting like crazy, which means I am procrastinating my studying and writing. Fear not, those things get done, I just need to maintain a clean space if I want to have a clear mind. I also just really like to tweet.

End of An Era; I Think I’ve Used That Joke Before…

Hello, my name is Caitlin and I am a binge watcher.

It’s not a joke actually. Like I really just watched a whole lot of episodes in three days. A season full, okay? That’s twenty two episodes that run 42-43 minutes apiece that I watched in three days. Netflix is wonderful, bizarre, and dangerous. Having the ability to just push play on the next episode (OR NOT HAVE TO TOUCH ANYTHING AT ALL) is too easy and convenient. Albeit, I did not complain. And one can argue that I simply don’t have to have Netflix anymore. I’m just saying, it’s dangerous for someone who likes to watch television to have access to so much television.

That being said, I am very sad to be done with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, I could have slowed down, but I was hooked. I will say that while it took me three days to watch the final season (I’m on a staycation technically), it took me about three weeks to watch the previous season because it was emotionally challenging. I feel comfortable and secure in admitting to you my obsession with TV only because I can claim it’s for research purposes. Hello?! I want to write for TV, so I have to watch TV. It’s not my fault, it’s a requirement.

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Too soon Netflix! Too soon!

There is a clear reason as to why I don’t watch too many shows on Netflix and that is because I become invested. It can be hard for me to get into a show, but once I’m in, I’m hooked. Just fry me up. That was a lame statement, but I’m keeping it just so I can talk about how lame it was. After much deliberation, obsession, and dedication, I am ready to make another claim. Friends, after years and years and years, has been dethroned for the highly esteemed number one favorite show of all-time in my heart. While I still love Friends, it will have to make-do with number two (rhyming, ugh). This is important to no one else, besides me, but I think it’s a pretty momentous occasion. As it stands, my favorites are now: Buffy, Friends, Lost, The Golden Girls, and Gilmore Girls.

What you can take from this is that I am one eclectic girl. Look at that diversity in my choice of shows! Actually, there’s probably not that much diversity at all except that some of them are different genres. It’s funny because I only ever watched one and a half of those shows at the time live. Buffy was on when I was younger and should not have been watching at that age because I could not comprehend or appreciate the depth of emotions and torment that it shows. I just liked the action and the romantics and Sarah Michelle Gellar was my favorite because she married Freddie Prinze Jr., which is still impressive, but also, she’s damn good in this show! I also only watched about two and a half seasons and didn’t remember a whole lot of it once I went and rewatched all of it. (Note: rewatched keeps autocorrecting to rewetted and I don’t know that I understand what that means).

I’ve seen episodes of Gilmore Girls when it was on live, but I never got into it until after it came on Netflix and I decided to give it a whirl. I’m so glad I did too (except for that last season, ugh). The first and only episode I’ve seen of Lost while it aired was the finale. There was so much hype and I don’t need too much mystery or context to be able to appreciate an ending, so I wanted to watch it. If I liked how it ended, I figured I could watch it. In the end, I’m not sure how I felt about that ending, but I went back and watched it anyways and it was epic.

I wasn’t or was barely alive when The Golden Girls aired, but thanks to Lifetime and syndication, I started to watch it in high school and became obsessed. It’s just such a fun and lovable and funny show that makes me feel nostalgic, which I am a huge sucker for. With Friends, I did watch much of it when it was running, but probably not all- I was four when it started?- but because of syndication and to all the DVDs I spent uber loads of money on that are now five bucks apiece, I was caught up by the time it ended. I distinctly remember watching the finale, surrounding myself with tissues, and sobbing. I will not go as far as to say it was a tragic moment in my life- I still remember the Brad/Jennifer break up- but it was an end of an era.

And now here again we have reached an end of another era. I say most of this in jest, though I do find these shows to be important to me. It’s like coming to an end of a really good book, especially a series (HARRY POTTER) and having to say goodbye to those characters and those places that made you fall in love. This is what makes television stand out farther to me than movies. If you’re lucky, with a show, there are so many seasons and episodes to spend with the characters. It’s part of what inspires me to be a writer- to bring to life people whose emotions, actions, and thoughts can be so different and so similar to yours at the same time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it over and over again: if you have a set of solid characters played by actors who bring them to life (in the case of novels, the author’s voice is the said-actor in my opinion), then you can do anything with them.

All of this leads to a big question I am sure all of you are dying to know! What show will be next? Actually, none. Not for now. One, I need time to mourn Buffy. Seven seasons, um no matter how fast you watch them, is no small feat and I need time to process. I waited about a year after finishing Gilmore Girls before getting into another show because clearly I am obsessive and cannot be stopped. Now is the time to enjoy some me time, in the sun, maybe reading a book and definitely studying.

This whole rant started by my wanting to make a joke about being a binge watching addict. My apologies, continue with your day. Except actually, finish reading before you do.

Yesterday’s workout was strength heavy. I ran through the usual barbell exercises, performing six sets of eight reps for power moves like bench presses, deadlifts, and squat presses and four sets of twelve reps for additional exercises such as bicep curls and tricep extensions. I can feel myself growing stronger, which (opinion) probably means I am going to one day become a vampire slayer. (Fact) I ran away screaming from my cat when he tried to bite me.

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I followed a strength workout with a core one that left me wanting to stay down on the mat for a little while, but instead got me in the direction of the bike, which I rode for a few minutes.

Last night’s dinner was a big old salad with grilled chicken, which I paired with a piece of corn and a slice of toast. Simple, yet effective. I enjoyed this while sitting poolside as the sun started to fall asleep, the bugs started to crawl, and I didn’t notice much of anything else because I was watching Netflix. I said it was fun, not healthy.

