lately

TV shows: Veep (one of my favorites ever), Superstore, Blackish, Powerless, The Good Wife, and Big Little Lies- I read the book a few years and and loved it and thus far the HBO series is amazing. Reese and Nicole for the win!).

Books: The Boston Girl and Where’d You Go, Bernadette. 

Movies: Gifted (Chris Evans is a dream), Moana, The Princess and the Frog

Music/Podcasts: Moana soundtrack, Ingrid Michaelson, musicals, current pop hits, WDW Radio, Be Our Guest podcast, Missing Richard Simmons

Food: waffles with peanut butter and a drizzle of syrup, stir fries, and tacos

Exercise: running, spinning, hiking, and strength training

Hobbies: writing and researching for an upcoming trip (see below!)

Things I’m looking forward to: going home for a few days to attend my cousin’s wedding and see my family, my friend Stephanie visiting next month, and going to Disney World with my family in August!

how to be a morning workout (crazy) person

Let me be honest. Morning workouts are amazing. You get to check-off a bullet on your to-do list first thing. You feel great, you’re doing something great for your body, and you don’t have to think about exercise the rest of your day. But also, waking up sucks.

Unless you’re one of those magical unicorns who enjoys waking up with the sun, it’s hella hard to do it. When I started my work day at 8:30 am, morning exercise wasn’t something I considered because I don’t believe in waking up before 6:00 am unless I’m going on vacation. To me, 5:00 am is the middle of the night. Also, I really appreciate a solid 7-8 hours of sleep a night and I don’t want to go to bed at 9:00 pm. I like sleeping and I like having my evenings to decompress after work…so what’s a girl to do?

Pick your poison.

My ideal workout time of day is mid-late morning, but that is not something a person can realistically accomplish when working a 9-5 job. When I was a personal trainer, I made my own hours and it was glorious, but also spoiled me. Switching over to my production job, I knew I needed to go after work and many times, after running around all day, my mind and body were exhausted. I still went because I’d go nuts without my exercise, and it was a solid way of letting the day go, but I didn’t feel as though I was maximizing my body’s potential. You do what you gotta do and you make the best of it, but now that I’m in my new position, I go into work a half hour later and it’s made all the difference.

Thankfully- knock on wood- traffic is also better, so I only need to wake up 40 minutes earlier in order to fit in a full hour workout AND a quick sit-down breakfast. Part of this, is once I’m readying for my day, I’ve already been up for a bit and don’t linger in the shower still half asleep.

But how do I not hit the snooze button once the alarm goes off? Not sheer will power, I just know myself. Once that alarm goes off, I know morning has arrived, and regardless of having these extra minutes of sleep available to me, I know I’m not going to get fully back to sleep and then I’ll be slow and mopey. So when the alarm goes off, I get up, and remind myself that working out now is always better than later. Play tricks on yourself, it works.

I have about ten minutes to get ready before I hop in my car, so to prepare myself for this, I have my clothes out, my bag packed, and my water bottle filled and waiting in the fridge for me to grab on my way out. I brush my teeth, throw my hair into a ponytail, and go. Once at the gym, it might take a rep or five to have my muscles wake up, but they get going and they’re thankful for it. I’m refreshed in mind, body, and soul, and it makes a huge difference.

Another reason I’ve been successful at working out in the morning is that exercise is a habit. It should be as intuitive as brushing your teeth and eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Most days, it doesn’t occur to me not to workout. I need it to feel better and stronger. Exercise, it makes you stronger physically and emotionally.

Number one reason I’m free to workout in the morning: I don’t have a child or anyone else to take care of in the morning.

Beachin’ Weekend

I had a beachin’ weekend! (Yeah, I started with a pun, NOT SORRY). My weekend kicked off on Friday night as I headed home, enjoyed a glass of wine with a chicken stirfry, and some tv catch-up. It was glorious to go to bed and know that I had nothing planned for the next day. And then to wake up on Saturday morning, then roll back on over for a little bit longer. When I did get up, I enjoyed a pancake breakfast- all from scratch, using my peanut butter pancake recipe.

Since switching my workouts to the morning, I’m able to have a weekend day as a rest day and Saturday was the chosen one. It was SO nice out, like 85, and all I wanted was to be outside. How can you not celebrate Earth Day when nature gifts us with this!?:

Displaying IMG_1017.JPG

However, drink enough water before you leave the house, boys and girls, especially if you’re going to lounge out in the sun. I had a wonderful vision of me laying my towel out on the beach and getting in some quality writing time.

Displaying IMG_1013.JPG

What ended up happening was I sweated profusely, melted the chocolate in my trail mix, and suffered from a headache. Out of principle, I stuck it out for the hour because I had paid for the parking (not too much thankfully), but I needed to not be there. The water I had didn’t even ease my headache, nor did going to a shopping mall and Target! When I’m not in the mood to shop, you know there’s a problem. Once I got home, I drank a lot of water and made my dinner.

Once I was feeling better, my friend Brad came over to “start” Big Little Lies. I say “start” because we watched four or five episodes already. Had we started earlier, I think we would have finished. Maybe he won’t notice if I finish without him…we’re still on season two of Downton Abbey because we were waiting on each other.

On Sunday morning, I made some scrambled eggs and waffles, drank a ton of water, and headed out for a run/walk. When I started, I didn’t think much of where I was going, but eventually, I did find my way to the beach. I’m four miles away from the beach, which is amazing, so of course I have to take advantage. I mean, look at this.

Displaying IMG_1023.JPG

The beach is (9 times out of 10) my happy place. There is something so imperfectly beautiful about waves crashing onto the sand that moves me. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my writing tools with me, but it was nice to spend some time relaxing, meditating, and unplugged.

Displaying IMG_1021.JPG

But, once you run/walk four miles to the beach, you also have to run four miles back. I had anticipated this because I’m not a complete idiot, but had I planned better, I would have brought water or money to buy water. The journey home was a little more unpleasant, but not altogether bad. The flowers must have loved the rainy LA winter because these flowers went on for acres.

Displaying IMG_1018.JPG

By the time I got home, I was sweating from my eyeballs and really needed water, but it was an accomplishment! In the end, it was a perfect four mile run, four mile walk split, so I was pleased. After a much needed shower and rehydration, I was a hungry girl. I headed out to a local hole-in-the-wall spot for delicious Indian curry, rice, veggies, and naan. So good! The price wasn’t bad either, so I’ll definitely be back!

The rest of my Sunday evening was spent writing and prepping for the week ahead. Have a fantastic Monday!!

a week in review

This past week, I started a new job, which I’m using as my excuse for not having blogged. In recap, I went to a book signing to pick up Sarah Michelle Gellar’s cookbook and kind of met her. I say kind of because I was flustered, had no idea what to say, and freaked out a little. It’s unnatural to meet a celebrity who means a lot to you, particularly for playing my favorite character of anything ever, Buffy, and them having no idea who you are. What do you even say? She was very nice, but my instinct was to push my friend Brad out of my picture, so I can’t really say the same about myself. We’re calling it my Selina Meyer moment. If you know me, feel free to text and ask to see the picture of me pushing him because it PLAYS OUT THE ENTIRE THING. #embarrassed.

6CFFBB34-B723-4E3B-942A-C8B26A729C3B.JPG

Friday was momentous because it was a day off. I took advantage by eating a great breakfast, fitting in a solid workout, grocery shopping for the week, and then watching the entire new season of Grace and Frankie. Jane Fonda + Lily Tomlin = epic. But maybe I should have done more with my life.