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At breakfast time, I was very Maid of Honorly and Sisterly and did a favor for my sister and her husband and decided it was worth just powering through the last three episodes of Buffy. I grilled myself some eggs and served it with peanut butter on toast, half a banana, and some blueberries. It was a delightful breakfast sprinkled with occasional tears. I can almost feel your judgment through our virtual screens, but remember, this is partly satirical. (A very small part, but shh).

IMG_3374Now that I’ve finished, it’s time to go out into the world again! Except that it’s ninety degrees and the sun is too bright.

Just kidding, it’s hot as balls. (I don’t use that feature to my advantage enough).

Heat Wave Means Lots of Ice Cream

Before I recap the weekend, I want to start by wishing my Grandma a very happy birthday. It was yesterday, but I don’t think she’d mind a little belated cheer. She is one of the greatest, smartest, and kindest women I know. She is the head of our family and its life source. Not all families are friends. Ours is and it’s because of her. She may not be happy about this picture, but I think it’s worth it. Happy birthday, Grandma!

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Now for the weekend. On Friday, I went and saw Trainwreck with my friend Molly. I am a huge Amy Schumer fan, as I’ve mentioned before. I don’t usually enjoy romantic comedies because the endings are too happy and cheesy and cliche, but this was a smart one. It wasn’t just funny in a typical way. We tried to go to an earlier showing, but it was sold out all over the place, so we bought tickets ahead of time for a later one and got some dinner. The best salmon over some greens.

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A little ice cream after. I went for a different flavor this time around, which came as a bit of a surprise because I didn’t think I would like it. Blueberry Oreo. It tasted a little like Black Raspberry and it wasn’t too sweet.

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On Saturday, I got my day started with some pancakes.

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Later on in the day, we went out to lunch for my Grandma’s birthday. After starting with a salad, I chose stuffed shrimp with steak tips and a baked potato. I was pretty much done by the time I remembered to take a picture.

In the afternoon, I hung outside for a little while in the sort-of sun and just relaxed. As the sun began to go down, I headed out for a run that was sweaty and buggy, but a great workout! For the rest of the night, it was nice to put my feet up and relax with a little Netflix.

On Sunday, I started with some scrambled eggs and toast. It was a hot day and I was sweating while eating. I couldn’t even finish my coffee.

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In the afternoon, my friend Katie stopped by for a quick swim before we went out for the day. Our first stop was lunch at a Mexican restaurant. I had chicken and veggie fajitas, minus the tortillas because I had chips instead, with a side of rice and refried beans. Delicious, but super filling! After a little walking around and shopping, we stopped for an ice cream. It was National Ice Cream Day! I had my favorite flavor, peanut butter cookies ‘n cream. When I got home, my sister and her husband were over and we spent the rest of the evening talking and laughing. After another, but very small ice cream (it was National Ice Cream Day!), I came home and had a hot dog for dinner.

For breakfast on this very hot morning, I didn’t want to put too much effort into making anything. I went with a very quick and easy egg and chicken sausage sandwich with a bowl of grapes and a banana on the side.

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Now it’s time to kick off the day with some work and a workout. Happy Monday!

The Entertainer

Last night I went to see Billy Joel at Fenway. This is my second time seeing him and he does not fail to impress. Both of my parents are big fans and I started listening to his music on a family trip to Ireland. There is not one song that I don’t like. It’s funny because he could have played a complete different playlist last night that still would have been full of hits.

  
After every song, I kept shouting, “that one’s my favorite!” I don’t think there’s anything quite like hearing a packed stadium of 30,000+ people singing along to Piano Man or an a Capella version of The Longest Time. Even the two songs I didn’t know, I enjoyed. It was a perfect night for an outdoor concert too. Not too cold or warm, a few stars speckled the sky, and a great time with my parents and cousin Maura!

  
  
We started the night by hitting up a restaurant and getting a few drinks. I had a watermelon beer (the piece of watermelon on top was my favorite) and then had a glass of raspberry sangria. For my meal, I selected the chicken and shrimp sesame stir fry that was chock full of peppers, snap peas, and mushrooms on top a bed of jasmine rice. The portion size was just right so that I easily polished it off and washed it down with a soft serve cone in the stadium.

  
My workout for the day was a body strength circuit that had my sweating and sticky before I jumped into the pool to swim a mile. I was feeling strong yesterday and was in the zone and could have swam another mile (at least it yet like it) but I was on no time crunch and had to get ready for the concert! To add to my exercise for the day, we did quite a bit of walking to the concert and a ton of dancing! Once Billy came on stage, I didn’t sit for another two hours.

I was feeling sleepy this morning and took my time getting out of bed. Somehow it seemed easier at 5. I eventually got up and grilled up some French toast. In my batter, I tossed an egg, an egg white, a splash of milk, cinnamon, and vanilla together, soaked the bread, and fried it up. I thought I would get a little fancy with my topping and mixed a fourth of a cup of plain Greek yogurt and two tablespoons of dark chocolate peanut butter together. Combined with blueberries and banana, it was quite tasty. I ended up having too much for the toast, so I just ate the rest of it as a parfait.

  
As I enjoyed my breakfast, I watched a clip of Amy Schumer on Jimmy Fallon’s show talking about how she engaged in a bread eating war with Mindy Kaling and sexted from Katie Couric’s phone when she got up to use the bathroom. Comedy right now is huge, especially as people realize that women are actually funny. I am actually going to see Amy’s movie that comes out tonight, which she stars in and wrote. I think it’s so important to have celebrities, especially female, get so much positive exposure for being smart, funny, confident, and strong. And she was just nominated for an Emmy for her show Inside Amy Schumer, which is great!

Now onto a day of studying, writing, and exercising! Happy Friday!