On Saturday, I was up early to go to Six Flags with my friend Brad (it’s a wonder that he still wanted to hang out with me). I like to think of myself a roller coaster connoisseur, but the first ride we went on, which spins you 360 while hurtling head first down a bunch of drops, made me rethink my entire life. The thing about Six Flags is that they have cool rides, but the longest lines and terrible guest service. I’m a Disney girl to my core, so I guess ambiance is more important to me than I thought. We were there from open to close, 11 hours, and only got on six rides.

IMG_0968.JPG

Sunday, I enjoyed an Easter meal with my cousins Meghan and Sebastian. It was a hard decision between sweet and savory, and then pancakes and french toast, but ultimately it was the french toast that won out. It was delicious!

IMG_0960.JPG

But I felt very full.

IMG_0967.JPG

There must be something to that carbo-loading theory though because once I digested and hydrated enough, I had a wonderful, strong run. Maybe it was the sun.

IMG_0966.JPG

It was a productive afternoon of meal planning, exercise planning, cleaning, and online shopping. I needed new sneakers, both for work and for play (running and general living).

IMG_0965.JPG

So far, I’ve been successful with my morning workouts. I love the feeling of having finished my workout.

Now onto Tuesday!

four years, and a reflection

This is the second time I’ll be celebrating Patriot’s Day in Los Angeles. The first time, four years ago, I was on vacation. It was 2013, I was a teacher’s assistant in kindergarten, and didn’t think much of the marathon happening back home in Boston. I was relishing in my California Dreamin’ moment.

That all changed that afternoon. I had just received a text message from my sister saying she was two miles from the finish line. Her picture featured a beautiful, sunny spring day. Boston, truly, at its finest.

A half hour later, I clicked on Facebook. Mayhem, terror, madness. No one knew what was going on. Phone lines were down. My parents hadn’t even heard yet. It took twenty minutes to finally get in touch with my sister to hear that her and my brother-in-law were safe. We were lucky. Many were not.

Four years passed by in a blur. I remember the fear and pain that day instilled. Those were the streets I walked on every day for four years in college. That was my city, my playground, my safe haven.

What transpired was trauma of the worst kind. Beloved lives were lost and torn apart. That year, along with the Newtown Sandy Hook School shooting, was the beginning of an onslaught of terror attacks throughout this country. Don’t you remember the terror? Don’t you remember the grief?

We’ve grown complacent in our new age. These attacks still happen, more frequently, on our soil and on others, and we blink, we breathe, and we proceed onto the next article. I’m guilty of it too. That pang, that was once so bright and terrifying, is a mere twinge to the heart.

But today, I find myself reflective. Our world is a dark one. There is love true and strong, but there’s hate, violence, and intolerance overshadowing.

Attacks also happen on a smaller-scale every day.

On Saturday, I was at a theme park with a friend and witnessed a group of teenage boys pushing each other around and calling each other ‘faggot’ as an insult. Everyone around them stayed silent, either made faces or ignored them completely. I used to be one of those people, just turned the other cheek. But not in this world. I called them out on it, told them to keep their hands to themselves and mind their words. People, no matter their age, need to be held accountable for their words and actions. They need to realize how they affect others. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. It’s certainly not bliss. Yes, we have a president who endorses sexual harassment, bigotry, violence, and hate, but he only represents this country as long as we allow it.

Now is the time to determine what type of person we want to be in this world. We are on the verge of the world falling apart. I’m sorry to say that I’m not dramatizing this. I do my best to find the goodness in life, but I’m ready to fight too. We are witnesses to what evil, hate, indifference, bigotry, racism, sexism, and violence can inspire.

I will not be complacent. I will resist. I will keep an open-mind, open-heart, and eyes wide-open. I will be the change I want to see in this world. I will not be silent. I will remember the pain and fear and grief in loss. Those losses, and the many more that occurred before and after, will not be in vain.

I have a voice. And I will use it.

to the ocean, the mountains, and back again

Another Monday, another wistful look back at the weekend. It was a good one, yet again, a perfect combination of restful and active.

The week was a long one and I was looking forward to the oblivion of a relaxing Friday night at home, but instead, I buckled up and went to a networking event with some co-worker friends. To get some energy beforehand, I headed out for a short run, which allowed me to soak up some sun and positivity. It was a fun night and I enjoyed chatting it up with friends. I very much loved falling into bed and sleeping to my heart’s content as Saturday began.

I didn’t have anything planned for the weekend, so I texted my cousin Meghan to see what was up, and she suggested Long Beach. This was on my to-do list for sure, so I was eager to go, after pancakes and a workout!

3E310A25-AFC5-460D-BDF9-B55AD7462197.JPG

We made the trek and were ready for lunch once we arrived. The idea to sit outside was mutual all around, except we didn’t factor in the wind. Wind in LA spring is real. We lost menus and chips, chips! The food was good though and once our bellies were full, we were ready to explore the area.

You’d think beaches would be easy and plentiful to find in Long Beach, but you would be wrong. I don’t know what our problem was, but it took us forever to find one. Once we were there, it was nice, but windy.

IMG_0871 3.JPG

I’m itching for summer and the ability to dive into the waves and not be considered a crazy person. My love of the ocean often battles my hatred of freezing cold water, but once the summer sun comes out strong and the wind dies down, I’ll gladly numb myself to get in that ocean.

Gotta love walking on the beach!

Once we headed home, I trekked over to the grocery store and did a lot of nothing for the rest of the night.

Sunday was my most active day. It was beautiful out, still windy, but the sunshine was calling my name. My first stop was the local climbing spot.

614E518D-7009-4CB7-B8C4-A904F65890C1.JPG

Spring is in full bloom in lovely Southern California, and at one point, I stopped dead looking up at the flowers covering the mountain. It was one of those “wow” moments for sure, but my pictures couldn’t captivate the true beauty.

D69E153E-CD91-4E67-814C-870140298C94.JPG

Once on top, I looked to my left towards the ocean and the right towards the mountains and city.

D3ED57CC-7C7A-409B-811C-CD0BFA784D7F.JPG

Damn.

D008167B-5BFE-43B2-A02F-F6A6B24A9FCB.JPG

I had to make a quick stop at Target (it’s never really quick or cheap!) to pick up an air-pump for my bike, so I could pedal over to the beach. I’m not certain that it made much difference, and my back tire seemed a little draggy, and riding against the wind did not help my cause, but with the beach as my destination, I continued on with determination.

The ride was spectacular. The bike path to the beach is always pretty, but the river was sparkling and the flowers overwhelming and despite the pain of riding, I felt the joy.

BE7399F8-2A16-4F93-9C9E-21540929F957.JPG

At the beach, I pulled over to the rocks and sat myself down for some quality time with my journal, the sun, and the water. Find me below aiming for pensive and ending up squinty.

54467FF3-F0E7-4FDB-AFD1-78D32660A31A.JPG

I reveled in the warmth of it all for a long while, until I felt the pull of home. Even though the wind was lessened at this point, my legs were tired (and my back tire probably still low), so it was a challenging ride. Why is bike riding so difficult for me? I’m in good cardio shape. I run and spin at the gym, so something’s not adding up. I think it’s my bike…probably?

60D616D0-D019-4943-8377-DA4C70899A1D.JPG

Back at my apartment, it was cooking time. First, I showered and threw on my robe to be my ultra comfiest. I’ll have a post at some point this week with some meals from the past couple weeks, but I cooked my dinner, made a few breakfasts for the week, then even made tomorrow night’s dinner. Pretty nifty.

I’m trying to be efficient with breakfast because I’m going to try and get my lazy butt up in the morning to workout. I’ve been good about my evening workouts, but with the sun staying out later, I’m hoping to free up some time after work.

There’s nothing like time spent at the ocean and in the mountains to fill up the soul. Happy Monday!